“How do you know it is only a sprain, Decima? I shall send West to you.”
“Thank you all the same, Lionel, but, if you please, I don’t like Dr. West well enough to have him,” was Miss Verner’s answer. “See! I don’t think I can walk.”
She took her foot out of the basin, and attempted to try. But for Lionel she would have fallen; and her naturally pale face became paler from the pain.
“And you say you will not have Dr. West!” he cried, gently putting her into the chair again. “You must allow me to judge for you, Decima.”
“Then, Lionel, I’ll have Jan—if I must have any one. I have more faith in him,” she added, lifting her large blue eyes, “than in Dr. West.”
“Let it be Jan, then, Decima. Send one of the servants for him at once. What is to be done about Miss Tempest?”
“You must go alone. Unless you can persuade mamma out. Lionel, you will tell mamma about this. She must be told.”
As Lionel crossed the hall on his return, the door was being opened; the Verner’s Pride carriage had just driven up. Lady Verner had seen it from the window of the ante-room, and her eyes spoke her displeasure.
“Lionel, what brings that here?”
“I told them to bring it for Decima. I thought you would prefer that Miss Tempest should be met with that rather than with a hired one.”
“Miss Tempest will know soon enough that I am too poor to keep a carriage,” said Lady Verner. “Decima may use it if she pleases. I would not.”
“My dear mother, Decima will not be able to use it. She cannot go to the station. She has hurt her foot.”
“How did she do that?”
“She was on a chair in the store-room, looking in the cupboard. She——”
“Of course; that’s just like Decima!” crossly responded Lady Verner. “She is everlastingly at something or other, doing half the work of a servant about the house.”
Lionel made no reply. He knew that, but for Decima, the house would be less comfortable than it was for Lady Verner; and that what Decima did, she did in love.
“Will you go to the station?” he inquired.
“I! In this cold wind! How can you ask me, Lionel? I should get my face chapped irretrievably. If Decima cannot go, you must go alone.”
“But how shall I know Miss Tempest?”
“You must find her out,” said Lady Verner. “Her mother was as tall as a giantess; perhaps she is the same. Is Decima much hurt?”
“She thinks it is only a sprain. We have sent for Jan.”
“For Jan! Much good he will do!” returned Lady Verner, in so contemptuous a tone as to prove she had no very exalted opinion of Mr. “Jan’s” abilities.
Lionel went out to the carriage, and stepped in. The footman did not shut the door. “And Miss Verner, sir?”
“Miss Verner is not coming. The railway station. Tell Wigham to drive fast, or I shall be late.”