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HOME > Classical Novels > Aunt Jane's Nieces29 > CHAPTER XVI. GOOD RESULTS.
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 Uncle John could not run so swiftly as the lawyer, but he broke through a gap in the hedge and arrived at a point just beneath the plank1 at the same time that Silas Watson did.  
One glance showed them the boy safely perched on top of the plank, but the girl was bending backward. She threw out her arms in a vain endeavor to save herself, and with a low cry toppled and plunged2 swiftly toward the ground.
There was little time for the men to consider their actions. Involuntarily they tried to catch Patricia, whose body struck them sharply, felling them to the ground, and then bounded against the hedge and back to the pavement.
When, half dazed, they scrambled3 to their feet, the girl lay motionless before them, a stream of red blood welling from a deep cut in her forhead, her eyes closed as if in sleep.
A moment more and the boy was kneeling beside her, striving to stay the bleeding with his handkerchief.
"Do something! For God's sake try to do something," he wailed4, piteously. "Can't you see she's killed herself to save me?"
Uncle John knelt down and took the still form in his arms.
"Quiet, my lad," he said. "She isn't dead. Get Nora, and fetch the doctor as soon as you can."
The boy was gone instantly, his agony relieved by the chance of action, and followed by the lawyer, Uncle John carried his niece to the rose chamber5 and laid her upon her white bed.
Misery6 met them, then, and following her came Louise and Beth, full of horror and pity for the victim of the dreadful accident.
Jane Merrick had promptly7 recovered consciousness, for fainting spells were foreign to her nature. Her first words to Phibbs, who was bending over her, were:
"Is she dead?"
"Who, Miss Jane?"
"I don't know, Miss Jane. Why should she be dead?"
"Run, you idiot! Run at once and find out. Ask my brother—ask anyone—if Patricia is dead!"
And so Phibbs came to the rose chamber and found the little group bending over the girl's unconscious form.
"Is she dead, sir? Miss Jane wants to know," said the old servant, in awe-struck tones.
"No," answered Uncle John, gravely. "She isn't dead, I'm sure; but I can't tell how badly she is hurt. One of her legs—the right one—is broken, I know, for I felt it as I carried the child in my arms; but we must wait until the doctor comes before I can tell more."
Misery was something of a nurse, it seemed, and with the assistance of Louise, who proved most helpful in the emergency, she bathed the wound in the girl's forehead and bandaged it as well as she was able. Between them the women also removed Patricia's clothing and got her into bed, where she lay white and still unconscious, but breathing so softly that they knew she was yet alive.
The doctor was not long in arriving, for Kenneth forced him to leap upon Nora's back and race away to Elmhurst, while the boy followed as swiftly as he could on the doctor's sober cob.
Dr. Eliel was only a country practitioner10, but his varied11 experiences through many years had given him a practical knowledge of surgery, and after a careful examination of Patricia's injuries he was able to declare that she would make a fine recovery.
"Her leg is fractured, and she's badly bruised," he reported to Aunt Jane, who sent for him as soon as he could leave the sick room. "But I do not think she has suffered any internal injuries, and the wound on her forehead is a mere12 nothing. So, with good care, I expect the young lady to get along nicely."
"Do everything you can for her," said the woman, earnestly. "You shall be well paid, Dr. Eliel."
Before Patricia recovered her senses the doctor had sewn up her forehead and set the fractured limb, so that she suffered little pain from the first.
Louise and Beth hovered13 over her constantly, ministering to every possible want and filled with tenderest sympathy for their injured cousin. The accident seemed to draw them out of their selfishness and petty intrigues14 and discovered in them the true womanly qualities that had lurked15 beneath the surface.
Patsy was not allowed to talk, but she smiled gratefully at her cousins, and the three girls seemed suddenly drawn16 nearer together than any of them would have thought possible a few hours before.
The boy paced constantly up and down outside Patricia's door, begging everyone who left the room, for news of the girl's condition. All his reserve and fear of women seemed to have melted away as if by magic. Even Beth and Louise were questioned eagerly, and they, having learned the story of Patricia's brave rescue of the boy, were very gentle with him and took pains not to frighten or offend him.
Toward evening Louise asked Patricia if she would see Kenneth for a moment, and the girl nodded a ready assent17.
He came in awkward and trembling, glancing fearfully at the bandaged forehead and the still white face. But Patricia managed to smile reassuringly18, and held out a little hand for him to take. The boy grasped it in both his own, and held it for several minutes while he stood motionless beside her, his wide eyes fixed20 intently upon her own.
Then Louise sent him away, and he went to his room and wept profusely21, and then quieted down into a sort of dull stupor22.
The next morning Uncle John dragged him away from Patricia's door and forced him to play chess. The boy lost every game, being inattentive and absorbed in thought, until finally Uncle John gave up the attempt to amuse him and settled himself on the top stair for a quiet smoke. The boy turned to the table, and took a sheet of paper from the drawer. For an hour, perhaps, neither of these curious friends spoke23 a word, but at the end of that time Uncle John arose and knocked the ashes from his pipe. Kenneth did not notice him. The man approached the table and looked over the boy's shoulder, uttering an exclamation24 of surprise. Upon the paper appeared a cleverly drawn pencil sketch25 of Patricia lying in her bed, a faint smile upon her face and her big blue eyes turned pleasantly upon a shadowy form that stood beside her holding her hand. The likeness26 was admirable, and if there were faults in the perspective and composition Uncle John did not recognize them.
He gave a low whistle and turned thoughtfully away, and the young artist was so absorbed that he did not even look up.
Strolling away to the stables, Uncle John met old Donald, who enquired27:
"How is Miss Patsy this morning, sir?" It was the name she had given, and preferred to be called by.
"She's doing finely," said Uncle John.
"A brave girl, sir!"
"Yes, Donald."
"And the boy?"
"Why, he seems changed, in some way, Donald. Not so nervous and wild as usual, you know. I've just left him drawing a picture. Curious. A good picture, too."
"Ah, he can do that, sir, as well as a real artist."
"Have you known him to draw, before this?"
"Why, he's always at it, sir, in his quieter moods. I've got a rare good likeness o' myself, as he did long ago, in the harness-room."
"May I see it?"
"With pleasure, sir."
Donald led the way to the harness-room, and took from the cupboard the precious board he had so carefully preserved.
Uncle John glanced at it and laughed aloud. He could well appreciate the humor of the sketch, which Donald never had understood, and the caricature was as clever as it was amusing. He handed the treasure back to Donald and went away even more thoughtful than before.
A few days later a large package arrived at Elmhurst addressed to Kenneth Forbes, and Oscar carried it at once to the boy's room, who sat for an hour looking at it in silent amazement28. Then he carefully unwrapped it, and found it to contain a portable easel, a quantity of canvas and drawing-paper, paints and oils of every description (mostly all unknown to him) and pencils, brushes and water colors in profusion29.
Kenneth's heart bounded with joy. Here was wealth, indeed, greater than he had ever hoped for. He puzzled his brain for weeks to discover how this fairy gift had ever come to him, but he was happier in its possession than he had ever been before in all his life.
Patricia improved rapidly. Had it not been for the broken leg she would have been out of the house in a week, as good as ever; but broken limbs take time to heal, and Dr. Eliel would not permit the girl to leave her bed until ten days had passed.
Meantime everyone delighted to attend her. Louise and Beth sat with her for hours, reading or working, for the rose chamber was cheery and pleasant, and its big windows opened upon the prettiest part of the gardens. The two girls were even yet suspicious of one another, each striving to win an advantage with Aunt Jane; but neither had the slightest fear that Patricia would ever interfere30 with their plans. So they allowed thei............
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