Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter XI: The Crisis >> Page 106

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 106

Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription io6JOSCELYN
such was her theory, and that she acted upon it, and successfully; that
is to say, she found, on several occasions, that by word, look and sud-
den grip of the patient's wrist, she could compel his attention, and
momentary recognition of herself or other parties.
But only for a moment. She ventured upon nothing more, and
prohibited all attempts at conversation.
And so, day and night, these two women, aunt and niece, watched
by the bedside of the dreaming and distracted sufferer !
They employed the two rooms of Martin Joscelyn, who found
accommodations, however, in a low chamber in the attic. He was not
to be separated from his friend; he, too, was devoted; always watch-
ful, yet never obtrusive, the ladies had no reason to reproach him,
though he sometimes sought his compensation in a silent squeeze of
Annie's hand whenever they happened to meet under good oppor-
tunity. But this was only a rare delight, and to be valued accordingly.
Every good physician who is honest acknowledges the value of the
nurse as his most essential agency of cure; and when she happens to
be a Florence Nightingale, he can then repose with confidence in the
promises of art and science.
Walter Dunbar was fortunate in his nurses. Never was solicitude
more gentle, more watchful, &and less obtrusive than the ministries of
those two women, his aunt and his sister. Miss Janet had the ex-
perience; and the eager love, the desire to serve, soon enabled the
observant and watchful Annie to acquire in a short time that perfect
intimacy with the duties of the sick chamber and its necessities which
are among the essential qualities and uses of the nurse. Day and night
they watched the sufferer, separate or together, with a judicious minis-
try. And how beautiful this watch ! In the deep, still hours of the
midnight, when the heart of the great city sleeps, when-greed and
avarice and appetite find rest, there are bright, clear eyes, that glisten
in the faint lamplight glisten with their own tears, as they hang
over the feeble and suffering form, and listen to every faint murmur
from his fevered lips! That murmur may be a word of hope it may
be, a premonition of the last sad struggle with the mighty wrestler,
Death ! To watch and weep without a moan; to moisten the feverish
lips; to adjust the disordered pillow without disturbing the sleeper;
to stoop and catch every murmur from his lips in dream, and sigh