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.
Then he lay down again. His head pained more and more;---it seemed as if the cervical vertebrae were filled with fluid iron. And still his skin remained dry as if tanned. Then the anguish grew so intense as to force a groan with almost every aspiration ... Nausea,--and the stinging bitterness of quinine rising in his throat;---dizziness, and a brutal wrenching within his stomach. Everything began to look pink;---the light was rose-colored. It darkened more,---kindled with deepening tint. Something kept sparkling and spinning before his sight, like a firework ... Then a burst of blood mixed with chemical bitterness filled his mouth; the light became scarlet as claret ... This--this was ... not malaria ...
... Carmen knew what it was; but the brave little woman was not afraid of it. Many a time before she had met it face to face, in Havanese summers; she knew how to wrestle with it; she had torn Feliu's life away from its yellow clutch, after one of those long struggles that strain even the strength of love. Now she feared mostly for Chita. She had ordered the girl under no circumstances to approach the cabin.
Julien felt that blankets had been heaped upon him,---that some gentle hand was bathing his scorching face with vinegar and water. Vaguely also there came to him the idea that it was night. He saw the shadow-shape of a woman moving against the red light upon the wall;---he saw there was a lamp burning.