“In a little while she took me to Christina’s room. The poor girl was under the influence of morphine and sleeping a troubled sleep. Her face was very pale from loss of blood; and her head and neck were all bound up in white bandages, here and there stained with the ghastly fluid that flowed from her wounds. It was a pitiable sight: her short, crisp yellow curls broke here and there, rebelliously, through the folds of the linen bandages; and I thought how she used to shake them, responsive to the quiverings of the cadenzas and trills that poured from her bird-like throat. ‘Alas!’ I said to myself, ’poor throat! you will never sing again! Poor little curls, you will never tremble again in sympathy with the dancing delight of that happy voice.’ A dead voice! Oh! it is one of the saddest things in the world! I went to the window to hide the unmanly tears which streamed down my face.
“When she woke she seemed pleased to see me near her, and extended her hand to me with a little smile. The doctor had told her she must not attempt to speak. I held her hand for awhile, and told how grieved I was over her misfortune. And then I told her I would bring her a tablet and pencil, so that she might communicate her wants to us; and then I said to her that I was out of a job at my trade (I know that the angels in heaven do not record such lies), and that I had nothing to do, and could stay and wait upon her; for the other children were too small, and her mother too busy to be with her all the time, and her father and I could divide the time between us. She smiled again and thanked me with her eyes.
“And I was very busy and almost happy—moving around that room on tiptoe in my slippers while she slept, or talking to her in a bright and chatty way, about everything that I thought would interest her, or bringing her flowers, or feeding her the liquid food which alone she could swallow.
“The doctor came every day. I questioned him closely. He was an intelligent man, and had, I could see, taken quite a liking to his little patient. He told me that the knife had just missed, by a hair’s breadth, the carotid artery, but unfortunately it had struck the cervical plexus, that important nerve-plexus, situated in the side of the neck; and had cut the recurrent laryngeal nerve, which arises from the cervical plexus and supplies the muscles of the larynx; and it had thereby caused instant paralysis of those muscles, and aphonia, or loss of voice. I asked him if she would ever be able to sing again. He said it was not certain. If the severed ends of the nerve reunited fully her voice might return with all its former power. He hoped for the best.