Jacqueline of Golden River eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 174 pages of information about Jacqueline of Golden River.

It was a roughly dressed, rough-looking denizen of the low quarter into which I had strayed.  His arms were beneath my neck, raising my head, and he was looking into my face with an expression of great concern upon his own good-natured one.

“I thought you were dead!” I could make out amid the stream of his dialect, but the remainder of his speech was beyond my understanding.

“Help me!” I muttered, reaching for his hand.

He understood the gesture, for he assisted me to my feet, and, after I had leaned weakly against the wall of a house for a minute or two, I found that I could stand unassisted.

I looked round in bewilderment.

“Where am I?” I asked, still bound by that first memory of New York.

“In Sous-le-Cap, m’sieur,” answered the man.

I felt in my pocket for my watch and drew it out.  It was strange that the men had not robbed me, but I suppose they had become terrified at their work and had run off.  However, I did not think of that at the time.

I think my action was an automatic one, the natural refuge for a perplexed man.  But the sight of the time brought back my memory, and the events of the day rushed back into my mind with a force that seemed to send an accession of new strength through my limbs.

It was a few minutes past eight.  And the boat sailed at nine.  I must have lain stunned in Sous-le-Cap Street for an hour and a half, at least, and only the supreme necessity of awakening, realized through unconsciousness, had saved me from dying under the snows.

I found that I could walk, and having explained to the man that I wished to go to the chateau, was taken by him to the top of a winding road near at hand, from which I could see my destination at no great distance from me.

Dismissing my friendly guide, and sending him back rejoicing with liberal largesse, I hurried as quickly as I could make my way along the ramparts, past the frowning, ancient cannon skirting the park, until I burst into the chateau at half past the hour.

I must have presented a dreadful spectacle, for my hair and collar were matted with blood, and I saw the guests stare and shrink from me.  The clerk came toward me and stopped me at the entrance to the elevator.

“Where as Miss Hewlett?” I gasped.

“Didn’t you meet her?  She left here nearly an hour ago.”

I caught him by the arm, and I think he imagined that I was going to seize him by the throat also, for he backed away from me, and I saw a look of fear come into his eyes.  The elevator attendant came running between us.

“Your friend——­” he began.

“My friend?” I cried.

“He came for her and said that you had met with an accident,” the clerk continued.  “She went with him at once.  He took her away in a sleigh.  I was sure that you had missed her when you came in.”

But already I was half-way across the hall and running for the door.  I raced wildly across the court and toward the terrace.

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Jacqueline of Golden River from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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