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Dr Ballard







From: Jewel

Mr. Evringham looked about, half in apprehension, half in anticipation,
as he entered the dining-room the following morning. Jewel had not
arrived, so he settled himself to read his paper. Each time there was
a sound he glanced up, bracing himself for the approach of light feet,
beaming face, and an ardent embrace. His interest in the news gradually
lessened, and his expectancy increased. She did not come. At last he
began to suspect that the unprecedented had happened, and that Mrs.
Forbes herself was late.

He looked at his watch with suddenly rising amazement. It was ten
minutes past the appointed time. He began feeling around with his foot
for the electric bell. It was an unaccustomed movement, for his wishes
were usually anticipated. By the time he found it, he had become a
seriously injured man, and the peal he rang summoned Sarah suddenly.

"Bring me my coffee at once, if you please. What is the matter?"

The maid did not know. He was drinking his first cup when the
housekeeper entered the room, flushed of countenance.

"You'll have to excuse me, Mr. Evringham. I couldn't come a minute
sooner. Julia is sick."

"Sick! I should like to know why?"

"Why, she got sopping wet in that brook yesterday, and here, just as I
knew it would be, she's got a fever."

"A fever, eh?" repeated Mr. Evringham in a startled tone.

"Yes, sir, and what's more, when I told her you would send for the
doctor, it was worse than about the rubbers. She talked all the rubbish
you can think of. I'm sure she's flighty--said she never had a doctor,
that she always got well, and even cried when I told her that that was
nonsense."

"Was she ill all night, do you think?"

"I don't know. I found her trying to get up when I went to her room, and
I saw at once that she wasn't able to.

"Well, Mrs. Forbes, all I can do is to ask your pardon for adding so
much to your cares. Let Sarah bring me my eggs, and then, if you please,
telephone for Dr. Ballard to come over before his office hour."

"I will, sir, but I'll ask you to see the child before you go to town
and make her promise to behave about the doctor. You'd have thought I
was asking to let in a roaring lion."

"Shy, probably."

"Shy! That child shy!" thought Mrs. Forbes.

"She knows Dr. Ballard," continued the broker, "and if you had thought
to mention him, she wouldn't have made any fuss."

"If you'll excuse me differing with you, Mr. Evringham, I don't think
that child's got a shy bone in her body. In the trolley car yesterday,
didn't she make up to a perfect stranger! She eyed him and fingered that
little gold pin she wears, till he smiled and touched one of the same
pattern in his own cravat. Young as she is, she's some kind of a free
mason or secret society, you may be sure. I actually saw him take her
hand and give her the grip as he got out of the car. Why you know who it
is, it was Mr. Reeves of Highland Street."

"H'm. You are imaginative, Mrs. Forbes. Mr. Reeves is fond of children,
and Jewel has a friendly way of looking at people."

The housekeeper bridled. "Well, all is, I guess, you'll find I ain't
imaginative when you come to talk with her about the doctor," was the
firm response. "When I said medicine she looked as scared as if I'd said
poison."

"H'm. Been dosed then. Mother an allopath probably. Burnt child dreads
the fire. I think homeopathy is the thing for children. Guy will do very
well. Call him up at once, please. He might go out."

When Mr. Evringham had finished his breakfast, he climbed to the
white room, planning as he went a short and peremptory speech to the
rebellious one; for he had less time left than usual for his daily talk
with his housekeeper before catching the train.

The curtains in the room were half drawn as he entered, and the child's
figure looked small in the big white bed. She exclaimed as he drew near,
and seizing his hand, kissed it.

"You'd better not kiss me, grandpa, because I'm so hot and
uncomfortable," she said thickly. "Oh, how I wanted to see you all
night!"

The little hands clinging to his were burning. He sat down on the edge
of the bed.

"I'm very sorry for this, Jewel. It's your own fault, I understand, my
girl."

"Yes, I know it is. When I first called the house Castle Discord and
talked to Anna Belle about the error fairy, and the enchanted maiden,
and the giantess, I didn't see it was hate creeping in and making me not
careful to deny it all. I know it is all my fault."

Mr. Evringham gazed at the flushed face with startled eyes. "Dear
me, this is really very bad!" he thought. "Delirious so early in the
morning. I wish Guy would come!"

"Well, we'll soon have Dr. Ballard here," he said aloud, trying to speak
soothingly. "He'll set you all right very soon."

"Oh, grandpa, dear grandpa," with the utmost earnestness, "would you
please not send for the doctor? I won't be any trouble. I don't want
anything to eat, only a drink of water, and I'll soon be well."

Her beseeching tone and her helplessness touched some unsuspected chord
in her listener's breast.

