“We part friends, old fellow!” he said to Lionel the following morning, when all was ready, and the final moment of departure had come.
“To be sure we do,” answered Lionel. “Should England ever see you again, you will not forget Verner’s Pride.”
“I don’t think it will ever see me again. Thanks, old chap, all the same. If I should be done up some unlucky day for the want of a twenty-pound note, you won’t refuse to let me have it, for old times’ sake?”
“Very well,” laughed Lionel.
And so they parted. And Verner’s Pride was quit of Mr. John Massingbird, and Deerham of its long-looked-upon bete noir, old Grip Roy. Luke had gone forward to make arrangements for the sailing, as he had done once before; and Mrs. Roy took her seat with her husband in a third-class carriage, crying enough tears to float the train.
MEDICAL ATTENDANCE GRATIS, INCLUDING PHYSIC.
As a matter of course, the discovery of the codicil, and the grave charge it served to establish against Dr. West, could not be hid under a bushel. Deerham was remarkably free in its comments, and was pleased to rake up various unpleasant reports, which, from time to time, in the former days had arisen, touching that gentleman. Deerham might say what it liked, and nobody be much the worse; but a more serious question arose with Jan. Easy as Jan was, little given to think ill, even he could not look over this. Jan, if he would maintain his respectability as a medical man and a gentleman, if he would retain his higher class of patients, he must give up his association with Dr. West.
The finding of the codicil had been communicated to Dr. West by Matiss, the lawyer, who officially demanded at the same time an explanation of its having been placed where it was found. The doctor replied to the communication, but conveniently ignored the question. He was “charmed” to hear that the long-missing deed was found, which restored Verner’s Pride to the rightful owner, Lionel Verner; but he appeared not to have read, or else not to have understood the very broad hint implicating himself, for not a word was returned to that part, in answer. The silence was not less a conclusive proof than the admission of guilt would have been; and it was so regarded by those concerned.
Jan was the next to write. A characteristic letter. He said not a word of reproach to the doctor; he appeared, indeed, to ignore the facts as completely as the doctor himself had done in answer to Matiss; he simply said that he would prefer to “get along” now alone. The practice had much increased, and there was room for them both. He would remove to another residence—a lodging would do, he said—and run his chance of patients coming to him. It was not his intention to take one from Dr. West by solicitation. The doctor could either come back and resume practice in person, or take a partner in place of him, Jan.