Jasper had blown out the lamp and opened the door before Steve had finished speaking. He was now very impatient to be away. There was only one man, he felt quite sure, who would be prowling along that lonely trail on a Christmas Eve, and that man would be Peter Sinclair. It was of Lois he thought and not the sick man as he hurried to the stable, harnessed Pedro, and made him fast to the sleigh.
“You go back home, Steve,” he ordered, “and tell your mother that I have gone for the doctor.”
Pedro did not like the idea of being taken out of his warm stable at such an hour of the night. But when once upon the firm road he gave his noble head a toss and sped along at a fast clip. He had not been driven much of late and was in excellent form. It was a clear star-light night, with not a breath of wind astir. Jasper not only enjoyed the ride in the bracing air behind such a fast horse, but the feeling that he was doing it for Lois’ sake filled him with satisfaction. How he longed to speed straight to her with the message. But, no, that would not do. Her father, he believed, was in need and must be cared for first.
It took him somewhat over an hour to reach the doctor’s house and to arouse him from sleep. The latter was in no enviable frame of mind when he had admitted Jasper and learned the object of his visit.
“Confound it all!” he growled. “What do people mean by getting sick in the night! Why don’t they take the day for it! But I don’t see how I can go now. My horse threw a shoe coming home last night, and I wouldn’t think of putting her on the road without being properly shod.”
“I’ll drive you there,” Jasper replied, “and bring you back as well. But we must have you to-night, and at once. If he is the man I think he is, you will not regret going.”
“Who is he? Any one I know?” the doctor queried, now somewhat interested.
“Yes, you know him. But I shall not mention his name until I am certain. Will you come?”
“Oh, yes, I suppose so,” the doctor replied as he moved wearily away to get ready for the journey. “I have had so many night calls of late that I am tired out, and was hoping to have a good rest, especially on Christmas Day.”
In less than half an hour Pedro was again bounding nimbly over the road, this time headed straight for Mrs. Bean’s ten miles off. Jasper believed that the doctor slept most of the way for he never uttered a word from the time they started until they drew up before Mrs. Bean’s house.
The sound of the bells brought Jimmy to the door, and asking him to stable Pedro and give him something to eat, Jasper accompanied the doctor. He was anxious to find out as soon as possible whether his surmise was correct about the sick man. If so, he had his mind all made up what he would do, and there was no time to be lost.
Mrs. Bean was waiting at the door to receive them, and led the way at once into the little sitting room which was warm and cosy.