He turned to the side-table, and, producing the volumes of the Newgate Calendar, gave one to his brother. Julius handed it back again.
“You won’t cultivate your mind,” he said, “with such a book as that. Vile actions recorded in vile English, make vile reading, Geoffrey, in every sense of the word.”
“It will do for me. I don’t know good English when I see it.”
With that frank acknowledgment—to which the great majority of his companions at school and college might have subscribed without doing the slightest injustice to the present state of English education—Geoffrey drew his chair to the table, and opened one of the volumes of his record of crime.
The evening newspaper was lying on the sofa. Julius took it up, and seated himself opposite to his brother. He noticed, with some surprise, that Geoffrey appeared to have a special object in consulting his book. Instead of beginning at the first page, he ran the leaves through his fingers, and turned them down at certain places, before he entered on his reading. If Julius had looked over his brother’s shoulder, instead of only looking at him across the table, he would have seen that Geoffrey passed by all the lighter crimes reported in the Calendar, and marked for his own private reading the cases of murder only.
THE night had advanced. It was close on twelve o’clock when Anne heard the servant’s voice, outside her bedroom door, asking leave to speak with her for a moment.
“What is it?”
“The gentleman down stairs wishes to see you, ma’am.”
“Do you mean Mr. Delamayn’s brother?”
“Where is Mr. Delamayn?”
“Out in the garden, ma’am.”
Anne went down stairs, and found Julius alone in the drawing-room.
“I am sorry to disturb you,” he said. “I am afraid Geoffrey is ill. The landlady has gone to bed, I am told—and I don’t know where to apply for medical assistance. Do you know of any doctor in the neighborhood?”
Anne, like Julius, was a perfect stranger to the neighborhood. She suggested making inquiry of the servant. On speaking to the girl, it turned out that she knew of a medical man, living within ten minutes’ walk of the cottage. She could give plain directions enabling any person to find the place—but she was afraid, at that hour of the night and in that lonely neighborhood, to go out by herself.
“Is he seriously ill?” Anne asked.
“He is in such a state of nervous irritability,” said Julius, “that he can’t remain still for two moments together in the same place. It began with incessant restlessness while he was reading here. I persuaded him to go to bed. He couldn’t lie still for an instant—he came down again, burning with fever, and more restless than ever. He is out in the garden in spite of every thing I could do to prevent him; trying, as he says, to ‘run it off.’ It appears to be serious to me.. Come and judge for yourself.”