Susan Warner.

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phen Kay was thoroughly respected at Cambridge
He graduated, "top of everything," as Bell exul*-
antly expressed it; and then immediately entered
the old doctor's house and service in Boston.

It was not till a few days later, that Mr. Harden-
brook came in to supper one night with Stephen's
letter in his pocket and an excited look on his face.

" Wife," said he, " I have a piece of news for you."

" I am glad of it," said Mrs. Hardenbrook fret-


fully; "there is no n,ews in this corner of the
world. I get tired of ray existence sometimes.
What is it, Mr. Hardenbrook ? You look as if it
Was something."

"It is something. Stephen is going to be a

"A what?" asked the lady with strong em-

"A doctor."

"What sort of a doctor?"

"Why a regular doctor; a sick doctoi- a

" He isn't ! "

"I have a letter from him here. He is goue
into Boston, and is studying with a Dr. Bell "

"Dr. Bell of Boston?"

"That is what I just told you. I don't know
who Dr. Bell is."

" I do ! Dr. Bell of Boston! Don't you remem
ber Posie speaking of him ? he is famous. I
don't think it can be that Dr. Bell. It must be
some other. That was Dr. James Bell."

" Dr. James Bell it is."

" Dr. James Bell ! He is studying with him !
Well, Mr. Hardenbrook, that is what you get for
picking up other people's waifs and strays ! "

" I am very glad of it," said Mr. Hardenbrook
soberly. " But this fixes one thing ; Stephen will
come back here no more, to live at Cowslip."

" Did you think he ever would ? " said the lady
with infinite scorn. "He's got above that! Mak-


ing tables and chairs isn't good enough work for
him. And after all your kindness to him ! and
mine ! But that's the way of the world. Stephen
a doctor ! I wonder who would trust him to cure
a cat!"

"Anybody that knows him. Stephen always did
everything well that ever he undertook. He's gone
through Harvard famously; and now it'll be just
the same in Boston. That little fellow I picked up
one day in Deepford ! "

" Yes, and that we treated just like one of our
selves ! " Mrs. Hardenbrook by this time was cry
ing and apparently very miserable. " And this is
all the thanks we get! I always told you," she
said, pulling down her handkerchief from before
her face, "I always told you, Mr. Hardenbrook,
you were a fool to be so good-natured. Every
body dupes you. Now you and I are left here to
ourselves, just when we want somebody ! "

"You might as well say that Posie has duped
us," he answered. But he sighed as he spoke.

"I do hate uppish people!" said Mrs. Harden
brook, pulling down her handkerchief again and
shewing a flushed face.

"Stephen isn't uppish," returned her husband,
"but he'll be 'up,' if that's what you mean."

And BO it was. In due time Stephen fulfilled his
course and came to be a physician in his own right ;
and then, in much less than was reckoned due time,
he got into practice. It is true, Dr. Bell had been
very fond of him, and had put every advantage in


his way; all that the old doctor could do for the
success of the young one, he did; but he had warned
him at the same time, and repeatedly, that he roust
not expect to jump into notice or favour; that a har
vest of the kind he wanted could only be gathered,
if at all, after a long time of sowing the right kind
of seed. That Stephen would attain it he never
doubted ; he tried to impress upon him that it could
not be at once.

But contrary to all usage and expectation, Dr.
Kay presently became the fashion, and then the
rage. In the first place, he was known as a pupil
and great favourite of the old doctor, whose word
in Boston went a great way. In the second place,
if I should not rather put it first, Stephen had a
way of speedily capturing people's confidence and
liking by his manners and appearance. And thia
effect was increased, not diminished, by the fact
that he did not sue for it and was careless about it.
The years of study and new associations in Cam
bridge and Boston had changed Stephen's exterior
in some essential respects. It was remarkable, how
quick he cast the slough of his country life and nar
row upbringing; how soon, as his mind got free
from its disabilities and hemmed-in sphere, his man
ner and his very looks shared in the emancipation,
and became easy, free, confident, and graceful.
Not confident in the way of boldness or assump
tion, be it well understood ; but only of contented
and quiet self-poise. Nobody could be more mod
est than Stephen ; the old doctor even sometimes


declared that he had not self-assertion enough. But
at the core of his gracefulness was the fact that he
was not " seeking his own," and never thought of
it. So his manly, grave, gentle, steadfast manner
was perfect in its way, and never failed to win him
favour. Another thing that told for him was his
habitual self-command. Let a man govern him-
self, and he is very near governing other men.
And it was a fact, that all Dr. Kay's patients were
his subjects. It was a conquest unknown to the
conqueror, and that would have given him no
pleasure; except, as he himself would have said,
" in the way of business." He was far too wise to
despise influence, however obtained, for he knew
influence is power.

