Chapter XXII.
 

Bathurst knew the Doctor well, and perceived that glad as he was to have met them, he was yet profoundly depressed in spirits. This, added to the fact that he had left Cawnpore that morning, instead of waiting as he had intended, convinced Bathurst that what he dreaded had taken place. He waited until Isobel stopped for a moment, that Rabda might rearrange the cloth folded round her in its proper draping. Then he said quickly, "I heard yesterday what was intended, Doctor. Is it possible that it has been done?"

"It was done this morning."

"What, all? Surely not all, Doctor?"

"Every soul--every woman and child. Think of it--the fiends! the devils! The native brought me the news. If I had heard it in the streets of Cawnpore I should have gone mad and seized a sword and run amuck. As it was, I was well nigh out of mind. I could not stay there. The man would have sheltered me until the troops came up, but I was obliged to be moving, so I started down. Hush! here comes Isobel; we must keep it from her."

"Now, Isobel," he went on, as the girl joined them, and they all started along the road, "tell me how it is I find you here."

"Mr. Bathurst must tell you, Doctor; I cannot talk about it yet-- I can hardly think about it."

"Well, Bathurst, let us hear it from you."

"It is a painful story for me to have to tell."

Isobel looked up in surprise.

"Painful, Mr. Bathurst? I should have thought--" and she stopped.

"Not all painful, Miss Hannay, but in parts. I would rather tell you, Doctor, when we have finished our journey this evening, if your curiosity will allow you to wait so long."

"I will try to wait," the Doctor replied, "though I own it is a trial. Now, Isobel, you have not told me yet what has happened to your face. Let me look at it closer, child. I see your arms are bad, too. What on earth has happened to you?"

"I burnt myself with acid, Doctor. Mr. Bathurst will tell you all about it."

"Bless me, mystery seems to thicken. Well, you have got yourself into a pretty pickle. Why, child, burns of that sort leave scars as bad as if you had been burnt by fire. You ought to be in a dark room with your face and hands bandaged, instead of tramping along here in the sun."

"I have some lotions and some ointment, Doctor. I have used them regularly since it was done, and the places don't hurt me much now."

"No, they look healthy enough," he said, examining them closely. "Granulation is going on nicely; but I warn you you will be disfigured for months, and it may be years before you get rid of the scars. I doubt, indeed, if you will ever get rid of them altogether. Well, well, what shall we talk about?"

"I will take pity on you, Doctor. I will walk on ahead with Rabda and her father, and Mr. Bathurst can then tell you his story."

"That will be the best plan, my dear. Now then, Bathurst, fire away," he said, when the others had gone on thirty or forty yards ahead.

"Well, Doctor, you remember that you were forward talking to the young Zemindar, and I was sitting aft by the side of Miss Hannay, when they opened fire?"

"I should think I do remember it," the Doctor said, "and I am not likely to forget it if I live to be a hundred. Well, what about that?"

"I jumped overboard," Bathurst said, laying his hand impressively upon the Doctor's shoulder. "I gave a cry, I know I did, and I jumped overboard."

The Doctor looked at him in astonishment.

"Well, so did I, like a shot. But what do you say it in that tone for? Of course you jumped overboard. If you hadn't you would not be here now."

"You don't understand me, Doctor," Bathurst said gloomily. "I was sitting there next to Isobel Hannay--the woman I loved. We were talking in low tones, and I don't know why, but at that moment the mad thought was coming into my mind that, after all, she cared for me, that in spite of the disgrace I had brought upon myself, in spite of being a coward, she might still be mine; and as I was thinking this there came the crash of a cannon. Can it be imagined possible that I jumped up like a frightened hare, and without a thought of her, without a thought of anything in my mad terror, jumped overboard and left her behind to her fate? If it had not been that as soon as I recovered my senses--I was hit on the head just as I landed, and knew nothing of what happened until I found myself in the bushes with young Wilson by my side--the thought occurred to me that I would rescue her or die in the attempt, I would have blown out my brains."

"But, bless my heart, Bathurst," the Doctor said earnestly, "what else could you have done? Why, I jumped overboard without stopping to think, and so did everyone else who had power to do so, no doubt. What good could you have done if you had stayed? What good would it have done to the girl if you had been killed? Why, if you had been killed, she would now be lying mangled and dead with the others in that ghastly prison. You take too morbid a view of this matter altogether."

