Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

3 erthygl ar y dudalen hon

Without the Gates


[ALL RIGHTS KESEKVED.] Without the Gates TTS; .Li, .L. /0. tè, T^re ,.11 scrfe m- tr- wiio •-■■ -■■■• to carry. Tins was the case 'cr-cny St. John, who was considered quite the brightest, and was certaiuly th< *u--t popu- lar, girl in the w hole of that y v? populous town in the nor Ll-west of Knglautt known AI Portlaffm. Dorothy's smile was like surst-iinc- no matter what her apparent ciiv^instances, she had always a cheerful "Good morning with which to accost her neighbours and a cheery word to give to rich and poor, to old and young. It was ilve years since she had first arrived at Portlaffin. She came late on* evening, found her own lodgings, settled down, and became part and parcel of the She had no introductions, and although everyone loved her, there was not a pen? •• in the town who knew anything with FC"¿;<.nl to her past. What her story had been b Jore she made Portlafiin a happier pi»f < or her coming, was hidden in mystery, "jfJie are naturally curious: people aiwis;M' about those who won't talk of their •< But there was something about not- withstanding her kindness and unselfishness, wViirVh mncle it imnossible for anyone to take » liberty with her. She had enough private means to live on, although she could not have been fell rich but she was very economical, au« ?"ve liar- eelf no luxuries of any sort. Her ;.)Ic-. time was given up to the service of 0; ■ ■ • She had not been a month at Ponjaffin be- fore she established herself there a nurse of the poor. She was not tra-i-,ied nurse, but she had such tact, jwu.j^-rly amongst the very poor classes and iHtte chil- dren, that she 'was welcome wh<-< yer she went. She took no payment for !r services, but no one thought of .resenting th^:n on that account. When we had all known Dorothy for over five years, I, Dr. W ard, called on her on a certain occasion, on my way home from a long round of professional duties. It was an autumn evening, cold, and rather damp. Dorothy was in her little sitting-room, a bright "fire in the grate, her lamp well- trimmed, and she herself in her neat, dark blue costume, with a white apron partly covering it, making so pleasant a picture ibtrc it would warm any man's heart to see her. "Well, Dorothy," I said to her-I had long ago adopted her Christian name, as, in- deed, had most of her other friends in Port- laffin-"I have just called to Know if you will look after Tommy Earl and his sister to- morrow. His mother has to go to do a day's charing, and the district nurse is too busy with other cases. The children are recover- ing splendidly from measles, and arc clamo- rous for you. Can you be with them at eight o'clock to-morrow morning? The fact. is, I just want you to give up your day to them—that is, if you will oblige me." I spoke with my usual frankness, fully expecting the invariable and eager response: "Of course I will go, I shall be delighted." But on this occasion I was met by silence. That silence arrested further words on my lips. I looked at Dorothy. She loc ked full back at me. vVhat was the matter with, her? All the brightness had left her face; a strange look filled her honest, jtuwu eyes; her lips quivered. "I cannot go to-morrow, Dr. Ward; I would, if I could; but I can't." "Why not?" was my impulsive reply, "I cannot tell you, Dr. Wardwas her answer, uttered very steaciily,' and with tnat dignity which she could use as 'defensive weapon at will "You mean you won't tell rr. Dorothy, and, of course, I have no manner of right to ask. But just say one tiling; are you—is it possible that you, the brightest, and appa- rently the happiest, Kirl in are you in personal trouble?" "I cannot even tell you that," was her reply. I shall be at your service again in a few days, and I hope the children will not suffer because I cannot be with thorn to-mor- row." She would not add any more, <<ud I left her soon afterwards in order to -bud another good-natured neighbour to, tak her place. But that evening I thought mor." thaii once about Dorothy, and the look o) di»iiact pain in her eyes when she had declared that she could not help me, and could give me no reason for her refusal. Very early in the morning I was aroused from slumber by the intimation' .Hint. little Tommv Earl had suddenly take.IV a turn for the worpe. As far as I could tell,, there were symptoms of pneumonia, arid 1 was. obi".god to hurry to the boy at once. As I was going down