In a few minutes they had laid the blood-stained and unconscious Radowitz on his bed, and were trying in hideous anxiety to bring him round. The moment when he first opened his eyes was one of unspeakable relief to the men who in every phase of terror and remorse were gathered round him. But the eyelids soon fell again.
“You’d better go, you fellows,” said Falloden, looking round him. “Robertson and I and Desmond will see the doctor.”
The others stole away. And the three men kept their vigil. The broad-shouldered Wykehamist, utterly unnerved, sat by the bed trembling from head to foot. Desmond kept watch over the tourniquet.
Falloden stood a little apart, in a dead silence, his eyes wandering occasionally from the figure on the bed to the open window, through which could be seen the summer sky, and a mounting sun, just touching the college roofs. The college clock struck half past four. Not two hours since Radowitz and Constance Bledlow had held the eyes of Oxford in the Magdalen ballroom.
Radowitz woke up the following morning, after the effects of the dose of morphia administered by the surgeon who had dressed his hand had worn off, in a state of complete bewilderment. What had happened to him? Why was he lying in this strange, stiff position, propped up with pillows?
He moved a little. A sharp pain wrung a groan from him. Then he perceived his bandaged hand and arm; and the occurrences of the preceding night began to rush back upon him. He had soon reconstructed them all; up to the moment of his jumping into the fountain. After that he remembered nothing.
He had hurt himself somehow in the row, that was clear. A sudden terror ran through him. “It’s my right hand!—Good God! if I lost my hand!—if I couldn’t play again!” He opened his eyes, trembling, and saw his little college room; his clothes hanging on the door, the photographs of his father and mother, of Chopin and Wagner on the chest of drawers. The familiar sight reassured him at once, and his natural buoyancy of spirit began to assert itself.
“I suppose they got a doctor. I seem to remember somebody coming. Bah, it’ll be all right directly. I heal like a baby. I wonder who else was hurt. Who’s that? Come in!”
The door opened, and his scout looked in cautiously. “Thought I heard you moving, sir. May the doctor come in?”
The young surgeon appeared who had been violently rung up by Meyrick some five hours earlier. He had a trim, confident air, and pleasant eyes. His name was Fanning.
“Well, how are you? Had some sleep? You gave yourself an uncommonly nasty wound. I had to set a small bone, and put in two or three stitches. But I don’t think you knew much about it.”
“I don’t now,” said Radowitz vaguely. “How did I do it?”
“There seems to have been a ‘rag’ and you struck your hand against some broken tubing. But nobody was able to give a clear account.” The doctor eyed him discreetly, having no mind to be more mixed up in the affair than was necessary.