Rupert readily caught the runaway animal, and, leading him into the yard, fastened and fed him.
“Take off your hat, Miss,” said Mrs. Ames, “your head’ll feel easier. I know it must ache with such a knock as that. I believe you’re cold, too. Put your feet on the hearth—or here, I’ll open the oven door—there! You must take a cup of coffee with us. It’ll warm you. You haven’t had breakfast yet, I dare say.”
The stranger thanked her and leaned back in the chair quite content. The fall had really shaken her severely and a pain shot, now and then, into her head. Rupert foolishly fidgeted about outside before he could make up his mind to come in. Nina now made her appearance. The coffee was poured out and the stranger was invited to sit up. Once, twice, Mrs. Ames spoke to her, but she sat perfectly still. Her face was pale, her eyes half closed.
“What’s the matter, Miss?” asked the mother, looking into the girl’s face.
“Mother, I believe she has fainted,” said Nina.
The three bent over the still form. Mrs. Ames rubbed the cold hands, Nina became nervous, and Rupert looked down into the pale, beautiful face.
“Yes, she has fainted. It is too warm in here. We must get her in the sitting-room on the sofa. Rupert, help us.”
Rupert stood at a distance. The mother and Nina tried to lift her, but they failed.
“You’ll have to carry her in, Rupert. Come, don’t stand there as if you couldn’t move. It’s too close in this kitchen.”
But the young fellow still hesitated. To take a strange, fair girl in his arms—such a thing he had never done—but he must do so now. He put his strong arms under her and lifted her as he would a child, and carried her into the next room, where he laid his burden on the sofa. The cool air had its effect, and she opened her eyes and smiled into the faces that were bent over her.
“Lie still, my dear,” said Mrs. Ames. “You have been hurt more than you think.”
“Did I faint?—yes, I must have—but I’m not hurt.” She tried to rise, but with a moan she sank back on the pillow which Nina had brought.
“I’ll go for the doctor,” said Rupert, and off he went. When he and Doctor Chase came in an hour later, the girl was again sitting at the table with Mrs. Ames and Nina.
“I met with a slight accident down the road,” she explained to the doctor. “I wasn’t quite killed, you see, but these good people are trying to finish me with their kindness;” and she laughed merrily.
Her name was Miss Wilton. She was a school teacher, and was on her way to answer an advertisement of the Dry Bench trustees for a teacher. She hoped the doctor would pronounce her all right that she might continue her journey, as she understood it was not far.
“You have had a severe shaking up, Miss Wilton, but I don’t think you need to postpone your journey more than a few hours,” was the doctor’s decision.