Danvers-street I suddenly eaiiie face to face with Dorothy St. John. She was wear- ing a nurse's bonnet and a nursed eioak, and there was a dark veil over her face.. Now Dorothy, not being a trained nurse, had, no special right to wear these garments, and I came immediately to, the conclusion that sne had put them 011 as a sort of dwiudse. She hurried past me without speaking, and I knew by the direction in which she was going that it was her intention to catch an early train to London or the 3S:urLh'. In three or four days she was back again. The children were better: Tommy's pneumonia was averted, and Dorothy entered with her usual alertness and apparent cheerfulness into those duties which she regarded as her own. "Give me as much work as you can, doc- tor never. think of sparing me; work to me is health and salvation." "And yet by your face, Dorothy," I could not help answering, "you look the-, happiest woman in the world." So I am, when I have work to do," she .replied, restlessly. The winter which followed was a very severe one, and there was a great deal of ill- ness at Portlaffin, and Dorothy was more in- valuable to me than she bad ever, been be- fore. She never thought of sparing herself, and seemed to have the capacity of doing the work of ten ordinary women. But then again, all of a sudden, when most needed, she would refuse work, giving no reason for not being able to undertake it, and, beyond doubt, leaving Portlaffin for a short time. One evening, just when spring was dawn- ing over the land, I was startled by the ap- pearance of a neighbour, who ran into my consulting room, saying: "Oh, Dr. Ward, do come at once to see Dorothy St. John; she is very bad, I am Afraid." ff Do you mean that she is ill?" I cried. "She has been in her room for the last few days," was the reply. "She won't allow any- one to buy her food. It is my impression," said the neighbour, "that she is very poor or t' 1- To¡ /1,T ç f'"a' bod. >• ysi fov a minute, the shadow r .:{"L'tt. '¡, [,- — ? "Yw n-e C'. iixe f others, ■; :iè!pf.1v:o one will help you when }nJ. need Her « > >. liUed with tears. "1 1\: t -weak," she said, "and-and- wee bit '■ ightcn.'d." "Ar.e. ■. ou won't tell me anything?" I ques- tioned. "Not yet," she replied. I sat clowd by her, felt her pulse, which was weak and hurried, took her temperature, which was considerably over a hundred, and immediately proclaimed hers to bo a sharp ease or influenza. You have been starring yourself," I said sternly. "Oh, no," the answered; "I have no wish for food." "Whether you wish for it or not, you must eat it," I said, "and I am going to send Nurse Flora to look after you to-night." She siiiled in her own bright way. "Thank you, doctor," she said. "I did feel rather bad last night; it is the fever, of course, for I am generally very bright and- and—happy. Thank you, doctor." Nurse Flora was summoned and spent the night with the patient. Her case was one which I felt certain would soon yield to treatment But, nevertheless, as the day« went by, Dorothy grew no better. The fever still hung about her. Her cheeks grew thin and her dark brown eyes seemed to sink into her head. I was becoming rather anxious; but one afternoon, when I made my daily call, I found her sitting up by the fire. "Well!" 1 exclaimed: "you must be feel- ing better to have ventured up." "Oh, yes," she answered, speaking, aii I afterwards remembered, with a sort of forced cheerfilluess; "I have shaken the horrid thing off at last. The fact is, I am the sort of woman, doctor, who bus never time for convalescence; 1 am 111 one minute, ana weu the next. io-xiight, I am quite well. I hope you will sometimes visit me as a friend, but you must not come any more as a doctor. "And Nurse Flora?" 1 asked. "1 hope you won't be angry," she sa.d, "but I have sent Nurse Flora away. "Heally, Dorothy," I replied, "you don't respect your doctor much." I tried to speak jokingly, although I felt rather angry. "Ought I not to be the one to decide whether you want my services and Nurse Flora's services or not?" "No," she answered steadily; "even you cannot quite understand, and I am well again —quite well." She stood up, and I saw that her wish was that I should go away at once; nevertheless, there was something about, her face which made me uneasy, and I insisted on taking her temperature. It registered a little over a hundred. "Now, Dorothy," I said, "how wrong you are! You have left your bed and dismissed your nurse when you ought. to be