I thanked Captain Atkinson for his services, and was left alone; for I had sent Timothy to ascertain if Harcourt had arrived safe at his lodgings. Never did I feel more miserable; my anxiety for Harcourt was indescribable; true, he had not treated me well, but I thought of his venerable father, who pressed my hand so warmly when I left his hospitable roof—of his lovely sisters, and the kindness and affection which they had shown towards me, and our extreme intimacy. I thought of the pain which the intelligence would give them, and their indignation towards me, when their brother first made his appearance at his father’s house, mutilated; and were he to die—good God! I was maddened at the idea. I had now undone the little good I had been able to do. If I had made Fleta and her mother happy, had I not plunged another family into misery?
This is a strange world;
I am cut by a man of no character,
because he is fearful that I should injure his character.
Timothy returned, and brought me consolation—the bleeding had not re-commenced, and Harcourt was in tolerable spirits. An eminent surgeon had been sent for. “Go again, my dear Timothy, and as you are intimate with Harcourt’s servant, you will be able to find out what they are about.”
Timothy departed, and was absent about an hour, during which I lay on the sofa, and groaned with anguish. When he returned, I knew by his face that his intelligence was favourable. “All’s right,” cried Timothy; “no amputation after all. It was only one of the smaller arteries which was severed, and they have taken it up.”
I sprang up from the sofa and embraced Timothy, so happy was I with the intelligence, and then I sat down again, and cried like a child. At last I became more composed. I had asked Captain Atkinson to dine with me, and was very glad when he came. He confirmed Timothy’s report, and I was so overjoyed, that I sat late at dinner, drinking very freely, and when he again proposed that we should go to the rouge et noir table, I did not refuse—on the contrary, flushed with wine, I was anxious to go, and took all the money that I had with me. On our arrival Atkinson played, but finding that he was not fortunate, he very soon left off. As I had followed his game, I also had lost considerably, and he entreated me not to play any more—but I was a gamester it appeared, and I would not pay attention to him, and did not quit the table until I had lost every shilling in my pocket. I left the house in no very good humour, and Atkinson, who had waited for me, accompanied me home.