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how great a work it is to become a Dorothy knew it; but she was popular doctor.
quite in the dark as to what it But in their leisure hours Ernes- meant in this case, although it was tine put these perplexities aside, her own words that had produced and revelled in the broad stream of it. sunshine that lay upon their lives, It was Dorothy's nature and and was yet scarce chequered with Dorothy's business to know everyshade. She allowed a child-like thing. She was not a scandal. capacity for enjoyment which she monger; but she certainly was a possessed to appear and to be grati. purveyor of choice bits of gossip. fied. Dr. Doldy's strong maturity Ernestine learned more of the of manhood seemed suddenly to ways and doings of the world have taken a step back into hilari. around her in a few minutes' chatter ous youthfulness; and with his with Dorothy than in a week of beautiful wife by his side he her own observations. She passed entered upon all manner of foolish through life absorbed in the conexcursions, and heartily delighted templation of certain aspects of it. in small pleasures ; and continually She was not able, at the same time, he would look at her, as, with true to grasp all the petty incidents good comradeship, she followed which befell her fellow passengers. him into any amusement or enter- But Dorothy was all eyes and prise which pleased him at the ears ; she heard and saw and remoment; and at such times he felt tailed all manner of small spicy that any social position was worth things. sacrificing for the possession of such This afternoon, when Ernestine a comrade.
had spent a brief tranquil halfBut, as yet, society had looked hour in her drawing-room, she had kindly upon them. Ernestine being chattered thus about all sorts of very quiet and eminently unmas- people whom they both knew; and culine, the grand old ladies had she innocently enough made the not taken much offence at her door following remark: plate.
“I hear Sir Percy Flaxen is payLife was so englamoured with ing great attention to Laura Doldy. rose-colour, and so rich in sweet. I suppose she will soon be engaged ness to Dr. Doldy, that when one again. Sir Percy is considered day Ernestine spoke to him with a rather a catch; but so is Laura, knitted brow and a very serious If they do become engaged they voice, he stood aghast.
will be an excellent match ; both She had just returned from are very attractive to the opposite Mrs. Silburn's house ; and, sex, both are rich, and I should strangely enough, her visit there think at the outside they can't have had brought a deep line upon her more than one idea between them.” forehead—a straight one, down. Dorothy's talk, like a wandering wards, between her eyes. When rivulet, had branched far away that appeared on Ernestine's brow from Laura and Sir Percy Flaxen it meant sore perplexity within. It when Ernestine interrupted her. was a signal of distress.
“Engaged again. I think you But the signal was not one to be said ? Has Laura 'Doldy, then, understood by Dr. Doldy. He had been already once engaged?”. studied her face narrowly, but he “Didn't you know it ? " exhad not known her long enough to claimed Dorothy. “She has been know the meaning of that line of talked about with half-a-dozen care.
men, and once definitely engaged.
She herself announced it to me; she had some bright remark to but it was immediately contra- make, or some piece of news which dicted.”
was too good to keep. He was only "To whom was she engaged ?" too glad to refresh himself now asked Ernestine.
and again in her sunny atmos. “ A horrid little Spaniard, whom phere. I believe Dr. Doldy hated. Pro. But when he turned, he saw her bably that is why he has never absorbed and frowning: a cloud mentioned the affair to you. He on her brow, and no smile on her never could mention Yriarte's name lips. with a cheerful expression of coun. He stood aghast. tenance."
“Why, Ernestine,” he ex"And she is being talked about claimed, “what is it?" again ?" said Ernestine, with an “Glaucoma," was her reply. effort at an ordinary tone of voice; At first he thought her mind was but the deep line had come upon wandering; but a second after he her forehead.
laughed. “Yes; that is only to be ex “Nonesnse!” he said, “the pected. She will marry soon, of man's bilious. I meant, what is
the matter with you?” Ernestine did not like to ask “Is it not Mr. Richy, the artist, any more. She knew so much and who is with you ?” was Ernestine's so little of Laura's affairs, that she apparently irrelevant answer. “I was afraid lest in speaking she should like to see him.” might either show her ignorance or “Very well,” said Dr. Doldy suggest her knowledge. She soon cheerfully, speaking from the level went home, leaving Dorothy de- of a shelf, where he was looking for bating within herself what there something. “I will bring him to could be distressing in the pro- the drawing-room. But I didn't bability of Laura's engagement. know he was any favourite of And Ernestine had walked home yours.” deep in thought, and entered her own room. She sat down near the
CHAPTER XXVI. door, and, from where she sat, could hear something of what
GLAUCOMA. passed in Dr. Doldy's consulting. ERNESTINE approached her husroom. A patient had just come in, band, and laid her hand on his and, after a little while, his words arm. seemed to enter her mind, and “Arthur,” she said, “I don't awaken its interest; for she arose, want to see him in the drawingand stepped into the little ante room ; I want to see him profeschamber.