still lying between the sheets, with Nurse Flora look- ing after you. If you don't value your own life, other people do. I shall send for her im- mediately and please go back to your bed. 1 shall not leave this house until I know that you are in it. She stood just for a minute considering; then without a word, she turned into her bed- room. Soon after, I hurried oil to find Nurse Flora. „ "Miss St. John is not nearly as well as I could wish," I said. "She did very wrong to get up to-day, and you must watch her care- fully to-night, Nurse, for I am dreadfully afraid she ma,y have given herself a chill. Be sure you summon me if there is any rise of temperature." „ T, i Nurse Flora promised, and when I had watched her ascending the stairs to Dorothy St. John's room, I breathed a sigh of relief and tried to cast my patient from my mind. All in vain, I could not get her out of my thoughts; she worried me; I felt like a man who has run up against a hard wall and can- not under any circumstances get beyond it. That hard wall was Dorothy's will. Very early in the morning, my night bell was rung, and on putting my car to the tube I was informed that Nurse Flora was below. "Is Dorothy worse?" I called back. "She is gone, 8ir," was the astonishing answer. I dressed immediately, and went down- stairs. Nurse Flora entered my surgery and I switched on the electric light. "Dorothy goue!" I exclaimed. "You don t mean f-Iiat she is dead?" "I cannot tell you whether she is alive or dead, sir, but she is no longer in her room. When I went to her last night, she was sitting up in bed, so bright and gay in her- self that I thought you- must be mistaken about her temperature. I asked her if she felt excited, and she said, No,' but that she had something on her mind. I asked her what it was, and she said that she, was anxi- ous about the little bills which must be run- ning up during her illness, and she said fur- ther that it would make her happy if I would let her have her purse in order that she might ascertain exactly what money she pos- sessed. She told me where to find it, and I brought it to her. She emptied the contents upon the bed and laughed, and asked me to look at all the gold. There were six or seven I sovereigns in the purse and also some silver. She said, Oil, I have plenty of money for the present.' Then I asked her to put it back in the purse and said that I would re- place it in the top drawer of her wardrobe; but she replied, 'No,' that she would like best to keep it under her pillow. I let her have her way, for there seemed no sort of sense in opposing her. I gave her some food, and presently she lay down, but not before she had made me promise that I would lie down also by her side. Well, doctor, she seemed so hearty and like herself that I really thought I 'was doing no harm. So I lay down. "You know what a light sleeper I am. Well, presently I began to doze; but before I had ouite dropped to'sleep I started up, for. she was feeling my mouth with her hand. "What is the matter, I said? 'Oh,' she said, I want you to taste one of these; I found them in "the pocket of my purse. They are so delicious, please have one, nurse, I. am sue king one myself/ To please her, I 11m a Tittle, flat chocolate lozenge—at least, so I thought it was-into my mouth. Then I »he said, n Good-night, dear nurse,' and I J made sure shs had dropped to sleep. I | dropped off aayseSf almost immediately, and ( aevar stirred until about Jialf-an-hotsr ago. -< -P- I I don't remember ever luvvinc such a long j sleep when I -/as Jo k atient. I j felt quite cold and >.d, and I | sat up in bed ••• O doctor! | th .V Jrf i 'n !e. PT;L! r e'eak m-u I r •; -.viieh i ii.. iui -A, yov," I | a<<> -ed, "you ought ir, ••vix-.c'szd her j •Ht; r—you outfit nev:<, •' swallowed I i am more sorry t. can say," I recl the poor nurse. happened ifin >- entlv, as far as I ;ur; -••erned. Her br:s' tness last night whu'=-; have deceived n0. L • Tas silent for a miijn< viomlering what it to be done. took i traight to the nearest police station. I a very shrewd mar;, nf the eon- i >s, and to him I told r \«-rv few words t little I knew of Dor. <! John's story. He listfned in tbs,,t manner which c lives generally finaiJy said f-J. 1J .1_- 1_'= 1 t 1 *1 r lai ne would cio his o ,1 let me 1 kno'" as soon as ever hi e ^lightest clue to the poor girl's whert-' After that some days m and I i, ftil l,pr friends b P. ■: .fsi, v>ere very for Dorothy h, into our J i ts, and we could no, her. But t ■> h there was not a "nturned, ♦ i was no news. A A cr.t by. Then, one uay, when I return.