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"and I've come to sit up and take my turn
at watching her. You lay down and get
some sleep on the rug. Here's my blanket
for youI don't mind the coldit will keep
me awake."

"You are very kindvery, very kind and
thoughtful, Sally," says I, "but I am too
wretched in my mind to want sleep, or rest,
or to do anything but wait where I am, and
try and hope for the best."

"Then I'll wait, too," says Sally. "I must
do something; if there's nothing to do but
waiting, I'll wait."

And she sat down opposite me at the foot
of the bed, and drew the blanket close round
her with a shiver.

"After working so hard as you do, I'm
sure you must want all the little rest you
can get," says I.

"Excepting only you," says Sally, putting
her heavy arm very clumsily, but very gently
at the same time, round Mary's feet, and
looking hard at the pale, still face on the
pillow. "Excepting you, she's the only soul
in this house as never swore at me, or give
me a hard word that I can remember. When
you made puddings on Sundays, and give her
half, she always give me a bit. The rest of
'em calls me Dusty Sal. Excepting only
you, again, she always called me Sally, as if
she knowed me in a friendly way. I ain't no
good here, but I ain't no harm neither; and I
shall take my turn at the sitting upthat's
what I shall do!"

She nestled her head down close at Mary's
feet as she spoke those words, and said no
more. I once or twice thought she had fallen
asleep, but whenever I looked at her, her
heavy eyes were always wide open. She never
changed her position an inch till the church
clocks struck six; then she gave one little
squeeze to Mary's feet with her arm, and
shuffled out of the room without a word. A
minute or two after, I heard her down below,
lighting the kitchen fire just as usual.

A little later, the doctor stepped over
before his breakfast time, to see if there had
been any change in the night. He only
shook his head when he looked at her. as if
there was no hope. Having nobody else to
consult that I could put trust in, I showed
him the end of the cravat, and told him of
the dreadful suspicion that had arisen in my
mind, when I found it in her hand.

"You must keep it carefully, and produce
it at the inquest," he said. "I don't know
though, that it is likely to lead to anything.
The bit of stuff may have been lying on the
pavement near her, and her hand may have
unconsciously clutched it when she fell. Was
she subject to fainting fits?"

"Not more so, sir, than other young girls
who are hard-worked and anxious, and
weakly from poor living," I answered.

"I can't say that she may not have got
that blow from a fall," the doctor went on,
looking at her temple again. "I can't say
that it presents any positive appearance of
having been inflicted by another person. It
will be important, however, to ascertain what
state of health she was in last night. Have
you any idea where she was yesterday
evening ? "

I told him where she was employed at
work, and said I imagined she must have
been kept there later than usual.

"I shall pass the place this morning," said
the doctor, "in going my rounds among my
patients, and I'll just step in and make some
inquiries."

I thanked him, and we parted. Just as he
was closing the door, he looked in again.

"Was she your sister?" he asked.

"No, sir, only my dear friend."

He said nothing more; but I heard him
sigh, as he shut the door softly. Perhaps he
once had a sister of his own, and lost her?
Perhaps she was like Mary in the face?

The doctor was hours gone away. I began
to feel unspeakably forlorn and helpless. So
much so, as even to wish selfishly that Robert
might really have sailed from America, and
might get to London in time to assist and
console me. No living creature came into
the room but Sally. The first time she
brought me some tea; the second and third
times she only looked in to see if there was
any change, and glanced her eye towards the
bed. I had never known her so silent before;
it seemed almost as if this dreadful accident
had struck her dumb. I ought to have
spoken to her, perhaps, but there was something
in her face that daunted me; and,
besides, the fever of anxiety I was in began
to dry up my lips as if they would never be
able to shape any words again. I was still
tormented by that frightful apprehension of
the past night, that she would die without
my knowing itdie without saying one word
to clear up the awful mystery of this blow,
and set the suspicions at rest for ever which
I still felt whenever my eyes fell on the end
of the old cravat.

At last the doctor came back.

"I think you may safely clear your mind
of any doubts to which that bit of stuff may
have given rise," he said. "She was, as you
supposed, detained late by her employers,
and she fainted in the work-room. They
most unwisely and unkindly let her go home
alone, without giving her any stimulant, as
soon as she came to her senses again. Nothing
is more probable, under these circumstances,
than that she should faint a second time on
her way here. A fall on the pavement,
without any friendly arm to break it, might
have produced even a worse injury than the
injury we see. I believe that the only ill-usage
to which the poor girl was exposed
was the neglect she met with in the workroom."

"You speak very reasonably, I own, sir,"
said I, not yet quite convinced. "Still,
perhaps she may— "

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