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SYDNEY AND ELLEN. — THE HOSPITAL.
SYDNEY had just sate down to breakfast, when a cab drove hastily up to the door
of the villa, and Ellen alighted from the vehicle.
The moment she entered the parlour, Eliza advanced to
meet her, saying, "My dearest friend, I can divine the cause of this early
visit; — and, indeed, had you not come to me, it was my intention to
have called upon you without delay."
Ellen heard these remarks with unfeigned surprise.
"Sit down, and compose yourself," continued
Eliza, "while I explain to you certain matters which it is now proper that
you should know."
"Heaven grant that you have no evil tidings to
communicate!" exclaimed Ellen, taking a chair near her friend, upon whose
countenance she turned a look of mingled curiosity and suspense.
"Be not alarmed, dear Ellen," answered Eliza:
"my object is to serve and befriend you — for I know that at
this moment , you. require a friend!"
"Oh! Indeed I do," cried Ellen, bursting into
tears, "But is it possible that you are acquainted with-"
"With all your history, my dear friend,"
"All my history" ejaculated Ellen.
"Yes — all. But let me not keep you in
suspense. In a few words let me assure you that there is no important event of
your life unknown to me."
"Then, my dearest friend," cried Ellen,
throwing herself into Eliza's arms, "you are aware that my husband is lying
in a common hospital — and that it breaks my heart to think of the
depth into which he has fallen from a position once elevated and proud!"
"Yes," answered Eliza, returning the embrace
of friendship; "I learnt that sad event last evening — a few
hours after it occurred; and hence my intention to visit you this morning. But I
am better pleased that you should have come hither — because we can
converse at our ease. You must know, my dear friend, that a few years ago I
received some wrong at the hands of him who has now every claim upon the
sympathy of the charitable heart."
"You speak of my husband, Eliza!" cried Ellen.
"Were you also wronged by him? Oh! how many, alas! can tell the same
"He attempted to wrong me, Ellen — but
did not succeed," answered Eliza, emphatically: "twice he sought to
ruin me-and twice Providence interposed to save me. Pardon me, if I mention
these facts: but they are necessary to justify my subsequent conduct in respect
"Oh! ask me not to pardon aught that you may do or
may have done!" ejaculated Ellen: "for your goodness of heart is an
unquestionable guarantee for the propriety of your actions."
"You flatter me, my dear friend," said Eliza;
"and yet God knows how pure have been my intentions through life! Let us
not, however, waste time by unnecessary comment: listen rather while I state a
few facts which need be concealed from you no longer. Aware, then, that he who
has so long passed by the name of George Montague Greenwood — "
"Ah!" cried Ellen, with a start: "you
know that also?"
"Have patience-and you shall soon learn the extent
of my information upon this subject," said Elisa. "I was about to
inform you that a knowledge of the character of him whom we must still call
George Greenwood, gave me the idea of adopting some means to check, if not
altogether to counteract, those schemes by which he sought alike to enrich
himself dishonourably and to gratify his thirst after illicit pleasure. During
the first year of my residence in Castelcicala I sent over a faithful agent to
enter, if possible, the service of Mr. Greenwood. He succeeded, and — "
"Filippo Dorsenni!" exclaimed Ellen, a light
breaking in upon her mind: "Oh now I comprehend it all!"
"And are you angry with me for having thus placed a
spy upon the actions of your husband?" inquired Eliza, in a sweet tone of
"Oh! no-no," cried Ellen: "on the
contrary, I rejoice! For doubtless you have saved him from the commission of
"I have indeed, Ellen," was the reply;
"and amongst them may be reckoned your escape from his snares, when he had
you carried away to his house in the country."
[-413-] "Yes — that
escape was effected by the aid of Filippo," said Ellen; "and the same
generous man also assisted me to save the life of Richard on that terrible night
when his enemies sought to murder him near Globe Town."
"Well, then, my dear friend," observed Eliza,
"you see that the presence of Filippo in England effected much good. I may
also mention to you the fact that when Richard accompanied General Grachia's
expeditionary force to Castelcicala, I was forewarned of the intended invasion
by means of a letter from Filippo: and that letter enjoined me to save the life
of him who has since obtained so distinguished a renown. Filippo had heard you
speak in such glowing colours of Richard's generous nature and noble
disposition, that he was induced to implore me to adopt measures so that not a
hair of his head might be injured. And, oh! when I consider all that has
occurred, I cannot for one moment regret that intervention on my part which
saved our friend in order to fulfil such glorious destinies!"
