Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

beg your pardon, sir, if I have spoken roughly." The old man, humbled and crestfallen, was now gathering himself together for departure, and looking about for the stick which should have been his support. He looked so feeble, so harmless, that a sudden shame seized the other. "I say, I have been shockingly rude!" cried he. “I—I And as he stammered and

[ocr errors]

stuttered, a carriage drove past.
In it were Lady Tilbury and Iva.

45

CHAPTER VI.

LADY TILBURY THINKS SHE WILL HAVE TO TAKE CARE.

"WHAT Were you and old Father Stevens talking about?" demanded the latter next day. "You both looked quite caught. Been consulting him about your precious health, Reggie?"

'Does he still practise, then?" said Reggie. "If I had known that, I would have gone down to him to-day with my broken finger-nail."

"Oh, your broken finger-nail! Is it a new finger-nail or the old one? Start something else, Reggie, please. The old one did duty long enough."

"No, but really-really it's very sore. It's a new one-quite new-and confoundedly sore. I believe the nail is coming off. Just look here; look what a queer colour it is! to be that colour."

No nail ought

"And suppose it does come off?"

"Do look at it; you would not like to have a nail like that yourself? It's beastly painful. I think I shall ask Lady Tilbury for some

plaister, or something. I'm sure it ought to be tied up

[ocr errors]

"With your head as well-in a bag!" jeered Iva. "Oh, yes; go to my mother by all means! You will get pity, and sympathy, and croton oil, and

"Croton oil!"

[ocr errors]

"Camphorated oil-some kind of oil.

not croton?

that."

Why

I know there is some stuff called

[ocr errors]

"Of course there is. One of our fellows had to be rubbed with it; and-O Lady Tilbury,' as she entered the room, "here's Iva being so unkind to me. I have got a very bad finger, and she won't believe it hurts, and says I am to have croton oil rubbed in. Do come and look at the finger."

And send for a doctor, quick," added Iva, who was seated on the window-ledge, swinging her feet; "do send, dear mother. Reggie does bear pain so well that he makes the very least of it, but I know he is suffering agonies! Shall I ring and tell them to send round to the stables to saddle the quickest horse or had they not better take the dog-cart, so as to bring Dr. Thomson without losing time?"

"That's the way she laughs at me." Reggie looked plaintively round. "I never said it was 'agonies'-but Iva does exaggerate so. Now,

doesn't it really want plaister or something, Lady Tilbury?

Poor boy-yes. Iva is a bad-hearted spalpeen. Why, how did you manage to do this, Reggie? You have broken off the nail!"

"So I told her, but she wouldn't believe me." He shot a triumphant glance. "I knew it was broken. A stone fell on it yesterday, off that old wall Dr. Stevens and I were standing by when you passed. He dropped his stick, and I was picking it up for him, and the end of my gun somehow managed to knock one of the top stones off the wall."

"I suppose it really did hurt it really did hurt you, then?" Iva slipped off her seat, and advanced a pace nearer.

"I

"Suppose? It jolly well did!" Reproachful indignation on the part of the injured one. had to bite my tongue not to squeak out, it came with such a crack."

66

Why didn't you squeak out? It must have been the first time in your life you held your tongue when the chance was given you."

[ocr errors]

'Iva, my dear, don't be silly!" It was Lady Tilbury, of Tilbury Court, who spoke. Lady Tilbury did not like sham fights, unless she were retained on one side or the other, and in the present instance the belligerents appeared equal to conducting their combat by themselves.

Reggie, I am sure this finger ought to be

poulticed," continued the speaker in maternal accents. "If it throbs, that means inflammation, and ——”

"No, ma'am, it doesn't throb," resignedly. "Would you try a bread-and-milk poultice? It could be made at once."

"What about a rag with some liniment? If I were to try that first ?" suggested he; he did not add that a rag well saturated with a good old-fashioned remedy from the ample stores of his farmer's wife was now reposing in his waistcoat pocket, somewhat to the detriment of the silver matchbox.

He had pulled off the rag when approaching the house, preparatory to entering with éclat; but it had done its work; for though the blow had actually broken the nail, as he said, and caused some minutes of sharp pain and a night's uneasiness, the wounded digit was now so far well as to admit of playing its part in an interesting scene.

"Surely; you shall have it properly bound up," said Lady Tilbury, who had a turn for surgery, and loved to dabble in bandages; "I have a liniment. Iva, will you-no, I'll get it myself," moving off with a brisk step; “wait half a minute!" and she was gone.

"How nice!" said Iva.

No two words could

have expressed her feelings more concisely.

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »