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The Sea-Hawk

The Judges
In the absence of any woman into whose care they might entrust her, Lord Henry, Sir
John, and Master Tobias, the ship's surgeon, had amongst them tended Rosamund as best
they could when numbed and half-dazed she was brought aboard the Silver Heron.
Master Tobias had applied such rude restoratives as he commanded, and having made her
as comfortable as possible upon a couch in the spacious cabin astern, he had suggested
that she should be allowed the rest of which she appeared so sorely to stand in need. He
had ushered out the commander and the Queen's Lieutenant, and himself had gone below
to a still more urgent case that was demanding his attention--that of Lionel Tressilian,
who had been brought limp and unconscious from the galeasse together with some four
other wounded members of the Silver Heron's crew.
At dawn Sir John had come below, seeking news of his wounded friend. He found the
surgeon kneeling over Lionel.
As he entered, Master Tobias turned aside, rinsed his hands in a metal basin placed upon
the floor, and rose wiping them on a napkin.
"I can do no more, Sir John," he muttered in a desponding voice. "He is sped."
"Dead, d'ye mean?" cried Sir John, a catch in his voice.
The surgeon tossed aside the napkin, and slowly drew down the upturned sleeves of his
black doublet. "All but dead," he answered. "The wonder is that any spark of life should
still linger in a body with that hole in it. He is bleeding inwardly, and his pulse is steadily
weakening. It must continue so until imperceptibly he passes away. You may count him
dead already, Sir John." He paused. "A merciful, painless end," he added, and sighed
perfunctorily, his pale shaven face decently grave, for all that such scenes as these were
commonplaces in his life. "Of the other four," he continued, "Blair is dead; the other three
should all recover."
But Sir John gave little heed to the matter of those others. His grief and dismay at this
quenching of all hope for his friend precluded any other consideration at the moment.
"And he will not even recover consciousness?" he asked insisting, although already he
had been answered.
"As I have said, you may count him dead already, Sir John. My skill can do nothing for
him."
Sir John's head drooped, his countenance drawn and grave. "Nor can my justice," he
added gloomily. "Though it avenge him, it cannot give me back my friend." He looked at
the surgeon. "Vengeance, sir, is the hollowest of all the mockeries that go to make up
life."
 
 
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