“Thanks!” said Bertie, with a brief laugh. “Say, Doctor, you’ll let me know your plans?”
“Certainly—when they are ripe.” The green eyes gleamed humorously. “Aren’t you thinking of introducing me to Mrs. Bertie?” he suggested.
“Yes, yes, of course. But you won’t do anything without me?” urged Bertie. “I should greatly like a talk with you, but I’m afraid it can’t be managed.”
“I mightily doubt if you could tell me anything that I don’t know already,” said Capper, “on any subject.”
“It’s about Luke,” said Bertie anxiously.
“Just so. Well, I guess I know more about Luke than any other person on this merry little planet.”
“Do you think he looks worse?” whispered Bertie.
Capper’s long, yellow hand fastened very unobtrusively and very forcibly upon his shoulder. “One thing at a time, good Bertie!” he said. “Weren’t you going to present me to—your wife?”
THE WOMAN’S PART
It was on a day of wild autumnal weather, when the wind moaned like a living thing in torture about the house, and the leaves eddied and drifted before the scudding rain, that they turned Tawny Hudson out of his master’s room, and left him crouched and whimpering like a dog against the locked door. Save for his master’s express command, no power on earth would have driven him away, not even Capper of the curt speech and magnetic will. But the master had spoken very definitely and distinctly, and it was Tawny Hudson’s to obey. Therefore he huddled on the mat, rocking to and fro, shivering like some monstrous animal in pain, while within the room Capper wrought his miracles.
Downstairs Mrs. Errol sat holding Anne’s hand very tightly, and talking incessantly lest her ears should be constrained to listen. And Anne, pale and still, answered her as a woman talking in her sleep.
Bertie and his young bride were still absent on their honeymoon; this also by Lucas’s express desire.
“It won’t help me any to have you here, boy,” he had said at parting. “A certain fuss is inevitable, but I want you out of it. I am looking to Anne Carfax to help the dear mother.”
He had known even then that he would not look in vain, and he had not been disappointed. So, sorely against his will, Bertie had submitted, with the proviso that if things went wrong he should be sent for immediately.
And thus Anne Carfax, who had lived in almost unbroken seclusion since her husband’s death, now sat with Mrs. Errol’s hand clasped in hers, and listened, as one listens in a nightmare, to the wailing of the wind about the garden and house, and the beat, beat, beat of her heart when the wind was still.
“Could you say a prayer, dear?” Mrs. Errol asked her once.
And she knelt and prayed, scarcely knowing what she said, but with a passion of earnestness that left her weak, quivering in every limb.