‘I am so glad—so delighted to see you again,’ said Lord Edward, extending both hands.
‘I have come,’ said Mr. Rigsby, ‘on my daughter’s account. We have been visiting Glastonbury, and she has been taken ill there, whether with neuralgia or toothache it is not for me to determine. She is a sad sufferer—and I thought, being in a strange place, that I might venture on calling, trusting you might not have quite forgotten me——’
‘My dear Rigsby——’ interrupted the Archdeacon, with overflowing cordiality.
‘Excuse me,’ said the visitor, putting up his hand to stop him, ‘I will say what I desire first, and then shall be thankful for your remarks on it. I was observing that I relied on your kindness, which I well remembered, to help me with your advice. I am a stranger in Glastonbury, indeed a stranger in England. You have a local dentist here—that is, at Glastonbury. I want to know——’
‘Vigurs is the man for you,’ said Lord Edward.
‘One moment, and I have done,’ continued Mr. Rigsby, looking with impatience at the Archdeacon. ‘I have no confidence, myself, in local practitioners; if there be real genius it will unquestionably gravitate to town, and the dregs of the profession be left in the country.’
‘I beg your pardon——’
‘You will allow me to finish what I was saying.’ Rigsby looked Lord Edward down. ‘One hears atrocious stories of the misdeeds of these men—breaking jaws, drawing the wrong teeth, and so on. I could not suffer Dulcina to run such a risk unless I were perfectly satisfied that the man was really first-rate.’
‘Vigurs is a splendid fellow; a thorough Churchman, and always stays——’
‘Excuse me if I say that this is neither here nor there. I do not care a snap for the religion and politics of Mr. Vigurs, but I do care for his being a first-class dentist. It is a long way to town, and Dulcina’s sufferings are so intense that I am inclined to place my sweet child in the hands of a man, even if in the country, if he may be trusted. I suppose that in Bath or in Bristol a dentist of some experience and intelligence——’
‘I can assure you——’
‘I shall have done directly. I was observing, when interrupted, that in Bath or Bristol a dentist of experience may be