The glint of the gold pocket watch hurt my eyes as Dr. Vogel watched the hands moving slowly; his grey eyes squinted, his thin lips pulled to a frown, his grey wig slightly askew and his double chin overlapped on his white cravat. The cold glass of the thermometer sat uncomfortably under my tongue, I felt tired and the nightmare that I dreamt last night had made me slightly paranoid; I would not allow Clara to leave my side without turning on an oil lamp. After a few moments Dr. Vogel took out the thermometer, his eyes squinted again, jumping from the thermometer to me and his tongue clicked continuously.
“Well, Miss. Dubois, your fever is only low grade, which means that it is not entirely serious. I suggest taking a bath in cold water, drinking fluids such as tea and you must rest.”
“Would leeches help her Sir?” Piped up Clara, who was standing at the foot of the bed, she looked tired and worn.
“Unless Miss. Dubois here has been poisoned I do not think that leeches will be of much help.” Stated Dr. Vogel as he started to pack all of his instruments away into his black bag, Clara paid him for his services and followed him downstairs to say goodbye.
My stomach churned as I rolled on my side and the world in front of me spun sickeningly, perhaps God was punishing me for committing too many sins, or for leading naïve and innocent men away from the path of God. I closed my eyes, trying desperately to fall into a slumber, however, when I did so it felt as if my body was spinning and turning. A slight cough ripped me out of my thoughts as Clara was at the doorway.
“I am sorry to disturb you my lady, but Mr. Harlette has arrived, do you wish to see him?”
I nodded my head in reply, my throat was raw and I sounded ghastly, Clara bowed once and scurried downstairs, I could hear her large feet stumble at the last step. Voices exchanged back and forth and moments later I could hear footsteps climb up the stairs, Clara entered first, bowed and left the room in a hurry.
William entered the room slowly, his hands were behind his back and his grey wig sat perfectly on his head, he smiled slightly and knelt down beside me, one hand lightly combed through my black hair and while the other hand gently caressed against mine.
“How are you feeling Charlotte?” His voice was gentle and soft, soothing in a way, I closed my eyes as the feelings of security wrapped my body, the dream replayed in my mind and I remembered how terrified he made me feel. William Harlette may be a promiscuous fiend, but he made me feel safe, perhaps my mind is creating tricks on me.
I smiled slightly in response to his question, not wanting him to hear how ugly my voice had become from the illness. He chuckled a little, took out a piece of paper from his pocket and unfolded it; a sly smile appeared on his lips.
“To my dearest friend, I cannot express the grief that I am feeling at the news that you are unwell. I hope that William reads this to you, remember that you will be in my prayers and I will ask for a quick recovery. Your loyal friend Amelia Harlette.”
I laughed slightly as William tried to imitate Amelia’s small and childlike voice, it was humorous and sad in a way to learn that she was completely devoted to William and it was beyond me that Amelia had not suspected William. However, it was not at all a coincidence; William and I both knew that Amelia was not at all clever, far from it.
“Miss. Dubois a Mr. Roux has arrived, do you wish to see him?” Asked Clara, her eyes bounced from William to me. William smiled down at me, his eyes pleading for me to say no, I shook my head at Clara and I could see William grin at my reply. Bowing in reply Clara hurried downstairs, the hum of Alexander’s voice reached my ears, I wanted to see Alexander and I wanted William gone. However, the moment passed as I heard the door close and the sound of hooves against cobble faded away.
I stared at William, his ugly and smug smile breaking his face.
I hated him.