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what would Amelia think if they could see me now?' I said to myself, ·0, that I were in my
little room, in my little bed again, under the care of Amelia! O, how happy should I be! O, that I had never known Gabrielle!' Then I blamed Miss Beaumont: It was Miss Beaumont's rashness that first awakened my attention towards Gabrielle. Oh, miserable creature that I am! ruined, ruined, lost by my own folly! These were some of my dismal thoughts.
“ în proportion as I continued my reflections, my head became niore and more confused, till, at length, I fell into a state of insensibility, in which I know not how long I lay; on recovering my senses, however, I still heard the sound of the music and dancing on deck, but was aware of the approach of morning, by a gleam of light shining through the cabin window, while the air at the same time was blowing in more fresh from off the river. I sat up on the couch and looked wildly round me, hardly knowing where I was, and feeling such an increase of indisposition, as made me press both my hands against my burning forehead. At the same moment, a young gentleman came into the cabin, saying, Are you ready, Ma’am? The ladies are going.'
“I looked up, and perceived that this was the same young stranger who had handed me from my palanquin; and I then recollected that I had not seen him from the moment of his doing so to the present. The modesty and gentility of his manner seemed to strike shame to
• If he is a gentleman,' I thought, as he seems to be, he will despise me; he cannot do otherwise.' Being filled therefore with shame, I gave
my hand, and he led me silently to the side of the chair in which I was to be hoisted into the boat. As he relinquished my hand, he bowed respectfully, and withdrew.
“ It was still so dark, and I was so faint, that, when I got into the boat, I could not see who was with me, but I distinguished the voices both of gentlemen and ladies; and I heard Miss Chatterton say, 'Well, I don't know that I was ever taken so in
head swims so, I hardly know where I am.' « • It is the motion of the boat,' somebody remarked.
No,' she answered, 'I was the same way before I
got into the boat. Are persons ever seasick when the ships are in harbour?'
" A loud laugh followed this remark, and the discourse took another turn: but I heard Miss Atkins whisper to Miss Chatterton, What can it be? for I feel half dead.'
“ You may be assured that these complaints of my schoolfellows tended not a little to increase my alarms; and, feeling as I then did, I fancied that we had all inhaled some dreadful infection, which would prove a horrible punishment for our offence.
“ We soon reached the shore. We then got out of the boat at the same stairs by which we had descended into it, and my schoolfellows and myself were led back into the same room in which we had assembled before we went on board.
“ This room was lighted by only one shade, standing on the table in the centre of the room; and, of all the Jadies and gentlemen who had accompanied us from the Ariadne, there were none then with us excepting my three schoolfellows and Mr. Gordon, the first mate. This officer, after having offered any thing that his house would afford, wished us good-morning, saying, that he would leave us to take what rest might be possible on two sofas which were in the room, till the arrival of the hour when we could return home, which would be at sunrise, a time when all the inhabitants of Calcutta are in motion.
“ As soon as the young gentleman had closed the door after him, Miss Atkins and Miss Chatterton threw themselves upon the sofas, exclaiming, with vehemence, • Lord be praised this evening is over!'
" • Never in my life,' said Miss Chatterton, · did I suffer more than I have done during these last two hours.' “I am sure,' said Miss Atkins, suffer what
will, you cannot have been worse than I have been; and Clara Lushington looks no better than we are. What, in the name of Heaven,' she added, with an expression of countenance and vehemence of manner which terrified me. beyond measure, 'what can have been the occasion of this? Surely, Chatterton, surely they have not poisoned us!' Then, turning to ine, 'Clara,' she said, “you are very ill, I see: when did you feel the beginning of your illness? was it before or after supper? Had you
tasted of any thing before you felt yourself uncomfortable?'
“ • Atkins, for Heaven's sake, hold your tongue,' said Miss Chatterton: 6 you terrify me to death! What do you suspect? do you think we are poisoned? I shall die with the very idea.' So saying, she rose and walked towards one of the windows, gasping for breath.
“The subject then of the extraordinary smell which I had noticed, and which had been perceived by the rest of the party also, was introduced ; and Gabrielle, who was the least affected among us, remarked, that she had heard that the vessel was laden with hides and horns; 'and, perhaps,' said she, “these are not properly tanned.'
«. Don't mention it,' said Miss Chatterton, gasping again. I have heard of dreadfully infectious fevers being occasioned by less matters than these.'
“But the ship-officers appear quite well,' I answer. ed.
660, they are used to many things which we can't bear,' said Miss Atkins.
“'At any rate,' I said, laying my burning head against the back of the sofa near which I sat, “I heartily wish I had never joined this party.'
