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lowed a narrow track which soon led us to a gate in the boundary wall. Not far ahead, across a field, I saw a light shining from the window of a farmhouse. Towards this my guide carried his burden, and soon after we had the injured woman lying upon a couch in a comfortable room, and I was busily at work dressing her wound.
I had hardly finished when she opened her eyes and looked vacantly round until she encountered the gaze of the youth, who was watching her eagerly.
"Roy," she murmured faintly, and closed her eyes again. "Marie, my darling! Thank God you are alive!"
He was on his knees by her side, holding her pale face between his hands.
"Let her rest," I intervened with professional bluntness. "She will do better if left undisturbed."
He rose obediently at my word.
"Now," I continued. "What is the meaning of all this? Did your gun go off by accident?"
The young man shook his head.
"I had no gun," he said, looking me straight in the face. "I was not there. I heard a shot in the wood-a cry of pain from my wifeand I rushed to her assistance. I was here in the farm. When I found her she lay at the foot of the cairn. I thought she was dead. That is all-except that whoever you are-I thank you for what you have
done. Perhaps Marie can explain."
"No, no," I said hurriedly. "She must not be worried tonight. You must get her to bed as quickly as you can ; but first, perhaps, you can direct me to Hopeton, for I have lost my way."
"Hopeton!" The young man started back, a wild look of anger in his eyes. "Do you come from there? Are you a spy then, after all?"
I shook my head, wondering at his sudden excitement.
"I have never been to Hopeton in my life," I answered quietly. "I have lost my way through trying to to take short out from Kilbrennan."
He looked at me intently, but evidently reading the truth of my words in my face, he calmed down once more.
"I will guide you to Hopeton," he said, after a moment's thought. "First let me get my wife safely to bed and then I shall be ready."
I examined my patient once more, and found her conscious but weak. Her husband carried her off to an upper roem, leaving me alone to await his return.
I had now time to observe my surroundings, and was surprised to find the furnishing and decoration of the room vastly superior to what one would expect in the sittingroom of a small farm-house. There were many evidences of taste and of education upon the walls, and in the books and music which lay upon a sidetable.
I had time also to search my
memory for something that had so far escaped me, Of whom did this young man remind me? There was something distinctly familiar about his face, though I could swear I had never seen him before.
I was still puzzling over this resemblance when my attention was distracted by a crumpled and blood-stained paper which lay on the floor near the couch. I remembered then that in dressing my patient's wound I had found this paper concealed in the bosom of her dress.
I picked it from the floor and straightened it out. The paper was yellow with age and worn and frayed where it had been folded. In wiping away the blood with which it was stained, the name Tanish caught my eye, and I found myself looking at the context before I realised that my aotion was dishonourable.
I did not learn much from my spying, however. The writing was not English, nor any other language that I knew anything of. It bore most resemblance to German, and I surmised that it was written probably in one of the Scandinavian tongues with which I was unfamiliar. The hand was cramped and antique, and I guessed that it must be one or two centuries old.
I was standing with this document in my hand when my host returned. I apologised for my prying, and explained it as best I could. He took the paper and examined it closely.
"You say my wife was wear
ing this inside her dress?" he asked with surprise.
I nodded in reply.
"Strange!" he murmured. "I can make nothing of it. I have never seen it before."
"Your wife is not Scottish?" I hazarded.
"No, Belgian," he replied shortly, as though he resented my curiosity.
"Ah! Then I have it! The paper is in Flemish," I exclaimed.
"Perhaps you are right,” he answered coldly, "but it is no business of ours. I shall return the paper to my wife tomorrow. Are you ready to go, or ean I offer you any refreshment?"
I thanked him, but declined. I was already very late, and as my luggage had probably arrived at Hopeton, they would no doubt be wondering what had become of me.
We set out at a good round pace. My guide declined to converse, answering my tentative remarks with monosyllables, and being obviously anxious to be rid of After quarter of an hour's tramp I recognised that I was back at the fox-cover where the path had forked. It was obviously here that I had gone astray. My companion led me down the other other fork, through the fox-cover, and when we were through the wood we crossed a stile which brought us out on a proper road.
"This is the highway from Kilbrennan," explained my guide. "You are now almost at your destination."
He led me a little way along the road and then stopped.
The moon shone full in his face, and he smiled at
"Here is the carriage-drive me as he preferred his reIn a moment I knew of whom I had been minded.
to Hopeton," he said, pointing to an opening in the hedge. "It is about quarter of a mile long. I need not take you further, as you cannot make a mistake."
"Thank you. Will you tell me your name?" I asked. "I shall return to dress your wife's wound, but I am sure I can never find my way unless I have your name as a guide." "You are very kind," replied the young man. "But it is unnecessary, or if it should be necessary there is the village dootor-he is my friend. I should like . . . to ask—” he stammered and hesitated, "though I have no right to do so that you say nothing of your experience of to-night to-at Hopeton. You see, I . . . I am a—a tenant, and it might do me harm."
I hesitated to grant his wish, but it is difficult to refuse when one has not a ready reason, so finally I gave a qualified consent.
"Provided I hear nothing that makes this affair appear more serious than it does at present, I shall say nothing,' I agreed.
"Thank you-good-night!" And turning on his heel he left me before I had time to say all that I meant.
There was nothing for it but to make the best of my way to Hopeton. As I strode up the long dark avenue I murmured to myself
"A pair of spectacles, and that is the face of Jabez Morgan."
