“Yes, Miss Adely, yes. I ken it”, said Aunt Patty, as she saw a firm, defiant expression gathering in the young girl’s countenance. “I’d a dream anent him last night that makes me think he’s comin”.
“Hark!” said Adele, starting and speaking in a clear, ringing tone, “he has come. I hear his voice on the lawn”.
Murmuring a word or two of excuse, she rose instantly from the table, requested Bess, the servant, to hand her a lantern, and arrayed herself quickly in hood and cloak.
As she opened the door, her father was standing on the step, in the driving rain, supporting in his arms the form of a gentleman, who seemed to be almost in a state of insensibility.
“Make way! make way, Adele. Here’s a sick man. Throw some blankets on the floor, and come, all hands, and rub him. My dear, order something warm for him to drink”.
Mrs. Dubois caught a pile of bedding from a neighboring closet and arranged it upon the floor, near the fire. Mr. Dubois laid the stranger down upon it. Mr. Norton immediately rose from the tea-table, drew off the boots of the fainting man, and began to chafe his feet with his warm, broad hand.
“Put a dash of cold water on his face, child”, said he to Adele, “and he’ll come to, in a minute”. Adele obeyed.
The stranger opened his eyes suddenly and looked around in astonishment upon the group.
“Ah! yes. I see”, he said, “I have been faint, or something of the kind. I believe I am not quite well”.
He attempted to rise, but sank back, powerless. He turned his head slowly towards Mr. Dubois, and said, “Friend Dubois, I think I am going to be ill, and must trust myself to your compassion”, when immediately his eyes closed and his countenance assumed the paleness of death.
“Don’t be down-hearted, Mr. Brown”, said Mr. Dubois. “You are not used to this Miramichi staging. You’ll be better by and by. My dear, give me the cordial,—he needs stimulating”.
He took a cup of French brandy, mixed with sugar and boiling water, from the hand of Mrs. Dubois, and administered it slowly to the exhausted man. It seemed to have a quieting effect, and after awhile Mr. Brown sank into a disturbed slumber.
Observing this, and finding that his limbs, which had been cold and benumbed, were now thoroughly warmed, Mr. Dubois rose from his kneeling position and turning to his daughter, said, “Now then, Adele, take the lantern and go with me to the stables. I must see for myself that the horses are properly cared for. They are both tired and famished”.
Adele caught up the lantern, but Mr. Norton interposed. “Allow me, sir, to assist you”, he said, rising quickly. “It will expose the young lady to go out in the storm. Let me go, sir”.
He approached Adele to take the lantern from her hand, but she drew back and held it fast.
“I don’t mind weather, sir”, she said, with a little sniff of contempt at the thought. “And my father usually prefers my attendance. I thank you. Will you please stay with the sick gentleman?”