Wherewith he strolled to the piano, and began to improvise something so yearning and melancholy that Anna was not sorry when her uncle came back and mentioned the tune the old cow died of.
Was Gerald, the orphan of Fiddler’s Ranch, to be always the spoilt child of prosperity and the creature of modern life, with more aspirations than he saw how to fulfil, hampered as he was by duties, scruples, and affections?
CHAPTER III. DARBY AND JOAN
reason haply more
To bandy word for word and frown for frown;
But now I see our lances are but straws!
Lancelot saw his brother’s doctors the next morning, and communicated to his wife the upshot of the interview when they were driving to their meeting in Mrs. Grinstead’s victoria, each adorned with a big bunch of primroses.
“Two doctors! and not Tom,” said Gertrude.
“Both Brownlows. Tom knows them well, and wrote. One lives at the East-end, and is sheet anchor to Whittingtonia. He began with Clement, but made the case over to the cousin, the fashionable one, when we made the great removal.”
“So they consulted?”
“And fairly see the way out of the wood, though not by any means quit of it, poor Tina; but there’s a great deal to be thankful for,” said Lance, with a long breath.
“Indeed there is!” said the wife, with a squeeze of the hand. “But is there any more to be feared?”
“Everything,” Lance answered; “heart chiefly, but the lungs are not safe. He has been whirling his unfortunate machine faster and faster, till no wonder the mainspring has all but broken down. His ideal always was working himself to death, and only Felix could withhold him, so now he has fairly run himself down. No rest from that tremendous parish work, with the bothers about curates, school boards and board schools, and the threatened ritual prosecution, which came to nothing, but worried him almost as much as if it had gone on, besides all the trouble about poor Alda, and the loss of Fulbert took a great deal out of him. When Somers got a living, there was no one to look after him, and he never took warning. So when in that Stinksmeech Mission he breathed pestiferous air and drank pestiferous water, he was finished up. They’ve got typhus down there-a very good thing too,” he added vindictively.
“I put it further back than Mr. Somers’ going,” said Gertrude. “He never was properly looked after since Cherry married. What is he to do now?”
“Just nothing. If he wishes to live or have a chance of working again, he must go to the seaside and vegetate, attempt nothing for the next six months, nor even think about St. Matthew’s for a year, and, as they told me afterwards, be only able to go on cautiously even then.”
“How did he take it?”