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Dr. Rumsey's Patient A Very Strange Story   By:

Dr. Rumsey's Patient A Very Strange Story by Dr. Halifax

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DR. RUMSEY'S PATIENT

A VERY STRANGE STORY

BY L. T. MEAD AND DR. HALIFAX

JOINT AUTHORS OF "STORIES FROM THE DIARY OF A DOCTOR"

NEW YORK HURST & COMPANY PUBLISHERS

COPYRIGHTED, 1896, BY THE INTERNATIONAL NEWS COMPANY ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

[Illustration: MRS L. T. MEADE.]

DR. RUMSEY'S PATIENT.

CHAPTER I.

Two young men in flannels were standing outside the door of the Red Doe in the picturesque village of Grandcourt. The village contained one long and straggling street. The village inn was covered with ivy, wistaria, flowering jessamine, monthly roses, and many other creepers. The flowers twined round old fashioned windows, and nodded to the guests when they awoke in the morning and breathed perfume upon them as they retired to bed at night. In short, the Inn was an ideal one, and had from time immemorial found favor with reading parties, fishermen, and others who wanted to combine country air and the pursuit of health with a certain form of easy amusement. The two men who now stood in the porch were undergraduates from Balliol. There was nothing in the least remarkable about their appearance they looked like what they were, good hearted, keen witted young Englishmen of the day. The time was evening, and as the Inn faced due west the whole place was bathed in warm sunshine.

"This heat is tremendous and there is no air," said Everett, the younger of the students. "How can you stand that sun beating on your head, Frere? I'm for indoors."

"Right," replied Frere. "It is cool enough in the parlor."

As he spoke he took a step forward and gazed down the winding village street. There was a look of pleased expectation in his eyes. He seemed to be watching for some one. A girl appeared, walking slowly up the street. Frere's eye began to dance. Everett, who was about to go into the shady parlor, gave him a keen glance and for some reason his eyes also grew bright with expectation.

"There's something worth looking at," he exclaimed in a laughing voice.

"What did you say?" asked Frere gruffly.

"Nothing, old man at least nothing special. I say, doesn't Hetty look superb?"

"You've no right to call her Hetty."

Everett gave a low whistle.

"I rather fancy I have," he answered "she gave me leave this morning."

"Impossible," said Frere. He turned pale under all his sunburn, and bit his lower lip. "Don't you find the sun very hot?" he asked.

"No, it is sinking into the west the great heat is over. Let us go and enliven this little charmer."

"I will," said Frere suddenly. "You had better stay here where you are. It is my right," he added. "I was about to tell you so, when she came in view."

"Your right?" cried Everett; he looked disturbed.

Frere did not reply, but strode quickly down the village street. A dozen strides brought him up to Hetty's side. She was a beautiful girl, with a face and figure much above her station. Her hat was covered with wild flowers which she had picked in her walk, and coquettishly placed there. She wore a pink dress covered with rosebuds some wild flowers were stuck into her belt. As Frere advanced to meet her, her laughing eyes were raised to his face there was a curious mixture of timidity and audacity in their glance.

"I have a word to say to you," he accosted her in a gruff tone. "What right had you to give Everett leave to call you Hetty?"

The timidity immediately left the bright eyes, and a slight expression of anger took its place.

"Because I like to distribute my favors, Mr. Horace."

She quickened her pace as she spoke. Everett, who had been standing quite still in the porch watching the little scene, came out to meet the pair. Hetty flushed crimson when she saw him; she raised her dancing, charming dark eyes to his face, then looked again at Frere, who turned sullenly away.

"I hope, gentlemen, you have had good sport," said the rustic beauty, in her demure voice.

"Excellent," replied Everett... Continue reading book >>




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