The room in which Charles Sanford lay was modest, yet well furnished. Aside from the bed, there was a stand with utensils for washing, an easy chair in which to relax, a cabinet beside the bed and a small desk. It also had a fine view over The Close to the great cathedral beyond. Suitable lodgings for a normal guest in a house like this. For the young man in the bed, it might well be the finest bedroom he had ever occupied.
It was to that young man that Adam now turned his attention. His patient lay on his back, propped up on several pillows. To Adam’s professional gaze, his colour appeared somewhat pale, but his breathing was steady. There was no sign of fever.
Sanford’s arms rested beside him on the sheet. Adam lifted one to test the man’s pulse. That too was steady enough, though not as strong as Adam would have liked it to be. Adam leaned forward and moved his patient’s head to the left. He wished to examine the area behind the man’s right ear. The manservant who had attended to Sanford when he was first brought into the house said he had noticed a small amount of dried blood there.
Adam soon found the wound, and though it was not large it must have bled copiously when first inflicted. Scalp wounds were like that. That was why they often appeared to the layman to be much worse than they were. Indeed, this wound was superficial; the real damage lay to the skull beneath. There an area of swelling suggested a slight fracture. That would lead to a significant case of concussion, Adam thought.
The rest of the young man’s head was undamaged. Adam pulled back the bedclothes and lifted Sanford’s nightshirt up to his armpits. He could see no sign of bruising or wounding on the slim body. Gently, now much preoccupied with his thoughts, he restored all to their previous condition.
During all this, Sanford was totally unresponsive. His eyes were open, yet he stared only at the canopy of the bed above him. Nor did he speak or demand to know who it was who took such intimate liberties with his person. Wherever Charles Sanford’s mind was, it was not here.
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