“Is that you, sir?”
Some persons, with nerves less serene than Jan’s, might have started at the sudden interruption there and then. Not so Jan. He turned round with composure, and saw Bennet, the footman from Verner’s Pride. The man had come up hastily from behind the hedge.
“I have been to your house, sir, and they told me you were at the gamekeeper’s, so I was hastening there. My mistress is taken ill, sir.”
“Is it a fit?” cried Jan, remembering his fears and prognostications, with regard to Mrs. Verner.
“It’s worse than that, sir; it’s appleplexy. Leastways, sir, my master and Mrs. Tynn’s afraid that it is. She looks like dead, sir, and there’s froth on her mouth.”
Jan waited for no more. He turned short round, and flew by the nearest path to Verner’s Pride.
The evil had come. Apoplexy it indeed was, and Jan feared that all his efforts to remedy it would be of no avail.
“It was by the merest chance that I found it out, sir,” Mrs. Tynn said to him. “I happened to wake up, and I thought how quiet my mistress was lying; mostly she might be heard ever so far off when she was asleep. I got up, sir, and took the rushlight out of the shade, and looked at her. And then I saw what had happened, and went and called Mr. Lionel.”
“Can you restore her, Jan?” whispered Lionel.
Jan made no reply. He had his own private opinion; but, whatever that may have been, he set himself to the task in right earnest.
She never rallied. She lived only until the dawn of morning. Scarcely had the clock told eight, when the death-bell went booming over the village; the bell of that very church which had recently been so merry for the succession of Lionel. And when people came running from far and near to inquire for whom the passing-bell was ringing out, they hushed their voices and their footsteps when informed that it was for Mrs. Verner.
Verily, within the last year, Death had made himself at home at Verner’s Pride!
JAN’S REMEDY FOR A COLD.
A cold bright day in mid-winter. Luncheon was just over at Deerham Court, and Lady Verner, Decima, and Lucy Tempest had gathered round the fire in the dining-room. Lucy had a cold. She laughed at it; said she was used to colds; but Lady Verner had insisted upon her wrapping herself in a shawl, and not stirring out of the dining-room—which was the warmest room in the house—for the day. So there reclined Lucy in state, in an arm-chair with cushions; half laughing at being made into an invalid, half rebelling at it.