Johnny himself was pleased and grateful, and had that sort of satisfaction which belongs to the finding out of one’s own available talent. He had done what was pronounced the right thing; and not only that, but he had liked the doing it, and he declared himself not afraid to encounter another night alone with his cousin. He had picked up enough vernacular German to make himself understood, and indeed was a decided favourite with Fraulein Rosalie, who would do anything for her dear young Herr. It was possible to get a fair amount of sleep, and Dr. Medlicott felt satisfied that the charge was not too much for him, and indeed there was no other alternative. The doctor stayed as long as he could, and did his best to enliven the dulness by producing a pocketful of Tauchnitzes, and sitting talking while the patient dozed. Johnny showed such intelligent curiosity as to the how and why of the symptoms and their counteraction, that after some explanation the doctor said, “You ought to he one of us, my friend.”
“I have sometimes thought about it,” said John.
“Indeed!” cried the doctor, like an enthusiast in his profession; and John, though not a ready speaker, was drawn on by his notes of interest to say, “I don’t really like anything so much as making out about man and what one is made of.”
“Yes,” said the boy, who had been shy of uttering the scientific term. “There’s nothing like it for interest, it seems to me. Besides, one is more sure of being of use that way than in any other.”
“Capital! Then what withholds you? Isn’t it swell enough?”
Johnny laughed and coloured. “I’m not such a fool, but I am not sure about my people.”
“I thought your uncle was Joseph Brownlow.”
“My aunt would be delighted, but it is my own people. They would say my education-Eton and all that-was not intended for it.”
“You may tell them that whatever tends to make you more thoroughly a man and gentleman, and less of a mere professional, is a benefit to your work. The more you are in yourself, the higher your work will be. I hope you will go to the university.”
“I mean to go up for a scholarship next year; but I’ve lost a great deal of time now, and I don’t know how far that will tell.”
“I think you will find that what you may have lost in time, you will have gained in power.”
“I do want to go in for physical science, but there’s another difficulty. One of my cousins does so, but the effect on him has not made my father like it the better-and-and to tell the truth-” he half mumbled, “it makes me doubt-”
“The effect on his faith?”
“If faith is unsettled by looking deeper into the mysteries of God’s works it cannot have been substantial faith, but merely outward, thoughtless reception,” said the doctor, as he met two thoughtful dark eyes fixed on him in inquiry and consideration.