THE CHAMBER AT THE COTTAGE.
Meanwhile Faber was making a round, with the village of Owlkirk for the end of it. Ere he was half-way thither, his groom was tearing after him upon Niger, with a message from Mrs. Puckridge, which, however, did not overtake him. He opened the cottage-door, and walked up stairs, expecting to find his patient weak, but in the fairest of ways to recover speedily. What was his horror to see her landlady weeping and wringing her hands over the bed, and find the lady lying motionless, with bloodless lips and distended nostrils—to all appearance dead! Pillows, sheets, blankets, looked one mass of red. The bandage had shifted while she slept, and all night her blood had softly flowed. Hers was one of those peculiar organizations in which, from some cause but dimly conjectured as yet, the blood once set flowing will flow on to death, and even the tiniest wound is hard to stanch. Was the lovely creature gone? In her wrists could discern no pulse. He folded back the bed-clothes, and laid his ear to her heart. His whole soul listened. Yes; there was certainly the faintest flutter. He watched a moment: yes; he could see just the faintest tremor of the diaphragm.
“Run,” he cried, “—for God’s sake run and bring me a jug of hot water, and two or three basins. There is just a chance yet! If you make haste, we may save her. Bring me a syringe. If you haven’t one, run from house to house till you get one. Her life depends on it.” By this time he was shouting after the hurrying landlady.
In a minute or two she returned.
“Have you got the syringe?” he cried, the moment he heard her step.
To his great relief she had. He told her to wash it out thoroughly with the hot water, unscrew the top, and take out the piston. While giving his directions, he unbound the arm, enlarged the wound in the vein longitudinally, and re-bound the arm tight below the elbow, then quickly opened a vein of his own, and held the syringe to catch the spout that followed. When it was full, he replaced the piston, telling Mrs. Puckridge to put her thumb on his wound, turned the point of the syringe up and drove a little out to get rid of the air, then, with the help of a probe, inserted the nozzle into the wound, and gently forced in the blood. That done, he placed his own thumbs on the two wounds, and made the woman wash out the syringe in clean hot water. Then he filled it as before, and again forced its contents into the lady’s arm. This process he went through repeatedly. Then, listening, he found her heart beating quite perceptibly, though irregularly. Her breath was faintly coming and going. Several times more he repeated the strange dose, then ceased, and was occupied in binding up her arm, when she gave a great shuddering sigh. By the time he had finished, the pulse was perceptible at her wrist. Last