The next thing I remember is, waking up with a feeling as if I had had a
frightful nightmare, and seeing before me a terrible red glare, crossed
with thick black bars. I heard voices, too, speaking with a hollow
sound, and as if muffled by a rush of wind or water: agitation,
uncertainty, and an all-predominating sense of terror confused my
faculties. Ere long, I became aware that some one was handling me;
lifting me up and supporting me in a sitting posture, and that more
tenderly than I had ever been raised or upheld before. I rested my head
against a pillow or an arm, and felt easy.
In five minutes more the cloud of bewilderment dissolved: I knew quite
well that I was in my own bed, and that the red glare was the nursery
fire. It was night: a candle burnt on the table; Bessie stood at the
bed-foot with a basin in her hand, and a gentleman sat in a chair near my
pillow, leaning over me.