“I ’ear you spick of medical, M’syae Coristine; do you know it? Can you ’elp ze pauvre vidow?” asked Madam.
“It’s mighty little I know, Madame, but I’ll go. Wait till I get my flask,” said the lawyer, going after his knapsack in the sitting room. Returning, he handed it to the hostess with the request that she would fill it with the best, and add any remedy she had in the house. Soon she came out of the railed-off bar with a filled flask and a bottle of St. Jacob’s Oil. Pocketing them both, the lawyer said, “Come on, Tommy,” and, with his guide, set out for Widow Toner’s.
Ben’s Sudden Sickness—The
Spurious Priest—Coristine as
Doctor—Saved by the Detective—Anxiety at the Maple—A Pleasant
Evening—Sunday Morning and Ben—The Lawyer Rides—Nash and the
Dominie Talk Theology on the Road—At the Talfourds—Miss Du
Plessis the Real—The False Meets Mr. Rawdon—Mr. Terry and
Wilkinson at the Kirk.
“What is the matter with Ben?” asked Coristine, as they single-filed along the narrow path by the river.
“He’s tumbled down over some grindstones, and hurt himself, and fainted right away,” replied the youthful Tommy, pulling up handfuls of tall grass and breaking an occasional twig from a bush as he stumbled along.
“What are you to the Toners?”
“I ain’t nuthun’ to the Toners.”
“How did you come to be their messenger, then?”
“I was runnin’ to the farm to tell the widder that the priest was comin’, when she come out cryin’ and sent me off. Guess the priest’s there by now.”
“What priest is it you saw?”
“I didn’t see no priest. Old Mum Sullivan, she saw him, and sent and told mother to tell widder Toner, ’cos she’s a Roman, too. She said it was a new priest, not Father McNaughton, the old one, and she guessed he was all right, but she didn’t like his looks as well as t’other’s.”
“Then you are not a Roman.”
“Naw, what are you givin’ us? I play a fife on the Twelfth.”
“Oh, you are an Orangeman?”
“Yum, Young Briton, same thing.”
“So, you Orangemen run to help the Roman Catholics when they are sick or want to know if the priest is coming, and then, on the Twelfth, you feel like cutting each other’s throats.”
“I don’t want to cut nobody’s throat, but we’ve got to sass ’em on the Twelfth to keep up the glorious, pious and immortal memory, and to whistle ’em down ‘The Protestant Boys.’ We’ve got three fifes and three drums in our lodge.”
After more of this edifying conversation, the pair arrived at a clearing on the river, containing a house and some out buildings, not far from its bank. These communicated by a private road with the public one, which crossed the stream about an eighth of a mile farther on. Turning the corner of the barn, Coristine saw a gray-haired woman, and a clean shaven man in clerical garb, leaning over the prostrate figure of Ben.