His face, as I hinted before, was no doubt another
means of influence, profoundly unknown as the fact
was to Dr. Kay himself. It was a remarkable face,
as indeed a man with Stephen's mental life-history
could hardly fail to have. It was well featured,
though you may see many a more pictorially hand
some man. Stephen's face had another sort of
beauty. A singularly wise, grave, penetrating,
and gentle eye; a pure calm brow; and a mouth
the lines of which spoke strength and sweetness in
almost equal proportions. They attracted people
infallibly. Old Dr. Bell had complained at one
time that Stephen did not go enough among peo
ple; he seemed to shun society; it was not good
policy, he declared, for people like you better after
you have eaten dinner with them a few times, othei


things being as they should be. Stephen had ac
cepted an invitation to one stately dinner; and
never would accept another. He "had not time,"
he said, in answer to the urgencies of both the
Bells, young and old. And Society in consequence
saw little of him. He shewed a lamentable indif
ference to ladies' society, in particular.

All this however hurt nothing of his acceptance
as a physician. It rather wrought to the advan
tage of it. When young ladies found they could
not make a fool of him, and old ladies discovered
it was not in their power to impose upon him,
and both classes tried their hands at the new doc
tor, it followed of course that the respect of both
classes for him grew and mounted high and high
er. With all kindly deference toward those older
than himself, and with all delicate courtesy tow
ards younger people, Dr. Kay remained indepen
dent, unapproachable, and unmanageable. But
then he was so kind ! In his professional visits
he was so considerate ! He was never in a hurry ;
always took abundant time to study his patient
and his patient's condition ; grave, thoughtful, res
olute, but tender and gentle wherever there was
call for either quality; and in sickness where is
there not? In all these things Dr. Kay proved
himself unlike many of his brethren in the pro
fession; he was voted an oddity; and that increased
the interest with which he was regarded. Another
item marked him out equally from his fellows; hia
absolute truth.


"My dear, he will tell you exactly what he
thinks ! " was the eulogium pronounced upon him
by one lady to another.

"Always?" answered the second, disapprovingly.

"Always? No, of course not. he can hold
his tongue, Dr. Kay can ; and if he chooses to hold
his tongue, you can't make him speak; but if he
speaks, he tells you the very truth."

" How do you know it is the truth ? "

" Because I have tried him. I asked him ques
tions he would not answer; and he would not give
a deceiving turn to his words. He just would not
tell me what I wanted to know."


" Never rude. Whether he speaks or not, he is
never rude. You cannot make him say anything
he does not choose; but he is never the least parti
cle rude. He is silent in the nicest way."


"0 my dear, he is very skilful! There seems
to be a kind of charm about his touch of a case.
I have heard so many instances. There is only
one thing I don't like. I have never seen any
thing of it myself; but they say, that he is terribly

" Religious ! How ? "

" I don't know how. I have not seen or heard
anything of it; but I suppose it is true. They say,
he will tell people they are going to die, and ask
them if they are ready ! "

"When they are not going to die?"


"No, no, when they are; or when he thinks
they are. Rich or poor, they say, it makes no

"Why should it make any difference?"

"0, my dear! you naturally suppose that people
who have been educated and who have gone to
church all their lives, are able to manage their
own affairs. And besides, that is not the doctor's
province, at any rate."

"Can he help them, if they say they are not
ready to die ? "

"Who? Dr. Kay? I don't know. I should
say, from what I know of him, it was not like him
to meddle with anything he does not understand ;
but I wish he'd let religion alone. That's another
odd thing of him ; do you know, if he don't under
stand a case, he'll come out and say so ? "

"Say he don't understand it?"

" Just that; confess his ignorance, squarely. Did
you ever hear anything like that ? I know of an
instance. He was called to a cousin of mine, Ed
ward Taxhall; he studied him awhile, said he did
not know what was the matter with him, and my
dear, he would give him nothing 1 "

" What became of the sick man ?"