"Jewel, don't you want to go out to the stable with me and feed Essex
Maid with sugar?" he asked.

"Yes, grandpa," with a half sob.

"You don't want me to be unhappy and worried about you when I get into
my office?"

"No, grandpa."

"And you liked Dr. Ballard, I'm sure, when you came out with him on the
train day before yesterday."

"Day before yesterday! Oh, was it? It seems a year ago! But I wanted
to come and see you so much I was willing to let father and mother go
away, and I never thought that I wouldn't know when error was getting
hold of me.

"Well, never mind now, Jewel. Dr. Ballard will help you, and as soon as
you get well I'll take you for a fine long drive, if you'll be good. I'm
sure you don't want to trouble me."

"No." Another half sob caught the child's throat. "Here is something
I bought for you yesterday, grandpa." She drew from under the further
pillow the yellow chicken, somewhat disheveled, and put it in his hand.
"I meant to give it to you last night, but Mrs. Forbes kept me upstairs
because she thought she ought to make me sorry, and so I couldn't."

The stockbroker cleared his throat as he regarded his new possession.
"It was kind of you, Jewel," he returned. "I shall stand it on my desk.
Now--ahem"--looking around the big empty room, "you won't be lonely, I
hope, until the doctor comes?"

"No, I'd like to be alone, I have so much work to do."


"Dear me, dear me!" thought Mr. Evringham, "this is very distressing.
She seems to have lucid intervals, and then so quickly gets flighty
again."

"Besides, I like to think of the Ravine of Happiness," continued the
child, "and the brook. Supposing I could lay my cheek down in the
brook now. The water is so cool, and it laughs and whispers such pretty
things."

"Now if you would try to go to sleep, Jewel," said Mr. Evringham,
"it would please me very much. Good-by. I shall come to see you again
to-night." He stooped his tall form and kissed the child's forehead, and
her hot lips pressed his hand, then he went out.

At the foot of the stairs he encountered Mrs. Forbes waiting, and
hastily put behind him the hand that held the chicken.

"Well, sir?"

"She's very badly off, very badly off, I'm afraid."

"I hope not, sir. Children are always flighty if they have a little
fever. What about dinner, sir?"

"Have anything you please," returned Mr. Evringham briefly. "I wish to
see Dr. Ballard as soon as he arrives. Tell Zeke I shall not go until
the next train." With these words the broker entered his study, and his
housekeeper looked after him in amazement. It was the first time she had
ever seen him indifferent concerning his dinner.

"I wonder if he thinks she's got something catching," she soliloquized.
Then a sudden thought occurred to her. "No great loss without some small
gain," she thought grimly. "'T would clear the house."

She watched at the window until she saw Dr. Ballard's buggy approaching.
Then she opened the door and met him.

"Your little visitor do you say?" asked the young doctor as he greeted
her and entered. "What mischief has she been up to so soon?"

"Oh, the usual sort," returned Mrs. Forbes, and recounted her
grievances. "She's the oddest child in the world," she finished, "and
her last freak is that she doesn't want to have a doctor."

"Dear me, what heresy!" The young man smiled. "Which room, Mrs. Forbes?"

"Please go into the library first, Dr. Ballard. Mr. Evringham is waiting
to see you."

The broker was sitting before his desk as the doctor entered, and he
turned with a brief greeting.

"I'm glad you've come, Ballard. I'm very much troubled about the
child. Her father and mother abroad you understand, and I feel the
responsibility. She seems very flighty, quite wild in her talk at
moments. I wished to warn you that one of her feverish ideas is that she
doesn't want a doctor. You will have to use some tact."

The physician's face lost its careless smile. "Delirious, you say?"

"Yes, go right up, Guy. I'll wait for you here. It's so sudden. She was
quite well, to all appearances, yesterday."

"Children are sensitive little mortals," remarked Dr. Ballard, and then
Mrs. Forbes ushered him up to the white room. He asked her to remain
within call, and entered alone.

The child's eyes were open as he approached the bed, the black case
she remembered in his hand. By her expression he saw that her mind was
clear.

"Well, well, Jewel, this isn't the way I meant you to receive me the
first time I called," he said pleasantly, drawing up a chair beside the
bed. The child put out her hand to his offered one and tried to smile.
As he held the hand he felt her pulse. "This isn't the way to behave
when you go visiting," he added.

"I know it isn't," returned Jewel contritely.

"The next time you go wading in the brook, take off your shoes and
stockings, little one, and I think you would better wait until later
in the season, anyway. You've made quick work of this business." As
he talked the doctor took his little thermometer out of its case. "Now
then, let me slip this under your tongue."