-? »..• ajf? late, Ser- geant, Mikeljohn was pie. ^•There is something ;.os.- "uih t, to know, doctor, he said. "I a young woman of the name of John to the town of Mirtlepool, iu L-, a'hire. There is a large convict pris, • ueighbour- hood. Put two n nd t,, aiid I believe that we shall fLd ,1 ■ solution of Dorothy's story in the of that prison." "What do you propose T" .L.? 1 said, for the man looked terribly j "If you can posihly the time, sir, and will come with me u M.I! be the best thing to do, seeing as the ■», ung lady is 1 very popular in this ph; ><, "Why do you say rpnov lady?'" 1 •asked. He made no response, 1. fbe very next t-Tain Mikeljohn and I Porilaffin for Mirtlepool. It was a T,->I -,)?ne, cross- country journey, and tooi- r-rr,or part of the night. The mornm? i-.v.'Ae dull and dreary, when at last ''w-" 1--d ourselves in dreary, when at Ifist ourselves in the ugly town. Mikelio-n k .r.eatoneei into the suburbs, and a; we. stopped at a small house where a ■%■;> burning in an upper window. When there Mikel- john turned and looked at roe. "When I left," he "<18 was not dead, and maybe she is nl ill, and if any- one can help her, you c m. i «• 't go up; she will know you perhaps vou will find another there as well. She « not. alone." another there as well. She to not. alone." I ran quickly up the narrow stairs and opened a door which feeed the landing. A young woman was lying- on a bed, and a man, big, dark, and bu > was sitting by her side. He was holchn one of her wasted hands between both his I noticed how toil worn his hands were, t,d 1 :&Bo~ observed I that his hair was short- than that usually worn by men. » t I entered, he looked at me with sullen then turned and glanced at his comp "This is Dorothy St. Jehn, he sa-id. She is my wife; what do yoll, with her?" "My name is Dr. Wan. J H.-utvered. "I am her medical adviser, a .-hi her friend." A change came over thf untn's lace when I mentioned my name. "She has told me a be liE said at once, "but you never kiK v l- • Well, it is a short story. She -I .r.g-, I take it, for the present, and, if .1 tnif' !ovr, it_ won't wake her. I ha e been my time In the prison yonder for the MO' years- penal servitude—case of vhut that don't belong to her s1 Sne. wouldn't desert me, though I had so low, and she went to Portlainn t, W; *elf cheer- ful and as young as she f-.r my sake, and whenever I had leav L, friend, she came to me. She never a day. Look you here, I did n 'U v nujjrison- ment kind. The whole i'nv, v fall and punishment, and all tlic- ■ i-nrued me into a sort of devil. ,01 f ■ thv, I would, have gone right rn*o. Hut she saved money for me, ai;,i ■; >r uie, and kept hope alive in me. Or Hj" ,v -.•ccasioua when I could see her, 1 a-i .-vayd: If, Dorothy, you are not v-urie -at- the prison gates when I lw seharge, 1 will never look for you, i s-e';eve that you, have given me up, a.^d w: t'.o .straight away to my master, the rev -he always answered in the same wr-'k: j i am a live, I Jim, I will be waiting ;■ r yn:> •! he gates.' So, when I was let out .•• k on a cruel bitter morning, she Wa; 1 rather, a sort of spirit of my -Dov.- ther»; for when I put my arms rounc 1 i-i cl people turned and looked, the" ■ w:t?, lying against my breast like y-. (h -'l .it. Well,. she had a little bit of • person, and I had earned a tri in pv-: and I brought her to these lodgings. Sin- will die, most likely, but if you v r. you will save me too-tbit's aboin. ail. you can't save her, why, 1'1) go umkr < that's about all. I The man glared at me soke. wGo out and take a v. i snid, Hand let me attend to your wit. brick in. an hour's time." His eyes softened, and i t/ -iiA strong as, he was, that he tottered as t f walked to- wards the door. When he < I turned to mv patient. Could <>*ed face' really belong to Dorothy i J 1 had medicines with me, and I some at once. I straightened lie 1 i irjoothed her pillow, and for the ndits that followed, I fought w tl d^^lh for 'her' life. It was a desperate 11 on the fifth day she was consci -be knew me, and murmured her h < me, and fell into the sleep of a 1 h 1 In the morning she was htt id after a long time she recovered. Dorothy St. John no the sor- rowful world of Portlo >. and her Jim are working shoul. ( i, hand in lúmd, heart to hear der and bigger land tlirni otirg, good they cultivate, and all that if)

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