" he could not stand that, you know ; men are
always so impatient when they are sick; he
wouldn't lie there and do nothing; so he called in
Dr. Fawcett."

" Did Dr. Fawcett cure him ? "

" No. Nobody cured him. He died."


" Perhaps Dr. Fawcett killed him."

"I don't know anything about that; but I think
Dr. Kay carries truth too far. You see, there was
a case, where he lost a patient."

" Pardon me, I think the other man lost him."

"Well, you know what I mean. I think it is
possible in this world to carry frankness too far."

" I'll send for Dr. Kay the next time I want any
thing, and have a look at him."

" That won't hurt you. He's uncommonly nice
to look at."

So it went on, and Dr. Kay's popularity grew and
flourished and seemed to know no check. For
though it is no doubt true that some people are
afraid of the truth, it underlies as little doubt that
a much larger proportion are afraid of falsehood.
And a man whose word can be entirely depended
on, comes to be regarded, even in this perverted
world, as a rock of strength and a jewel of

But in one or two other respects Stephen still
gave his friends anxiety, those friends at least
who stood near enough to him to know and to care
anything about it. These were old Dr. Bell and
his nephew, who by this time had gone through
his studies for the profession of the law and was a
young barrister in Boston waiting for retaining

" Stephen," said the latter one day, " why don't
you set up a horse and gig, or a curricle, or some
thing of that kind ? "


"Can't afford it just now."

"Can't afford it? Why money is coming in
upon you like the tides of the sea. What do you
mean, man?"

Stephen did not immediately answer. He was
writing something at a table.

"You really ought to do something of the kind,**
nis friend repeated. "Your practice is getting to
oe very large ; what a run you have made of it, to
oe sure ! while I am sitting most of the time with
my hands in my pockets, and nothing else there.
You must find it very inconvenient to be going
about so everywhere on foot, in all weathers."

" There are always cabs."

"Which would serve you about one time in a
dozen. Stephen, you have plenty of money."

" Not for that, at present."

"For what then? What are you laying up

" I am not laying up just yet."

"Not? Then where does the money go? I beg
your pardon, old boy; but really, I should like to
know what's in your head."

" Something on my hands."

" What ? if you have no objection to tell me."

" I should object to tell you, only that sooner or
later you would have to know. I am building."


" In a small way."

"What for? Stephen! are you making a home
for yourself?" exclaimed his friend, jumping up in


his eagerness. "You ought to do that; and I have
long wished it. It is all that is wanting to you.
Are you going to be married, Stephen ? "


The answer was low and quiet ; more simply given
an answer could not be; it is impossible to tell how
in that short word, uttered without any demonstra
tion, Bell heard a denial of all his hopes for Stephen
in the way of family domesticity. "No" does not
usually mean "Never"; and yet, the conviction
would not be resisted that the latter meaning was
the meaning in the speaker's mind. Stephen was
not going to be married, either then or at any
other time. Bell did not get this conviction from
any tone of pain or despair in his friend's voice;
for there was none whatever; but there was deci
sion, not the less that the word was spoken without
emphasis. Bell sat down again, feeling sure that
Stephen had a history, and not for the first time;
but much as he longed, he could not ask for it.

"I am very sorry!" he breathed forth with a kind
of sigh.

"You need not," said Stephen, lifting his eyes
with a smile, which was reassuring, though it con
firmed the above conviction.

"Then what are you building for?"

" You know, Bell, don't you, that in the exercise
of my profession there is more than medicine to be
taken into account. Fresh air, and cleanliness, and
quiet, and proper food, are often more to the cure
than all the drugs in the apothecary's shop."


"1 suppose so," said Bell. "I don't know much
about it. Well ? "

" Well, I just want to secure those for my

" Cleanliness and air ? why man, your patients
here in Boston have those. And proper food too.'

" Some of them."

"Who don't?"

"My poor patients."

"Oh! Your poor patients."

" So I am putting up some very simple and in
expensive structures where they will have those


The locality which Stephen named was -in a very
fine, healthy situation, just on the outskirts of the

" But Kay, old fellow, why don't you send these
particular patients of yours to the hospital?"