"But how was it, my dearest Eliza," asked
Ellen, "that you discovered those secrets which so especially regard me?"
"In one word," replied the royal widow, "Filippo
overheard that scene which occurred between yourself and Greenwood when you
restored him the pocket-book that you had found; and on that occasion you called
him by a name which was not George!"
"Ah; I remember — yes, I
remember!" cried Ellen, recalling to mind the details of that memorable
meeting to which Eliza Sydney alluded.
"Thus Filippo learnt a great secret,"
continued the royal widow; "and in due time it was communicated to me, by
whom it has been retained inviolate until now. Nor should I have ever touched
upon the topic with you, had not this accident which has occurred to your
husband rendered it necessary for me to show you that while I am prepared to
assist you in aught that may concern his welfare, I am only aiding the virtuous
intentions of a wife towards him whom she has sworn at the altar to love and
Ellen again threw herself into the arms of the
generous-hearted widow, upon whose bosom she poured forth tears of the most
"And now," said Eliza, "can you tell me
in which manner I can serve you — or rather your husband?"
"My first and most anxious wish," returned
Ellen, "is that he should be removed, as soon as possible, to some place
where tranquillity and ease may await him. Sincerely — sincerely do
I hope that his heart may have been touched by recent misfortunes-"
"Yes — and by the contemplation, even
from a distance, of that excellent example which the character of Richard
affords," added Eliza, emphatically.
"And yet," continued Ellen, mournfully,
"I know his proud disposition so well, that he will not permit his secret
to be revealed one minute before the appointed time: he will not allow himself
to be conveyed to that place where he would be received with so much heart-felt
"This is your conviction?" said Eliza,
"My firm conviction," answered Ellen.
"Then listen to my proposal," exclaimed the
widow, after a brief pause. "Filippo shall be instructed to hire some
neatly furnished house in the neighbourhood of Islington; and thither may your
husband be removed so soon as the medical attendants at the hospital will
permit. It is not necessary for him to know that any living soul save yourself,
Ellen, has interfered to procure him those comforts which he shall enjoy, and to
furnish which my purse shall supply you with ample means."
"Dearest friend," exclaimed Ellen, "It
was your kind counsel that I came to solicit — and you have afforded
me the advise most suitable to my own wishes. But, thanks to the generosity of
Richard towards my father and myself. I possess sufficient resources to ensure
every comfort to my husband. And, oh, if he will but consent to this project, I
can see him often — yes, daily — and under my care he
will speedily recover!"
"Then delay not in repairing to the hospital to
visit and console him," said Eliza, "and Filippo, whom I expect to
call presently, shall this very day seek a comfortable abode to receive your
husband when his removal may be effected with safety."
Ellen expressed the deepest gratitude to her friend for
the kind interest thus manifested in behalf of herself and her husband; and,
having taken an affectionate leave of the royal widow, she repaired to Saint
The clock of the establishment was striking eleven when
Ellen alighted from the cab at the entrance in Duke Street; and, having inquired
her way to the Casualty Ward, she crossed the courtyard towards the department
of the building where her husband lay.
Ascending a wide staircase, she reached a landing, where
she accosted a nurse who was passing from one room to another at the moment.
Ellen intimated her request to see the gentleman who was
brought in with a broken leg on the preceding afternoon.
"Well," answered the nurse, "you couldn't
possibly have applied to a better person; for I'm at the head of that ward, and
I shall be most happy to obleege you. But surely a charming young lady like you
will be afeard to go into a place where there's a many male inwalids all in
"The gentleman to whom the accident has happened,
is very dear to me," said Ellen, in a low tone, and with tears trickling
down her cheeks.
"Ah! poor dear thing — his sister,
maybe?" observed Mrs. Jubkins.