"• Well, it was at your own desire; you have nobody but yourself to blame,' returned Miss Atkins.
« Yes,' I replied, “yes, I have several to blame. I may, in the first place, blame Miss Beaumont; and, secondly, you, Gabrielle. But for you, I had now been happy in the tender love and confidence of my sweet Anelia. 0, Anelia, Amelia!' I added, in extreme agony,
• had I chosen no other friend than you, I had indeed been blessed.'
“ A deep groan from Miss Chatterton at this moment arrested our attention. We all sprang up, and ran to her. She had faicted, and was falling from the sofa. We hastened to loosen her dress; and Gabrielle, running out, soon procurer some water, with which we wet her lips and bathed her forehead.
“ After a short time, she revived and spoke. • Take me home,' she said: 'I must go home immediately. Let me die, at least, on my own bed.'
La! my dear,' said Miss Atkins, don't talk of dyiug; we shall be better presently. And we can't go
home till daylight, it will make such a talk, if it is known where we have been; and if we come in at such strange hours, it will surely lead to enquiry.'
Enquiry!' repeated Miss Chatterton, who cares? what do I care? Put me to bed; I pray you, put me to bed. Let me die, I say, on my bed.'
“ A second fainting, more severe and lasting than the former, now took place; during which the sun arose, and Mr. Gordon sent us word that the pulanquins were waiting
"As Miss Chatterton could not immediately be moved, and as it was not to appear at Palm-Grove that I had been in company with the rest, it was agreed that I should be sent first. I was, therefore, put into the same palanquin in which I had coine, and sent forward. I drew my curtains close round me, and lay backwards, never once looking out from the time I got in till I had reached home. But I can give you no idea of what I suffered during this interval. The morning was one of those which are not unfrequently experienced in the torrid zone; not a breath of air was stirring, and the bearers were throwing up the dust every step they took, besides which, the notion of the palunquin considerably increased my disorder.
" When I arrived at Palm-Grove, the servants alone were up; the sweeper being engaged in the verandah, and the bearers just rousing themselves from sleep. The door was opened to me, and I walked up to my room; but was, at the same time, so extremely disordered, that I stood still twice upon the stairs, to rest myself, and gain strength to proceed.
“ When near our chamber, I was seized with an extreme giddiness, insomuch, that for a moment I was obliged to support myself against the frame of an open window. Being, at length, however, a little recovered, I advanced to the door of our room. It was fastened within, though all the jalousies were open, to admit the air. I looked through them, and saw Amelia asleep in her bed, and Flora in a little cot by her side. I heard their gentle breathings, and the sweet and peaceful expression of Amelia's face struck me in a degree which it had never done before. The room was neat and orderly, being the abode of modesty and innocence; and on the
dressing-table, which was covered with a white napkin, lay an open Bible, and, by it, little Flora's doll. I slipped my trembling hand through the jalousies, and endeavoured to undraw the bolt: at the noise of which Amelia awoke, and exclaimed, “Who is there?'
" • It is I,' I said; · Clara Lushington.'
“ • You are very early,' replied Amelia, springing up to open the door.
.“No,' I answered, with as much unconcern as I could affect, 'no; my aunt has been up some time, and is now out on the course. But do, Amelia, help me to bed, for I do not feel well: I was up late last night, and I now want a little rest.'
6. Annelia immediately assisted me to undress: but while she was helping me into bed, Clara,' she said, • what is the matter?you look excessively ill. How
you tremble! You are overfatigued. Make haste to lie down.'
“ For a few minutes after being undressed, and when lying down, I felt relieved; but this ease did not continue long. The giddiness returned; the room for an instant seemed to dance round, and a thick vapour, filled with specks of black, arose before my eyes; a violent cold sweat then broke out upon me, and I fainted.
“When I recovered my recollection, I saw several persons standing about me, but had not time to distinguish who they were, before I was taken with a most dreadful vomiting, which exhausted me so much, that, after it, I lay back on my bed without the power tion, and felt myself too weak to utter a word.
“ While in this state, I heard the persons in my room (namely, Mrs. Patterson, Madame de Roseau, and Amelia) speaking to each other. • You have sent for Dr. H ?' enquired Mrs. Patterson.
" . He will be here soon,' said Madame de Roseau.
"• She is overfatigued,' said Mrs. Patterson; 'perhaps kept up too late. If she is no better soon, we must send for her aunt.'
“On hearing this, I became violently agitated. No, no, no,' I said,
no, not my aunt.'
Pray do not,' I added, using an exertion which instantly brought on the vomiting again.