"Papa, I AM going with you," said Helen, half-desperately. "I don't believe I am so troubled for nothing. Perhaps it's a merciful warning, and I may be of use to you."
"No congratulations, if you please. You can talk coolly, because in regard to such matters you are cool, and, I may add, a trifle cold. Ambition is your mistress, and a musty law-book has more attractions for you than any woman living. I'm not so tempered. I am subject to the general law of nature, and a woman's love and sympathy are essential to success in my life and work."
"Well, I never knew so unsusceptible a man. With the exception of a few of his relatives, he has never cared for ladies' society."
"Yes, Mrs. Nichol. Try to keep your fortitude, for perhaps his welfare depends upon it."
"Jamie," she said, "run to the store down the street for some coal and kindlings that I bought, and then we will have a good fire and a nice supper;" and the boy, at such a prospect, eagerly obeyed.
"Well, now, friends," said Dr. Barnes, "it's time I had my say and gave my orders. You must remember that I have not shared very fully in your confidence that the captain could be restored by the appeals you have made; neither do I share in this abandonment to grief now. As the captain says, he is yet simply unable to respond. We must patiently wait and see what time and medical skill can do for him. There is no reason whatever for giving up hope. Mrs. Kemble, I would advise you to take Miss Helen to her room, and you, Mr. Nichol, to take your wife and son home. I will call in the morning, and then we can advise further."
The half-grown boys sent from the restaurant and toy-shop could not be mistaken for Santa Claus even by the credulous fancy of the children, and Mrs. Marlow stepped forward eagerly and said: