And this was part of that same desolate shore whither the Last Island dead had been drifted by that tremendous surge! On a clear day, with a good glass, one might discern from here the long blue streak of that ghastly coast ... Somewhere--between here and there ... Merciful God! ...
... But again! That bivouac-night before the fight at Chancellorsville, Laroussel had begun to tell him such a singular story ... Chance had brought them,--the old enemies,--together; made them dear friends in the face of Death. How little he had comprehended the man!---what a brave, true, simple soul went up that day to the Lord of Battles! ... What was it--that story about the little Creole girl saved from Last Island,--that story which was never finished? ... Eh! what a pain!
Evidently he had worked too much, slept too little. A decided case of nervous prostration. He must lie down, and try to sleep.
These pains in the head and back were becoming unbearable. Nothing but rest could avail him now.
He stretched himself under the mosquito curtain. It was very still, breath. less, hot! The venomous insects were thick;---they filled the room with a continuous ebullient sound, as if invisible kettles were boiling overhead. A sign of storm.... Still, it was strange!---he could not perspire ...
Then it seemed to him that Laroussel was bending over him---Laroussel in his cavalry uniform. "Bon jour, camarade!---nous allons avoir un bien mauvais temps, mon pauvre Julien." How! bad weather?---"Comment un mauvais temps?" ... He looked in Laroussel's face. There was something so singular in his smile. Ah! yes,---he remembered now: it was the wound! ... "Un vilain temps!" whispered Laroussel. Then he was gone ... Whither?
The whisper roused him with a fearful start ... Adele's whisper! So she was wont to rouse him sometimes in the old sweet nights,--to crave some little attention for ailing Eulalie,---to make some little confidence she had forgotten to utter during the happy evening ... No, no! It was only the trees. The sky was clouding over. The wind was rising ... How his heart beat! how his temples pulsed! Why, this was fever! Such pains in the back and head!
Still his skin was dry,--dry as parchment,--burning. He rose up; and a bursting weight of pain at the base of the skull made him reel like a drunken man. He staggered to the little mirror nailed upon the wall, and looked. How his eyes glowed;---and there was blood in his mouth! He felt his pulse spasmodic, terribly rapid. Could it possibly---? ... No: this must be some pernicious malarial fever! The Creole does not easily fall a prey to the great tropical malady,---unless after a long absence in other climates. True! he had been four years in the army! But this was 1867 ... He hesitated a moment; then,--opening his medicine chest, he measured out and swallowed thirty grains of quinine.