‘Will you let me see what I can do, Mrs. Maberley?’ I said, for I had recognised the pretty old lady at once. ’I am the village nurse, Miss Garston, and I think I can bind up poor Flossie’s leg.’
‘Miss Garston!’ in quite a different voice; it seemed to have grown rather formal. ’Oh, I am so much obliged to you, but I am ashamed to give you the trouble; only for poor Flossie’s sake,’ hesitating, ’will you come into the carriage and let me drive you to Maplehurst?’ And to this I readily consented. I could never bear to see an animal in pain, and the little creature, a beautiful brown-and-white spaniel, was already licking my hand confidingly.
I could see Mrs. Maberley was embarrassed by my presence, for she talked in rather a nervous manner about it being Christmas Eve, and how busy the young ladies were decorating the church.
‘I wanted to speak to Miss Darrell for a moment,’ she went on, ’and I found her and Lady Betty putting up wreaths in the chancel, and that good-looking Mr. Tudor was helping them. I was so sorry poor dear Gladys was not there; but Miss Darrell says her cold is so much better that she is downstairs again. I am afraid she is very delicate and takes after her poor mother.’
’I saw Miss Hamilton yesterday, and I certainly thought she looked very ill.’
’So Miss Darrell told me. What a good, unselfish little creature she is, Miss Garston! I do not know what Mr. Hamilton and his sisters would do without her. Ah, here we are at Maplehurst, and Tracy is looking out for us. Tracy, is the colonel at home? No, I am thankful to hear it. Poor little Flossie has met with an accident, and this lady has saved her life, but she tells me her leg is broken. Now, Miss Garston, will you believe it that I am such a coward that I could not be of the least assistance? Tracy, take Miss Garston into the morning room, and do your best to help her.’ And Mrs. Maberley trotted away as fast as she could, while Tracy ushered me into a bright snug-looking room and asked me very civilly what she could do for me.
Tracy was a handy, sensible woman, and in a few minutes I had managed, with her help, to strap up poor Flossie’s leg in the most successful manner.
‘I am sure, ma’am, Mr. Hamilton couldn’t have done better himself,’ observed Tracy, looking at me with respectful admiration, while I petted Flossie, who was now lying comfortably in her basket, trying to lick her bandages. ’I must go and tell my mistress that it is done, for she will be fretting herself ill over poor Flossie.’
I expect Tracy sounded my praises, for when Mrs. Maberley entered the room in her pretty cap with gray ribbons there was not a trace of formality in her manner as she thanked me with tears in her eyes for my kindness to Flossie.