Taken Alive eBook

Edward Payson Roe
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 425 pages of information about Taken Alive.

“I am awfully perplexed, Doctor,” was the reply.  “You must be firm with me on one point, and you know your opinion will have great weight.  Under no sentimental sense of duty, or even of affection, must Helen marry Nichol unless he is fully restored and given time to prove there is no likelihood of any return of this infirmity.”

“I agree with you emphatically.  There is no reason for such self-sacrifice on your daughter’s part.  Nichol would not appreciate it.  He is not an invalid; on the contrary, a strong, muscular man, abundantly able to take care of himself under the management of his family.”

“He has my profound sympathy,” continued Mr. Kemble, “but giving that unstintedly is a very different thing from giving him my only child.”

“Certainly.  Perhaps we need not say very much to Miss Helen on this point at present.  Unless he becomes his old self she will feel that she has lost him more truly than if he were actually dead.  The only deeply perplexing feature in the case is its uncertainty.  He may be all right before morning, and he may never recall a thing that happened before the explosion of that shell.”

The carriage stopped, and Mr. Kemble hastily led the way to his dwelling.  Helen met them at the door.  “Oh, how long you have been!” she protested; “I’ve just been tortured by suspense.”

Dr. Barnes took her by the hand and led her to the parlor.  “Miss Helen,” he said gravely, “if you are not careful you will be another patient on my hands.  Sad as is Captain Nichol’s case, he at least obeys me implicitly; so must you.  Your face is flushed, your pulse feverish, and—­”

“Doctor,” cried the girl, “you can’t touch the disease till you remove the cause.  Why is he kept so long from me?”

“Helen, child, you must believe that the doctor—­that we all—­are doing our best for you and Nichol,” said Mr. Kemble, anxiously.  “His father and mother came to the hotel.  It was but natural that they should wish to see him at once.  How would we feel?”

“Come, Helen, dear, you must try to be more calm,” urged the mother, gently, with her arm around her daughter’s neck.  “Doctor, can’t you give her something to quiet her nerves?”

“Miss Helen, like the captain, is going to do just as I say, aren’t you?  You can do more for yourself than I can do for you.  Remember, you must act intelligently and cooperate with me.  His father, and especially his mother, exhibited the utmost degree of emotion and made the strongest appeals without effect.  Now we must try different tactics.  All must be quiet and nothing occur to confuse or irritate him.”

“Ah, how little you all understand me!  The moment you give me a chance to act I can be as calm as you are.  It’s this waiting, this torturing suspense that I cannot endure.  Hobart would not have permitted it.  He knows, he understands.  Every effort will fail till Albert sees me.  It will be a cause for lasting gratitude to us both that I should be the one to restore him.  Now let me manage.  My heart will guide me better than your science.”

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Taken Alive from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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