"There was no reason why you should not have jumped overboard, Doctor, nor the others. Don't you see I was with the woman I loved? I might have seized her in my arms and jumped overboard with her, and swam ashore with her, or I might have stayed and died with her. I thought of my own wretched life, and I deserted her."

"My dear Bathurst, you did not think of your life. I don't think any of us stopped to think of anything; but, constituted as you are, the impulse must have been overpowering. It is nonsense your taking this matter to heart. Why, man, if you had stopped, you would have been murdered when the boat touched the shore, and do you think it would have made her happier to have seen you killed before her eyes? If you had swam ashore with her, the chances are she would have been killed by that volley of grape, for I saw eight or ten bodies lying on the sands, and you yourself were, you say, hit. You acted upon impulse, I grant, but it was upon a wise impulse. You did the very best thing that could have been done, and your doing so made it possible that Isobel Hannay should be rescued from what would otherwise have been certain death."

"It has turned out so, Doctor," Bathurst said gloomily, "and I thank God that she is saved. But that does not alter the fact that I, an English gentleman by birth, thought only of myself, and left the woman I loved, who was sitting by my side, to perish. But do not let us talk any more about it. It is done and over. There is an end of it. Now I will tell you the story."

The Doctor listened silently until he heard of Isobel's being taken to Bithoor. "The atrocious villain!" he exclaimed. "I have been lamenting the last month that I never poisoned the fellow, and now --but go on, go on. How on earth did you get her away?"

Bathurst told the whole story, interrupted by many exclamations of approval by the Doctor; especially when he learned why Isobel disfigured herself.

"Well done!" he exclaimed; "I always knew that she was a plucky girl, and it needed courage, I can tell you, to burn herself as she has done, to say nothing of risking spoiling her beauty for life. No slight sacrifice for a woman."

Bathurst passed lightly over his fight in the courtyard, but the Doctor questioned him as to the exact facts.

"Not so bad for a coward, Bathurst," he said dryly.

"There was no noise," Bathurst said; "if they had had pistols, and had used them, it might have been different. Heaven knows, but I don't think that then, with her life at stake, I should have flinched; I had made up my mind they would have pistols, but I hope --I think that my nerves would not have given way then."

"I am sure they wouldn't, Bathurst. Well, go on with your story."

"Well, how did you feel then?" he asked, when Bathurst described how the guard rushed in through the gate firing, "for it is the noise, and not the danger, that upsets you?"

"I did not even think of it," Bathurst said, in some surprise. "Now you mention it, I am astonished that I was not for a minute paralyzed, as I always am, but I did not feel anything of the sort; they rushed in firing as I told you, and directly they had gone I took her hand and we ran out together."

"I think it quite possible, Bathurst, that your nervousness may have gone forever. Now that once you have heard guns fired close to you without your nerves giving way as usual, it is quite possible that you might do so again. I don't say that you would, but it is possible, indeed it seems to me to be probable. It may be that the sudden shock when you jumped into the water, acting upon your nerves when in a state of extreme tension, may have set them right, and that bullet graze along the top of the skull may have aided the effect of the shock. Men frequently lose their nerve after a heavy fall from a horse, or a sudden attack by a tiger, or any other unexpected shock. It may be that with you it has had the reverse consequence."

"I hope to God that it may be so, Doctor," Bathurst said, with deep earnestness. "It is certainly extraordinary I should not have felt it when they fired within a few feet of my head. If we get down to Allahabad I will try. I will place myself near a gun when it is going to be fired; and if I stand that I will come up again and join this column as a volunteer, and take part in the work of vengeance. If I can but once bear my part as a man, they are welcome to kill me in the next engagement."

"Pooh! pooh! man. You are not born to be killed in battle. After making yourself a target on the roof at Deennugghur, and jumping down in the middle of the Sepoys in the breach, and getting through that attack in the boats, I don't think you are fated to meet your end with a bullet. Well, now let us walk on, and join the others. Isobel must be wondering how much longer we are going to talk together. She cannot exchange a word with the natives; it must be dull work for her. She is a great deal thinner than she was before these troubles came on. You see how differently she walks. She has quite lost that elastic step of hers, but I dare say that is a good deal due to her walking with bare feet instead of in English boots--boots have a good deal to do with a walk. Look at the difference between the walk of a gentleman who has always worn well fitting boots and that of a countryman who has gone about in thick iron shod boots all his life. Breeding goes for something, no doubt, and alters a man's walk just as it alters a horse's gait."

Bathurst could not help laughing at the Doctor dropping into his usual style of discussing things.

