“Well, if she won’t take it,” remarked Quincy, “Mandy may have the balance of it for her trouble. The man wants the room, and he is able to pay for it.”
Then Quincy and Ezekiel went into the house for supper.
The next morning Quincy found that Uncle Ike had not forgotten his promise, for he was on hand promptly, dressed for a trip to Eastborough Centre. This time they took the carryall and two horses, and Uncle Ike sat on the front seat with Quincy.
They reached Eastborough Centre and found Dr. Tillotson awaiting them. The return home was quickly made and Uncle Ike took the doctor to the parlor. Then he went to Alice’s room, and Quincy heard them descend the stairs. The conversation lasted for a full hour, and Quincy sat in his room thinking and hoping for the best. Suddenly he was startled from his reveries by a rap upon the door, and Uncle Ike said the doctor was ready. Quincy drove him back to Eastborough Centre, and on the way the doctor gave him his diagnosis of the case and his proposed treatment. He said it would not be necessary for him to see her again for three weeks, or until the medicine that he had left for her was gone. He would come down again at a day’s notice from Quincy.
On his return Mandy told him that Miss Alice was in the parlor and would like to see him. As he entered the room she recognized his footstep, and starting to her feet turned towards him. He advanced to meet her and took both her hands in his.
“How can I thank you, my good friend,” said she, “for the interest that you have taken in me, and how can I repay you for the money that you have spent?”
Quincy was at first disposed to deny his connection with the matter, but thinking that Uncle Ike must have told of it, he said, “I don’t think it was quite fair for Uncle Ike, after promising to keep silent!”
“It was not Uncle Ike’s fault,” broke in Alice; “it was nobody’s fault. Nobody had told the doctor that there was any secret about it, and so he spoke freely of your visit to the city, and of what you had said, and of the arrangements that you had made to have the treatment continued as long as it produced satisfactory results. But,” continued Alice, “how can I ever pay you this great sum of money that it will cost for my treatment?”
“Do not worry about that, Alice,” said he, using her Christian name for the second time, “the money is nothing. I have more than I know what to do with, and it is a pleasure for me to use it in this way, if it will be of any benefit to you. You can repay me at any time. You will get money from your poems and your stories in due time, and I shall not have to suffer if I have to wait a long time for it. God knows, Alice,” and her name fell from his lips as though he had always called her by that name, “that if half, or even the whole of my fortune would give you back your sight, I would give it to you willingly. Do you believe me?” And he took her hands again in his.