They looked at each other with scared eyes.
“As I am a living man that voice was Angela’s!”
This was all he said.
Dr. Williamson was a rising young practitioner at Roxham, and what is more, a gentleman and a doctor of real ability.
On the night that Lady Bellamy took the poison he sat up very late, till the dawn, in fact, working up his books of reference with a view to making himself as much the master as possible of the symptoms and most approved treatment in such cases of insanity as appeared to resemble Angela Caresfoot’s. He had been called in to see her by Mr. Fraser, and had come away intensely interested from a medical point of view, and very much puzzled.
At length he shut up his books with a sigh—for, like most books, though full of generalities, they did not tell him much—and went to bed. Before he had been asleep very long, however, the surgery bell was violently rung, and, having dressed himself with the rapidity characteristic of doctors and schoolboys, he descended to find a frightened footman waiting outside, from whom he gathered that something dreadful had happened to Lady Bellamy, who had been found lying apparently dead upon the floor of her drawing-room. Providing himself with some powerful restoratives and a portable electric battery he drove rapidly over to Rewtham House.
Here he found the patient laid upon a sofa in the room where she had been found, and surrounded by a mob of terrified and half-dressed servants. At first he thought life was quite extinct, but presently he fancied that he could detect a faint tremor of the heart. He applied the most powerful of his restoratives and administered a sharp current from the battery, and, after a considerable time, was rewarded by seeing the patient open her eyes—but only to shut them again immediately. Directing his assistant to continue the treatment, he tried to elicit some information from the servants as to what had happened, but all he could gather was that the maid had received a message not to sit up. This made him suspicious of an attempt at suicide, and just then his eye fell upon a wineglass that lay upon the floor, broken at the shank. He took it up; in the bowl there was still a drop or two of liquid. He smelt it, then dipped his finger in and tasted it, with the result that his tongue was burnt and became rough and numb. Then his suspicions were confirmed.
Presently Lady Bellamy opened her eyes again, and this time there was intelligence in them. She gazed round her with a wondering air. Next she spoke.
“Where am I?”
“In your own drawing-room, Lady Bellamy. Be quiet now, you will be better presently.”
She tried first to move her head, then her arm, then her lower limbs, but they would not stir. By this time her faculties were wide awake.
“Are you the doctor?” she said.