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"I think it may proceed from cold," said Cuthbert; "being out at night will do it sometimes—letting off squibs and fireworks—silly thing—poor dear, nearly lost an eye already, poor thing."
The Doctor pushed back his chair, and stuck the poker into the fire.
"Yes, Sir," said he, " very likely."
"Great romps overheat themselves," said Cuthbert; "my two daughters are never half careful enough in that respect; I am often afraid that something of the same sort will happen to them."
"Oh," said Downey, walking towards the window, "yes, Sir, as you said just now, caution is wisdom."
"Yes," said Cuthbert, delighted with the urbane manner in which the physician humoured him, "and especially about their age, poor things, before they have done growing."
"You are quite right, Sir," said Downey, "quite—perfectly, nothing can be more judicious. Does Mr. Gurney expect me to follow him?"
"No, no," said Cuthbert, "he is gone to fetch your patient—probably dirty hands want washing,—hair to be combed, or something of that sort,—wicked little thing, and as full of mischief as possible."
What farther might have been said to illuminate the physician, had the dialogue lasted any longer, it is impossible to surmise. Certes, my friend Downey's eyes greeted me with a look of infinite satisfaction as I made my appearance.
"Well, Gilbert," said Cuthbert, "where's Tommy?"
"Oh," said I, "I quite forgot, I will ring for Hutton to fetch him."
"I thought you were gone on purpose," said Cuthbert, "else I could have rung myself, or, at all events, have requested the Doctor to do so for me."
"May I presume to ask," said the Doctor, "who Tommy is?"
"A son-in-law of my brother's," said I, " who feels unwell, and whom my brother wishes you to see."
"Oh," said the Doctor, "I understand—I did not at first see:" saying which, he withdrew the poker from the fire, and laid it on the fender.
Hutton obeyed the summons, received his orders, and in a few minutes returned with Master Tommy, whose appearance was by no means prepossessing.
"Come here, Tommy, my dear," said Cuthbert; "let this gentleman look at you."
"Shan't," said Tom. "I wont be physicked —not for nobody;—the pimples is come hout, and they may go hin agin for all I care, only they hitches like winkin."
"My dear Sir," said Dr. Downey, "there is no question about the young gentleman,—a clear case of small-pox."
"Small-pox, Sir!" said Cuthbert; "I never had it, Sir. I shall die of it. Tommy, my love, go to the other end of the room. Gilbert, open the window,—ring for Hutton,—get me some eau de luce and water,—camphor.—Oh !—you really don't mean it?"
"I do, indeed, Sir," said the Doctor. "I am happy to say that the character of the eruption at present appears favourable ; attention and care will most probably get him well through it, I have no doubt: it is of the distinct kind, and of course less serious than the confluent. I will write a prescription for him before I go up stairs; he had better be put to bed, and of course his diet is to be of the most sparing character."
"I won't be starved," said Tommy; "and I won't go to bed, and I won't take no physic."
"Oh, yes, my dear, you will, I am sure," said the Physician. "Your health requires it; you would be in great danger if you did not do as we tell you, and perhaps would die."
"Then I should be poked into the pit-hole," said Tommy. "I'll jump out of bed the minute I'm put in. I'll eat whatever I can; and as for the physic, see if I don't shy it all under the grate."
"No you won't, my dear," said Cuthbert. "Hutton,—Doctor, if you don't want to examine him any more,—Hutton, put down the eau de luce, and take Master Tommy away,—there's a dear."
"I will ask him a few questions, with your permission," said Dr. Downey; " but we can go into another room."
"I shan't tell for nothing," said Tommy.
"If you please, Sir," said Foxcroft, rushing into the room very pale, " Mrs. Wells wants the Doctor,—my mistress"
"What!" said I, " here, Tom, the Doctor shall see you by-and-by. Now, Doctor."
"Doctdr," screamed poor Cuthbert at the top of his voice, (t what's to be done for me? I shall catch this infernal disorder."
"What disorder?" cried Mrs. Brandyball, who came sailing into the room. "What disorder?"
"The small-pox, Ma'am," said Cuthbert. "I never had it."
"Small-pox!" screamed the lady. "Nor I, Mr. Gurney," and forthwith she fell into hysterics.
Such a scene never had I witnessed. Tom roaring,—Foxcroft crying,— Mrs. Brandyball