Lord Oakhurst lay dying in his castle, surrounded by his young wife and servants. As he reflected on his life and the love he shared with his wife, he was filled with memories of their courtship and marriage. He recalled the moment when he had confessed his love to her and promised to make her life full of happiness and joy.
How plainly he remembered how she had, with girlish shyness and coyness, at first hesitated, and murmured something to herself about “an old bald-headed galoot,” but when he told her that to him life without her would be a blasted mockery, and that his income was £50,000 a year, she threw herself on to him and froze there with the tenacity of a tick on a brindled cow, and said, with tears of joy, “Hen-ery, I am thine.”
Despite the impending presence of death, Lord Oakhurst's love for his wife remained strong and unwavering. As Lord Oakhurst's condition worsened, his wife sent for a famous London physician, Sir Everhard FitzArmond.
Upon his arrival, Sir Everhard examined Lord Oakhurst and solemnly declared that he had passed away. In her grief, Lady Oakhurst broke open her husband's cabinet containing his private papers and discovered his will.
To her horror, she found that he had left all his property to a scientific institution dedicated to inventing a means of extracting peach brandy from sawdust. Overcome with shock and despair, Lady Oakhurst fell to the floor, unconscious. Sir Everhard, seizing the opportunity, stole valuable ornaments and rare specimens of gold and silver filigree work from the room before calling for the servants.
Sir Everhard did not reply, but silently handed her a package, and, slipping a couple of cloves into his mouth, ascended the stairs that led to Lord Oakhurst’s apartment.
As he left the castle, he was attacked by a pack of dogs that had belonged to Lord Oakhurst. In his pain and anger, Sir Everhard uttered a terrible curse before fleeing the scene in his carriage.
Sir Everhard, startled out of his professional dignity and usual indifference to human suffering, by the personal application of feeling, gave vent to a most horrible and blighting CURSE and ran with great swiftness to his carriage and drove off toward the city.
The tragic events surrounding Lord Oakhurst's death and the discovery of his will left a lasting impact on those who had been close to him. The curse uttered by Sir Everhard seemed to hang over the castle and its inhabitants, a dark reminder of the pain and betrayal that had occurred within its walls.