1. CHAPTER I
The Story Resumed by FRANKLIN BLAKE
But few words are needed, on my part, to complete the narrative
that has been presented in the Journal of Ezra Jennings.
Of myself, I have only to say that I awoke on the morning of the twenty-sixth,
perfectly ignorant of all that I had said and done under the influence
of the opium--from the time when the drug first laid its hold on me,
to the time when I opened my eyes, in Rachel's sitting-room.
Of what happened after my waking, I do not feel called upon to
render an account in detail. Confining myself merely to results,
I have to report that Rachel and I thoroughly understood each other,
before a single word of explanation had passed on either side.
I decline to account, and Rachel declines to account, for the
extraordinary rapidity of our reconciliation. Sir and Madam,
look back at the time when you were passionately attached to each other--
and you will know what happened, after Ezra Jennings had shut the door
of the sitting-room, as well as I know it myself.
I have, however, no objection to add, that we should have been certainly
discovered by Mrs. Merridew, but for Rachel's presence of mind.
She heard the sound of the old lady's dress in the corridor,
and instantly ran out to meet her; I heard Mrs. Merridew say,
"What is the matter?" and I heard Rachel answer, "The explosion!"
Mrs. Merridew instantly permitted herself to be taken by the arm,
and led into the garden, out of the way of the impending shock.
On her return to the house, she met me in the hall,
and expressed herself as greatly struck by the vast improvement
in Science, since the time when she was a girl at school.
"Explosions, Mr. Blake, are infinitely milder than they were.
I assure you, I barely heard Mr. Jennings's explosion from the garden.
And no smell afterwards, that I can detect, now we have come back
to the house! I must really apologise to your medical friend.
It is only due to him to say that he has managed it beautifully!"