"Yes — I am his sister," replied
Ellen, eagerly catching at the hint with which the curiosity of the woman
"Then I'm sure, my pretty dear," said the
nurse, "there's no harm in seeing your brother. But stay — just
step into this room for a moment — there's only one old woman in
it, — while I go into the male Casualty and see that every thing's
proper and decent to receive such a sweet creatur' as you are."
Thus speaking, Mrs. Jubkins threw open the door of a
small room, into which she showed Ellen, who availed herself of that opportunity
to slip a guinea into her hand.
Mrs. Jubkins expressed her thanks by a nod, and hurried
away with the assurance that she should not be many minutes absent.
When the door had closed behind the nurse, Ellen [-414-]
surveyed, with a rapid glance, the room in which she now found herself.
It was small, but exquisitively clean and well
ventilated. There were four beds in the place, only one of which was occupied.
Obeying a mechanical impulse, rather than any sentiment
of curiosity, Ellen glanced towards that couch which was tenanted by an invalid;
but she started with mingled surprise and horror as her own bright eyes
encountered the glassy ones that stared at her from the pillow.
For a moment she averted her head as if from some
loathsome spectacle; but again she looked towards the bed, to satisfy herself
whether the suspicion which had struck her were correct or not.
Yes — that idea was indeed well-founded; for
there-in a dying state, with her hideous countenance rendered ghastly by
disease — lay the old hag in Golden Lane!
A faint attempt at a smile relaxed the rigid expression
of the harridan's death-like face, as she recognised Ellen; and her toothless
jaws moved for a moment as if she were endeavouring to speak: — but
she evidently had not strength to utter a word.
All on a sudden the boundless aversion which the young
lady entertained towards the wretch, became changed into a sentiment of deep
commiseration; and Ellen exclaimed involuntarily, "Oh! it is terrible to
die thus — in a hospital — and without a friend!"
The bed shook as if with a convulsive shudder on the
part of the hag, whose countenance, upturned towards Ellen, wore an expression
which — intelligible amidst all the ghastly ugliness of that
face-seemed to say, "Is it possible that you can feel pity for me?"
Ellen understood what was passing in the old woman's
mind at the moment; and, advancing nearer to time couch, she said in a tone
tremulous with emotions, "If you seek forgiveness at my hands for any
injury which your pernicious counsels and your fatal aid ever did me, I accord
it-Oh! God knows how willingly I accord it! For, though after my fall I long
remained callous to a sense of virtue, and acknowledged only the fear of shame
as the motive for avoiding farther frailty, yet since I became a wife-for I am
a wife," she added proudly, "holier and better thoughts have taken up
their abode in my soul; and good examples have restored my mind to its former
purity! Thus, then, I can forgive thee with sincerity — for the
injuries and wrongs I have endured through thy counsels, are past and
At that moment the door opened, and Mrs. Jubkins
returned to the room.
Ellen cast another glance of forgiveness upon the hag
and hurried into the passage.
"What ails that old woman?" she asked, in a
low tone, when the door had closed behind herself and the nurse.
"It seems, by all I can hear, Miss," replied
the hospital nurse, "that the old woman had saved up a little money; and as
she lived in a low neighbourhood, I 'spose it got wind amongst the thieves and
housebreakers. At all events a burglar broke into her place one night, about a
week ago; and because she resisted, he beat her in such a cruel way that her
ribs was broke and one of her thighs fractured — so I 'spose he must
have thrown her down and jumped on her. The rascal got clean off with all the
money she had; and a policeman going his rounds, saw that the house where she
lived had been broken open. He went in, and found the old creatur' nearly dead.
She was brought here; and when she had recovered a little, she mumbled a few
words, telling just what I've now told you. Oh! yes," added the nurse,
recollecting herself, "and she also said who the thief was; for when
questioned about that point, she was just able to whisper a dreadful name-so
dreadful that it haunts me in my dreams."
"What was that name which sounded so
terrible?" asked Ellen, with some degree of curiosity.
"The Resurrection Man," replied the
nurse, shuddering visibly, "And no sooner had the old woman said those
shocking words, than she lost her voice altogether, and has never had the use of
it since. We put her into that room to keep her quiet; but she can't live out
the week — and her sufferings at times are quite horrible."
