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anything further. You cannot less we could obtain a little well act in such a matter as this more than five. But you don't wish without his sanction.”
to ruin yourself in order to ruin “I must tell him ?”.
him ?” “Certainly, and at once. The “No," answered Laura, “that case will appear in the papers, would be foolish ;” and turned unless the defendant should be again towards the door. This time frightened into reason ; so that she really went; he heard the you cannot keep it secret. Besides, wheels of her carriage. you must have your uncle's sup. He threw himself back in his
chair and waved his eyeglass "I will go I will do what you languidly about in one hand. tell me," said Laura, her voice “If I hadn't a considerable trembling a little with the effort to interest myself in that girl's forcalm herself. “I will do anything tune—and if I hadn't some respect if you are sure "—she put her hand for her family,” he said, smilingly, in its cream-coloured glove upon to himself, “ I would let her preci. the dusty table and leaned towards pitate herself upon her revenge. him "if you are sure I shall get my The little demon-thirsty for it; revenge. I am thirsting for it.” and the man has been her lover!”
Mr. Lingen looked up in a cool “I must sell up Yriarte's house business-like way into ber face. at once,” he added, more thought.
“Will five years' penal servitude fully, after a little pause, “and see do ?”
what is to be got out of his relaLaura sprang back-her face lit tions.” suddenly with smiles of delight, He rose, adjusted his buttonhole she clasped her hands with effusion. flower, took his hat, and went out.
“Oh, glorious !” she ejaculated, “Oh, glorious !” she repeated musingly to herself, as, with alacrity,
CHAPTER XXVIII. she gathered up her dress and stepped towards the door. Then
“THE SUN WAS DARKENED.” she paused thoughtfully:
Dr. Doldy was in the drawing“Am I to tell my uncle I room with Ernestine, when a ser. have already been here?”
vant announced that Mr. Richy “Oh, yes, don't make small con- was in his consulting room. cealments. You can say you came They had said nothing further to me for advice, not wishing to dis about the case, for both had had tress him till you knew you must other things to think of. Dr. take public steps.”
Doldy rose now, without a word, “Good-bye,” she said, and went to go to his patient. Ernestine's out, closing the door softly; but voice arrested him, and he paused just as it was shut she opened it half-way to the door. again and came softly and swiftly “Will you examine Mr. Richy's
eyes to-day? I am so sure that “Could we not get penal servi. you will find it a decided case of tude for life?” she asked with glaucoma.” anxiety.
“Indeed, I shall not,” replied Mr. Lingen looked seriously at Dr. Doldy, a little hotly; “I have her. “I am afraid not,” he said, already satisfied myself that I have “if it were not necessary to make the case well in hand.” some bargain with the defence in “Mr. Richy," said Ernestine, order to keep your secrets, doubt. “is not the man to suffer as you
suppose he is suffering. He is in his life. Nothing less than the abstemious, and he works hard. genius of Shakespeare had ever But he is of a feeble constitution, inspired him with reverence : awe and it is intelligible that such a he certainly had not experienced. disease as glaucoma should attack But that a woman-a young inexhim. I entreat you, if you will perienced doctor and a womannot examine yourself, and will not should overstep the double bounlet me see him, to send him to an dary line existing between themoculist. It is terrible to think that should disobey him as a wife, a brief delay may make it too late dispute his knowledge as an elder to save his sight.”
doctor, and disregard the etiquettes “ Young doctors are often of both relations, struck him with afflicted with a mania for opera- an utter amazement. tions, and iridectomy is a taking For a moment he was entirely one. But you must find victims taken aback by her audacity. But for yourself.”
when that wave of feeling had Dr. Doldy felt his temper de passed, he was left only very angry. serting him so rapidly that he Anger pure and simple, however. went straightway to the door after occupied him but for a moment. making this little speech. Ernes. In the next, curiosity was rampant. tine followed him.
There was something entirely “I will not say another word if new to be seen and to be heard. you will examine the eye,” she As soon as this occurred to him, said entreatingly; “but if you without the briefest hesitation, he will not, I must see Mr. Richy took his way downstairs, and myself.”'
entered Ernestine's consulting “ That you cannot do; he is in room, which was fortunately empty. my consulting room.”
He passed straight in, entering with “I will go to him there.”
deliberate stealthiness the little “ Then you may go alone,” cried ante-chamber which divided the Dr. Doldy, in a sudden uprisal of two sanctums. If he had been a temper; and he turned back into trifle less in earnest, he might have the drawing-room.
paused to laugh at himself for Ernestine ran downstairs, but having been so easily put into his surely she would not go in. He wife's position. Ernestine had did not in the least believe that many a time, and with his approval, she would really do this which listened at his door, to find out was so distinctly against his how he did things. Their relations wish.
were now changed. But he was Each second he expected to hear quite incapable at the time of her returning foot upon the stairs; seeing the humorous side of the and, indeed, he half-pictured to situation. himself her laughing face when Anger was only kept at bay by her lack of courage and her in- sheer curiosity. “ Dr. Doldy will ability to be disobedient should be down directly,” Ernestine's have brought her back into the voice was saying at the instant. drawing-room. But as the seconds “He wished me to apologise for passed over, his heart sank and his his delay, and he asked me in the temper rose, for there was no meantime to look at your eye. I sound until he heard the door of am sure you will allow me to, Mr. his consulting room shut. He Richy; for you know I am a doctor, stood still, awe-struck; and awe- too." struck probably for the first time . “Does he fear anything local, then?” said Mr. Richy, in an while they talked ; but he could alarmed voice.
endure the position no longer. “No," said Ernestine; “but as When they became silent, after you suffer so much pain in it, he some two or three immensely long thought I might as well examine seconds, he walked into the room. it; for I have been studying the Ernestine had just moved back, eye of late under special advan- and was looking very grave. She tages.”
turned to him instantly. “Indeed!” said Mr. Richy; “ of “The light is excellent," she course I cannot but be delighted said; "you had better examine at the honour you are doing me. the eye at once; the ophthalmoAnd, indeed,” he added, with rather scope reveals very characteristic awkward jocoseness, “under such conditions." hands as yours I am sure I must She rose from her place, and soon be healed of any complaint.” handed him the little instrument
Dr. Doldy groaned, and a cold —that simple, subtle, little in. dew stood out upon his forehead. strument which Charles Babbage This was just about as much as evolved out of his wonderful mind, he could bear; and he felt strongly and presented to the craft before disposed to go in and shake the the craft was intelligent or unfortunate Richy, or do some developed enough to know how to thing equally ridiculous. But he use it. controlled himself with an effort, Dr. Doldy adopted the only and remained motionless.
possible course open to him if He followed the interview now appearances were to be preserved. partly by his own knowledge of He sat down in silence, and exwhat must be passing. He heard amined the eye himself. Ernestine ask Mr Richy to ap- That done, in silence, he put proach the window; he pictured down the ophthalmoscope, pushed her beautiful face with its frown back his chair, and rose in silence. of thought, as she moved about, Ernestine looked up at him adjusting her patient.
hesitatingly, and then spoke; for “I will not dilate the pupil,” Mr. Richy was looking in much he heard her say, gently, “as it trepidation from one doctor to the causes some inconvenience; but I other. must ask you to turn the eye “It is as I feared, is it not?” towards the nose, in order that the “Yes," was Dr. Doldy's monolight may be first received by the syllabic reply. insensitive part of the optic disc, “ What is it?" exclained Mr. as, if the light is received straight, Richy, in considerable alarm. it immediately contracts the pupil. “It is a case of sub-acute glau. Excuse me-I will not hurt you; coma,” replied Dr. Doldy. I only wish to restrain the upper " Glaucoma!” exclaimed Mr. lid a little. Will you kindly move Richy. “Why, that's a disease of the eye up and down
the eye. You are chaffing me; The pauses in Ernestine's speech there is no green in my eye, Dr. Dr. Doldy filled in pictorially. He Doldy ; that I am positive of !” beheld her, in his inner vision, “No," answered Dr. Doldy, her dark eyes removed but a few gravely," the colour in this disease inches from Mr Richy's, which is more often a whitey-brown than though partially disabled, yet a grey-green. Glaucoma is rather belonged to " a professed admirer a misnomer.” of beauty.” It was all very well “But are you serious, then ?”
cried Mr. Richy, his face falling. plied Dr. Doldy, seriously," I will “How about my biliousness? You refer you to a first-rate specialist." said that was enough to account After a little farther talk and for the haziness of my sight.” arrangement about this, Mr Richy
“Nausea,” replied Dr. Doldy, in departed in a very ill-humour, a tone of subdued fury, “may be giving, as he rose to go, a farewell described as a new symptom of glance to Ernestine, which was so glaucoma.”
full of chagrin that she could have “A new symptom,” cried Mr. felt amused, in spite of her earnest Richy, “what on earth do you sympathy. mean?”
