19 August - Later
Glad I made the resolution, gladder
that I kept to it. I had lain tossing about, and had heard the clock strike only
twice, when the night watchman came to me, sent up from the ward, to say that
Renfield had escaped. I threw on my clothes and ran down at once. My patient is
too dangerous a person to be roaming about. Those ideas of his might work out
dangerously with strangers.
The attendant was waiting for me. He said he
had seen him not ten minutes before, seemingly asleep in his bed, when he had
looked through the observation trap in the door. His attention was called by the
sound of the window being wrenched out. He ran back and saw his feet disappear
through the window, and had at once sent up for me. He was only in his night gear,
and cannot be far off.
The attendant thought it would be more useful to
watch where he should go than to follow him, as he might lose sight of him whilst
getting out of the building by the door. He is a bulky man, and couldn't get through
I am thin, so, with his aid, I got out, but feet foremost, and
as we were only a few feet above ground landed unhurt.
The attendant told
me the patient had gone to the left, and had taken a straight line, so I ran as
quickly as I could. As I got through the belt of trees I saw a white figure scale
the high wall which separates our grounds from those of the deserted house.
ran back at once, told the watchman to get three or four men immediately and follow
me into the grounds of Carfax, in case our friend might be dangerous. I got a
ladder myself, and crossing the wall, dropped down on the other side. I could
see Renfield's figure just disappearing behind the angle of the house, so I ran
after him. On the far side of the house I found him pressed close against the
old iron-bound oak door of the chapel.
He was talking, apparently to some
one, but I was afraid to go near enough to hear what he was saying, lest I might
frighten him, and he should run off.
Chasing an errant swarm of bees is
nothing to following a naked lunatic, when the fit of escaping is upon him! After
a few minutes, however, I could see that he did not take note of anything around
him, and so ventured to draw nearer to him, the more so as my men had now crossed
the wall and were closing him in. I heard him say . . .
"I am here
to do your bidding, Master. I am your slave, and you will reward me, for I shall
be faithful. I have worshipped you long and afar off. Now that you are near, I
await your commands, and you will not pass me by, will you, dear Master, in your
distribution of good things?"
He is a selfish old beggar anyhow. He
thinks of the loaves and fishes even when he believes his is in a real Presence.
His manias make a startling combination. When we closed in on him he fought like
a tiger. He is immensely strong, for he was more like a wild beast than a man.
never saw a lunatic in such a paroxysm of rage before, and I hope I shall not
again. It is a mercy that we have found out his strength and his danger in good
time. With strength and determination like his, he might have done wild work before
he was caged.
He is safe now, at any rate. Jack Sheppard himself couldn't
get free from the strait waistcoat that keeps him restrained, and he's chained
to the wall in the padded room.
His cries are at times awful, but the silences
that follow are more deadly still, for he means murder in every turn and movement.
now he spoke coherent words for the first time. "I shall be patient, Master.
It is coming, coming, coming!"
So I took the hint, and came too. I
was too excited to sleep, but this diary has quieted me, and I feel I shall get
some sleep tonight.