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."But you must not stay longer now,my darling! Go home and take some rest.You will need all yourstrength to-morrow-""Well, I will go," said Arthur."We will be here in good timeto-morrow.Good night, my own own darling!"I followed his example, and we two left the house together.As wewalked back to our lodgings, Arthur sighed deeply once or twice, andseemed about to speak- but no words came, till we had entered thehouse, and had lit our candles, and were at our bedroom-doors.ThenArthur said "Good night, old fellow! God bless you!""God bless you!" I echoed from the very depths of my heart.We were back again at the Hall by eight in the morning, and foundLady Muriel and the Earl, and the old Vicar, waiting for us.It wasa strangely sad and silent party that walked up to the little churchand back; and I could not help feeling that it was much more like afuneral than a wedding: to Lady Muriel it was in fact, a funeralrather than a wedding, so heavily did the presentiment weigh uponher (as she told us afterwards) that her newly-won husband was goingforth to his death.Then we had breakfast; and, all too soon, the vehicle was at thedoor, which was to convey Arthur, first to his lodgings, to pick upthe things he was taking with him, and then as far towards thedeath-stricken hamlet as it was considered safe to go.One or two ofthe fishermen were to meet him on the road, to carry his things therest of the way."And are you quite sure you are taking all that you will need?" LadyMuriel asked."All that I shall need as a doctor, certainly.And my own personalneeds are few: I shall not even take any of my own wardrobe- thereis a fisherman's suit, ready-made, that is waiting for me at mylodgings.I shall only take my watch, and a few books, and- stay-there is one book I should like to add, a pocket-Testament- to useat the bedsides of the sick and dying-""Take mine!" said Lady Muriel: and she ran upstairs to fetch it." Ithas nothing written in it but 'Muriel'," she said as she returned withit: "shall I inscribe-""No, my own one," said Arthur, taking it from her."What could youinscribe better than that? Could any human name mark it more clearlyas my own individual property? Are you not mine? Are you not," (withall the old playfulness of manner) "as Bruno would say, 'my verymine'?"Page 98 , Sylvie And Bruno Concluded - Lewis Carroll He bade a long and loving adieu to the Earl and to me, and leftthe room, accompanied only by his wife, who was bearing up bravely,and was- outwardly, at least- less overcome than her old father.Wewaited in the room a minute or two, till the sounds of wheels had toldus that Arthur had driven away; and even then we waited still, for thestep of Lady Muriel, going upstairs to her room, to die away in thedistance.Her step, usually so light and joyous, now sounded slowand weary, like one who plods on under a load of hopeless misery;and I felt almost as hopeless, and almost as wretched as she."Arewe four destined ever to meet again, on this side the grave?" Iasked myself, as I walked to my home.And the tolling of a distantbell seemed to answer me, "No! No! No!"CHAPTER_XVIIICHAPTER XVIIIA Newspaper-CuttingEXTRACT FROM THE "FAYFIELD CHRONICLE".Our readers will have followed with painful interest, the accountswe have from time to time published of the terrible epidemic whichhas, during the last two months, carried off most of the inhabitantsof the little fishing-harbour adjoining the village of Elveston.Thelast survivors, numbering twenty-three only, out of a populationwhich, three short months ago, exceeded one hundred and twenty, wereremoved on Wednesday last, under the authority of the Local Board, andsafely lodged in the County Hospital: and the place is now veritably"a city of the dead", without a single human voice to break itssilence.The rescuing party consisted of six sturdy fellows- fishermen fromthe neighbourhood- directed by the resident Physician of the Hospital,who came over for that purpose, heading a train ofhospital-ambulances.The six men had been selected- from a much largernumber who had volunteered for this peaceful "forlorn hope"- for theirstrength and robust health, as the expedition was considered to be,even now, when the malady has expended its chief force, not unattendedwith danger.Every precaution that science could suggest, against the risk ofinfection, was adopted: and the sufferers were tenderly carried onlitters, one by one, up the, steep hill, and placed in theambulances which, each provided with a hospital nurse, were waiting onthe level road.The fifteen miles, to the Hospital, were done at awalking-pace, as some of the patientswere in too prostrate acondition to bear jolting, and the journey occupied the wholeafternoon.The twenty-three Patients consist of nine men, six women, andeight children.It has not been found possible to identify them all,as some of the children- left with no surviving relatives- areinfants: and two men and one woman are not yet able to make rationalreplies, the brain-powers being entirely in abeyance.Among a morewell-to-do race, there would no doubt have been names marked on thePage 99 , Sylvie And Bruno Concluded - Lewis Carroll clothes; but here no such evidence is forthcoming.Besides the poor fishermen and their families, there were but fivepersons to be accounted for: and it was ascertained, beyond a doubt,that all five are numbered with the dead.It is a melancholypleasure to place on record the names of these genuine martyrs- thanwhom none, surely, are more worthy to be entered on the glory-rollof England's heroes! They are as follows:The Rev.James Burgess, M.A., and Emma his wife.He was theCurate at the Harbour, not thirty years old, and had been married onlytwo years.A written record was found in their house, of the datesof their deaths.Next to theirs we will place the honoured named of Dr.ArthurForester, who, on the death of the local physician, nobly faced theimminent peril of death, rather than leave these poor folk uncared forin their last extremity [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]

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