Poor Miss Finch
The Doctor's Opinion
BEFORE another word had been exchanged between us, Lucilla entered the room. We
looked at each other. If we could have spoken at that moment, I believe we should both
have said, "Thank God, she is blind!"
"Have you all forgotten me?" she asked. "Oscar! where are you? What does the doctor
She advanced into the room. In a moment more, she would have stumbled against the
prostrate man still writhing on the floor. I laid my hand on her arm, and stopped her.
She suddenly caught my hand in hers. "Why did you tremble," she asked, "when you took
me by the arm? Why are you trembling now?" Her delicate sense of touch was not to be
deceived. I vainly denied that anything had happened: my hand had betrayed me. "There
is something wrong!" she exclaimed, "Oscar has not answered me."
The doctor came to my assistance.
"There is nothing to be alarmed about," he said. "Mr. Dubourg is not very well to-day."
She turned on the doctor, with a sudden burst of anger.
"You are deceiving me!" she cried. "Something serious has happened to him. The truth!
tell me the truth! Oh! it's shameful, it's heartless of both of you to deceive a wretched
blind creature like me!"
The doctor still hesitated. I told her the truth.
"Where is he?" she asked, seizing me by the two shoulders, and shaking me in the
violence of her agitation.
I entreated her to wait a little; I tried to place her in a chair. She pushed me
contemptuously away, and went down on the floor on her hands and knees. "I shall find
him," she said to herself; "I shall find him in spite of them!" She began to crawl over the
floor, feeling the empty space before her with her hand. It was horrible. I followed her,
and raised her again, by main force.
"Don't struggle with her," said the doctor. "Let her come here. He is quiet now."
I looked at Oscar. The worst of it was over. He was exhausted--he was quite still now.
The doctor's voice guided her to the place. She sat down by Oscar on the floor, and laid
his head on her lap. The moment she touched him, the same effect was produced on her
which would be produced (if our eyes were bandaged) on you or me when the bandage
was taken off. An instant sense of relief diffused itself through her whole being. She
became her gentler and sweeter self again. "I am sorry I lost my temper," she said with
the simplicity of a child. "But you don't know how hard it is to be deceived when you are
blind." She stooped as she said those words, and passed her handkerchief lightly over his
forehead. "Doctor," she asked, "will this happen again?"
"I hope not."