"Are your feet feeling tender, Isobel?" the latter asked cheerfully, as he overtook those in front.

"No, Doctor," she said, with a smile; "I don't know that I was ever thankful for dust before, but I am now; it is so soft that it is like walking on a carpet, but, of course, it feels very strange."

"You have only to fancy, my dear, that you are by the seaside, walking down from your bathing machine across the sands; once get that in your mind and you will get perfectly comfortable."

"It requires too great a stretch of the imagination, Doctor, to think for a moment, in this sweltering heat, that I am enjoying a sea breeze on our English coast. It is silly, of course, to give it even a thought, when one is accustomed to see almost every woman without shoes. I think I should mind it more than I do if my feet were not stained. I don't know why, but I should. But please don't talk about it. I try to forget it, and to fancy that I am really a native."

They met but few people on the road. Those they did meet passed them with the usual salutation. There was nothing strange in a party of peasants passing along the road. They might have been at work at Cawnpore, and be now returning to their native village to get away from the troubles there. After it became dark they went into a clump of trees half a mile distant from a village they could see along the road.

"I will go in," Rujub said, "and bring some grain, and hear what the news is."

He returned in an hour. "The English have taken Dong," he said; "the news came in two hours ago. There has been some hard fighting; the Sepoys resisted stoutly at the village, even advancing beyond the inclosures to meet the British. They were driven back by the artillery and rifle fire, but held the village for some time before they were turned out. There was a stand made at the Pandoo Bridge, but it was a short one. The force massed there fell back at once when the British infantry came near enough to rush forward at the charge, and in their hurry they failed to blow up the bridge."

A consultation was held as to whether they should try to join the British, but it was decided that as the road down to Allahabad would be rendered safe by their advance, it would be better to keep straight on.

The next day they proceeded on their journey, walking in the early morning, halting as soon as the sun had gained much power, and going on again in the cool of the evening. After three days' walking they reached the fort of Allahabad. It was crowded with ladies who had come in from the country round. Most of the men were doing duty with the garrison, but some thirty had gone up with Havelock's column as volunteer cavalry, his force being entirely deficient in that arm.

As soon as the Doctor explained who they were, they were received with the greatest kindness, and Isobel was at once carried off by the ladies, while Bathurst and the Doctor were surrounded by an eager group anxious to hear the state of affairs at Cawnpore, and how they had escaped. The news of the fighting at Dong was already known; for on the evening of the day of the fight Havelock had sent down a mounted messenger to say the resistance was proving so severe that he begged some more troops might be sent up. As all was quiet now at Allahabad, where there had at first been some fierce fighting, General Neil, who was in command there, had placed two hundred and thirty men of the 84th Regiment in bullock vans, and had himself gone on with them.

The Doctor had decided to keep the news of the massacre to himself.

"They will know it before many hours are over, Bathurst," he said; "and were I to tell them, half of them wouldn't believe me, and the other half would pester my life out with questions. There is never any occasion to hurry in telling bad news."

The first inquiry of Bathurst and his friends had been for Wilson, and they found to their great pleasure that he had arrived in safety, and had gone up with the little body of cavalry. Captain Forster, whom they next asked for, had not reached Allahabad, and no news had been heard of him.

"What are you going to do, Rujub?" Bathurst asked the native next morning.

"I shall go to Patna," he said. "I have friends there, and I shall remain in the city until these troubles are over. I believe now that you were right, sahib, although I did not think so when you spoke, and that the British Raj will be restored. I thought, as did the Sepoys, that they were a match for the British troops. I see now that I was wrong. But there is a tremendous task before them. There is all Oude and the Northwest to conquer, and fully two hundred thousand men in arms against them, but I believe that they will do it. They are a great people, and now I do not wish it otherwise. This afternoon I shall start."

The Doctor, who had found many acquaintances in Allahabad, had no difficulty in obtaining money from the garrison treasury, and Bathurst and Isobel purchased the two handsomest bracelets they could obtain from the ladies in the fort as a souvenir for Rabda, and gave them to her with the heartiest expressions of their deep gratitude to her and her father.

"I shall think of you always, Rabda," Isobel said, "and shall be grateful to the end of my life for the kindness that you have done us. Your father has given us your address at Patna, and I shall write to you often."

"I shall never forget you, lady; and even the black water will not quite separate us. As I knew how you were in prison, so I shall know how you are in your home in England. What we have done is little. Did not the sahib risk his life for me? My father and I will never forget what we owe him. I am glad to know that you will make him happy."

