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COLLECTION



OF



BRITISH AUTHORS

TAUCHNITZ EDITION.
VOL. 3874.

THE HEALERS. BY MAARTEN MAARTENS.

IN TWO VOLUMES.
VOL. II.



THE HEALERS



MAARTEN

AUTHOR OF "GOD'S FOOL," "MY POOR RELATIONS," "DOROTHEA,"



IN TWO VOLUMES
VOL. II



LEIPZIG

BERNHARD TAUCHNITZ
1906.



THE HEALERS.



CHAPTER I.

WHEN Edward returned to Auteuil next morning, he
just caught on Barton's shaven mask a vanishing ex-
pression of alarm. "Mr. Graye left for London at day-
break," said Barton, smooth and steady; "I was to say,
sir, he'd be back to-morrow night."

"'Tis still wintry for such travel," said Edward.

"It come very sudden, sir; important business. You
didn't notice as Mr. Graye was looking ill?"

"Not ill, only fagged last night"

"Commotions is bad for Mr. Graye, sir."

"Why, so they are for most men."

"Not in the same way. They tries him very terrible."

"He is undoubtedly nervous, but he has plenty of
stamina," replied Edward.

The nervousness would hardly have been credited by
those who saw Kenneth alight at Charing Cross. In



6 THE HEALERS.

spite of cold weather and a rough and tumble crossing,
the young man had kept his clear complexion and his
general air of cultured prosperity and easy strength.
Most of us are fortunately schooled to hide our weak-
nesses, but there is no surer proof of inherent health
than a band-box appearance after a modern journey.
In loose ulster and flat cap the grotesque garb which
even now has not crushed all masculine vanity he pro-
ceeded through an oily haze of orange dirt, borne by a
swift and spattering hansom, away into unknown depths
of Bloomsbury. There he hid for that night in a little
family-hotel, which nobody has ever heard of before or
since.

The hiding, however, included a good deal of loco-
motion through the foggy streets. The first move was a
visit to Dr. Gordon Scrubbs, whom the Grayes have
habitually consulted. Scrubbs is one of those accom-
plished doctors whose waiting-rooms are hung with
dubious Italian masters, mostly black. The blackest
stood on an easel under the smoky smirch of sky. The
doctor hurried in, wiping his lips, from an unreasonably
late lunch, or perhaps it was an anticipatory dinner.
"Let me get you some tea," he said. "We doctors must
take our meals when we can."

"Thanks," said Kenneth. "It is certainly long since
I tasted drinkable tea."

"You are in Paris still? We have all been immensely



THE HEALERS. 7

interested by this wonderful operation. I was talking of
it only yesterday to Sir Jasper Dixon-Potts. 'Remark-
able.' That was Sir Jasper's word. 'Remarkable.' And
we have no greater authority on the subject than Sir
Jasper Dixon-Potts."

"You approved of the idea when I wrote to you about
it. Don't let me interrupt your repast."

"Yes, I approved. Sir James is, I trust, doing well?"

"So, so. He continues very weak."

"That was what I feared. The strain!"

"But you said nothing about it when you wrote,"
protested Kenneth.

"I saw from your letter that you were anxious the
experiment should take place. And professional eti-
quette, you know very difficult to express an opinion
especially in another country. And Charcot is a great
name. So is Lisse."

"But it isn't the Lisse."

"So I understood." The doctor took another cutlet.
"It isn't anxiety about Sir James that has brought you
here, I trust? There was always the risk of the strain."

"I have come here to ask you thanks, the tea is
very good whether I ought to marry?"

"Every man ought," said the doctor, who was a
bachelor.

"I mean, you, who know my constitution and my
family history, would you advise me not to marry?"



8 THE HEALERS.

"What do you mean by your family history?"

"My brother committed suicide while temporarily
insane."

"That was the verdict."

"And his son is an idiot."

"And his father your father was an old-fashioned,
sound-headed country gentleman."

"Who married an Italian wife of whose relations we
know nothing."

"That proves him to have been more sentimental than
I have just given him credit for, but it does not prove
him to have been in any way deranged. In fact, he
wasn't. Nor was Sir Ronald. We need not go into
the painful circumstances of your brother's death. They
affected Lady Graye so continuously I may say so
morbidly that I ascribe to her state of mind at the
time the condition of her son."

"My brother left a letter behind him saying he was
tired of life. He had everything that makes life worth
living."

"I suppose so," said the doctor uncomfortably.

"Have you any explanation to offer?"

"If it will set your mind at rest, yes. But you must
not take offence, and, moreover, remember I have no
proof."

"You could hardly do me a greater favour."

"From a conversation we once had, I was led to



THE HEALERS. Q

conclude that your brother had taken a persistent dis-
like to his estimable wife."

"Surely that is unusual!"

Doctor Scrubbs smiled. "I have no personal ex-
perience," he said.

"I mean suicide on that account."

"Unusual, perhaps, but in a sensitive man quite
comprehensible, even to a bachelor. Nothing drives a
man to suicide like a daily vexation from which there
is no possible chance of escape."

"And you think my poor sister-in-law was all that?"

"Remember you wished me to speak plainly." The
doctor sat peeling an orange. "She was an extremely
sweet, religious woman, but her religion took the form
of universal disapproval. Everything everybody ever
did was wrong."

Kenneth sighed. "I am hardly able to judge about
my brother. I was so young when he died. But he
must have been a nervous man."

