The Law and the Lady
11. The Return To Life
My first remembrance when I began to recover my senses was the remembrance of Pain--
agonizing pain, as if every nerve in my body were being twisted and torn out of me. My
whole being writhed and quivered under the dumb and dreadful protest of Nature against
the effort to recall me to life. I would have given worlds to be able to cry out--to entreat
the unseen creatures about me to give me back to death. How long that speechless agony
held me I never knew. In a longer or shorter time there stole over me slowly a sleepy
sense of relief. I heard my own labored breathing. I felt my hands moving fee bly and
mechanically, like the hands of a baby. I faintly opened my eyes and looked round me--as
if I had passed through the ordeal of death, and had awakened to new senses in a new
The first person I saw was a man--a stranger. He moved quietly out of my sight;
beckoning, as he disappeared, to some other person in the room.
Slowly and unwillingly the other person advanced to the sofa on which I lay. A faint cry
of joy escaped me; I tried to hold out my feeble hands. The other person who was
approaching me was my husband!
I looked at him eagerly. He never looked at me in return. With his eyes on the ground,
with a strange appearance of confusion and distress in his face, he too moved away out of
my sight. The unknown man whom I had first noticed followed him out of the room. I
called after him faintly, "Eustace!" He never answered; he never returned. With an effort
I moved my head on the pillow, so as to look round on the other side of the sofa. Another
familiar face appeared before me as if in a dream. My good old Benjamin was sitting
watching me, with the tears in his eyes.
He rose and took my hand silently, in his simple, kindly way.
"Where is Eustace?" I asked. "Why has he gone away and left me?"
I was still miserably weak. My eyes wandered mechanically round the room as I put the
question. I saw Major Fitz-David, I saw the table on which the singing girl had opened
the book to show it to me. I saw the girl herself, sitting alone in a corner, with her
handkerchief to her eyes as if she were crying. In one mysterious moment my memory
recovered its powers. The recollection of that fatal title-page came back to me in all its
horror. The one feeling that it roused in me now was a longing to see my husband--to
throw myself into his arms, and tell him how firmly I believed in his innocence, how
truly and dearly I loved him. I seized on Benjamin with feeble, trembling hands. "Bring
him back to me!" I cried, wildly. "Where is he? Help me to get up!"
A strange voice answered, firmly and kindly: "Compose yourself, madam. Mr. Woodville
is waiting until you have recovered, in a room close by."