« AnteriorContinuar »
larly tough and fibrous kind. of our well-stocked dispensary, Then the dandy-bearers turned and she had, so to speak, the out not to be private retainers run of her teeth there. to the O'Haras at all, but servants of the establishment Thus it will be seen quite of which I was a temporary plainly that the O'Haras can fixture, appropriated by the make one hundred rupees aO'Hara to his own proper uses. month go a great deal farther And the ponies grazed on our than you or I can. flower-beds and lawn, and the Meanwhile the three children poultry on our kitchen-garden, are being loaded up preparatory -80 they cost nothing.
to starting for school. This is As to Carlo, most pestilent a long business, giving ample of retrievers, and the other two time for reflection on the attimongrels, I know not how they tudo of the half-caste employer were maintained; but I more towards his wholly black serthan suspect that it was by a vant. I can only suppose that nefarious composition with our the latter will stand more from, chef, and not at the O'Haras' and work better for, a person charges at all. And this was approaching his own colour the greater pity, because the than he will from the sahib dogs barked all night, to the pure and simple. For the grievous discomfort of many manner of these children tosick men besides the would-be wards their attendants, to put framer of the O'Hara budget; it mildly, grates. Masters while by day the parrot’s con- Charlie and Johnnie address tinual screams vied with Mrs them as if they were dogs, not O'Hara's scoldings.
unfrequently giving them an Then the children were al- entirely wanton taste of the ways ailing. Still full of hope whip of which they themselves to accomplish some good, I pre- are so inexpressibly in need ; scribed for them simple homely while the lady-like Miss Eileen, remedies as follows : more air, who affects genteel mincing more exercise, much more dis- airs, can spit out abuse as only cipline and less petting, and a native can— voluble, shrill, occasional-not too occasional and pauseless. And yet the
-severe beatings to Charlee slaves work as I have never and Johnnee. I am not a seen natives work, knocking off mother myself, nor ever shall only on Mrs O'Hara's abrupt be, but I feel sure that my order, given at mid-day, “Now, remedies would have been far go and eat.” more effectual than the gallons Johnnie having been torn of drugs that were ever finding from his parent's capacious their way down the throats of lap, and a handkerchief having the O'Hara young.
been tightly adjusted round But then again Mrs O'Hara, Charlie's throat-a sore throat who was a woman of some force being his present ailment-the of character, had made herself twain are assisted on to their a permanent honorary member ponies and start. I look down
cipoasionalntings to Chot & seen hon Mr
on the tops of their enormous most troublesome patients he pith hats as they pass under has ever had. Yet I have my verandah, and note that never fathomed his patience. Master Charles cuts his attend. He acts as my private wire, and ant playfully across the face I tap him when I want to with his whip. Mrs O'Hara know, as nervous patients will, beams fondly on her darlings what is going to happen. And from the doorstep, and so they although his information is not pass away. Miss Eileen is always true, yet it is vastly next packed into her dandy. comforting, for it is all given In addition to her large hat with the kindly wish to allay she carries a very lady - like apprehensions. sunshade, calls one of the “Now," say I, “I can tell bearers “son of an owl,” and you what he's going to do this wears gloves.
morning, Mr Phelps. He's Thus do I see the last of the going to use the lancet. I young O'Haras, but not for the saw him open the case, the day,-dear me, no! For are pocket-case — yesterday, and they not back by 11 A.M.? And after fiddling with it for a bit that is only on those occasions he said to himself, No, we'll when they are well enough to go let it settle down a bit.' Now to school at all. This for one tell me if he isn't going to use or other of them is not more the lancet this morning ?” To than on three days out of six. which Mr Phelps reassuringly On the remainder, one or more replies, “Why, bless you! no, will complain to Momma of sir. He'll go on with the abdominal pains, high tem- fomentations. That's only a perature, or chest, and Momma habit Dr X has of fingering says, “No, darling, you shall the lancets." not go to school to-day,” and This is most reassuring. summons medical aid very Familiarity with lancets never shrilly; and the children spend did breed contempt for them. a day in the garden agreeable Mr Phelps I shall always reto themselves, but tiresome to member with affection and everyone else.
