Bleak House (Oxford World's Classics) by Charles Dickens

Bleak House (Oxford World's Classics) by Charles Dickens

Author:Charles Dickens [Dickens, Charles]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9780191605475
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Published: 2008-08-05T04:00:00+00:00

Nurse and Patient

And Charley did not die. She flutteringly and slowly turned the dangerous point, after long lingering there, and then began to mend. The hope that never had been given, from the first, of Charley being in outward appearance Charley any more, soon began to be encouraged; and even that prospered, and I saw her growing into her old childish likeness again.

It was a great morning, when I could tell Ada all this as she stood out in the garden; and it was a great evening, when Charley and I at last took tea together in the next room. But, on that same evening, I felt that I was stricken cold.

Happily for both of us, it was not until Charley was safe in bed again and placidly asleep, that I began to think the contagion of her illness was upon me. I had been able easily to hide what I had felt at tea-time, but I was past that already now, and I knew that I was rapidly following in Charley’s steps.

I was well enough, however, to be up early in the morning, and to return my darling’s cheerful blessing from the garden, and to talk with her as long as usual. But I was not free from an impression that I had been walking about the two rooms in the night, a little beside myself, though knowing where I was; and I felt confused at times—with a curious sense of fulness, as if I were becoming too large altogether.

In the evening I was so much worse, that I resolved to prepare Charley; with which view, I said ‘You’re getting quite strong, Charley, are you not?’

‘O quite!’ said Charley.

‘Strong enough to be told a secret, I think, Charley?’

‘Quite strong enough for that, miss!’ cried Charley. But Charley’s face fell in the height of her delight, for she saw the secret in my face; and she came out of the great chair, and fell upon my bosom, and said ‘O miss, it’s my doing! It’s my doing!’ and a great deal more, out of the fulness of her grateful heart.

‘Now, Charley,’ said I, after letting her go on for a little while, ‘if I am to be ill, my great trust, humanly speaking, is in you. And unless you are as quiet and composed for me, as you always were for yourself, you can never fulfil it, Charley.’

‘If you’ll let me cry a little longer, miss,’ said Charley. ‘O my dear, my dear! if you’ll only let me cry a little longer, O my dear!’—how affectionately and devotedly she poured this out, as she clung to my neck, I never can remember without tears—‘I’ll be good.’

So I let Charley cry a little longer, and it did us both good.

‘Trust in me, now, if you please, miss,’ said Charley, quietly. ‘I am listening to everything you say.’

‘It is very little at present, Charley. I shall tell your doctor tonight that I don’t think I am well, and that you are going to nurse me.


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