With the assistance of Timothy, I put him into the hackney-coach, and we drove off, after I had taken off my hat and made my obeisance to Mr Osborn, an effort of politeness which I certainly should have neglected, had I not been reminded of it by my principal. We set off, and the Major bore his journey very well, making no complaint, but, on our arrival he fainted as we lifted him out. As soon as he was on the bed, I despatched Timothy for a surgeon. On his arrival he examined the wound, and shook his head. Taking me into the next room, he declared his opinion, that the ball had passed into the intestines, which were severed, and that there was no hope. I sat down and covered up my face—the tears rolled down and trickled through my fingers—it was the first heavy blow I had yet received. Without kindred or connections, I felt that I was about to lose one who was dear to me. To another, not in my situation, it might have only produced a temporary grief at the near loss of a friend; but to me, who was almost alone in the world, the loss was heavy in the extreme. Whom had I to fly to for solace?—there were Timothy and Fleta—one who performed the duty of a servant to me, and a child. I felt that they were not sufficient, and my heart was chilled.
The surgeon had, in the meantime, returned to the Major, and dressed the wound. The Major, who had recovered from his weakness, asked him his candid opinion. “We must hope for the best, sir,” replied the surgeon.
“That is to say, there is no hope,” replied the Major; “and I feel that you are right. How long do you think that I may live?”
“If the wound does not take a favourable turn, about forty-eight hours, sir,” replied the surgeon; “but we must hope for a more fortunate issue.”
“In a death-bed case you medical men are like lawyers,” replied the Major, “there is no getting a straightforward answer from you. Where is Mr Newland?”
“Here I am, Carbonnell,” said I, taking his hand.
“My dear fellow, I know it is all over with me, and you, of course, know it as well as I do. Do not think that it is a source of much regret to me to leave this rascally world—indeed it is not; but I do feel sorry, very sorry, to leave you. The doctor tells me I shall live forty-eight hours; but I have an idea that I shall not live so many minutes. I feel my strength gradually failing me. Depend upon it, my dear Newland, there is an internal hemorrhage. My dear fellow, I shall not be able to speak soon. I have left you my executor and sole heir. I wish there was more for you—it will last you, however, till you come of age. That was a lucky hit last night, but a very unlucky one this morning. Bury me like a gentleman.”
“My dear Carbonnell,” said I, “would you not like to see somebody—a clergyman?”