Secrets of Health, 1880 -- part 2 --
Jessie is thrown out, Mr. Ashley comes to her rescue
and the wonders of LifeBuoy Soap are discovered
This torrent of words screamed by Miss Pringle from her open bedroom window out of which she was leaning, met Jessie's ear as she tried to open the latch of the gate ---Miss Pringle was in her bonnet, and her face was purple with passion. Jessie's heart stood still, she shook with terror. "Could Miss Pringle have gone mad?" Oh I what is the matter? " she cried faintly.
"Matter! " shouted Miss Pringle, " you little fox, after all I've done for you, to try and kill me; you ought to be hanged, you little d---1, to sneak off to a house full of fever, to carry on with a strange man. To think that I nearly was going to put you in my poor, clever, Yorkins' place, only she tracked you out; and that you would not heed, even when she begged and prayed of you not to go to a house full of infection, and risk the life of your benefactress, you hideous little hussy I
All Jessie's blood seemed to rush to her brain ---What did it mean; what had she done? But at that moment a cab drove up with Yorkins inside-and then Jessie saw it all. The malignant look of victory on the woman's face told the whole tale. She had ousted her rival with a vengeance!
THE EMPTYING OF THE BAG.
Yes Miss Pringle and Yorkins, with all their luggage, actually drove off leaving Jessie standing in the road as if she was turned into stone. Her innocent mind could hardly grasp the treachery of which she was the victim, and fortunately she did not realize the actual terror of her situation -- left alone, penniless, friendless, ill an utterly unknown place -- for when she recovered from the shock she felt that she was free; Miss Pringle was gone; nothing could now prevent her from nursing the sick girl who wanted her so badly.
You angel girl! How can I thank you, but it is impossible, I dare not let you take the risk!"
Gerald Ashley was speaking. On the floor sat Jessie in tears, beside a small black bag, one she had seen before-marked with two red letters, "L. S." Yorkins had completed her malignant triumph, and Miss Pringle her vengeance.
|They had carried off Jessie's poor little bag, and in its place had left the bag that by mistake she bad allowed to take the place of the precious medicine bag, and this had just been carried into the cottage, to Jessie's dismay. But it was not this that caused her tears. They were shed because Gerald Ashley had told her that Dr. Fairleighs opinion was that his sister was suffering from typhoid fever, and that the person who nursed it always ran a great risk of taking the disease, though the other people in the house did not.|
"I cannot let you run this risk, " he said, "you are not a trained nurse who understands these things, and I have no right to take your services because - because -" " Why? " said Jessie, " when I am willing!"
"Because we are very poor -- because I may never be able to pay you a farthing for what you want to do for us; God help my poor sister, what is to become of her! "- and he rushed out of the room to hide the grief he could no longer control.
Jessie sat in a half stupor. She had gone through so much that she was at last overcome; if she could not even help here what was she to do-she had no money, not even one solitary half-penny she had not even a change of clothing-where was she to turn; and where was this poor girl, who seemed as badly off as herself almost, to find some one to care her in her extremity? She cried until she could cry no more, and then momentary relief came, for she dropped into a dose; weariness and exhaustion, for she had had no breakfast, overcame even mental suffering, and she fell asleep with her head resting on the black bag.
How long she slept she did not know-it was really only a few minutes-she felt it was hours, because she had gone through all the intricacy of a long dream.
She thought she and Mr. Ashley had opened the bag, the bag marked with the two red letters-that it was full of gold, bright shining gold-then they were walking through a green field spangled with buttercups; he put his hand in hers and said-" Look! Jessie, that must have been a Magic Bag --- my sister is well, and all these buttercups will turn into sovereigns if we touch them!" She could see his shining blue eyes looking into hers, and she awoke and jumped up --- no, he was not there, the room was dull and cold-the golden buttercups had vanished, but there was the bag. She was only half aware still, and under the influence of the dream she rushed at the bag, and did what, as the bag was not her own, she would not have done if she was wide aware, she pulled the clasp, and it opened!
A sheet of brown paper covered the contents, she lifted it. The bad was not full of gold but of silver! A moment after she was overwhelmed with disappointment --- it was not real silver. The bag was full of packets wrapped in silver paper! on the top was a folded white paper, on which was the word
She opened it as if a voice had spoken, and read these words-
"All infectious diseases are caused by living germs or seeds which come from the sick. If these seeds are killed they can no longer produce disease in other people, and just as wolves, which long ago ravaged Great Britain, were exterminated by courage, care, and energy, so infectious diseases may be exterminated and stamped out if people will learn how to destroy the seeds by which infection is spread.
One of the best ways to do this is by using LIFEBUOY SOAP, specimens of which are in this bag. It is a strong disinfectant. It will destroy disease germs, bad smells, and all elements of putrefaction, dirt, mould, must, and decay. It will purify, cleanse, and disinfect.
Families --- Use it to keep your homes healthy, to banish the doctor, and save the apothecaries' bills.
