Jacqueline of Golden River eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 216 pages of information about Jacqueline of Golden River.

It was the man whom I had seen staring at us across Herald Square.

Beside the window Jacqueline crouched, and at her feet lay the Eskimo dog, watching me silently.  In her hand she held a tiny, dagger-like knife, with a thin, red-stained blade.  Her grey eyes, black in the gas-light, stared into mine, and there was neither fear nor recognition in them.  She was fully dressed, and the bed had not been occupied.

I flung myself at her feet.  I took the weapon from her hand.  “Jacqueline!” I cried in terror.  I raised her hands to my lips and caressed them.

She seemed quite unresponsive.

I laid them against my cheek.  I called her by her name imploringly; I spoke to her, but she only looked at me and made no answer.  Still it was evident to me that she heard and understood, for she looked at me in a puzzled way, as if I were a complete stranger.  She did not seem to resent my presence there, and she did not seem afraid of the dead man.  She seemed, in a kindly, patient manner, to be trying to understand the meaning of the situation.

“Jacqueline,” I cried, “you are not hurt?  Thank God you are not hurt.  What has happened?”

“I don’t know,” she answered.  “I don’t know where I am.”

I kneeled down at her side and put my arms about her.

“Jacqueline, dear;” I said, “will you not try to think?  I am Paul—­your friend Paul.  Do you not remember me?”

“No, monsieur,” she sighed.

“But, then, how did you come here, Jacqueline?” I asked.

“I do not know,” she answered.  And, a moment later, “I do not know, Paul.”

That encouraged me a little.  Evidently she remembered what I had just said to her.

“Where is your home, Jacqueline?”

“I do not know,” she answered in an apathetic voice, devoid of interest.

There was something more to be said, though it was hard.

“Jacqueline, who—­was—­that?”

“Who?” she inquired, looking at me with the same patient, wistful gaze.

“That man, Jacqueline.  That dead man.”

“What dead man, Paul?”

She was staring straight at the body, and at that moment I realized that she not only did not remember, but did not even see it.

The shock which she had received, supervening upon the nervous state in which she had been when I encountered her, had produced one of those mental inhibitions in which the mind, to save the reason, obliterates temporarily not only all memory of the past, but also all present sights and sounds which may serve to recall it.  She looked idly at the body of the dead man, and I was sure that she saw nothing but the worn woodwork of the floor.

I saw that it was useless to say anything more upon this subject.

“You are very tired, Jacqueline?” I asked.

“Yes, monsieur,” she answered, leaning back against my arm.

“And you would like to sleep?”

Project Gutenberg
Jacqueline of Golden River from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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