He sat down and put his arm around her. Five minutes ago she would have clung to him and poured her soul out on his breast--would have put up her hand to his cheek and blessed him and worshiped him, as a wife does--and would have spared him the worst of everything, and given him the best; refrained from complaint, and lavished hope; made little of her own suffering, and much of his distress for her sake, as this wife could.... Now, she lay quite still and irresponsive. She did not speak, but tried to smile gently upon him. Then he saw her color change, and he flung the window up--for he was startled--and held her to the air.
"Poor girl!" he said. "Poor Jean! My poor Jean!"
"Oh, don't!" cried Jean. For the tenderness, coming after that other, well-nigh slew her. She began to sob,--the cruel sobs that wreck a weakened heart,--and the man fought for her life for an hour.
When Dr. Thorne came the danger was quite over; as