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I wore a morning dress, which covered the place I pointed to.
“Now you can satisfy yourself,” said the doctor. “You won’t mind your papa’s
lowering your dress a very little. It is necessary, to detect a symptom of the
complaint under which you have been suffering.”
I acquiesced. It was only an inch or two below the edge of my collar.
“God bless me!—so it is,” exclaimed my father, growing pale.
“You see it now with your own eyes,” said the doctor, with a gloomy triumph.
“What is is?” I exclaimed, beginning to be frightened.
“Nothing, my dear young lady, but a small blue spot, about the size of the tip of
your little finger; and now,” he continued, turning to papa, “the question is what is
best to be done?”
Is there any danger?“ I urged, in great trepidation.
”I trust not, my dear,“ answered the doctor. ”I don’t see why you should not
recover. I don’t see why you should not begin immediately to get better. That is
the point at which the sense of strangulation begins?“
Yes,” I answered.
“And—recollect as well as you can—the same point was a kind of centre of that
thrill which you described just now, like the current of a cold stream running
“It may have been; I think it was.”
“Ay, you see?” he added, turning to my father. “Shall I say a word to Madame?”
“Certainly,” said my father.
He called Madame to him, and said:
“I find my young friend here far from well. It won’t be of any great consequence, I
hope; but it will be necessary that some steps be taken, which I will explain by-
and-by; but in the meantime, Madame, you will be so good as not to let Miss
Laura be alone for one moment. That is the only direction I need give for the
present. It is indispensable.”
“We may rely upon your kindness, Madame, I know,” added my father.
Madame satisfied him eagerly.
“And you, dear Laura, I know you will observe the doctor’s direction.”
“I shall have to ask your opinion upon another patient, whose symptoms slightly
resemble those of my daughter, that have just been detailed to you—very much
milder in degree, but I believe quite of the same sort. She is a young lady—our
guest; but as you say you will be passing this way again this evening, you can’t
do better than take your supper here, and you can then see her. She does not
come down till the afternoon.”
“I thank you,” said the doctor. “I shall be with you, then, at about seven this
And then they repeated their directions to me and to Madame, and with this
parting charge my father left us, and walked out with the doctor; and I saw them
pacing together up and down between the road and the moat, on the grassy
platform in front of the castle, evidently absorbed in earnest conversation.
The doctor did not return. I saw him mount his horse there, take his leave, and
ride away eastward through the forest.