“You might have knocked me down with a feather, mum!” gasped Mrs. Lake. “I couldn’t look, mum. I couldn’t have looked to save my life. I turned my back.”
“I’d back ’ee allus to do the silliest thing as could be done, missus,” said the miller, who had a pleasant husbandly way of commenting upon his wife’s conversation to her disparagement, when she talked before him.
“As for me, ma’am,” the nurse said, “I couldn’t take my eyes off the dear child’s hood. But move,—no thank you, ma’am,—I couldn’t have moved hand or foot for a five-pound note, paid upon the spot.”
The baby got well. Whether the mill charm worked the cure, or whether the fine fresh breezes of that healthy district made a change for the better in the child’s state, could not be proved.
Nor were these the only possible causes of the recovery.
The kind-hearted butler blessed the day when he laid out three and eightpence in a box of the bone-setter’s ointment, to such good purpose.
Lady Louisa’s mamma triumphantly hoped that it would be a lesson to her dear daughter never again to set a London doctor’s advice (however expensive) above a mother’s (she meant a grandmother’s) experience.
The cook said, “Goose-grease and kitchen physic for her!”
And of course the doctor very properly, as well as modestly, observed that “he had confidently anticipated permanent beneficial results from a persevering use of the embrocation.”
And only to the nurse and the windmiller’s family was it known that Miss Amabel Adeline Ammaby had been dipped in the mill-hopper.
Gentry born.—Learning lost.—Jan’s bedfellow.—Amabel.
After the nurse and baby had left the mill, Mrs. Lake showered extra caresses upon the little Jan. It had given her a strange pleasure to see him in contact with the Squire’s child. She knew enough of the manners and customs, the looks and the intelligence of the children of educated parents, to be aware that there were “makings” in those who were born heirs to developed intellects, and the grace that comes of discipline, very different from the “makings” to be found in the “voolish” descendants of ill-nurtured and uneducated generations. She had no philosophical—hardly any reasonable or commendable—thoughts about it. But she felt that Jan’s countenance and his “ways” justified her first belief that he was “gentry born.”
She was proud of his pretty manners. Indeed, curiously enough, she had recalled her old memories of nursery etiquette under a first-rate upper nurse in “her young days,” to apply them to the little Jan’s training.