Man and Wife eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 882 pages of information about Man and Wife.

On rising to leave the room she was seized with giddiness, and with some sudden pang of pain, which turned her deadly pale and forced her to drop back into her chair.  Mr. Crum had no wife; but he possessed a housekeeper—­and he offered to send for her.  The lady made a sign in the negative.  She drank a little water, and conquered the pain.  “I am sorry to have alarmed you,” she said.  “It’s nothing—­I am better now.”  Mr. Crum gave her his arm, and put her into the cab.  She looked so pale and faint that he proposed sending his housekeeper with her.  No:  it was only five minutes’ drive to the hotel.  The lady thanked him—­and went her way back by herself.

“The letter!” she said, when she was alone.  “If I can only live long enough to write the letter!”



MRS. KARNEGIE was a woman of feeble intelligence and violent temper; prompt to take offense, and not, for the most part, easy to appease.  But Mrs. Karnegie being—­as we all are in our various degrees—­a compound of many opposite qualities, possessed a character with more than one side to it, and had her human merits as well as her human faults.  Seeds of sound good feeling were scattered away in the remoter corners of her nature, and only waited for the fertilizing occasion that was to help them to spring up.  The occasion exerted that benign influence when the cab brought Mr. Crum’s client back to the hotel.  The face of the weary, heart-sick woman, as she slowly crossed the hall, roused all that was heartiest and best in Mrs. Karnegie’s nature, and said to her, as if in words, “Jealous of this broken creature?  Oh, wife and mother is there no appeal to your common womanhood here?

“I am afraid you have overtired yourself, ma’am.  Let me send you something up stairs?”

“Send me pen, ink, and paper,” was the answer.  “I must write a letter.  I must do it at once.”

It was useless to remonstrate with her.  She was ready to accept any thing proposed, provided the writing materials were supplied first.  Mrs. Karnegie sent them up, and then compounded a certain mixture of eggs and hot wine for which The Sheep’s Head was famous, with her own hands.  In five minutes or so it was ready—­and Miss Karnegie was dispatched by her mother (who had other business on hand at the time) to take it up stairs.

After the lapse of a few moments a cry of alarm was heard from the upper landing.  Mrs. Karnegie recognized her daughter’s voice, and hastened to the bedroom floor.

“Oh, mamma!  Look at her! look at her!”

The letter was on the table with the first lines written.  The woman was on the sofa with her handkerchief twisted between her set teeth, and her tortured face terrible to look at.  Mrs. Karnegie raised her a little, examined her closely—­then suddenly changed color, and sent her daughter out of the room with directions to dispatch a messenger instantly for medical help.

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Man and Wife from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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