I cannot prevail upon myself to dwell at any length on the events that followed.
We secured my unhappy friend, and carried him to his bed. It was necessary to have men in attendance who could perform the duty of watching him. The doctor sent for them, while I went down-stairs to make the best I could of the miserable news which it was impossible entirely to conceal.
All that I could do to spare Miss Jillgall, I did. I was obliged to acknowledge that there had been an outbreak of violence, and that the portrait of the Minister's wife had been destroyed by the Minister himself. Of Helena's revenge on me I said nothing. It had led to consequences which even her merciless malice could not have contemplated. There were no obstacles in the way of keeping secret the attempt on my life. But I was compelled to own that Mr. Gracedieu had taken a dislike to me, which rendered it necessary that my visit should be brought to an end. I hastened to add that I should go to the hotel, and should wait there until the next day, in the hope of hearing better news.
Of the multitude of questions with which poor Miss Jillgall overwhelmed me--of the wild words of sorrow and alarm that escaped her--of the desperate manner in which she held by my arm, and implored me not to go away, when I must see for myself that "she was a person entirely destitute of presence of mind"--I shall say nothing. The undeserved suffering that is inflicted on innocent persons by the sins of others demands silent sympathy; and, to that extent at least, I can say that I honestly felt for our quaint and pleasant little friend.
In the evening the doctor called on me at the hotel. The medical treatment of his patient had succeeded in calming the maddened brain under the influence of sleep. If the night passed quietly, better news might be hoped for in the morning.
On the next day I had arranged to drive to the farm, being resolved not to disappoint Eunice. But I shrank from the prospect of having to distress her as I had already distressed Miss Jillgall. The only alternative left was to repeat the sad story in writing, subjected to the