“Harry heard a shot, rushed downstairs, and found Dicky, with the blood flowing from his arm, struggling with the girl in an attempt to keep her from firing another shot. Harry took the revolver away, unloaded and pocketed it, and could have prevented any further tragedy only for Dicky’s growing faint from loss of blood.
“Harry turned his attention to Dicky, and the girl picked up a stiletto, which Harry uses for a paper cutter—you know he has the house filled with all sorts of curios from all over the world—and drove it into her left breast. She aimed for her heart, of course, and she almost turned the trick. I imagine she has a pretty good chance of pulling through if infection doesn’t develop. The stiletto hadn’t been used for some time, and there were several small rust spots on it. But here comes your breakfast.”
Her voice had been absolutely emotionless as she told me the story. As she busied herself with setting out attractively on a small table the delicious breakfast Katie had brought, I had a queer idea that if it were not for the publicity that would inevitably follow, Lillian would not very much regret the ultimate success of Grace Draper’s attempt at self-destruction.
“But you will never know—”
I do not believe that ever in my life can I again have an experience so horrible as that which followed the development of infection in the dagger wound which Grace Draper had inflicted upon herself after her unsuccessful attempt to shoot Dicky.
Against the combined protest of Dicky and Lillian, I shared the care of the girl with the trained nurse whom Lillian’s forethought had provided and Dicky’s money had paid for.
The reason for my presence at her bedside was a curious one.
At the close of the third day following the girl’s attempt at murder and self-destruction, Lillian came to the door of the room where I was reading to Dicky, who was now almost recovered, and called me out into the hall.
“Madge,” she said abruptly, “that poor girl in there has been calling for you for an hour. We tried every way we could think of to quiet her, but nothing else would do. She must see you. I imagine she has made up her mind she’s going to die and wants to ask your forgiveness or something of that sort.”
“I will go to her at once,” I said quietly. As I moved toward the door my knees trembled so I could hardly walk.
Lillian came up to me quickly and put her strong arm around me.
We went down the hall to a wonderful room of ivory and gold, which I knew must be Lillian’s guest room. In a big ivory-tinted bed the girl lay, a pitiful wreck of the dashing, insolent figure she had been.
Her face was as white as the pillows upon which she lay, while her hands looked utterly bloodless as they rested listlessly upon the coverlet. Only her eyes held anything of her old spirit. They looked unusually brilliant. I wondered uneasily if their appearance was the result of their contrast to her deathly white face or whether the fever which the doctor dreaded had set in.