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Chapter III.7
The next morning, Ralph never appeared--the day passed on, and I heard
nothing--at last, when it was evening, a letter came from him.
The letter informed me that my brother had written to Mr. Sherwin, simply asking
whether he had recovered his daughter. The answer to this question did not
arrive till late in the day; and was in the negative--Mr. Sherwin had not found his
daughter. She had left the hospital before he got there; and no one could tell him
whither she had gone. His language and manner, as he himself admitted, had
been so violent that he was not allowed to enter the ward where Mannion lay.
When he returned home, he found his wife at the point of death; and on the same
evening she expired. Ralph described his letter, as the letter of a man half out of
his senses. He only mentioned his daughter, to declare, in terms almost of fury,
that he would accuse her before his wife's surviving relatives, of having been the
cause of her mother's death; and called down the most terrible denunciations on
his own head, if he ever spoke to his child again, though he should see her
starving before him in the streets. In a postscript, Ralph informed me that he
would call the next morning, and concert measures for tracking Sherwin's
daughter to her present retreat.
Every sentence in this letter bore warning of the crisis which was now close at
hand; yet I had as little of the desire as of the power to prepare for it. A
superstitious conviction that my actions were governed by a fatality which no
human foresight could alter or avoid, began to strengthen within me. From this
time forth, I awaited events with the uninquiring patience, the helpless resignation
of despair.
My brother came, punctual to his appointment. When he proposed that I should
at once accompany him to the hospital, I never hesitated at doing as he desired.
We reached our destination; and Ralph approached the gates to make his first
He was still speaking to the porter, when a gentleman advanced towards them,
on his way out of the hospital. I saw him recognise my brother, and heard Ralph
"Bernard! Jack Bernard! Have you come to England, of all the men in the world!"
"Why not?" was the answer. "I got every surgical testimonial the Hotel Dieu could
give me, six months ago; and couldn't afford to stay in Paris only for my pleasure.
Do you remember calling me a 'mute, inglorious Liston,' long ago, when we last
met? Well, I have come to England to soar out of my obscurity and blaze into a
shining light of the profession. Plenty of practice at the hospital, here--very little
anywhere else, I am sorry to say."
"You don't mean that you belong to this hospital?"
"My dear fellow, I am regularly on the staff; I'm here every day of my life."
"You're the very man to enlighten us. Here, Basil, cross over, and let me
introduce you to an old Paris friend of mine. Mr. Bernard--my brother. You've
often heard me talk, Basil, of a younger son of old Sir William Bernard's, who