Doctors --- Recommend -its use, and it will make your reputations by helping to get your patients well quickly.
Nurses --- Never be without it. Wash your hands with it before every meal, and you will escape the infection which nurses too often convey from their hands to their mouths. Wash your hair with it, use it in your bath --- wash your clothes with it, and you will not convey infection from one case to another, and you will preserve your own health.
Advise every household to keep it, and to use it instead of ordinary soap if they want to insure purification, not surface cleanliness merely-and if they want the house from garret to cellar to be sweet, pure, and safeguarded from those unseen germs from which come our greatest foe --- Disease."
With hands trembling with excitement, Jessie turned out the bag. Under the paper was a modest little volume-"The Secret of Health. " She clutched it; then she counted the packets, there were I2. She laid them in a little stack; just as it was raised the door opened.
THE WORKING OF THE MAGIC IN THE BAG.
Oh ! see what was in the bag; see what I have found ! Jessie was on her knees before a silver pile, her face full of a hope that made it absolutely beautiful, when the door opened and Gerald entered, followed by Dr. Fairleigh.
"See what was in the bag! something that kills infection she cried, before Gerald could deliver the message he was bringing, which was to tell her finally that she must go.
"Something that kills disease ! there will be no risk now; you will let me stay --- oh ! say you will let me stay."
The doctor took up the paper which Jessie had dropped. "This has the very thing that's wanted!" he said, "I heard of this LIFEBUOY SOAP, and what a wonderful thing it is, but in out-of-the-way places like this, its often hard to get hold of new things. The young lady is right; this alters the case. If she uses this soap; washes her hands, and scrubs her nails with it frequently, she may safely stay!
Jessie almost fell on her knees to thank him.
"The great danger to the nurse in nursing typhoid fever," he went on, " is in her neglecting to disinfect her hands after attending upon the patient ; this soap will be a perfect safeguard," then he took up the little book and buried his nose in it.
Gerald looked at the silver pile, at the bag, and at Jessie. "What does it mean, " he said, " is that all you had in your bag?
"It's not my bag at all," said Jessie, in a tone of awe, "it must be a good fairies' bag I think; look what was in it! It was certainly magic that changed it for Miss Pringle's medicine bag."
Gerald looked, and he too read the paper; then be drew Jessie to the window (the doctor was still deep in the "Secret of Health "). " I told you we were poor," he said, "but if you stay, you must know the whole truth ; we are all but paupers I"
"And I," said Jessie sadly, "am quite a pauper, for I have nothing in the world, not even a penny."
"You have your beautiful face," rose to Gerald's lips, but he did not say the words; in his position he felt he had no right to say them.
"But Mrs. Perks," said Jessie, suddenly remembering, " will she let you stay?"
"Yes," he answered, "if we have a nurse," He did not add that he had pawned his watch, a gold repeater, and bribed the woman heavily.
"Then let me go to my patient."
Sickness is always sad, but when dirt and discomfort are added to it, is there anything more deplorable ?
The sick girl had everything round her to add to her misery, and to retard recovery.
She and her brother were in that most pitiable of all positions fallen with a sudden crash from wealth to poverty; they knew no more of how to make shabby things comfortable, than they knew how to earn money. Jessie had been poor for years, though she bad driven in her father's carriage when she was a baby; so she knew many useful things.
When the doctor came next day, he could not believe it was the same room, and he hardly knew the patient.
Mss Harewood, you have worked wonders," he said, " you are a better doctor than I am! "
"No doctor," said Jessie quietly, "you are not giving praise where it is due, I have had a helper."
Who?" said the doctor, incredulously.
Jessie pointed to the wash stand, on which was a packet rapped in silver paper. "It is simply wonderful," she said. "This room, when I came in, oh! how could the poor thing have lived in it. I took the things out in turns, and scoured them with that soap, until the room smelt so sweet, and I have taken all the precautions the little book recommends, and I do believe it's the pure sweet air which is in the room, now that that soap has thoroughly purified it, that is reviving her; anyhow, she is not looking like the same girl to-day!
" Undoubtedly!" said the doctor, "people are made ill by living in bad air, how then can they get well in it? Ah! that soap is badly wanted down the village; do you know, much as people think of the healthiness of the country, this place is full of fever, and scarlatina, and skin disease; and nothing but dirt and bad air, from living in filthy rooms, is at the bottom of it."
"Oh! " said Jessie, " do you know this soap must have magic in it, it has even changed the ill-tempered landlady. She saw what a difference it had made in the sick room, and when I went to the kitchen to make some beef tea, I got her to accept a bar of it; the place was swarming with flies, all from dirt you know; and she told me all her children had sore heads; well I got her to scrub every one of them there and then, and the kitchen too. I went down this morning, and will you believe it, there was not a fly to be seen; she told me the milk had not turned bad as usual at night-if you had seen the dirty larder you wouldn't wonder-and, best of all, the children's heads already are ever so much better!
part 3 for conclusion -- "Sing the praises of LifeBuoy Soap"