“Well?” he questioned, eagerly, as the physician entered the room, for the child was “the apple of his eye,” and he watched her every symptom most jealously.
“I think Dorrie is holding her own pretty well.”
“Oh! Phillip, that is the same old story that Dr. Abbot used to tell me before you came home and took the case,” Prof. Seabrook exclaimed, in a disheartened tone.
“I know, Will; it must grow monotonous to you,” said his brother-in-law, as he laid a sympathetic hand on his companion’s arm. “But, truly, there is nothing else to tell you; you instructed me to give you ‘facts with no evasions,’ and honor compels me to obey you.”
“True; and I know you will bring all your skill, all your experience to bear upon the case,” said the yearning father, with a note of pathetic appeal in his voice that touched his listener deeply.
“Most assuredly,” earnestly returned the physician; but an involuntary, though quickly repressed, sigh escaped him as he said it.
Prof. Seabrook’s keen ear detected it and a spasm of fear clutched his heart. But he would not voice it; he shrank from having it corroborated.
“There is one thing more which could be done, which might, perhaps, result in giving Dorrie relief from the troublesome pain,” said Dr. Stanley, after a moment of thought, adding: “I have been waiting for her to get stronger before suggesting it.”
“What is it?” briefly inquired his companion.
The young man explained the operation, and the father shivered involuntarily.
“That means great suffering—at least for a time,” he said, with dry lips.
“Yes,” and Phillip Stanley’s eyes grew very pitiful as they met the almost hopeless ones opposite him.
“I cannot bear it!” cried his brother-in-law, passionately.
There followed a somber silence of several minutes, during which each heart struggled in secret rebellion under the galling burden imposed upon it.
“There is an alternative which we might try before attempting such radical treatment,” Dr. Stanley at length remarked, with some hesitation. “It—at least it could do no harm, if—if you are willing to try.”
“Anything—anything that will spare my child to me and save her suffering,” burst impetuously from William Seabrook’s lips.
“You have heard of—Christian Science?”
“What!” demanded the astonished principal of Hilton Seminary, sitting suddenly erect and bending a look of scorn upon his companion. “You suggest such an absurd alternative as that to me, and for such a case as this!”
“I know it sounds absurd; but, as I said before, it could at least do no harm.”
“The suggestion is ridiculous; I have no patience with it,” was the sharp retort.
“Well, it may seem ridiculous to you, but if it can cure one disease I do not know why it could not others,” the physician mildly rejoined; and then he proceeded to relate the story which Katherine had told her teacher that same hour, but without mentioning any names.