sionally.” In the midst of a long interview, Dr. Doldy paused an instant Dr. Doldy rose and came to the before he replied; but his answer ante-chamber where she stood, to had a little irritation in its tone for fetch something which he required; all that. and there he found her. She gene “Now, Ernestine, don't talk rally retreated under such circum- nonsense.” stances, for she held a thinking “I am not talking nonsense,” man sacred; but now she stayed she said, the straight downward where she was.
line in her brow growing more Seeing that she remained, he defiant as she spoke. “I cannot turned towards her, expecting that help thinking you are making a mistake in this case. There is physics, could cause him to forget every symptom of glaucoma." .: small conventions. But Ernestine
“ Bah!” said Dr. Doldy, almost was yet young enough to be impatiently; " seeing so many eye thorough. She sat down and took operations has turned your head. from her pocket a note-book which The man has dined out too fre. had been very recently filled, as quently, and has not taken enough might be easily seen by the freshexercise. That is all.”
ness of its leaves. Dr. Doldy and “Let me see him," said Ernes. Mr. Richy found her still absorbed tine.
in studying this. “Very well ; if you will be in the Mr. Richy knew her. He had drawing-room in about ten minutes met her once in society, and had I will bring him there. As he is a not forgotten her; for, as Dr. lover of beauty by profession I am Doldy had said, he was a professed sure he will be delighted to come. admirer of beauty. He saw in her I have yet to meet with the man the charming and beautiful wife of who would refuse your invitation." an old friend, and he bowed low
This was said with a smile of over her hand with the politeness mingled meanings, but Ernestine of the old school to which he did not respond but by a little sigh belonged, little aware of the mean. of regret.
ing of the keen glance which met “Well,” she said, “I suppose I his eyes. must submit to that if you wish it; Mr. Richy had but a brief time but I should like to have used the to stay, for he had already proophthalmoscope myself to-day.” longed his consultation with Dr.
Dr. Doldy made no reply, but Doldy; and, after a few moments left her, and returned to his of small talk and some polite patient without even another look phrases of congratulation, he de. in her direction.
parted. The truth was that he scarcely Dr. Doldy, after bowing him out, knew what his eyes would express returned to Ernestine's side to find if he did look at her, for his mind her face of perplexity resolved into was for the moment much confused one of smiles and brightness. by a new aspect of their relations His was now the perplexed coun. to each other. As yet Ernestine tenance, for he did not understand had been to him a beautiful woman the secret of this change. with a foible. He had no mind to She looked up at him with a see in her an actual practitioner of smile of enthusiasm. a new school.
“We can save his sight," she Ernestine, meanwhile, went up said, “but it must be done at stairs, the straight downward line once." remaining unmoved upon her brow, “What are you talking of ?” said She went into the drawing-room Dr. Doldy. without removing her out-door “I am talking,” said Ernestine, dress. Her mind was profoundly recalling herself to the reality of abstracted after the fashion of a the position, “of Mr. Richy's eyes. new and earnest worker.
I feel some interest in them, for I Dr. Doldy would probably have like his pictures; and imagine," laughed at her if she had taken she added, “ the horror to an artist him into her confidence at this whose sight is infinitely more moment. He had long passed the sensitive than ours, of total blindstage when a patient's life or death, ness.” or a new discovery in medicine or “But there is no such danger
for Richy," said Dr. Doldy; "you “Don't think me pragmatical," are talking nonsense. There is a she added, pausing at the door, and haze over his eyes from bilious- turning to him with a winning ness; he will be all right in a week smile. “I am really interested in or two with careful diet.
the case; it is not all the vain"No," said Ernestine; “I saw gloriousness of a young doctor. I that the pupil is dilated to a degree am not craving to perform the that shows only a mere ring of operation : I would not dare to iris; and the iris is discoloured." attempt it. And I don't at all
Dr. Doldy laughed aloud. sympathise with the surgeons who " That is all very well," said delight in the operation of iridec. he;" but the man has constant tomy because it is so interesting to
give health to an eye by taking out "So I heard him say,” said the very part ordinarily considered Ernestine composedly. “You for- necessary for health. I am not get that I heard him detail his afflicted with the passion for operasufferings; and, perhaps, you don't tions; iridectomy does not fascinate remember either that recurrent me because it is asserted that the vomiting is now ascertained to be larger the piece of the iris cut out, one of the symptoms in an acute the more complete the cure; and I case of glaucoma.”