The door closed upon him, and “A symptom," said Ernestine, left the two doctors alone in the gently, “which has only quite newly consulting room. Ernestine was been understood to be in connec- busied in putting aside the instru. tion with a glaucomatous state of ments which they had been using. the eye; when, as with you, both Dr. Doldy stood silently observing eyes are affected, but in different her. degrees, there can be no doubt Silent rage consumed bim with. that the seat of the disorder is in in. It was only unexpressed be. the eye; and in this case the ex- cause it scarcely knew how to find amination with the ophthalmoscope a vent. is conclusive ; and you will find," But when she had finished her she added to Dr. Doldy, “that the task, she turned to him and said, : globe is perceptibly hard on palpa. smilingly, “I fancy Mr. Richy tion. You have not touched the thinks that I have given him disease globe, have you?”
of the eye.” "No," answered Dr. Doldy,“ but Dr. Doldy made no reply for a I am satisfied without that.”
moment; and then he said, in a Mr. Richy glared at her.
voice which startled her by its “ Just what I feared, just what unusual vibration, “It is more I feared; a local disorder of the than even your powers can compass, eye! Good heavens, it will be my Ernestine, to carry off such a matter
as this lightly." “ But,” said Ernestine, “if “I don't understand," she ridectomy is performed without answered, doubtfully. delay, your sight will almost cer- “I suppose," he went on in a tainly be saved.”
bitter voice, “I am being justly “Iridectomy," cried Mr. Richy, punished for marrying a woman “cutting out of the iris! Why, who is determined to be something what on earth am I to see with if I else besides a woman. I did not have my iris cut out? I thought object to your being something it was necessary to sight.”
else, so long as you preserved the “Nature meant it to be," inter appearance of being only a woman posed Dr. Doldy, drily ; " but in my presence; but when you enter disease and surgery have ordered my consulting room as a doctor, it otherwise. Mr. Richy, allow me and a doctor who is not invited, it to suggest that you go at once to appears to me that you change our an eminent surgeon. Your sight relations; that we are no longer must be too valuable for you to husband and wife, but simply pro. hesitate about an operation." fessional rivals."
“Of course, if it is really neces “It is a pity," said Ernestine, sary," said Mr. Richy.
her face flushing with the sudden “It is certainly necessary," re- emotion of realising for the first
time that he was in earnest, “ if her. If he had looked he would you think that our double relations probably have been a little startled cannot exist, for I do not know by the vivid colour in her cheek how we can destroy either.”
and the flash in her eye. She was She walked away into her own smarting beneath the sense of consulting room with a rather accumulated humiliations. As she less dignified air than usual, for listened to his words, which seemed in spite of her superficial cold. to her, and not without reason, to ness, she was too emotional to be be full of insult, her mind returned capable of quarrelling with her to the treatment which she had husband.
already experienced at Laura's Dr. Doldy almost immediately hands. Money, which Ernestine followed her. “It is of no use,” perhaps despised more than she he said, “attempting to put this had any right to, seemed to her to matter aside in silence. It will be have degraded the nature of both impossible for us to live under the uncle and niece. Her tongue same roof unless you can pay that itched to speak of what she knew, amount of respect to my position and to reproach her husband with which I have a right to expect from what she had taught herself to look my wife. If such scenes as this upon as the one spot in his are to be repeated, I shall be made character. ridiculous in the eyes of the pro. But she restrained herself by a fession; but, what will be far violent effort, and only said, with worse, my practice will be ruined. so much emotion that speech And, until your practice is suffi. brought the tears into her eyes, ciently successful to take its place, “It seems to me that your profesyou must see that it is madness to sion is money-making, not medicine. interfere with mine."
As I have educated myself to follow “But," said Ernestine, with a medicine, I had better take your little tremble in her voice, “what advice and leave your house before harm have I done? You yourself any further difficulties arise.” allow that I have detected Mr. They had been so absorbed by Richy's real malady.”
the intensity of their own feelings “That may be,” said Dr. Doldy; that neither of them had been "and pray what do you think Mr. aware that a visitor had arrived, Richy's club friends will say about nor had noticed Laura's voice as the way in which his malady was she spoke to the servants and looked discovered. It is possible that for in the other rooms of the house about a fortnight we may have an for its inmates. influx of gentlemen with nothing And so it was that just as much the matter with them who Ernestine had uttered these words, have heard that in my consulting which seemed to herself in the in. room there is the probability that tensity of her mode of feeling to a beautiful woman will interfere have ended for ever the dream of and take their case in hand. But happiness which had existed in her whether we are likely to build a connection with Dr. Doldy, Laura substantial practice upon such a knocked lightly at the door, and report my experience would incline without any further announcement me to doubt."
entered. Dr. Doldy had been walking up She had heard nothing ; but it and down while he spoke, and had was not likely that such a quick. avoided looking at Ernestine ; witted young woman as Laura could indeed, he was too angry to look at come upon such a scene as that and