“The person you allude to has been removed,” returned the chirurgeon. “Doctor Hodges visited him this morning, and had him conveyed to his own dwelling.”
“Was he sensible at the time?” asked the apprentice.
“I think not,” replied the chirurgeon; “but the doctor appeared to recognise in him an old friend, though I did not hear him mention his name; and it was on that account, I conclude, that he had him removed.”
“Is he likely to recover?” asked Leonard, whose curiosity was aroused by what he heard.
“That is impossible to say,” replied the young man. “But he cannot be in better hands than those of Doctor Hodges.”
Leonard perfectly concurred with him, and, after a few minutes’ further conversation, turned to depart. Not seeing Blaize, he concluded he had gone forth, and expected to find him in the garden, or, at all events, in the field adjoining. But he was nowhere to be seen. While wondering what had become of him, Leonard heard a loud cry, in the voice of the porter, issuing from the barn, which, as has already been stated, had been converted into a receptacle for the sick; and hurrying thither, he found Blaize in the hands of two stout assistants, who had stripped him of his clothes, and were tying him down to a pallet. On seeing Leonard, Blaize implored him to deliver him from the hands of his persecutors; and the apprentice assuring the assistants that the poor fellow was perfectly free from infection, they liberated him.
It appeared, on inquiry, that Blaize had fallen against one of the pallets in a state almost of insensibility, and the two assistants, chancing to pass at the time, and taking him for a plague patient, had conveyed him to the barn. On reaching it, he recovered, and besought them to set him free, but they paid no attention to his cries, and proceeded to strip him, and bind him to the bed, as before related.
Thus released, the porter lost no time in dressing himself; and Leonard, to allay his terrors, had a strong dose of anti-pestilential elixir administered to him. After which, having procured him a box of rufuses, and a phial of plague-water, Blaize shook off his apprehension, and they set out at a brisk pace for Kensal Green.
Blaize was destined to experience a second fright. It has been mentioned that the infected were sometimes seized with a rabid desire of communicating the disorder to such as had not been attacked by it; and as the pair were making the best of their way along the Harrow-road, a poor lazar who was lying against the hedge-side, and had vainly implored their assistance, suddenly started up, and with furious cries and gestures made towards the porter. Guessing his intention, Blaize took to his heels, and, folding himself closely pressed, broke through the hedge on the right, and speeded across the field. In spite of the alarming nature