This was said in the room that had been allotted to Isobel, an ayah of one of the ladies in the fort acting as interpreter. The girl had woke up in the morning flushed and feverish, and the Doctor, when sent for, told her she must keep absolutely quiet.

"I am afraid I am going to have her on my hands for a bit," he said to Bathurst. "She has borne the strain well, but she looks to me as if she was going to have a smart attack of fever. It is well that we got her here before it showed itself. You need not look scared; it is just the reaction. If it had been going to be brain fever or anything of that sort, I should have expected her to break down directly you got her out. No, I don't anticipate anything serious, and I am sure I hope that it won't be so. I have put my name down to go up with the next batch of volunteers. Doctors will be wanted at the front, and I hope to have a chance of wiping out my score with some of those scoundrels. However, though I think she is going to be laid up, I don't fancy it will last many days."

That afternoon a messenger from Havelock brought down the terrible news that they had fought their way to Cawnpore, only to find that the whole of the ladies and children in the Subada Ke Kothee had been massacred, and their bodies thrown down a well. The grief and indignation caused by the news were terrible; scarce one but had friends among the prisoners. Women wept; men walked up and down, wild with fury at being unable to do aught at present to avenge the massacre.

"What are you going to do, Bathurst?" the Doctor asked that evening. "I suppose you have some sort of plan?"

"I do not know yet. In the first place, I want to try whether what you said the other day is correct, and if I can stand the noise of firing without flinching."

"We can't try here in the fort," the Doctor said, full of interest in the experiment; "a musket shot would throw the whole garrison into confusion, and at present no one can go far from the gate; however, there may be a row before long, and then you will have an opportunity of trying. If there is not, we will go out together half a mile or so as soon as some more troops get up. You said, when we were talking about it at Deennugghur, you should resign your appointment and go home, but if you find your nerves are all right you may change your mind about that. How about the young lady in there?"

"Well, Doctor, I should say that you, as her father's friend, are the person to make arrangements for her. Just at present travel is not very safe, but I suppose that directly things quiet down a little many of the ladies will be going down to the coast, and no doubt some of them would take charge of Miss Hannay back to England."

"And you mean to have nothing to say in the matter?"

"Nothing at all," he said firmly. "I have already told you my views on the subject."

"Well, then," the Doctor said hotly, "I regard you as an ass." And without another word he walked off in great anger.

For the next four or five days Isobel was in a high state of fever; it passed off as the Doctor had predicted it would do, but left her very weak and languid. Another week and she was about again.

"What is Mr. Bathurst going to do?" she asked the Doctor the first day she was up on a couch.

"I don't know what he is going to do, my dear," he said irritably; "my opinion of Bathurst is that he is a fool."

"Oh, Doctor, how can you say so!" she exclaimed in astonishment; "why, what has he done?"

"It isn't what he has done, but what he won't do, my dear. Here he is in love with a young woman in every way suitable, and who is ready to say yes whenever he asks her, and he won't ask, and is not going to ask, because of a ridiculous crotchet he has got in his head."

Isobel flushed and then grew pale.

"What is the crotchet?" she asked, in a low tone, after being silent for some time.

"What do you think, my dear? He is more disgusted with himself than ever."

"Not about that nervousness, surely," Isobel said, "after all he has done and the way he has risked his life? Surely that cannot be troubling him?"

"It is, my dear; not so much on the general as on a particular ground. He insists that by jumping out of the boat when that fire began, he has done for himself altogether."

"But what could he have done, Doctor?"

"That's what I ask him, my dear. He insists that he ought to either have seized you and jumped overboard with you, in which case you would both probably have been killed, as I pointed out to him, or else stayed quietly with you by your side, in which case, as I also pointed out to him, you would have had the satisfaction of seeing him murdered. He could not deny that this would have been so, but that in no way alters his opinion of his own conduct. I also ventured to point out to him that if he had been killed, you would at this moment be either in the power of that villainous Nana, or be with hundreds of others in that ghastly well at Cawnpore. I also observed to him that I, who do not regard myself as a coward, also jumped overboard from your boat, and that Wilson, who is certainly a plucky young fellow, and a number of others, jumped over from the other boat; but I might as well have talked to a post."

Isobel sat for some time silent, her fingers playing nervously with each other.

"Of course it seems foolish of him to think of it so strongly, but I don't think it is unnatural he should feel as he does."

"May I ask why?" the Doctor said sarcastically.

