“But, ma chere, you have no patience with Aunt Patty. I am afraid you will be too abrupt with her”.
“Don’t fear, mamma, I promise you I will not outrage Aunt Patty. Please go”.
“Ah! well! I will go”, said Mrs. Dubois.
Mrs. McNab soon made her appearance in the dining-room, and, with some degree of trepidation, inquired who wanted her there.
“Micah was here an hour ago”, replied Adele, “and said Mrs. Campbell sent him here to ask you to come and help her. Four of her children are sick with the measles and she is nearly down herself, in consequence of fatigue and watching. I did not speak to you then, as I supposed you were sleeping. I told Micah I had no doubt you would come, as there are enough here to take care of the sick gentleman, and Mrs. Campbell needs you so much”.
“Weel, Miss Ady”, said Mrs. McNab, twitching violently a stray lock of her flaming hair and tucking it beneath her cap, “I dinna ken how you could tak’ upon yourself to send such a ward as that, when Mr. Brown is just on the creesis of his fever and not one of ye as knows how-to tak’ care o’ him more than a nussin’ babe”.
“Ah! indeed! Aunt Patty”, said Adele, pretending to be offended, “do you say that my mother knows nothing about sickness, when you are aware she has carried my father through two dangerous fevers and me through all the diseases of babyhood and childhood?”
“That mon ’ull never get weel if I leave him noo, when I’ve the run of the muddesons and directions. A strange hand ’ull put everything wrang and he’ll dee, that’s a’”.
“And if he does die”, said Adele, “you will not be responsible. You have done what you could for him and now you are called away. I am sure you will not permit Mrs. Campbell to suffer, when she gave you a comfortable home in her house all last winter”.
“Weel, Mrs. Cawmmells’ a gude woman enough and I’m sorry the bairns are sick. But what’s the measles to a fever like this, and the mon nigh dead noo?” Aunt Patty’s face flushed scarlet.
“Aunt Patty”, said Adele, very slowly and decidedly, “Mr. Brown is my father’s guest. We are accountable for his treatment, and not you. My mother and I are going to take charge of him now. I sent word to Mrs. Campbell that there was nothing to prevent you from coming to assist her. You have had your share of the fatigue and watching with our invalid. Now we are going to relieve you”. There was something in Adele’s determined air, that convinced Mrs. McNab the time for her to yield had at length come, and that it was of no use for her to contest the field longer. Feeling sure of this, there were various reasons, occurring to her on the instant, that restrained her from a further expression of her vexation. After a few moments of sullen silence, she rose and said—
“Weel! I’ll go and put my things tegither, that’s in Mr. Brown’s room, and tell Mrs. Doobyce aboot the muddesons and so on”.