‘Oh, very well,’ rather huffily; but he was in a bad humour that day. ’I won’t talk any more to you. But I should like to know one thing: when are you going home?’
‘In another hour; my head aches, rather, and I think I shall lie down.’
’Of course your head aches; but there, you have given me a promise, so I will not say any more. Try what a good nap will do. I am going round by the Lockes’, and I shall tell Phoebe not to expect you this afternoon. It won’t hurt her to miss you sometimes; it will teach her to value her blessings more, and people cannot sing when they have a headache.’ And he walked off without waiting for me to thank him for his thoughtfulness. What did he mean by saying that I was crying, the ridiculous man, just because there were tears in my eyes? I certainly could not fancy myself crying because Mr. Hamilton scolded me!
I had a refreshing nap, and kept my dinner waiting, but I must own I was a little touched when Mrs. Barton produced a bottle of champagne which she said Mr. Hamilton had brought in his pocket and had desired that I was to have some directly I woke. ’And I was to tell you, with his compliments, that his sister Gladys would sit with Robin all the afternoon, and that Lady Betty was at the Marshalls’, and he was going again himself, and Phoebe Locke was better, and he hoped you would not stir out again to-day.’
How very kind and thoughtful of Mr. Hamilton! He had sent his sisters to look after my patients, that I might be able to enjoy my rest with a quiet conscience. I was sorry that he should think that I was so easily knocked up; but it was not over-fatigue, nor yet his scolding, that had brought the tears to my eyes. To-day was the second anniversary of Charlie’s death, and through that long, wakeful night, as I sat beside poor Mary’s bed, I was recalling the bitter hours when my darling went down deeper into the place of shadows,—when he fought away his young life, while Lesbia and I wept and prayed beside him. No wonder a word unnerved me; but I could not tell Mr. Hamilton this.
When we met the next day he asked me, rather curtly, if the headache had gone; but when I thanked him, somewhat shyly, for the medicine he had sent, he got rather red, and interrupted me with unusual abruptness.
‘You have nothing for which to thank me,’ he said, in quite a repellent tone. ’I am glad you obeyed orders and stopped at home; I was afraid you might be contumacious, as usual,’—which was rather ungracious of him, after the promise he had extracted from me.
I questioned Robin about Miss Hamilton’s visit; she had remained with the boy some hours, reading to him and amusing him, and, in Robin’s favourite language, ’getting on first-rate; only, just as I was drinking my mugful of tea, parson comes, and Miss Hamilton she says she will be late, and gets up in a hurry, and—’
‘Wait a minute, Robin: do you mean Mr. Cunliffe or Mr. Tudor?’