Hugh would have walked home that she might have more room, but he knew he could be useful when they arrived. He seated himself so as to support the injured foot, and prevent, in some measure, the torturing effects of the motion of the carriage. When they had gone about half-way, she opened her eyes feebly, glanced at him, and closed them again with a moan of pain.
He carried her in his arms up to her own room, and laid her on a couch. She thanked him by a pitiful attempt at a smile. He mounted his horse, and galloped for a surgeon.
The injury was a serious one; but until the swelling could be a little reduced, it was impossible to tell how serious. The surgeon, however, feared that some of the bones of the ankle might be crushed. The ankle seemed to be dislocated, and the suffering was frightful. She endured it well, however — so far as absolute silence constitutes endurance.
Hugh’s misery was extreme. The surgeon had required his assistance; but a suitable nurse soon arrived, and there was no pretext for his further presence in the sick chamber. He wandered about the grounds. Harry haunted his steps like a spaniel. The poor boy felt it much; and the suffering abstraction of Hugh sealed up his chief well of comfort. At length he went to Mrs. Elton, who did her best to console him.
By the surgeon’s express orders, every one but the nurse was excluded from Euphra’s room.
Come on and do your best
To fright me with your sprites: you’re powerful at it.
You smell this business with a sense as cold
As is a dead man’s nose.
A Winter’s Tale.
When Mr. Arnold came home to dinner, and heard of the accident, his first feeling, as is the case with weak men, was one of mingled annoyance and anger. Hugh was the chief object of it; for had he not committed the ladies to his care? And the economy of his house being partially disarranged by it, had he not a good right to be angry? His second feeling was one of concern for his niece, which was greatly increased when he found that she was not in a state to see him. Still, nothing must interfere with the order of things; and when Hugh went into the drawing-room at the usual hour, he found Mr. Arnold standing there in tail coat and white neck-cloth, looking as if he had just arrived at a friend’s house, to make one of a stupid party. And the party which sat down to dinner was certainly dreary enough, consisting only, besides the host himself, of Mrs. Elton, Hugh, and Harry. Lady Emily had had exertion enough for the day, and had besides shared in the shock of Euphra’s misfortune.