Jezebel's Daughter HTML version

Chapter II.14
Doctor Dormann was punctual to his appointment. He was accompanied by a stranger,
whom he introduced as a surgeon. As before, Jack slipped into the room, and waited in a
corner, listening and watching attentively.
Instead of improving under the administration of the remedies, the state of the patient had
sensibly deteriorated. On the rare occasions when she attempted to speak, it was almost
impossible to understand her. The sense of touch seemed to be completely lost--the poor
woman could no longer feel the pressure of a friendly hand. And more ominous still, a
new symptom had appeared; it was with evident difficulty that she performed the act of
swallowing. Doctor Dormann turned resignedly to the surgeon.
"There is no other alternative," he said; "you must bleed her."
At the sight of the lancet and the bandage, Jack started out of his corner. His teeth were
fast set; his eyes glared with rage. Before he could approach the surgeon Mr. Keller took
him sternly by the arm and pointed to the door. He shook himself free--he saw the point
of the lancet touch the vein. As the blood followed the incision, a cry of horror burst from
him: he ran out of the room.
"Wretches! Tigers! How dare they take her blood from her! Oh, why am I only a little
man? why am I not strong enough to fling the brutes out of the window? Mistress!
Mistress! is there nothing I can do to help you?"
These wild words poured from his lips in the solitude of his little bedchamber. In the
agony that he suffered, as the sense of Mrs. Wagner's danger now forced itself on him, he
rolled on the floor, and struck himself with his clenched fists. And, again and again, he
cried out to her, "Mistress! Mistress! is there nothing I can do to help you?"
The strap that secured his keys became loosened, as his frantic movements beat the
leather bag, now on one side, and now on the other, upon the floor. The jingling of the
keys rang in his ears. For a moment, he lay quite still. Then, he sat up on the floor. He
tried to think calmly. There was no candle in the room. The nearest light came from a
lamp on the landing below. He got up, and went softly down the stairs. Alone on the
landing, he held up the bag and looked at it. "There's something in my mind, trying to
speak to me," he said to himself. "Perhaps, I shall find it in here?"
He knelt down under the light, and shook out the keys on the landing.
One by one he ranged them in a row, with a single exception. The key of the desk
happened to be the first that he took up. He kissed it--it was her key--and put it back in
the bag. Placing the others before him, the duplicate key was the last in the line. The
inscription caught his eye. He held it to the light and read "Pink-Room Cupboard."
The lost recollection now came back to him in intelligible form. The "remedy" that
Madame Fontaine had locked up--the precious "remedy" made by the wonderful master