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Watersprings eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 228 pages of information about Watersprings.

“That is what Cousin Anne says,” said Maud, “and when I am with her, I think so too; and then something tiresome happens and I meddle, I meddle!  Jack says I like ruling lines, but that it is no good, because people won’t write on them.”

X

WITH MAUD ALONE

They were suddenly interrupted by the inrush of the Vicar.  “Maud,” he said with immense zest, “I find old Mrs. Darby very ill—­she had a kind of faint while I was there.  I have sent off Bob post haste for Dr. Grierson.”  The Vicar was evidently in the highest spirits, like a general on the eve of a great battle.  “There isn’t a moment to be lost,” he continued, his eye blazing with energy.  “Howard, my dear fellow, I fear our walk must be put off.  I must go back at once.  There she lies, flat on her back, just where I laid her!  I believe,” said the Vicar, “it’s a touch of syncope.  She is blue, decidedly blue!  I charged them to do nothing, but if I don’t get back, there’s no knowing what they won’t pour down her throat—­ decoction of pennyroyal, I dare say; and if the woman coughs, she is lost.  This is the sort of thing I enjoy—­of course it is very sad—­but it is a tussle with death.  I know a good deal about medicine, and Grierson has more than once complimented me on my diagnosis—­he said it was masterly—­forgive a touch of vanity!  But you mustn’t lose your walk.  Maud, dear, you take Howard out—­I am sure he won’t mind for once.  You could walk round the village, or you could go and find Jack.  Now then, back to my post!  You must forgive me, Howard, but my flock are paramount.”

“But won’t you want me, papa?” said Maud.  “Couldn’t I be of use?”

“Certainly not,” said the Vicar; “there’s nothing whatever to be done till Grierson arrives—­just to ward off the ministrations of the relatives.  There she must lie—­I feel no doubt it is syncope; every symptom points to syncope—­poor soul!  A very interesting case.”

He fled from the room like a whirlwind, and they heard him run down the garden.  The two looked at each other and smiled.  “Poor Mrs. Darby!” said Maud, “she is such a nice old woman; but papa will do everything that can be done for her; he really knows all about it, and he is splendid in illness—­he never loses his head, and he is very gentle; he has saved several lives in the village by knowing what to do.  Would you really like to go out with me?  I’ll be ready in a minute.”

“Let us go up on the downs,” said Howard, “I should like that very much.  I daresay we shall hear Jack shooting somewhere.”

Maud was back in a moment; in a rough cloak and cap she looked enchanting to Howard’s eyes.  She walked lightly and quickly beside him.  “You must take your own pace,” said Howard, “I’ll try to keep up—­one gets very lazy at Cambridge about exercise—­won’t you go on with what you were saying?  I know your father has told you about my aunt’s plan.  I can’t

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