Page:Germ Growers.djvu/24

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19
THE RED SICKNESS.

I leant against the fence beside him listening to him. He was a tall, dark man, with a keen, thoughtful, and benevolent expression. He was quite strong and healthy-looking, and there was a squareness about his features that I think one does not often see in dark people. Mr. Furniss was of lighter complexion and hardly as tall; there was quite as much intelligence and benevolence in his face, but not so much of what I have called thoughtfulness as distinguished from intelligence, and there was a humorous glint in his eye which the other lacked. They began to talk about the disease which had been so successfully dealt with, and this was what they said:—

Leoplold. Well, Furniss, an enemy hath done this.

Furniss. Done what? The picnic or the red sickness?

Leopold. The red sickness, of course. Can't you see what I mean?

Furniss. No, I can't. You're too much of a mystic for me, Leopold; but I'll tell you what, England owes a debt to you and me, my boy, for it was near enough to being a new edition of the black death or the plague.

Leopold. Only the black death and the plague were imported, and this was indigenous. It sprung up under