"What is it?" asked Jewel, shrinking.

"What! Haven't you ever had your temperature tried? Well, you have been
a healthy little girl! All the better. Just take it under your tongue,
and don't speak for a minute, please."

"Please don't ask me to. I can't."

"There's nothing to be afraid of. It won't hurt you." The doctor smiled.

"I know what that is now," said Jewell, regarding the little tube. "A
man was cured of paralysis once by having a thing like that stuck in his
mouth. He thought it was meant to cure him. I haven't paralysis."

The doctor began to consider that perhaps Mr. Evringham had not
exaggerated. "Come, Jewel," he said kindly. "I thought we were such good
friends. You are wasting my time."

A moment more of hesitation, and then the child suddenly opened her
mouth and accepted the thermometer. She kept her eyes closed during
the process of waiting, and at last Dr. Ballard took out the little
instrument and examined it.

"Let me see your tongue."

The child stared in surprise.

"Put out your tongue, Jewel," he repeated kindly.

"But that is impolite," she protested.

He changed his position. The poor little thing was flighty, and no
wonder, with such a temperature. He took her hand again. "I'll overlook
the impoliteness. Run out your tongue now. Far as you can, dear."

The child obeyed.

Presently she said, "I feel very uncomfortable, Dr. Ballard. I don't
feel a bit like visiting, so if you wouldn't mind going away until I
feel better. You interrupted me when you came in. I have lots of work
to do yet. When I get well I'd just love to see you. I'd rather see you
than almost anybody in Bel-Air."

"Yes, yes, dear. I'll go away very soon. Where does your throat feel
sore? Put your finger on the place."

Jewel looked up with all the rebuke she could convey. "You ought not to
ask me that," she returned.

Dr. Ballard rose and went to the door. "Get me a glass of water, please,
Mrs. Forbes."

"Not a glass. I want a whole pitcher full right side of me," said Jewel.

"Yes, a pitcher full also, if you please, Mrs. Forbes. Just let the maid
bring them up."

The doctor returned to the bedside. "Now we'll soon forget that you wet
those little feet," he said.

"That didn't do me any harm, that clean sweet brook. Mrs. Forbes didn't
know what was the real matter."

"What was it, then?"

"My own fault," said Jewel, speaking with feverish quickness and
squeezing the doctor's hand. "When I came here I found that nobody loved
one another and everybody was afraid and sorry, and instead of denying
it and helping them, I began voicing error and calling them names.
I didn't keep remembering that God was here, and I called it Castle
Discord and called Mrs. Forbes the giantess, and aunt Madge the error
fairy, and cousin Eloise the enchanted maiden, and of course how could I
help getting sick?"

Dr. Ballard leaned toward her. Was this an impromptu tale, or was it a
fact that this child had been coldly treated and unhappy? "You have a
sensitive conscience, Jewel," he returned.

Here Sarah entered, set down the tray with pitcher, glasses, and spoon,
and departed. The doctor loosed the little hand he had been holding,
took up his case, and opened it.

Jewel watched him with apprehension. "That's--medicine isn't it?" she
asked with bated breath.

"Yes." The doctor carefully selected a bottle of liquid and set it on
the table. "I think this one will do us."

Jewel's remark on the train about materia medica recurred to him, and he
smiled.

"Dr. Ballard, aren't you a Christian?" she asked suddenly.

He glanced up. "I hope so."

"Then you'll forgive me if I won't take medicine. I put out my tongue,
and I sucked the little glass thing because I didn't want to trouble
you; but I have too much faith in God to take medicine." The child
looked at the doctor appealingly.

He began to see light, and in his surprise, for a moment he did not
reply.

"Jesus Christ would have used drugs if they had been right," she added.

"But He isn't here now," returned the astonished young man.

"Why, Dr. Ballard," in gentle reproach, "Christ is the Truth of God.
Isn't He here now, healing us and helping us just the same as ever?
Didn't He say He would be? You will see how much better I shall be
to-night."

Dr. Ballard met the heavy eyes with his own kind, clear ones. "I see you
have been taught in new ways, Jewel," he said seriously, "but you are
only a little girl, and while you are in your grandfather's house you
ought to do as he wishes. He wishes you to let me prescribe for you. No
one who is ill can help making trouble. You have no right not to try to
get well in the way Mr. Evringham and Mrs. Forbes wish you to."

Jewel felt herself in a desperate position. The corners of her lips
twitched down. Dr. Ballard thought he saw his advantage, and leaned his
fine head toward her. She impulsively threw her arms around his neck.

"You don't want to hurt my feelings, Jewel," he said. She was crying
softly.