It was dark in the drive, for it was fringed with oak and chestnut trees through which the light of the moon did not penetrate. In little more than five minutes I saw ahead of me the lights of Hopeton, and breathed a sigh of relief to think that I had at last reached my destination, and that my troubles were over for the day.
In this assumption I was premature, as will be seen.
As I approached the front of the house I became aware that a vehicle of some kind was
standing at the door, for I heard the rattle of harness and the pawing of a horse on the gravel, and saw the light of what I guessed to be a carriage lamp.
At the same moment I heard the door open and the voice of my new employer raised in anger. I could see him by the light from the hall, holding open the door so that some one might pass out.
"And mind this, Forbes," he was saying as I came within hearing, "I'm showing you the back of the door for the
last time. The boy will have his own doctor from now on, and we'll see what's the matter with him at last."
As he spoke, another figure appeared upon the broad stone step. It was that of a burly man, rather under medium height, with a ruddy healthy face and open honest expression. He might have been somewhere in the fifties, but as he was clean-shaven and upright he looked younger. In one hand he held a stout stick, and in the other an oldfashioned high felt hat. As he came out of the house he paused on the step, and turned to reply to Tanish. Though obviously an educated man, he used the Scottish idiom freely, speaking in a quiet dignified manner very different from the harsh uncontrolled anger of the other.
"Weel, Laird, you ken your ain affairs best. But as for the bairn, if you dinna ken his complaint, it's no' for want o' telling. The puir laddie was getting on fine while you were awa', but you're no' twa weeks back before he breaks doon again. And why? Because o' the de'il's temper that maisters you. He's a sensitive bairn, an' when you rear and bellow at him as if he were a dug or a stoat, he canna eat nor sleep, let alane haud his ain end up when he's in your company. You may get doon the whole College o' Physeecians, but you'll no' get a truer diagnosis."
I could see, even in the dim light of the doorway, that Tanish was fuming with rage,
VOL. CCVII.—NO. MCCLI.
and I felt that I had timed my arrival most unfortunately. I thought it wiser to stop where I was, hoping that the doctor would drive off immediately. But Tanish would not let him go. His rage must first have vent.
"By God, Forbes," he bellowed, "you are a cunning rogue - eunning enough at least to find an excuse for your own incompetence. So I am responsible for the boy's illnesses, am I? Why, damn you, man, it's the filthy drugs you pour into his guts that ruin his health. But that is what you're after! I know you, and the whole tribe of your smug, canting, rule-o'thumb country doctors. You can blunder through a confinement, or you can tell whoopingcough from measles, but for all the good you do to either of them, folk might as well call in the vet. It's fees you're after. So long as you can run up your bill by the ell, God help the poor patient."
The dootor listened gravely to this violent abuse.
"Aweel, Laird," he said quietly when the other halted for
breath, "hard words break nae banes." Then looking back into the hall, he cried, "Come awa', Betty. It's time we were hame."
"Yes, and let it be the last time you cross this threshold," Tanish began once more. "Ay, and your daughter too. I'll have no spying into the methods of the new doctor under cover of visiting Marigold. Marigold needs friend whose father is
incompetent, drug - muddling charlatan."
"Guid kens, Laird Tanish, it's nae pleasure tae visit the Big Hoose these days, but there's sich a thing as medical etiquette, and I maun hand ower the case daoently and in orrder. Sae ye'll ha'e tae bear wi' me for yin mair veesit, Laird."
"Hand over the case be damned!" retorted Tanish. "The case is out of your hands now. Seaton is due here at any moment, and he wants none of your grandmotherly advice."
But this I could not listen to in silence. I would not be less correct, professionally speaking, than the manly old village doctor. I felt that it was time to disclose myself, so I walked forward into the light.
"Ah! Here he is! The very man!" explained Tanish exultingly, drawing me forward and shaking me warmly by the hand. "You can take leave of the case now, Forbes. There will be no excuse for another visit and another sixand-eightpence in the bill."
"I am afraid, Mr Tanish," I said firmly, "that I must have a consultation with Dr Forbes before I take over your son's case. If you will permit me, sir," I continued, turning to the doctor, "I shall call upon you to-morrow at a convenient hour. You will then be spared the trouble of coming here, and we shall be able to go into the details of the case at
statement with grave professional dignity, but I felt by the look he gave me that he appreciated my motive.
"Thank you, Dr Seaton," he replied. "Drap in the morn aboot three or fower, and you shall ha'e my opeenion o' the bairn and his ailments. Come alang, Betty. The mare's wearied waiting on us."
I now saw Betty Forbes for the first time. She had been standing with Marigold Tanish in the great hall, while the two men were quarrelling in the doorway. She came forward now to join her father, and as she passed Tanish she stopped and looked at him, with a fire of anger in her big red-brown eyes. In the dim light of the lamps I could not tell her beauty, but I saw that she was tall and straight and well-formed.
"I have heard all you had got to say to my father, Laird," she said, and her rich voice trembled with the anger that she held in control. "He is too big a man to answer you in the same childish way. Why, bless you, when you let loose your petty spite on him you are like a vicious our barking at the tail of an automobile for all the effect you have-good-night."
She turned to go, and in passing gave a long searching look at me, as if she were attempting in a glance to sum up not only my appearance, but my whole character and history.
"Come along, Daddy," she said, and the affectionate tone this of her voice must have com