Chapter 31376931

See chapter in newspaper

Chapter NumberXCI
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article31376931
Full Date1910-10-18
Page Number3
Corrections0
Word Count1522
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleQueanbeyan Age
Trove TitleVerner's Pride
article text

VERNER'S PRIDE... BY MRS. HENRY WOOD; CHAPTER XCI. (Continued). Taught by past experience, she knew how much dependence was to be placed upon her father's promise to pay to them an income. Very little reliance indeed could be placed on Dr. West in any way ; this very letter in her hand and the tidings it contained, might be true, or might be-pretty little cullings from Dr. 1West's imagination. The proposed idissolution of partnership she be :lieved in; she had expected Jan to take the step- ever since that night which restored the codicil. " I had better ask Mr. Jan about it," she murmured. ', It is of no use to remain in this uncertainty." Rising from her seat, she pro ceeded to the side-door, opened it, and glanced cautiously out through the rain, not caring to be seen by strangers in her present attire. There was nobody about, and she crossed the little path and entered the surgery. Master Cheese, with somewhat of a scorchy look in the eyebrows, but full of strength and appetite as ever; turned round at her entrance. " Is Mr. Jan in ? "' she asked. " No, he is not," responded Mas ter Cheese, speaking indistinctly, for he had just filled his mouth with Spanish liquorice. " Did you want him, Miss Deb ? " "I wanted to speak to him," she replied. " Will he be long ? " " He didn't announce the hour of his return," replied Master Cheese. " I wish he would come back ! If a message came for one of us, I don't care to go out in this rain ! Jan doesn't mind it. It's sure to be my luck ! The other day, when it was pouring cats and dogs, a sum mons came from Lady Hautley's. Jan was out, and I had to go, and got dripping wet. After all, it was only my lady's maid, with a rub bishing whitlow on her finger." "Be so kind as tell Mr. Jan, when he does come in, that I should he glad to speak a word to him, if he can find time to step into the parlour." Miss Deb turned back as she spoke, ran across through the rain, and sat down in the parlour, as before. Shize y w that she ought to go. up and dress, but she had not spirits for it. She sat there until Jan entered. Full an hour, it must have been, and she had turned over all points in her mind, what could and what could not be done. It did not appear much that could be. Jan came in, rather wet. On his road from Verner's Pride he had overtaken one of his poor patients, who was in delicate health, and had lent the woman his huge cotton umbrella, hastening on, himself, without one. " Cheese says you wish to see me, Miss Deb." Miss Deb turned round from her listless attitude, and asked Mr. Jan to taks a chair. Mr. Jan responded by partially sitting down on the arm of one. " What is it ? " asked he, rather wondering. " I have had a letter from Prussia this morning, Mr. Jan, from my father. He says you and he are about to dissolve partnership; that the practice will be carried on by you alone, on your own account; and that-but you had better read it," she broke off, taking the letter from her pocket; and handing it to Jan. He ran his eyes over it. Dr. West's was not a plain handwriting, but Jan was accustomed to it. The letter was soon read. - " It's true, Miss Deb. The doctor think~ he shall not be returning to Deerham, and so I am going to take to the whole of the practice," con tinued Jan, who possessed too much innate good feeling to hint to Miss Deb of any other cause. " Yes. But-it will place me and Amilly in a" very embarrassing position, Mr. Jan,'" added the poor lady, her thin cheeks flushing pain fully. "I-we shall have no right to remain in this house then." " You are welcome 'to remain," said Jan. Miss Deb shook her head. 'She felt, as she said, that they should have no" right." "I'd rather you did," pursued Jan, in his good-nature. "What do I and Cheese want with all this big house to ourselves ? Besides, if you and Amilly go, who'd see to our shirts and the puddings ? " " When papa went away at first, was there not some arrangement made by which the furniture be came yours'? " "No," stoutly answered Jan. " I paid something .to him to give me, as he called it, a half-share in it with himself. It was .a stupid sort of arrangement, and one that I shoCld never care to act upon, Miss Deb. The furniture is yours; not mine." '" Mr. Jan, you would give up your right in everything, I believe. You will never get rich.'"

" I shall get as rich as I want to. I dare say, was Jan's answer "Things can go on just the same as usual, you know, Miss Deb, and I can pay the housekeeping bills. Your stopping here will be a saving," good-naturedly added Jan " With nobody in the house to manage, except servants, only think the waste there'd be I Cheese would be for getting two dinners a day served, fish, and fowls, and tarts at each." The tears were struggling in Deborah- West's eyes. She did her best to repress them : but it could not be, and she gave way with a burst. " I beg your pardon, Mr. Jan," she said. ' Sometimes I feel as if there was no longer any place in the world for me and Amilly. You may be sure I would not mention it, but that you know it as well as I do-that there is, I fear, no depend ence to be placed on this promise of papa's, to allow us an income. I have been thinking " " Don't let that trouble you, Miss Deb," interrupted Jan, tilting himself backwards over the arm of the chair in- a very ungraceful fashion, and leaving his legs dang ling. " Others -will, if he wo-if he can't. Lionel has just been saying that as SiBylla's sisters, he shall see that you don't want." "You. and he are very kind," she answered, the tears dropping faster than she could witpe them away. " But it seems to .me . the time is come when we ought to try and do something for ourselves. I have. been thinking, Mr. Jan, that we might get a few pupils, I and Amilly. There's not a single good school in Deerham, as you know; I think we might establish one." " So you might," said Jan, " if you'd like it." " We should both like it. And perhaps you'd not mind our staying on in this house while we were getting a few together; establishing it, as it were. They would not put you out, I hope, Mr. Jan." " Not they," answered Jan. " I shouldn't cat them. Look here, Miss Deb, I'd doctor them for nothing. Couldn't you put that in the prospectus? It might prove an attraction." It was a novel feature in a school prospectus, and Miss Deb had to take some minutes to consider it., She came to the conclusion that it would look remarkably well in print. " Medical attendance gratis." " Including physic," put in Jan. " Medical attendance gratis, in cluding physic," repeated Miss Deb. " Mr. Jan, it would be sure to take with the parents. I am so much obliged to you. But I hope," she added, moderating her tone of satisfaction, " that they'd not think it meant Master Cheese. People would not have much faith in him, fear. "Tell them to the contrary," answered Jan. " And Cheese will be leaving shortly, you know." "True," said Miss Deb. "Mr. Jan," she added, a strange eagerness in her tone, in her meek, blue eyes, " if we, I and Amilly, can only get into the way of doing something for ourselves, by which we may be a little independent, and look forward to be kept out of the work house in our old age, we shall feel as if removed from a dreadful nightmare. Circumstances have been preying upon us, Mr. Jan : the care is making us begin to look old before we might have looked it." Jan answered with alaugh. That notion of the workhouse was so good, he said. As well set on and think that he should come to the peniten 'tiary It had been no laughing matter, though, to the hearts of the two sisters, and Miss Deb sat on, crying silently. SHow many of these silent tears must be shed in the path through life! It would appear that the lot of some is only made to shed them, and to bear.