gratitude. He and his class “Good morning, sir,” says see all the seamy side of their the cheerful voice of Mr Phelps profession. No social status or who is making his morning military rank for the likes of round, collecting bulletins. “Ah, them. Theirs the small pay, sir, I expect it was more than hard work, and the humdrum that,” he replies, when I routine of doctoring uninsolemnly assure him that he teresting kinds of patients full had not made the morphia dose of wiles or unattractive disstrong enough, and that it had eases. What wonder, then, if only procured me three hours they become a little callous ! of sleep. He is very sceptical, Yet my Mr Phelps had lost is Mr Phelps, but otherwise the none of the milk of human best of good fellows, and in kindness. No one more down immediate charge of one of the than he on the malingerer or
Jura him that, base of wiles of u wonder, then, if
of sleep. cured me three hohad cases. Whe, unattractives full
more sharp in detecting him. are his silk-knitted ties ; so, No one more solicitous for the indeed, is his spick-and-span real cases, and withal as gentle turn-out generally. as a woman, and as tolerant Though I well know what and patient of a nervous in- his advent portends, yet it is valid's apprehensions. “What always welcome. He is tactwe want, sir,”—and this was ful, and does not at once his only complaint of a service proceed to strip and roll up his which might supply a score or sleeves, but preludes his painmore—“What we want, sir, is ful operations with a few a godfather: our service has no minutes' cheerful conversation, one to look after its interests. lightly touching on the Now, if we only had a god. topics of the hour, and on the father!” I sincerely trust, for social events of our little world. Mr Phelps' sake alone, that a When he has done this he has suitable sponsor may be found; finished his pipe, and when he better still, that his dream of has finished his pipe his coat happiness may be fulfilled and comes off and he "starts in." that a fairy godmother may I may as well skip the next furnish him with the paltry half-hour and the record of all sum of money-I forget the that occurs therein, from the exact amount to enable him words “And now let's have a to realise his dearest wish, look at it” to “Well, I'm afraid that of qualifying as a dental I have hurt you a bit, but the surgeon and buying a large pain 'll soon go”; and his myrpractice in Calcutta. That midons disappear, together with came out when we were basins, hot water, bandages, not amusing ourselves by stating forgetting the devilish little what we should do if we came black leather case containing into a fortune.
the lancets and probes. That Then breakfast. Item, the part of the day is well over. tea is flavoured with soup, To-day is Wednesday, the because our establishment has weekly handicap-day for the no “feeders,” and the teapot fleet of tiny raters that adorn has to be used for soup, and the lake, and the gun which vice versa. We are short of has just been fired is the “get quite a number of things in ready.” The homeward-turning our establishment. But there buoy is quite close under my is plenty of Red Tape. At verandah; and presently, after soup - time the acting feeder the usual manæuvrings, which will be flavoured with tea. will be amply described in
At 10 A.M. sharp the light marine language in our weekly step of the Tormentor is heard issue, The Lake Hurricane,' round the corner, followed the second gun releases the instantly by the appearance of flotilla of white butterflies his cheerful waistcoat. I do which have been jostling one not mean that he is stout, another at the farther end of merely that his waistcoats—he the lake. has many — are of the most Colonel X—the sound of the cheerful varieties. So, indeed, gun draws him from his stool
(in the office hard by)-dashes and his complexion - loving into the verandah. “Field- affinity, and in this breeze, she glasses?" "Yes, here's a would have saved by fifteen, pair!” and the old salt has not two, minutes !”. them in an instant glued to Ah! These salts ! his lee and weather peepers. In fact, Wednesday was al“No, no longer owner,” he ways a red - letter day with ejaculates. “No time; too me. With luck and frequent much dashed office work; had calms the race would last most to sell her, the little jewel; last of the forenoon, while with year's 'crack' she was—and more luck and squalls there would be this year if that duffer was always more than a knew how to Ah! you chance of one of the boats lubber, you! keep her full! joining the great company of keep her full, man, for craft that already paved the goodness sake!” The lubber, bottom of the lake, and of best part of a mile away, watching the salvage operais in blissful ignorance of tions that followed. Charlie these exhortations. From this and Johnnie had returned from distance only his large hat can school an hour since, and havbe discerned above the gunwale ing rested a little were now at of the little jewel, while his play. Charlie, reclining in a complement of two hands is chair, was lobbing stones (and represented by a scarlet sun- would continue to do so till shade amidships and a black called in to eat and sleep) on bullet head farther forward to the corrugated iron roof of
The former owner, holding his dwelling, for the pure dethe glasses still to his eyes, light of hearing them roll continues—“And if he hasn't clanging down the slope. This got a woman aboard ! a woman pastime is immensely annoying with & damnation parasol to everyone but Charlie, and blanketing half his canvas! his attendant-one is always on Oh man! man! you're not duty-supplies him constantly worthy the Billow !”—and dash- with stones. Johnnie, dear ining the glasses from his har- nocent, has a little rook-rifle. rowed countenance, he bounds Recumbent he will discharge away once more to his office it at intervals of sixty seconds stool.
