Chapter 31376845

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Chapter NumberXCI
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article31376845
Full Date1910-10-11
Page Number3
Corrections0
Word Count1751
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleQueanbeyan Age
Trove TitleVerner's Pride
article text

VERNER'S PRIDE... BY IMIRS. HENRY WOOD. CHAPTER XCI. (Continued). The doctor could either come back and resume practice in person, or take a partner in place of him, Jan. To this a bland answer was received. Dr. West was agreeable to the dissolution of partnership; but he had no intention of resuming practice in Deerham. He and his noble charge (who was - decidedly benefitjng by his care, skill, and companionship, he elaborately wrote), were upon the best of terms; his engagement with him was likely to be a long one (for the poor youth would require a personal guide up to his fortieth year, nay, to his eightieth, if he lived so long); and therefore (not to be fettered) he, Dr. West, was anxious to sever his ties with Deerham. He should never return to it. If Mr. Jan would undertake to pay him a trifling sum, say five hundred pounds, or so he could have the entire business; and the purchase-money, if. more convenient, might be paid by instal ments. Mr. Jan, of course, would become sole proprietor of the house (the rent of which had :hitherto been paid out of the joint concern), but perhaps he would not object to allow those "two poor old things, Deborah ahd Amilly, a corner in it." He should, of course, undertake to provide for them, remitting them a liberal annual sum. In writing this-fair, nay liberal, as the offered terms appeared to the sight of single-hearted Jan-Dr. West had " probably possessed as great an' eye as ever to his own interest. He had a shrewd sus picion that, the house divided, his, Dr. West's, would stand but a poor chance against Jan Verner's. That Jan would be entirely true and honourable in not soliciting the old patients to, come to him, he knew; but he equally knew that the patients would flock to Jan unsolicited. Dr. West had not lived in ignorance of what was going on in Deerham; he had one or two private corre spondents there; besides the open ones, his daughters and Jan; and -he had learned how popular Jan had grown with all classes. Yes, it was decidedly politic on Dr. West's part to offer Jan terms of purchase. And Jan closed with them. "I couldn't have done it six months ago, you know, Lionel," he said to his brother. "But now that you have come in again to Verner's Pride, you won't care to have my earnings any .longer." "What I shall care for now, Jan, will be to repay you so far as I can. The money can be repaid : the kindness never." " Law I " cried Jan, "that's nothing. Wouldn't you have done as much for me ? To go back to old West : I shall be able to com plete the purchase in little more than a year, taking it out. of the profits. The expenses will be some thing considerable. There'll be the house, and the horses, for I must have two, and I shall take a qualified assistant as soon as Cheese leaves, which will be in autumn'; but there'll be a margin of six or seven hundred a year profit left me then. And the business is increasing. Yes, I shall 'be able to pay hini out in' a year, or thereabouts. In offer ing me these easy terms, I think he is behaving liberally. Don't you,' Lionel? " " That may be a matter . of opinion, Jan," was Lionel's answer. "He ha's stood to me in the relation of father-in-law,.an I don't care to express mine too' definitely. . He is wise enough to know that when ,you leave him, his chance of practice is gone. 'But I don't advise you to cavil with the terms. I should say, accept 'them." "I have done it," answered Jan. "I. wrote. this, morning. I must get a new brass plkte for the door. 'Jani Verner, 'Surgeon, etc.,' in place of the present one, ' West and Verner.' " "I think I should put Janus Verner, instead of Jain," suggested Lionel, with a half smile.' "Law!I" repeated Jan. " No body would know it was meant for me if 'I put Janus. ,Sh'all I have ' Mr.' tacked on to it, Lionel ? 'Mr. Jan Verner.' " "'Of' course you will," answered Lionel. " What is going to be done ~about Deborah and Amilly West ? 'j " In what way ?" "'As to their residenxce." " You saw .what Dr. West says in his letter. They can stop." " It is not a desirable arrange inent, Jan, their remaining in the I house."' - " They won't hurt me," responded Jan. " They are welcome." " I think. Jan, you~r connection wvifh the West family should be entirely closed. The opportunity I offers now : and, if not embraced, Syou don't know wvhen another may arise. Suppose, a short while I hence, you were to marry. It might be painful to your feelings, then, to have to say to Deborah and Amilly-.-' You must leave my

