“Why, when I have the flea as tight as you state, I may as well kill him myself.”
“Very true, so you may, if you prefer it; but if you do not, you may use this powder, which upon my honour is infallible.”
This occasioned a great deal of mirth among the bystanders. Timothy kept his sixpence, and our exhibition for this day ended, very much to the satisfaction of Melchior, who declared he had taken more than ever he had done before in a whole week. Indeed, the whole sum amounted to L17, 10s., all taken in shillings and sixpences, for articles hardly worth the odd shillings in the account; so we sat down to supper with anticipations of a good harvest, and so it proved. We stayed four days at this town, and then proceeded onwards, when the like success attended us, Timothy and I being obliged to sit up nearly the whole night to label and roll up pills, and mix medicines, which we did in a very scientific manner. Nor was it always that Melchior presided; he would very often tell his audience that business required his attendance elsewhere, to visit the sick, and that he left the explanation of his medicines and their properties to his pupil, who was far advanced in knowledge. With my prepossessing appearance, I made a great effect, more especially among the ladies, and Timothy exerted himself so much when with me, that we never failed to bring home to Melchior a great addition to his earnings—so much so, that at last he only showed himself, pretended that he was so importuned to visit sick persons, that he could stay no longer, and then left us, after the first half hour, to carry on the business for him. After six weeks of uninterrupted success, we returned to the camp, which, as usual, was not very far off.
Important news, but
not communicated—A dissolution of partnership
Melchior’s profits had been much more than he anticipated, and he was very liberal to Timothy and myself; indeed, he looked upon me as his right hand, and became more intimate and attached every day. We were, of course, delighted to return to the camp, after our excursion. There was so much continued bustle and excitement in our peculiar profession, that a little quiet was delightful; and I never felt more happy than when Fleta threw herself into my arms, and Nattee came forward with her usual dignity and grace, but with more than usual condescendence and kindness, bidding me welcome home. Home—alas! it was never meant for my home, or poor Fleta’s—and that I felt. It was our sojourn for a time, and no more.