Later on, the abbess sent a message to the Old Men’s Home, inquiring after the wounded man.
She received an answer to the effect that the patient had waked up, and had been told of the telegram from the Duke of Hereward, and the expected arrival of his grace at five o’clock.
The news had satisfied the suffering man, who had been calmer ever since its reception. He had also been told of the arrival of his wife, but he had declined to see her, or any one, until he should have seen the Duke of Hereward. He was saving up all his little strength for his interview with the duke.
As the hours of the afternoon crept slowly away, the impatience of the young wife, Salome, arose to fever heat. She could not rest in any one room, but roamed about the convent, and through all its departments and offices, until, at length, she was met in the main corridor by the abbess, who gravely took her hand, drew it within her arm, and led her along, saying:
“Come into my parlor, child. The Duke of Hereward has arrived.”
THE END OF A LOST LIFE.
The Duke of Hereward knew nothing of his wife’s presence in the Convent of St. Rosalie.
On his arrival, soon after five o’clock, he was met by the portress, who ushered him into the receiving parlor and sent to warn the abbess of his presence.
The abbess dispatched a message to the surgeon in attendance upon John Scott, and then sought out the young duchess to inform her of her husband’s arrival.
Meantime Dr. Dubourg hurried down to the receiving-parlor to see the Duke of Hereward. They were strangers to each other, so the portress introduced them.
“I hope your patient is better, Monsieur le Docteur,” said the duke, when the first salutations were over.
“No, I regret to say. There is, indeed, no hope. The poor man has been sinking since morning. He is most anxious to see your grace, before he dies, and that very anxiety, I think, has kept him up,” gravely replied the physician.
“I am sorry to hear that. Is he in condition to see me now? Will not the interview tend to excite him and shorten his life?” anxiously inquired the duke.
“It may do so; but, on the other hand, his failure to see you might prove fatal to him sooner than his wound would. The fact is, sir, the man is doomed; his hours are numbered, and he knows it. He is eager to see you; he seems to have something weighing upon his mind, which he wishes to confide to you. He has been saving his little strength for an interview with you. He has refused to speak to any one, lest he should waste his forces and be too weak to talk to you.”
“I will go to him, then, at once,” said the duke.
“Do so, your grace, and I will attend you,” said the doctor with a bow.
The duke arose and followed the doctor through the long corridors and narrow passages leading from the Nunnery to the Old Men’s Home.