"I mean, Doctor, it would be foolish of other people, but I don't think it is foolish of him. Of course he could have done no good staying in the boat--he would have simply thrown away his life; and yet I think, I feel sure, that there are many men who would have thrown away their lives in such a case. Even at that moment of terror I felt a pang, when, without a word, he sprang overboard. I thought of it many times that long night, in spite of my grief for my uncle and the others, and my horror of being a prisoner in the hands of the Sepoys. I did not blame him, because I knew how he must have felt, and that it was done in a moment of panic. I was not so sorry for myself as for him, for I knew that if he escaped, the thought of that moment would be terrible for him. I need not say that in my mind the feeling that he should not have left me so has been wiped out a thousand times by what he did afterwards, by the risk he ran for me, and the infinite service he rendered me by saving me from a fate worse than death. But I can enter into his feelings. Most men would have jumped over just as he did, and would never have blamed themselves even if they had at once started away down the country to save their own lives, much less if they had stopped to save mine as he has done.

"But who can wonder that he is more sensitive than others? Did he not hear from you that I said that a coward was contemptible? Did not all the men except you and my uncle turn their backs upon him and treat him with contempt, in spite of his effort to meet his death by standing up on the roof? Think how awfully he must have suffered, and then, when it seemed that his intervention, which saved our lives, had to some extent won him back the esteem of the men around him, that he should so fail again, as he considers, and that with me beside him. No wonder that he takes the view he does, and that he refuses to consider that even the devotion and courage he afterwards showed can redeem what he considers is a disgrace. You always said that he was brave, Doctor, and I believe now there is no braver man living; but that makes it so much the worse for him. A coward would be more than satisfied with himself for what he did afterwards, and would regard it as having completely wiped out any failing, while he magnifies the failing, such as it was, and places but small weight on what he afterwards did. I like him all the better for it. I know the fault, if fault it was, and I thought it so at the time, was one for which he was not responsible, and yet I like him all the better that he feels it so deeply."

"Well, my dear, you had better tell him so," the Doctor said dryly. "I really agree with what you say, and you make an excellent advocate. I cannot do better than leave the matter in your hands. You know, child," he said, changing his tone, "I have from the first wished for Bathurst and you to come together, and if you don't do so I shall say you are the most wrong headed young people I ever met. He loves you, and I don't think there is any question about your feelings, and you ought to make matters right somehow. Unfortunately, he is a singularly pig headed man when he gets an idea in his mind. However, I hope that it will come all right. By the way, he asked were you well enough to see him today?"

"I would rather not see him till tomorrow," the girl said.

"And I think too that you had better not see him until tomorrow, Isobel. Your cheeks are flushed now, and your hands are trembling, and I do not want you laid up again, so I order you to keep yourself perfectly quiet for the rest of the day."

But it was not till two days later that Bathurst came up to see her.

The spies brought in, late that evening, the news that a small party of the Sepoy cavalry, with two guns, were at a village three miles on the other side of the town, and were in communication with the disaffected. It was decided at once by the officer who had succeeded General Neil in the command of the fort that a small party of fifty infantry, accompanied by ten or twelve mounted volunteers, should go out and attack them. Bathurst sent in his name to form one of the party as soon as he learned the news, borrowing the horse of an officer who was laid up ill.

The expedition started two hours before daybreak, and, making a long detour, fell upon the Sepoys at seven o'clock. The latter, who had received news half an hour before of their approach, made a stand, relying on their cannon. The infantry, however, moved forward in skirmishing order, their fire quickly silenced the guns, and they then rushed forward while the little troop of volunteers charged.

The fight lasted but a few minutes, at the end of which time the enemy galloped off in all directions, leaving their guns in the hands of the victors. Four of the infantry had been killed by the explosion of a well aimed shell, and five of the volunteers were wounded in the hand to hand fight with the sowars. The Sepoys' guns and artillery horses had been captured.

The party at once set out on their return. On their way they had some skirmishing with the rabble of the town, who had heard the firing, but they were beaten off without much difficulty, and the victors re-entered the fort in triumph. The Doctor was at the gate as they came in. Bathurst sprang from his .horse and held out his hand. His radiant face told its own story.

"Thank God, Doctor, it has passed. I don't think my pulse went a beat faster when the guns opened on us, and the crackle of our own musketry had no more effect. I think it has gone forever."

"I am glad indeed, Bathurst," the Doctor said, warmly grasping his hand. "I hoped that it might be so."

