Page:Court Royal.djvu/226

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‘Lord bless me!’ said the old woman whose lodgings were taken by Palma. ‘Where am I to get a nurse?’

‘Her relations must be telegraphed for.’

‘Blessings on me! What do I know about her relations?’

‘We will see about a nurse. Perhaps one can be spared from the hospital.’

A rap at the door, and ring of the bell.

The woman opened it and saw a girl standing outside in a plain stuff gown, and a shawl over her head.

‘Who are you?’ she asked. ‘What do you please to want?’

‘I’m come to offer to nurse her,’ was the reply. ‘I’ve been sent; that is, I’ve come from him who stands highest and yet furthest from her in the world.’

‘Who is that?’

‘Her husband.’

‘If that be the case, come in. You are young. Can you nurse?’

‘I can do what the doctor orders, and I hope I have my wits about me.’

‘What is your name?’


‘Very well,’ said the lodging-house keeper. ‘I reckon you’ll do as well as another.—Please, sir,’ to the surgeon, ‘give the young woman orders what she is to do.’

When the accident had taken place Joanna had turned home and stripped off her grand dress and donned a plain one; then she came down into the kitchen, where Lazarus was crouching over the fire.

‘It is a judgment,’ said the Jew. ‘Heaven is just, and has cast its thunderbolt at her. I am glad of it. No one hurts me without suffering for it.’

Joanna turned on him. ‘I am going to her,’ she said. ‘I shall nurse her if they will let me. Shall I say you sent me?’

‘No,’ answered the Jew; ‘don’t mention my name.’ He had assumed a hardness which ill concealed his inward emotion. In his breast was a tumult of mingled feeling—old love revived, sorrow, revenge, hate,—so mixed that he did not himself know what he desired.

‘You may go, Joanna,’ he said. ‘If she needs anything—that is, in moderation—let me know, but I will not see her, I will not see her, remember that.’

So Joanna went. The girl was greatly affected. Tears came into her eyes, but she drove them back. She had made