“Yes, madam, you are right. It’s all plain sailing now,” the doctor added.
Then Madge became guilty of her first useless act. In strong revulsion she fainted dead away. In a moment her head was on Mrs. Muir’s lap, and Henry Muir was at her side.
“Poor girl! no wonder. There’s not a woman in a hundred thousand who could do what she has done. There, don’t worry about her. Put her in my carriage with Mrs. Muir, and take her to her room; I’ll be there soon. She’ll come out all right; such girls always do.”
Meanwhile Mr. Muir and Graydon were carrying out the doctor’s directions, and the unconscious girl was borne rapidly to her apartment, where, under her sister’s ministrations, she soon revived.
Almost her first conscious words, after being assured that the child was safe, were, “Oh, Mary! what a guy I must have appeared! What will Graydon—I mean all who saw me—think?”
“They’ll think things that might well turn any girl’s head. As for Graydon, he is waiting outside now, half crazy with anxiety to receive a message from you.”
“Tell him I made a fool of myself, and he must not speak about it again on the pain of my displeasure.”
“Well, you have come to,” said Mrs. Muir, and then she went and laughingly delivered the message verbatim, adding, “Go and put on dry clothes. You’ll catch your death with those wet things on, and you look like a scarecrow.”
He departed, more puzzled over Madge Alden than ever, but admitting to himself that she had earned the right to be anything she pleased.
Dr. Sommers continued his efforts in behalf of the little girl, chafing her wrists and body with the brandy, and occasionally giving a few drops until circulation was well restored; and then, at her mother’s side, carried the child to her room, and gave directions to those who were waiting to assist.
When he entered Madge’s apartment, she greeted him with the words, “What a silly thing I did!”
“Not at all, not at all. You made your exit gracefully, and escaped the plaudits which a brave girl like you wouldn’t enjoy. I take off my hat to you, as we country-folks say. You are a heroine—as good a doctor as I on shore and a better one in the water. Where did you learn it all?”
“Nonsense!” said Madge, “nothing would vex me more than to have a time made over the affair. It’s all as simple as a, b, c. What’s that little pond to one who has been used to swimming in the Pacific! As I said, I saw a girl restored once, and Mr. Wayland has explained to me again and again just what to do.”
“Oh, yes, it’s all simple enough if you know how, but that’s just the trouble. In all that crowd I don’t believe there was one who would not have done the wrong thing. Well, well, I can manage now if I’m obeyed. You’ve had a good deal of a shock, and you must keep quiet till to-morrow. Then I’ll see.”
Madge laughingly protested that nothing would please her better than a good supper and a good book. “Please give out also,” she said, “that any reference to the affair will have a very injurious influence on me.”