"Not cases for the hospital, some of them. And
the hospitals have their own. And at the hospital
I could not take care of them."

" But many cases it would not be safe to move,
would it ? "

" I shall not move those."

"You need not laugh; of course I thought the
first thing of fevers and contagions; those want
your fresh air as much as anybody, don't they ? "

"Unhappily, they do. And I cannot give it
to them."

" But Stephen, you impracticable fellow, do you


expect to give all this? out of your own pocket, aud
with no return?"

" How else shall I doit?"

" Make the patients pay a bit."

" They are not able, most of them."

" Take up a contribution ! "

" The people that give money expect to have a
word to Bay about the spending of it. No, thank

" You can't do it alone ! "

" I will do no more than I can," replied Stephen
amusedly. " I promise you I'll not run in debt."

"But, old fellow, why this is dreadful! You
will never grow rich in this way."

"What is it to be rich? Is it to have money
merely, or to use it for what one likes ? "

" Yes, but if you use it up as fast as you get it
you'll never be a rich man."

" You forget whose servant I am, Charley."

"But Stephen, does that service oblige you to
keep nothing for yourself? "

" Of my Master's money ? It is not mine."

" Why isn't it yours ? "

" I suppose, because 1 am not my own. Don't
you know, a Christian does not belong to him

" In what sense do you mean that ? "

" In a very literal sense. Nothing can be more
literal. ' Ye are not your oiun. Ye are bought with
a price : therefore glorify God in your body, and in
your spirit, which are God's.'' "


"Stephen, nobody takes such words so closely
as you do. Nobody does ! "

" Paul did, anyhow ; for he styled himself the
bond-slave of Jesus Christ. It is the word the
Bible always uses for the relation. The English
word 'servant' does not express it."

Bell was silent, and vexed.

"You think I am a loser thereby?" his friend
went on, looking at him with a smile of wonderful
beauty. "You are mistaken. I shall never be
anything but a rich man, Charley. I am growing
richer every day. For to any man of whom you
can say, he is Christ's, to him it may be said with
equal truth, ' Christ is yours.' And that is as much
as to say, 'All things are yours.'"

Mr. Charles Bell rather stared at his friend. The
sort of glorified contentment which shone in Ste
phen's face was something quite incomprehensible
to him ; yet, as it is the fashion of light to reveal
itself, he could not fail to see it, the sparkle in
the steady grave eyes, the infinite sweetness on
the half parted lips. Verily true it is, that "he
that is spiritual discerneth all things, but he him
self is discerned of no man."

" Well, what are you going to do ? " Bell went
on again, after a few minutes of wondering and
involuntary admiration. . "Tell me more particu
larly. What do you think to accomplish? all

" I shall try for no more than I can do," Stephen
answered. " I am putting up a couple of cottages.''

(516 STEPHEN, M D.

"Two houses ! It would be cheaper to join them
into one."

"Yes; it would be cheaper."
" Why not have them in one, then ? "
"It would not work as well. I am not going
to have an asylum or a hospital, but a home for
sick and poor people; and a home must be home

" You can't make such a place homelike."
"I'll try. I mean to have the people feel at
home. There will be no marble or gilding about
the place, Charley," Stephen added, again with an
amused smile at his friend. " The whole will be a
very inexpensive affair. I shall do nothing I can
not pay for."

" It'll run up ! " said Bell with a groan.
" I hope it will. I want many more than two

" It will keep your bank account down ! "
" I mean it shall."

"Excuse me, but will you lay up nothing?"
Stephen laughed a little ; which was somewhat rare
with him. A smile came upon his face not infre
quently, and was thoroughly frank and free when
it came; laughter was rarely heard. If heard at
all, it was as now, very low, and with a marked
flavour of amusement.

" I shall counsel you to go and study the parable
of the unjust steward," he said.

" I never in the least understood that parable ! "
" The more reason why you should study it."


" But Stephen, old fellow, you will want to make
a home for yourself one day? "

"That's all safe !" was the answer, given in those
quiet, assured tones which somehow Bell did not
like. A home in this world, he was sure they did
not mean.

" I don't see why, nevertheless," he began discon
tentedly, " it is your duty to keep yourself poor for
the sake of other people be they never so needy.
And that is what you are in a fair way to do."

