“That you never have,” replied Dr. West. “The apparently dead have been restored; the dead, never.”
Panting, breathless, there came up one as they reached Verner’s Pride. He parted the crowd, and threw himself almost upon Rachel with a wild cry. He caught up her cold, wet face, and passing his hands over it, bent down his warm cheek upon it.
“Who has done it?” he sobbed. “What has done it? She couldn’t have fell in alone.”
It was Robin Frost. Frederick Massingbird drew him away by the arm. “Don’t hinder, Robin. Every minute may be worth a life.”
And Robin, struck with the argument, obeyed docilely like a little child.
Mr. Verner, leaning on his stick, trembling with weakness and emotion, stood just without the door of the laundry, which had been hastily prepared, as the bearers tramped in.
“It is an awful tragedy!” he murmured. “Is it true”—addressing Dr. West—“that you think there is no hope?”
“I am sure there is none,” was the answer. “But every means shall be tried.”
The laundry was cleared of the crowd, and their work began. One of the next to come up was old Matthew Frost. Mr. Verner took his hand.
“Come in to my own room, Matthew,” he said. “I feel for you deeply.”
“Nay, sir; I must look upon her.”
Mr. Verner pointed with his stick in the direction of the laundry.
“They are shut in there—the doctor and those whom he requires round him,” he said. “Let them be undisturbed; it is the only chance.”
All things likely to be wanted had been conveyed to the laundry; and they were shut in there, as Mr. Verner expressed it, with their fires and their heat. On dragged the time. Anxious watchers were in the house, in the yard, gathered round the back gate. The news had spread, and gentlepeople, friends of the Verners, came hasting from their homes, and pressed into Verner’s Pride, and asked question upon question of Mr. and Mrs. Verner, of everybody likely to afford an answer. Old Matthew Frost stood outwardly calm and collected, full of inward trust, as a good man should be. He had learned where to look for support in the darkest trial. Mr. Verner in that night of sorrow seemed to treat him as a brother.
One hour! Two hours! and still they plied their remedies, under the able direction of Dr. West. All was of no avail, as the experienced physician had told them. Life was extinct. Poor Rachel Frost was really dead!
The tall gentleman in the lane.