“Where’s that man?” the doctor asked as he threw off his coat. “You might have waited until morning before sending for me. It’s no joke to come so far on a cold night like this.”
“But I was afraid he would die, sir,” Mrs. Bean replied. “He is a very sick man. He’s in there,” and she pointed to a door which led from the sitting room.
After warming himself for a few minutes before the stove, the doctor entered the small bedroom closely followed by Jasper. A shaded lamp with the wick turned down stood on a little table by the side of the bed. Though the light was dim, it was enough for Jasper to recognise the man lying upon the bed.
“You know who it is,” he remarked in a low voice as he turned to the doctor.
“Good heavens! it’s Peter Sinclair!” was the astonished exclamation. “What in thunder is he doing here?”
THE WILD NOR’EASTER
Jasper did not remain long in the bedroom. There was nothing there that he could do and he would be only in the way. He found Mrs. Bean in the kitchen putting some wood in the stove.
“Do you know who that sick man is?” he asked.
“No, I have not the least idea,” was the reply. “He is a stranger to me, but that makes no difference. The Bible bids us to entertain strangers for they may be angels unawares. Isn’t that so?”
“But the Bible doesn’t say that they will all be good angels, does it? Suppose the stranger you entertain should turn out to be your enemy, for instance?”
“Why, what do you mean?” and the widow looked her surprise. “How could an angel be one’s enemy?”
“Doesn’t the Bible speak about evil angels? If people were troubled with them in olden days I guess affairs haven’t changed much since. Now, suppose the stranger you have entertained should be your enemy unawares instead of your friend, what would you do?”
“It wouldn’t make any difference in my care of him,” Mrs. Bean emphatically replied. “I should do just as the Scripture tells me, ’If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.’ That is what I should do.”
“Well, I guess you’ll feel like heaping on the coals, all right, when you learn the name of your stranger. You had better get a shovelful ready, for I am going to tell you.”
Mrs. Bean was busy setting the table for she knew how the men would appreciate a cup of hot tea and some of her fresh homemade bread after their long cold drive. She paused with a plate in her hand and looked keenly at Jasper as he stood with his back to the stove. When he had mentioned evil angels she thought that he was joking. But now something told her that he was in earnest. Suddenly there flashed into her mind an idea which made her heart thump.
“There is only one person in the world who is my enemy, as far as I know,” she remarked.