"No words can express how grateful I feel," Bathurst said. "The cloud that shadowed my life seems lifted, and henceforth I shall be able to look a man in the face."

"You are wounded, I see," the Doctor said.

"Yes, I had a pistol ball through my left arm. I fancy the bone is broken, but that is of no consequence."

"A broken arm is no trifle," the Doctor said, "especially in a climate like this. Come into the hospital at once and let me see to it."

One of the bones of the forearm was indeed broken, and the Doctor, having applied splints and bandages, peremptorily ordered him to lie down. Bathurst protested that he was perfectly able to get up with his arm in a sling.

"I know you are able," the Doctor said testily; "but if you were to go about in this oven, we should very likely have you in a high fever by tomorrow morning. Keep yourself perfectly quiet for today; by tomorrow, if you have no signs of fever, and the wound is doing well, we will see about it."

Upon leaving him Dr. Wade went out and heard the details of the fight.

"Your friend Bathurst particularly distinguished himself," the officer who commanded the volunteers said. "He cut down the ressaldar who commanded the Sepoys, and was in the thick of it. I saw him run one sowar through and shoot another. I am not surprised at his fighting so well after what you have gone through in Deennugghur and in that Cawnpore business."

The Doctor then went up to see Isobel. She looked flushed and excited.

"Is it true, Doctor, that Mr. Bathurst went out with the volunteers, and that he is wounded?"

"Both items are true, my dear. Fortunately the wound is not serious. A ball has broken the small bone of the left forearm, but I don't think it will lay him up for long; in fact, he objects strongly to go to bed."

"But how did he--how is it he went out to fight, Doctor? I could hardly believe it when I was told, though of course I did not say so."

"My dear, it was an experiment. He told me that he did not feel at all nervous when the Sepoys rushed in at the gate firing when he was walking off with you, and it struck me that possibly the sudden shock and the jump into the water when they attacked the boats, and that rap on the head with a musket ball, might have affected his nervous system, and that he was altogether cured, so he was determined on the first occasion to try."

"And did it, Doctor?" Isobel asked eagerly. "I don't care, you know, one bit whether he is nervous when there is a noise or not, but for his sake I should be glad to know that he has got over it; it has made him so unhappy."

"He has got over it, my dear; he went through the fight without feeling the least nervous, and distinguished himself very much in the charge, as the officer who commanded his troop has just told me."

"Oh, I am glad--I am thankful, Doctor; no words can say how pleased I am; I know that it would have made his whole life unhappy, and I should have always had the thought that he remembered those hateful words of mine."

"I am as glad as you are, Isobel, though I fancy it will change our plans."

"How change our plans, Doctor? I did not know that I had any plans."

"I think you had, child, though you might not acknowledge them even to yourself. My plan was that you should somehow convince him that, in spite of what you said, and in spite of his leaving you in that boat, you were quite content to take him for better or for worse."

"How could I tell him that?" the girl said, coloring.

"Well, I think you would have had to do so somehow, my dear, but that is not the question now. My plan was that when you had succeeded in doing this you should marry him and go home with him."

"But why, Doctor," she asked, coloring even more hotly than before, "is the plan changed?"

"Because, my dear, I don't think Bathurst will go home with you."

"Why not, Doctor?" she asked, in surprise.

"Because, my dear, he will want, in the first place, to rehabilitate himself."

"But no one knows, Doctor, about the siege and what happened there, except you and me and Mr. Wilson; all the rest have gone."

"That is true, my dear, but he will want to rehabilitate himself in his own eyes; and besides, that former affair which first set you against him, might crop up at any time. Other civilians, many of them, have volunteered in the service, and no man of courage would like to go away as long as things are in their present state. You will see Bathurst will stay."

Isobel was silent.

"I think he will be right," she said at last gravely; "if he wishes to do so, I should not try to dissuade him; it would be very hard to know that he is in danger, but no harder for me than for others."

"That is right, my dear," the Doctor said affectionately; "I should not wish my little girl--and now the Major has gone I feel that you are my little girl--to think otherwise. I think," he went on, smiling, "that the first part of that plan we spoke of will not be as difficult as I fancied it would be; the sting has gone, and he will get rid of his morbid fancies."

"When shall I be able to see him?"

"Well, if I had any authority over him you would not see him for a week; as I have not, I think it likely enough that you will see him tomorrow."

"I would rather wait if it would do him any harm, Doctor."

"I don't think it will do him any harm. Beyond the fact that he will have to carry his arm in a sling for the next fortnight, I don't think he will have any trouble with it."