As she uttered these words Mrs. Jubkins opened a door at
the end of the passage, and conducted Ellen into the room where her husband was
For a moment the young lady recoiled from the appearance
of that large apartment, filled with beds in which there lay pillowed so many
ghastly faces; but this emotion was as evanescent as the most rapid flash of
And now, firm in her purpose to console and solace him
whom she had taught herself to love, she followed the nurse towards the bed
where the patient lay, — looking neither to the right nor to the
left as she proceeded thither.
Greenwood's countenance was very pale; but the instant
the lovely features of his wife burst upon his view, his eyes were lighted up
with an expression of joy such as she had never seen them wear before, and the
glow of which appeared to penetrate with a sensation of ineffable bliss into the
very profundities of her soul.
"Ellen, this is very kind of you," said
Greenwood, tears starting on his long silken lashes, as he pressed her hand
warmly in his own.
"Do not use the word kind, my dearest
husband," — whispered Ellen: "in coming hither I not only
perform a duty — but should also fulfil it cheerfully, were it not
for the sad occurrence which caused the visit."
"Be not alarmed, Ellen," murmured Greenwood:
"there is no danger — a temporary inconvenience only! And
yet," he added, after a brief pause, "to me it is particularly galling
just at the very time when I was struggling so hard-so very hard — to
build up my fallen fortunes, and prepare — "
"Oh! do not grieve on that head!" whispered
Ellen: "abandon, I implore you, those ambitious dreams — those
lofty aspirations which have only led you astray! Do you suppose that, were you
to acquire an amount of wealth far greater than that which blesses him,
he would welcome you with one single smile the more joyous — with
one single emotion the more blissful? Oh! no — far from it! And
believe me when I assert my conviction that it would be his pride to place you
with his own hand, and by means of his own resources, in a position to enable
you to retrieve the past — "
"Ellen, speak not thus!" said Greenwood,
[-415-] "Well, my
dearest husband, I will not urge the topic," answered the beautiful young
woman, smiling with a plaintive and melancholy sweetness as she leant over his
couch, "But you will permit me to implore that when you are enabled to
leave this place, you will suffer yourself to be conveyed to a dwelling which
I — your own wife-will provide for you, and where I shall be enabled
to visit you every day — as often, indeed, as will give you
pleasure? And then — oh! then we shall be happy together — and
you can prepare your mind to encounter that day which, I fear, you now look upon
to be one of trial, but which I must tutor you to anticipate as one of joy and
pleasure as yet unknown."
Greenwood made no answer; but he meditated profoundly
upon those loving words and touching assurances that his beauteous wife breathed
in his ear.
"Yes," continued Ellen, "you will not
refuse my prayer! This very day will I seek a comfortable abode — in
the northern part of Islington, if possible — so that I may soon be
with you every day. For I am possessed of ample resources to accomplish all that
I propose; and you know, dearest husband, that every thing which I can call my
own is lawfully yours. You smile — oh! now I thank you, because you
listen to me with attention; and I thank God also, because he has at length
directed your heart towards me, who am your wife, and who will ever, ever love
you — dearly love you!"
"Ellen," murmured Greenwood, pressing her band
to his lips, "I should be a monster were I to refuse you any thing which
you now demand of me; and, oh! believe me — I am not so bad as that'"
Sweet Ellen, thou hast conquered the obduracy of that
heart which was so long the abode of selfishness and pride; — thou
hast subdued the stubborn soul of that haughty and ambitious man: — thine
amiability has triumphed over his worldliness; — and thou hast thy
crowning reward in the tears which now moisten his pillow, and in the
affectionate glances which are upturned towards thee!
And Ellen departed from the hospital where her angelic
influence had wrought so marvellous a change, — departed with a
bosom cherishing fond hopes and delicious reveries of happiness to come.
In the course of that very day Filippo engaged a house
in the northern part of Islington; and Ellen superintended, with a joyful heart,
the preparations that were made during the ensuing week to render the dwelling
as comfortable as possible.
At length she had the pleasure, — nay, more
than pleasure-the ineffable satisfaction of welcoming her husband to that abode
which, if not so splendid nor so spacious as the mansion he had once occupied in
Spring Gardens, was at least a most grateful change after the cold and cheerless
aspect of a hospital.
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