for quite long periods, at birds I, however, have more leisure, for choice, his own retainers and can follow the race to the and poultry only from necesbitter end. The Billow, despite sity. The pellet makes a nasty her lubberly owner and the “phut” as it hurtles through woman with the blankety the trees, and my walnut, with parasol, not only comes in all its thick foliage, affords only first but saves her time. This cover from view; and Johnnie, intelligence I communicate in a should the fancy take him, pencilled bulletin to Colonel X, might use me as a nice fixed wondering in what manner he target. I must therefore keep will take it. His answer runs on the right side of Johnnie. - Thanks; without that fool To Mrs O'Hara I dare not complain. A wounded she- storms, and curling into little bear deprived of her whelps white combers all the mornwould, in temper, be angelic ing, die away into a flat and compared with the lady if glassy calm. My walnut-tree any aspersions were made has never a whisper amongst against her young.
all its leaves, and the chestnut I can see her now, in one is silent. Even the two tits are of her not infrequent "gusty” resting. Those social, wingless moods, clad in her usual ele- butterflies that have been flutgant déshabille. On Sundays tering a round of calls, borne she puts on black, and goes on four pair of pattering bare away with a few flowers and feet, alone form occasional returns without them, and I bright spots of moving colour conjecture that her pilgrimage on the lake-side road, or as is to the cemetery, and that they flit through tree - gaps there lie some former little far up the opposite slope. O'Haras. But her “usual,” Then, too, I fall a-dozing. commencing from below, is old hoelless velvet slippers, rather Two hours later the place a short mud-coloured petticoat wakes up with a yell, startjust showing beneath a muddier ling to the stranger, but soon coloured skirt, a loose—may I recognised as our somewhat call it? -tea-jacket, showing primitive method of waterno waist, and a man's hat, set ing the roads. This is done carelessly athwart those scanty by a gang of coolies advancdusky locks, which are looped ing by dervish rushes, shoutup evidently with one turn of ing at the tops of their voices, the wrist, and that easy and banging the kerosene - oil abandon common to her type. tins with which they bale the The whole framed in a door water out of the lake and cast way; and oh, the streams of it over the road, themselves, or language! all directed at poor any one within range. Thus do trembling Amar Singh (I wish we lay our dust, and as the my servants would tremble noise dies away in the disbefore me !), who has not kept tance the place shakes itself the hens out of the peas while wide awake, and resumes the he has been engaged in chop- thread of existence. Comes ping wood at the other side of the measured tramp of feet, the house!
with an occasional gentle An hour after mid-day the boom; up the hill it comes, whole of our little world, which turning off the public on to has been chattering and clatter the private road that leads ing up and down the road and into the hospital, and is now round the lake, staggering passing under my verandah. under loads, herding pack ani- My eye, as I peep over the mals, or blasting on the hill- railing, rests on a stream of side, falls a-nodding, and, half scarlet and brass moving an hour later, asleep. The steadily up to our main enbaby waves that with the trance. It was the big drum, zephyrs have been playing at in its suit of sad and rusty
passinge, as I per le stream