“I reckon we’ll get on ef he gives me plenty o’ fodder. Bring it toreckly, fer I’m hungry. Quit yer starin’, kyant yer?” “Don’t you know me, Captain Nichol? Why, I—”
“Naw. Never seed ner yeared on yer. Did I ever nuss yer in a hospital? I kyant reckerlect all on ’em. Get we uns some supper.”
“That’s the thing to do first, Jackson,” added Martine, “Show us upstairs to a private room and wait on us yourself. Please say nothing of this till I give you permission.”
They were soon established in a suitable apartment, in which a fire was kindled. Nichol took a rocking-chair and acquiesced in Martine’s going out on the pretext of hastening supper.
The landlord received explanations which enabled him to co-operate with Martine. “I could not,” said the latter, “take him to his own home without first preparing his family. Neither could I take him to mine for several reasons.”
“I can understand some of ’em, Mr. Martine. Why, great Scott! How about your marriage, now that—”
“We won’t discuss that subject. The one thing for you to keep in mind is that Nichol lost his memory at the time of his wound. He don’t like to be stared at or thought strange. You must humor him much as you would a child. Perhaps the sight of familiar faces and scenes will restore him. Now copy this note in your handwriting and send it to Mr. Kemble. Tell your messenger to be sure to put it into the banker’s hands and no other’s,” and he tore from his note-book a leaf on which was pencilled the following words:
“Dear sir—A sick man at the hotel wishes to see you on important business. Don’t think it’s bad news about Mr. Martine, because it isn’t. Please come at once and oblige, Henry Jackson.”
SHADOWS OF COMING EVENTS
This first day of winter, her fatal wedding-day, was a sad and strange one to Helen Kemble. The sun was hidden by dark clouds, yet no snow fell on the frozen ground. She had wakened in the morning with a start, oppressed by a disagreeable yet forgotten dream. Hastily dressing, she consoled herself with the hope of a long letter from Martine, explaining everything and assuring her of his welfare; but the early mail brought nothing. As the morning advanced, a telegram from Washington, purposely delayed, merely informed her that her affianced was well and that full information was on its way.
“He has evidently found his cousin very low, and needing constant care,” she had sighingly remarked at dinner.
“Yes, Nellie,” said the banker, cheerily, “but it is a comfort he is well. No doubt you are right about his cousin, and it has turned out as Hobart feared. In this case it is well he went, for he would always have reproached himself if he had not. The evening mail will probably make all clear.”