Mrs. Bligh, uttering a hideous shriek, clutched Mrs. Wale, and Mrs. Wale, with a scream as dreadful, gripped Mrs. Bligh; and quite forgetting their somewhat formal politeness, they reeled and tugged, wrestling towards the window, each struggling to place her companion between her and the ‘dobby,’ and both uniting in a direful peal of yells.
This was the uproar which had startled Sir Bale from his dream, and was now startling the servants from theirs.
The Mist on the Mountain
Doctor Torvey was sent for early next morning, and came full of wonder, learning and scepticism. Seeing is believing, however; and there was Philip Feltram living, and soon to be, in all bodily functions, just as usual.
“Upon my soul, Sir Bale, I couldn’t have believed it, if I had not seen it with my eyes,” said the Doctor impressively, while sipping a glass of sherry in the ‘breakfast parlour,’ as the great panelled and pictured room next the dining-room was called. “I don’t think there is any similar case on record—no pulse, no more than the poker; no respiration, by Jove, no more than the chimney-piece; as cold as a lead image in the garden there. Well, you’ll say all that might possibly be fallacious; but what will you say to the cadaveric stiffness? Old Judy Wale can tell you; and my friend Marcella—Monocula would be nearer the mark—Mrs. Bligh, she knows all those common, and I may say up to this, infallible, signs of death, as well as I do. There is no mystery about them; they’ll depose to the literality of the symptoms. You heard how they gave tongue. Upon my honour, I’ll send the whole case up to my old chief, Sir Hervey Hansard, to London. You’ll hear what a noise it will make among the profession. There never was—and it ain’t too much to say there never will be—another case like it.”
During this lecture, and a great deal more, Sir Bale leaned back in his chair, with his legs extended, his heels on the ground, and his arms folded, looking sourly up in the face of a tall lady in white satin, in a ruff, and with a bird on her hand, who smiled down superciliously from her frame on the Baronet. Sir Bale seemed a little bit high and dry with the Doctor.
“You physicians are unquestionably,” he said, “a very learned profession.”
The Doctor bowed.
“But there’s just one thing you know nothing about——”
“Eh? What’s that?” inquired Doctor Torvey.
“Medicine,” answered Sir Bale. “I was aware you never knew what was the matter with a sick man; but I didn’t know, till now, that you couldn’t tell when he was dead.”
“Ha, ha!—well—ha, ha!—yes—well, you see, you—ha, ha!—you certainly have me there. But it’s a case without a parallel—it is, upon my honour. You’ll find it will not only be talked about, but written about; and, whatever papers appear upon it, will come to me; and I’ll take care, Sir Bale, you shall have an opportunity of reading them.”