" You mistake the whole matter, Charley. It is
the greatest possible delight to me, to be allowed to
do this thing for my Master."

"For him!" cried Bell. "That's your word!
How for him ? "

" Because he wants it done. Do you think he
cares less now than when he was on earth, to have
sickness healed and want comforted ? "

"Then if he desires it why does he not do it ?
as he did then ? " Bell burst forth.

" Because he has given it to you and me to do."

Stephen's look at his friend was unanswerable.
Mr. Bell walked home feeling like one who has sud
denly seen a landscape by a flash of lightning.



FOR some time after his beginning the practice
of his profession, Stephen had remained dom
iciled with his friend the old doctor. Dr. Bell
liked to have it so ; and finally proposed a partner
ship between them. This was too good a proposal,
in some respects, for Stephen to refuse it; though
he foresaw some possible hampering of his time in
consequence. However, by stern method and untir
ing diligence, he managed to do all Dr. Bell de
manded of him and at the same time to devote as
much attention as was necessary to his own private
plans and patients. After a time a widowed sister
of the old doctor came to live with him, bringing
one or two daughters also ; and then, as far as a
home was concerned, Dr. Kay struck out for him
self. His friend Charles was hardly them content
with his arrangements, though the old doctor nod
ded approvingly and said Stephen had a head on
his shoulders. The place he had chosen was one
of the quiet, dull-looking little courts of Boston;
that led to nothing and had no life in it. The house


was a small, insignificant, low brick house, of no
beauty or pretension whatever; but old, and com
fortable enough inside, with old-fashioned fire
places, and cupboards in the wall, and small panes
of glass in the windows; the ceilings of the first
story low, and consequently a low easy flight of
stairs to the next and only other story.

In the kitchen of this house, one evening about
two years later than the conversation given in the
last chapter, a woman was busily ironing. The
place was neat enough, and so was the woman,
though that was all that could be said for her. She
was angular, bony, and plain ; her hair, of a rusty
brown, put up high on her head and fastened there
with a tall comb of aspiring pretensions. The rest
of her figure was draped in a calico gown, the cal
ico being of a large pattern and bright colours ; so
that the impression in looking at her was that she
was all spotted red and green from head to foot.
If the hair was rusty brown, the face might be de
scribed as rusty red; and the expression was of
stern business and nothing else.

Therefore when there came the sound of a knock
at the outer door, the expression changed to one of
vexation. She threw down her holder and hurried
through the short little entry, and opened the door.
There she was confronted by a woman, an elderly
woman, of most respectable appearance; in fact her
dress was almost such as a lady might have chosen
and worn ; but her skin was dark. She stood there
however with great self-possession, and asked,


" Is de doctor in ? "

" What doctor?" was the sharp counter-question,

" Doctor Kay. Aint dis yer his house ? "

" Yes, but he aint in it. What do ye want of

" I's done come to see him."

" Then you must come again. This aint the office
neither. When the doctor's ben runnin' all over
Boston all day, he likes to hev a place to come to
where nobody '11 pester him ; and I aint a goin' to
hev him pestered ; that's more ! "

" I don't want nuffin o' de office I only wants
to see de doctor. When '11 he be home den ? "

" Dunnow ! "

" I'se a frien' o' de doctor, dat's what I is; and I'se
done come a good ways to see him. Mebbe ye '11
let me sit down somewheres and wait till he '11 be

" Come along, then," said the other ungraciously ;
and admitting the stranger, she closed and locked
the door again and led the way back to the kitchen.
Here she took up her hot iron without any more
ado, and the other woman sat down patiently in a
chair nearer the fire. For a little while there was
nothing more said. The stranger's eyes took inter
ested notice of every detail of the room and its
furniture; the woman at her ironing had had no ex
perience of coloured people and, as is apt then to
be the case, was shy and doubtful of them. She
drove her work all the harder.

"Tears like de doctor haint much family," the


stranger said at le'ngth. The woman at the ironing
table turned and measured her with an incensed
look, which however abated somewhat of its ire as
ehe noted better the signs and tokens about her
visiter. The latter had never been a handsome wo
man, even in her youth ; and yet she had a sort of per
sonable dignity about her ; her skin was very black,

Online LibrarySusan WarnerStephen, M. D. → online text (page 32 of 34)