Beulah (Chapter 8, page 1 of 10)

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Chapter 8

It was in the gray light of dawning day that Beulah awoke to
consciousness. For some moments after unclosing her eyes they
wandered inquiringly about the room, and finally rested on the tall
form of the watcher, as he stood at the open window. Gradually
memory gathered up its scattered links, and all the incidents of
that hour of anguish rushed vividly before her. The little table,
with its marble sleeper; then a dim recollection of having been
carried to a friendly shelter.

Was it only yesterday evening, and had she slept?

The utter prostration which prevented her raising her
head, and the emaciated appearance of her hands, told her "no." Too
feeble even to think, she moaned audibly. Dr. Hartwell turned and
looked at her. The room was still in shadow, though the eastern sky
was flushed, and he stepped to the bedside. The fever had died out,
the cheeks were very pale, and the unnaturally large, sunken eyes
lusterless. She looked at him steadily, yet with perfect
indifference. He leaned over, and said eagerly: "Beulah, do you know me?"

"Yes; I know you."

"How do you feel this morning?"

"I am very weak, and my head seems confused. How long have I been

"No matter, child, if you are better." He took out his watch, and,
after counting her pulse, prepared some medicine, and gave her a
potion. Her features twitched, and she asked tremblingly, as if
afraid of her own question: "Have they buried her?"

"Yes; a week ago."

She closed her eyes with a groan, and her face became convulsed;
then she lay quite still, with a wrinkled brow. Dr. Hartwell sat
down by her, and, taking one of her wasted little hands in his, said
gently: "Beulah, you have been very ill. I scarcely thought you would
recover; and now, though much better, you must not agitate yourself,
for you are far too weak to bear it."

"Why didn't you let me die? Oh, it would have been a mercy!" She put
her hand over her eyes, and a low cry wailed through the room.

"Because I wanted you to get well, and live here, and be my little
friend, my child. Now, Beulah, I have saved you, and you belong to
me. When you are stronger we will talk about all you want to know;
but to-day you must keep quiet, and not think of what distresses
you. Will you try?"

The strong, stern man shuddered, as she looked up at him with an
expression of hopeless desolation, and said slowly: "I have nothing but misery to think of."

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