Fortunately, the big car was promptly stopped, and two men sprang down. An indistinct object lay just behind the forward pair of wheels, and in anxious haste they dragged it clear and into the glare of the lamps. Herbert’s hat had fallen off; he was scarcely breathing, and his face was ghastly white; but one of the men recognized him.
“It’s Lansing,” he exclaimed. “Seems badly hurt, though I’d nearly pulled her up when she struck him.”
“He was dragged some way; jacket must have caught the starting crank or something; but that doesn’t matter now.” He raised his voice. “Dreadfully sorry, Mr. Lansing; can you hear me?”
There was no answer, and the man shook his head.
“I’m afraid this is serious.”
His companion looked unnerved, but he roused himself with an effort.
“It is, and we’re behaving like idiots, wasting time that may be valuable. Get hold and lift him in; his house is scarcely a mile away.”
They had some difficulty in getting the unconscious man into the car; and then its owner backed it twice into a bank before he succeeded in turning round, but in three or four minutes they carried Herbert into Brantholme, and afterward drove away at top speed in search of assistance. It was, however, an hour later when they returned with a doctor, and he looked grave after he had examined his patient.
“Your husband has two ribs broken,” he told Mrs. Lansing. “In a way, that’s not very serious, but he seems to be prostrated by the shock. There are a few things that must be done at once; and then we’ll have to keep him as quiet as possible.”
It was two hours later when he left the house, promising to return early the next day with a nurse; and Herbert lay, still and unconscious, in a dimly lighted room.
HERBERT IS PATIENT
On the second morning after the accident, Herbert, lying stiffly swathed in bandages, opened his eyes in a partly darkened room. A nurse was standing near a table, and when the injured man painfully turned his head, the doctor, who had been speaking to her, came toward him.
“I think we can let you talk a little now,” he said. “How do you feel?”
Herbert’s face relaxed into a feeble smile.
“Very far from happy. I suppose I’ve been badly knocked about?”
“I’ve treated more serious cases, and you’ll get over it. But you’ll have to reconcile yourself to lying quiet for a long while.”
Herbert made no reply to this, but his expression suggested that he was trying to think.
“Has the thing got into the papers?” he asked.
The doctor was a little surprised; it seemed a curious point for his patient to take an interest in, but he was willing to indulge him.
“It’s early yet, but one of the Courier people stopped me as I was driving out and I gave him a few particulars. You can’t hush the matter up.”