house; there's no further place for you in it.' Now, in this dissolution of partnership, the change can take place as in the natural course of events." Jan bad opened his great eyes wonderingly at the words. "I marry !" uttered he. "What should bring me mparrying ? " You may be marrying some time, Jan." "Not I," answered Jan. "No. body would have me. They can stop on in the house, Lionel. What does it matter? I don't see how I and Cheese should get on without them. Who'd make the pies? Cheese would die of chagrin, if he didn't get one every day." "I see a great deal of incon venience in the way," persisted Lionel. "The house will be yours then. Upon what terms would they remain? As visitors, as lodgers-as what ? " Jan *opened his eyes wider. " Visitors ! lodgers ! " cried he. ".I don't know what you mean, Lionel. They'd stop on as they always have done-as though the h6use was theirs. They'd be welcome, for me." "You must do as you like, Jan; but I do not think the arrangement a desirable one. It would be estab lishing a claim which Dr. West may be presuming upon later. With his daughters in the house, as of right, he may be for coming back some time and taking up his abode in it. It would be better for you and the Misses West to separate; to have your establishments apart." "I shall never .turn them out,. said Jan. "They'd break their hearts.' Look at the buttons, too ! Who'd sew them on? Cheese bursts off two a day, good." "As you please, Jan. ý,y motive in speaking was not ill nature to wards the Misses West; but re gard for you. As the sisters of my late wife, I shall take care that they do not want-should their resources from Dr. West fail. He speaks of allowing them a liberal. sum annually; but I fear they must not make sure that the pro mise will be carried out. Should it not be, they will have no one to look to, I expect, but myself." "They won't want much," said Jan; "just a trifle for their bonnets and shoes, and suchlike. I shall pay the house-bills, you know. In fact, I'd as soon give them enough for their clothes, as not. I dare say I should have it, even the first year, after paying expenses and old West's five hundred." It was hopeless to contend with Jan upon the subject of money, especially when it, was his money. Lionel said no more. But he had not the slightest doubt it would end in Jan's house being saddled with the Misses West; and that help for them from Dr. West would never come. Miss West herself was thinking the same-that help from her father never would come. This conversation between Jan and Lionel had taken place at Ver ner's Pride, in the afternoon sub sequent to the arrival of Dr. West's letter. Deborah West had also re ceived one from her father. She learned by it that he was about to retire from the partnership, and that Mr. Jan Verner would carry on the practice. alone. The doctor inti mated that she and Amilly would continue to live on in the house with Mr. Jan's permission, whomi he had asked to afford them house room ; 'and he more loudly promised to transmit them one hundred pounds per annum, in stated pay ments, as might be. zonvenient to him. The letter was read three times over by both sisters. Areel time not like it, but upon Debor~ah it made a painfully deep impression. Poor ladies!I Since the discovery of the codicil they had gone about Deerhami with veils over their faces and their heads down, inclined to think that lots in this world were dealt out all too unequally. At the very time that Jan was at* Verner's Pride that afternoon, Deborah sat alone in the dining roomi, pondering over the future. Since the finding of the codicil, nfeither of the sisters had cared to seat. themselves . in state mn the drawving-room,- ready to receive visitors, should they call. They had no heart for it. - They chose, rather; to sit in plain attire, and hide themselves in the humblest and most reitired apartment. They took no pride now in anointing their scanty curls with castor oil, in contriving for their dress, in setting off their persons. Vanity seemed to have gone out for Deborah and Amilly West. SDeborah sat there in the dining room, her hair looking grievously thin, her morning dress of black print 'with white spots~ upon it not changed .for the old turned black silk of the afternoon. Her elbow rested on the faded and not very clean table-cover, and her fingers were running unconsciously through that scanty hair. The pros pect before her looked, to her mind, as hopelessly forlorn as she looked. But it was necessary that she should gaze at the future steadily; should not turn aside from it in carelessness or in apathy; should face it, and make the best. of it. If Jan Verner and her father were about to dissolve partnership, and the practice henceforth was to be Jan's, what was to become of her and Amilly ? (To be continued.) V 109