The great city doctor recorded the case among his cures; but in his treatment he did not reckon the sleepless hours that that country doctor had sat by the patient’s bedside, the unremitting struggle he had made, holding Death at bay, inspiring hope, and holding desperately every inch gained.
When the Doctor saw Keith he held out his hand to him. “I am glad you sent for me.”
“How is she, Doctor? Will she get well?”
“I trust so. She has been under some strain. It is almost as if she had had a shock.”
Keith’s mind sprang back to that evening in the Park, and he cursed Wickersham in his heart.
“Possibly she has had some strain on her emotions?”
Keith did not know.
“I understand that there is a young man here who has been in love with her for some time, and her aunt thinks she returned the sentiment.”
Keith did not know. But the Doctor’s words were like a dagger in his heart.
Keith went back to work; but he seemed to himself to live in darkness. As soon as a gleam of light appeared, it was suddenly quenched. Love was not for him.
THE MISTRESS OF THE LAWNS
Strange to say, the episode in which Keith had figured as the reliever of Norman Wentworth’s embarrassment had a very different effect upon those among whom he had moved, from what he had expected. Keith’s part in the transaction was well known.
His part, too, in the Wickersham matter was understood by his acquaintances. Wickersham had as good as absconded, some said; and there were many to tell how long they had prophesied this very thing, and how well they had known his villany. Mrs. Nailor was particularly vindictive. She had recently put some money in his mining scheme, and she could have hanged him. She did the next thing: she damned him. She even extended her rage to old Mrs. Wickersham, who, poor lady, had lost her home and everything she had in the world through Ferdy.
The Norman-Wentworths, who had moved out of the splendid residence that Mrs. Norman’s extravagance had formerly demanded, into the old house on Washington Square, which was still occupied by old Mrs. Wentworth, were, if anything, drawn closer than ever to their real friends; but they were distinctly deposed from the position which Mrs. Wentworth had formerly occupied in the gay set, who to her had hitherto been New York. They were far happier than they had ever been. A new light had come into Norman’s face, and a softness began to dawn in hers which Keith had never seen there before. Around them, too, began to gather friends whom Keith had never known of, who had the charm that breeding and kindness give, and opened his eyes to a life there of which he had hitherto hardly dreamed. Keith, however, to his surprise, when he was in New York, found himself more sought after by his former acquaintances than ever before.