“He said it wasn’t medicine, so what was the use?” she asked.
Mr. Evringham, seeming to find an answer to this difficult, bit the end of his mustache.
Dr. Ballard was feeling his very ears grow red, while Mrs. Forbes’s lips were set in a line of exasperation.
“Grandpa,” said Jewel, and the child’s voice was very earnest, “there’s a Bible over there on the table. You look in there in the Gospels, and you’ll find everywhere how Jesus tells us to do what I’ve done. He said he must go away, but he would send the Comforter to us, and this book tells about the Comforter.” Jewel took the copy of “Science and Health” from under the sheet.
“God’s creation couldn’t get sick. It’s just His own image and likeness, so how could it? And when you can get right into God’s love, what do you want of medicine to swallow? God wouldn’t be omnipotent if He needed any help. You see I’m well. Isn’t that all you want, grandpa?”
The appeal of her eyes caused the broker to stir undecidedly. “I never did have any use for doctors,” he thought, after the manner of many who, nevertheless, are eager to fly to the brotherhood for help at the first suggestion of pain. Moreover, the humor of the situation was beginning to dawn upon him, and he admired the fine temper and self-control with which the young physician pulled himself together and rose.
“I am glad you are well, Jewel, very,” he said; “but the next time I am called to prescribe for a little Christian Scientist I shall put the pellets on her tongue.” He smiled as he took up his case and said good-by.
Mr. Evringham followed him down the stairs, heroically resisting the impulse to laugh. Only one remark he allowed himself as he bade the doctor good-by.
“You’re quite right, Ballard, in your theory. Jewel has been here only three days, but I could have told you that in doing anything whatever for her, it is always absolutely necessary to consider the personal equation.”
IN THE LIBRARY
As Mr. Evringham turned from the closed door he met his daughter-in-law coming out into the hall.
“I’ve been watching for Dr. Ballard,” she said with annoyance. “I don’t see why I didn’t hear him come down.” At this juncture she paused, surprised to observe that her father-in-law was laughing. She attributed this unusual ebullition to ridicule of herself.
“I only wanted to ask if Julia’s illness is infectious,” she went on with dignity. “Eloise and I are naturally very anxious. We should like to do anything for her we can, if it is quite safe.”
“Madam, don’t, I pray, for all our sakes, run any risk,” returned Mr. Evringham, his lips still twitching as he bowed mockingly.
“It would be very foolish,” answered Mrs. Evringham, unabashed. “You wouldn’t care to have more invalids on your hands. It has been all I could do to keep Eloise away from the sick room to-day.”