am quite aware that, in some cases " You are falling into the snare where it has been performed, the which besets young doctors who other eye has got well. Indeed, study a specialty,” said Dr. Doldy, Arthur, I can quite understand with a rather ineffectual effort to your laughing at the absurdities retain his coolness. “You think committed by young doctors with every patient is afflicted in the specialties; and I am only anxious organ which you have studied. that Mr. Richy should have the Modern discoverers appear to dis- benefit of further examination." cover what they want to find. She went away full of her Richy would think I was mad if thoughts, leaving Dr. Doldy to his I told him he was made sick by a own. These did not seem to be local disease of the eye. If new very tranquil ones, for he walked doctors avow such theories, I hope the drawing-room in a manner it is in the medical journals only, unusual to him. and not to their patients.”
This was the first sign of interErnestine had shut up her note- ference with his patients, the first book, and was moving towards the breach on the unwritten laws which door.
Ernestine had committed. Dr. “We need not discuss that,” Doldy would have been furiously said she, without any of the heat angry with anybody but Ernestine. in her voice which had begun to be with her it was different. It was apparent in Dr. Doldy's. She was a new sensation even thinking himmuch too interested in the matter self justified in being angry with in hand to think of quarrelling her. But still, he was intensely about it. “We need not discuss annoyed. that,” she said, “for we need not After some little time, he followed tell him anything until we are quite Ernestine, intending to talk the certain that iridectomy must be matter over with her, and dissuade performed at once. And to be her from doing anything to break certain of that we ought, of course, the harmony of their life. He to use the opthalmoscope in a good determined to point out to her that light."
it was simple madness for her to
interfere between himself and a she could not calculate on his propatient such as Mr. Richy.
bable actions. The combination of He could not find her; and, on worldliness with a certain chivalrous asking the servants, found that she purity of character which was had gone out.
visible in him puzzled her entirely. In the evening, when they met She distrusted him with a different again, the incident had almost been distrust from that which she forgotten by both.
bestowed on Mrs. Honiton. The
lady was wholly absorbed in selfCHAPTER XXVII.
interest; and Laura knew that
beyond a certain point her LEWIS LINGEN'S OFFICE.
sympathies were not to be expected. LAURA had temporised; she had Dr. Doldy she mistrusted simply pawned as many jewels as she dared, because she never quite understood to gain a temporary reprieve from when he might turn upon her with Yriarte's claims. She wanted to horror and denounce her as having postpone her revenge on him—to gone too far. And, when he did put him out of her thoughts while condemn her, she feared him; his she carried on the more immediately judgment descended upon her from interesting operation of catching a à platform nearer her own than new lover.
Ernestine's; one less ideal and more But he had no idea of being intelligible to her. satisfied or even temporarily paci. Yriarte's threat could not have fied with the small sums she was come to her at a more alarming able to give him. He wrote to her moment. She dreaded the de. again, telling her that Anton abso. struction of all her hopes. She had lutely refused to give up any of the determined to marry Sir Percy; he letters unless the whole debt were was perfectly eligible himself acpaid; and that he much feared cording to her taste, and his family Anton had read some of the letters was one she would wish to enter. and was likely himself to go to her But how dare she advance another uncle and demand money.
step in the matter with Yriarte and This letter-an ill-written, mis. his creditor in possession of her spelt scrawl-kept Laura in a letters—prepared at any moment fever for an hour, shut in her to reveal her secret to her uncle room.
perhaps to Sir Percy himself ? Sir Percy Flaxen had proposed Her spirit rose with the exigency marriage to her only the night of her position; she determined to before, under the helpful influence take a step which she very much of a good deal of champagne. The dreaded. She did not know the announcement of her engagement real legal view of the position ; would be made whenever she gave what she might do and what she him permission to go to Dr. Doldy. might not do with safety. She
And now she dared not give this must have good advice. She must permission until she had taken go to Mr. Lingen and give him some step with regard to Yriarte. a half-confidence. And it took all If Dr. Doldy were in new posses- the necessity of her position to sion of her secret, when Sir Percy drive her to this ; for, with a secret Flaxen went to him-especially to keep, there was nothing she with Ernestine's influence upon dreaded so much as the blank gaze him-she knew not what catas- through Lewis Lingen's eye-glass. trophe might not result. She was She thought she knew this man unable to grasp her uncle's mind; well. She believed him heartless,