"No--it would make me--very--sorry, but it would be--worse--to
hurt--God's. Please don't make me, please, please don't make me, Dr.
Ballard!"

She was increasingly excited, and he feared the effect.

"Very well then, Jewel," he returned. "I don't want to do you more harm
than good."

"Oh, thank you!" she exclaimed fervently, through her tears.

"But Mrs. Forbes must think you have the medicine. You haven't told her
that you are--ahem--a Christian Scientist. I suppose that is what you
call yourself."

"Yes, sir. A Christian Scientist. Oh, you're the kindest man," pursued
the relieved child. "I realized in my prayer that you didn't know it was
wrong to believe in material medica, for you reflect love all the time."

While she was talking and wiping her eyes the doctor took the pitcher
and one of the glasses to the window, and stood with his back to her.

"Now then," he said, returning, "we'll put this half glass of water on
the table. I put the spoon across it so, and when Mrs. Forbes is next in
the room you take a couple of spoonfuls and that will satisfy her. You
may tell her that I wanted you only to take it about four times during
the day. If you are better when I come back this evening, I will not
insist upon your taking any pellets on your tongue. Here is the other
glass for you to drink from."

With a few more kind words Dr. Ballard took his departure, and going
downstairs met Mrs. Forbes. "The little girl has a heavy feverish cold.
She understands how to take her medicine. She will probably sleep a good
deal. Let her be quiet."

He went on to the study, where Mr. Evringham was waiting, sitting at the
desk, his head on his hand, frowning at the yellow chicken. He looked up
expectantly as the doctor entered.

"Well?" he asked.

Dr. Ballard came forward and seated himself in a neighboring chair.

"Do you know what you have upstairs there?" he asked in a low tone.

"For heaven's sake, Guy, don't tell me it's something serious--something
infectious!" Mr. Evringham turned pale.

The doctor's sudden smile was reassuring. "It does seem to be infectious
to some degree," he returned, "but I don't believe you'll catch it."

"What are you grinning at, boy?" asked the broker sharply.

"Don't be alarmed, Mr. Evringham, but the fact is, that you have in your
house a small and young but perfectly formed and well-developed specimen
of a Christian Scientist."

"What, man!" The broker grew red again.

Dr. Ballard nodded deliberately. "Your little granddaughter belongs to
the new cult; and I can assure you she is dyed in the wool, and moreover
is all wool and a yard wide."

"The devil you say!" ejaculated Mr. Evringham. "But," he added with
a sudden thought, "that may be a part of the poor child's feverish
nonsense. She was full of talk of castles and giantesses and fairies and
what not when I was up there."

"Yes. She is no flightier than you are this minute. All these titles are
those she has given to your house and household in the last two days,
and according to her diagnosis, it is that indulgence from which she
is suffering now, and not from too much brook. She says she has 'voiced
error.'"

The doctor looked quizzically at his friend, who returned his gaze,
nonplussed.

"That's it--'error,'" rejoined Mr. Evringham, "that's what she is
often saying. This explains her vocabulary, in all probability. She
has sometimes the strangest talk you ever listened to. Well, that's the
mother's doing, of course, and not the child's fault. I maintain it is
not the child's fault. With it all, Ballard, I tell you she's a very
well meaning child--a rather winning child, in fact. Good natured
disposition. I hope she's not very ill. I do, indeed. Ha! That, then, is
why she was so excited at the thought of having a doctor. Tomfoolery!"


"Yes, that was it. We've had some argument." The young doctor smiled.
"She doesn't consider me hopeless, however. She told me that she had
mentioned to the Lord that she was sure I didn't know it was wrong to
believe in materia medica."

No one for years had heard Mr. Evringham laugh as he laughed at this.
The doctor joined him.

"I'm not surprised," said the broker at last. "If there is anything she
does not mention to her Creator, I have yet to learn what it is. How did
you get around her, Ballard?"

"Oh, I used a little justifiable hocus-pocus about the medicine. That's
all."

"And you think it's not anything very serious, then?"

"I think not. Where there's so much temperature it is a little hard to
tell at first with a child. This evening I shall make a more thorough
examination. The ice is broken now, and it will be easier. She will be
less excited. I see," glancing at the yellow chicken, whose beady eyes
appeared to be following the conversation, "the little girl has found
her way even into this sanctum."

Mr. Evringham cleared his throat as he followed the doctor's glance.
"No," he responded shortly. "She has not found her way in here yet. That
is--my chicken. She bought it for me."

Dr. Ballard lifted his eyebrows and smiled as he arose.

"Come back before dinner if possible, Ballard. I shall be uneasy."





Next: The Telegram

Previous: The Ravine



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