Dr. Vaudelier, when he saw that the patient was disposed to behave himself in a reasonable manner, withdrew from the room, and left them to the undisturbed enjoyment of their happy reunion. In an hour he returned, and peremptorily forbade all further conversation. He permitted Emily to remain in the room, however, on the promise to allow the invalid to use no further exertion in talking.
All day, like a ministering angel, she moved about his couch, and laved his fevered brow. All his art could not lure her into any conversation beyond the necessary replies to his questions concerning his physical condition. Henry was too thankful for being permitted to enjoy her presence to forfeit the boon by any untractableness, and, for one of his excitable temperament, he was exceedingly docile.
Well, Claudius, are the forces
They are, and timely, too; the people
Are in unwonted ferment.”
It was midnight at Cottage Island,—the third night after the events of the preceding chapter. Henry Carroll, by the skilful treatment of his host, was in a great degree relieved from his severe pain, and had now sunk into a natural and quiet slumber. By his bedside sat Dr. Vaudelier. Emily had, an hour before, retired to the rest which her exhausted frame demanded. For the past three days she had watched patiently and lovingly by the invalid. And now she had only been induced to retire by the promise of the doctor to call her, if any unfavorable symptom appeared.
The threatened assault upon the island had been thoroughly considered, and for the past two nights the island wore the appearance of a garrisoned fortress, rather than the secluded abode of a hermit. Emily knew of the peril which now menaced her, but the ample means at hand for protection rendered it insignificant. All thought, even of her own security, was merged in her generous interest in the comfort of the sufferer.
The good physician was uneasy and disturbed, as he sat by the bedside of his patient. The circumstances which surrounded him were novel in the extreme. Accustomed as he had been to the quiet which always reigned in his domain, to find himself, as it were, the inmate of a fortress, in momentary expectation of an attack, was so singularly odd, that his natural indifference deserted him. He had collected quite a large force of his humble neighbors to assist him in his present emergency, and they were now making their final arrangements to meet the assault.