My heart began to beat wildly. There was a sense of fear over me. Notfor myself; my fear was impersonal. It seemed as though some newperson had entered the room, and that a strong intelligence was awakeclose to me. Something brushed against my leg. I put my hand downhastily and touched the furry coat of Silvio. With a very faintfar-away sound of a snarl he turned and scratched at me. I felt bloodon my hand. I rose gently and came over to the bedside. MissTrelawny, too, had stood up and was looking behind her, as though therewas something close to her. Her eyes were wild, and her breast rose andfell as though she were fighting for air. When I touched her she didnot seem to feel me; she worked her hands in front of her, as thoughshe was fending off something.
There was not an instant to lose. I seized her in my arms and rushedover to the door, threw it open, and strode into the passage, callingloudly:
In an instant the two Detectives, Mrs. Grant, and the Nurse appeared onthe scene. Close on their heels came several of the servants, both menand women. Immediately Mrs. Grant came near enough, I placed MissTrelawny in her arms, and rushed back into the room, turning up theelectric light as soon as I could lay my hand on it. Sergeant Daw andthe Nurse followed me.
We were just in time. Close under the great safe, where on the twosuccessive nights he had been found, lay Mr. Trelawny with his leftarm, bare save for the bandages, stretched out. Close by his side wasa leaf-shaped Egyptian knife which had lain amongst the curios on theshelf of the broken cabinet. Its point was stuck in the parquet floor,whence had been removed the blood-stained rug.
But there was no sign of disturbance anywhere; nor any sign of any oneor anything unusual. The Policemen and I searched the room accurately,whilst the Nurse and two of the servants lifted the wounded man back tobed; but no sign or clue could we get. Very soon Miss Trelawnyreturned to the room. She was pale but collected. When she came closeto me she said in a low voice:
"I felt myself fainting. I did not know why; but I was afraid!"
The only other shock I had was when Miss Trelawny cried out to me, as Iplaced my hand on the bed to lean over and look carefully at her father:
"You are wounded. Look! look! your hand is bloody. There is blood onthe sheets!" I had, in the excitement, quite forgotten Silvio'sscratch. As I looked at it, the recollection came back to me; butbefore I could say a word Miss Trelawny had caught hold of my hand andlifted it up. When she saw the parallel lines of the cuts she cried outagain:
"It is the same wound as Father's!" Then she laid my hand down gentlybut quickly, and said to me and to Sergeant Daw:
"Come to my room! Silvio is there in his basket." We followed her,and found Silvio sitting in his basket awake. He was licking his paws.The Detective said:
"He is there sure enough; but why licking his paws?"
Margaret--Miss Trelawny--gave a moan as she bent over and took one ofthe forepaws in her hand; but the cat seemed to resent it and snarled.At that Mrs. Grant came into the room. When she saw that we werelooking at the cat she said:
"The Nurse tells me that Silvio was asleep on Nurse Kennedy's bed eversince you went to your Father's room until a while ago. He came therejust after you had gone to master's room. Nurse says that NurseKennedy is moaning and muttering in her sleep as though she had anightmare. I think we should send for Dr. Winchester."
"Do so at once, please!" said Miss Trelawny; and we went back to theroom.
For a while Miss Trelawny stood looking at her father, with her browswrinkled. Then, turning to me, as though her mind were made up, shesaid:
"Don't you think we should have a consultation on Father? Of course Ihave every confidence in Doctor Winchester; he seems an immenselyclever young man. But he is a young man; and there must be men whohave devoted themselves to this branch of science. Such a man wouldhave more knowledge and more experience; and his knowledge andexperience might help to throw light on poor Father's case. As it is,Doctor Winchester seems to be quite in the dark. Oh! I don't know whatto do. It is all so terrible!" Here she broke down a little and cried;and I tried to comfort her.
Doctor Winchester arrived quick
ly. His first thought was for hispatient; but when he found him without further harm, he visited NurseKennedy. When he saw her, a hopeful look came into his eyes. Taking atowel, he dipped a corner of it in cold water and flicked on the face.The skin coloured, and she stirred slightly. He said to the newnurse--Sister Doris he called her:
"She is all right. She will wake in a few hours at latest. She may bedizzy and distraught at first, or perhaps hysterical. If so, you knowhow to treat her."
"Yes, sir!" answered Sister Doris demurely; and we went back to Mr.Trelawny's room. As soon as we had entered, Mrs. Grant and the Nursewent out so that only Doctor Winchester, Miss Trelawny, and myselfremained in the room. When the door had been closed Doctor Winchesterasked me as to what had occurred. I told him fully, giving exactlyevery detail so far as I could remember. Throughout my narrative,which did not take long, however, he kept asking me questions as to whohad been present and the order in which each one had come into theroom. He asked other things, but nothing of any importance; these wereall that took my attention, or remained in my memory. When ourconversation was finished, he said in a very decided way indeed, toMiss Trelawny:
"I think, Miss Trelawny, that we had better have a consultation on thiscase." She answered at once, seemingly a little to his surprise:
"I am glad you have mentioned it. I quite agree. Who would yousuggest?"
"Have you any choice yourself?" he asked. "Any one to whom your Fatheris known? Has he ever consulted any one?"
"Not to my knowledge. But I hope you will choose whoever you thinkwould be best. My dear Father should have all the help that can behad; and I shall be deeply obliged by your choosing. Who is the bestman in London--anywhere else--in such a case?"
"There are several good men; but they are scattered all over the world.Somehow, the brain specialist is born, not made; though a lot of hardwork goes to the completing of him and fitting him for his work. Hecomes from no country. The most daring investigator up to the presentis Chiuni, the Japanese; but he is rather a surgical experimentalistthan a practitioner. Then there is Zammerfest of Uppsala, and Fenelonof the University of Paris, and Morfessi of Naples. These, of course,are in addition to our own men, Morrison of Aberdeen and Richardson ofBirmingham. But before them all I would put Frere of King's College.Of all that I have named he best unites theory and practice. He has nohobbies--that have been discovered at all events; and his experience isimmense. It is the regret of all of us who admire him that the nerveso firm and the hand so dexterous must yield to time. For my own partI would rather have Frere than any one living."
"Then," said Miss Trelawny decisively, "let us have Doctor Frere--bythe way, is he 'Doctor' or 'Mister'?--as early as we can get him in themorning!"
A weight seemed removed from him, and he spoke with greater ease andgeniality than he had yet shown:
"He is Sir James Frere. I shall go to him myself as early as it ispossibly to see him, and shall ask him to come here at once." Thenturning to me he said:
"You had better let me dress your hand."