"He was a nervous man. So are you. It is the
Italian temperament in you. There is no greater safe-
guard than nervousness against madness, by-the-bye, if
you happen to be afraid of that."

"Ah, the Italian temperament!" said Kenneth, slowly
rising to his feet. He stood by the door. "This Sir
Jasper Dixon-Potts ? "

"Go and see him by all means," replied Dr. Gordon



IO THE HEALERS.

Scrubbs quickly. Kenneth fancied he reddened. "Make
an appointment," said Scrubbs; "he lives in Manchester
Square."

"Is there a hereditary taint?" asked Sir Jasper, when
he had heard the preliminaries. Sir Jasper was a
shadowy man: white-faced, white-whiskered, white-waist-
coated, solemn. He made ten to twelve thousand a
year out of human insanity, just as so many of his
colleagues make similar amounts out of human imbe-
cility. "Nobody ought ever to marry, when there is a
hereditary taint"

"My father's family were hard-headed Scotch people;
I believe they used to drink a great deal."

"Ah!" said Sir Jasper Dixon-Potts.

"But that was a general habit in former days."

"It explains much," said Sir Jasper pompously. It
explained three-quarters of his income!

"My father must have been more romantic than
most of his kind, for he fell in love with an Italian, on
a trip to the lakes, and married her."

"There was no hereditary taint in your mother's
family?" Sir Jasper crossed his thin hands over his
white waistcoat

"I know nothing of my mother's family. She she
was not socially my father's equal. She was as good
as she was beautiful."

"But there might have been a taint," said Sir Jasper.



THE HEALERS. I I

"You think, then, that nobody ought to marry,"
demanded Kenneth with inconsistent irritation, "unless
he is quite sure that there has never been a fool in his
family?"

"I do not say that. My own children have married.
I mean, I could not afford them that certainty. But
you cannot exaggerate the importance of a hereditary
taint. By-the-bye, I see your name" Sir Jasper looked,
through his gold eye-glasses, at his visitor's card "This
nephew of yours, who is an idiot, does not happen by
any possibility to be the eh? ah? the Sir James
Graye, in whose treatment we have all been so interested
of late?"

"Yes, that's my nephew," said Kenneth.

"Indeed! very remarkable, very remarkable. I
hope the patient is progressing favourably."

"He is not gaining strength as we should have wished."

"Ah quite so! Well, Charcot is a very remarkable
man. The the attempt is a very remarkable one. But the
patient is not gaining, I think you said, in strength?"

Kenneth acquiesced. "I had a painful case in my
own family," continued Sir Jasper, "the circumstances
are well known where I saw myself compelled to go
contrary to the wishes of one very dear to me, on ac-
count of a hereditary taint."

"Indeed," said Kenneth, feeling for his fee.

"How my distinguished colleague, Sir William Bell,



12 THE HEALERS.

can write as he does, goes beyond me to understand!"
The white man, suddenly vivacious, struck his lean
fingers viciously on a green review that lay by his side.
"However, in medicine, as in all sciences, there must be
differences of opinion. Now, that operation very re-
markable three guineas, we could hardly have per-
formed it in England, Good morning."

"You do not, then," two hours had been spent in
a waiting-room with yesterday's newspaper before Ken-
neth got an opportunity of asking, "attach such su-
preme importance to heredity, Sir William?"

Sir William was a cheery little man, bright and brisk.
He shot his sentences like volleys. "My dear sir, if one
lunatic condemned a race, how does anybody happen to
be outside Bedlam!"

"Still, I thought that modern science " Sir

William jumped round in his chair.

"What, pray, do you think was the mental condition
of Adam when he accepted the apple from Eve?" He
waited to enjoy the effect of this his favourite shot "If
you consult my distinguished colleague, Sir Jasper Dixon-
Potts, he will tell you the only certain hereditary taint is
madness. I cannot agree with him." He struck his
fist, with an angry little thump, on a blue review by his
side.

"I have spoken to Sir Jasper Potts. He told me about



THE HEALERS. 13

a case in his own family he said the circumstance were
well known "

"That was his daughter. He broke off her engage-
ment a few days before the wedding, because the bride-
groom's grandmother had died of or, rather, in
dementia senilis, but he married her a couple of years
later to a man, both whose parents had been con-
sumptive."

Kenneth opened his eyes.

"I am not a mad-doctor. Not a specialist at all. My
dear sir, I am speaking very frankly to you, because I
cannot let you ruin your whole future through a fad. If
the specialists could all get their special legislation, no-
body would be allowed to marry whose ancestors had
died of anything at all. There is no greater folly than
this heredity business, not because it may not exist, but
because we know nothing about it. Just now, we are
absolutely certain that tuberculosis is not transmissible
but infectious: we are not so sure about the tendency to
cancer. Three years ago it was just the other way round.
Do not misunderstand me. I am far from decrying the
noble profession to which I have devoted my life, but
we've a lot to learn yet, my dear sir, and this talk about
heredity, at the present stage, is sheer cruelty, thought-
less cruelty, as one can see in your case. Oh? ah?
Three guineas. My best wishes. Good afternoon."

In his hotel-bedroom Kenneth found a letter which,



14 THE HEALERS.

being marked "Immediate," had been sent back to
London by Barton at once on its arrival in Paris. It
was from the Graves' cousin, Lady Clandonald, to whom
he had written a fortnight ago about governess-ships.
She was in town, and he went to see her at once.

"My dear Kenneth, you here?" The Countess of
Clandonald was a fluffy little pink-and-white, doll- faced
creature, in laces. She had made a speciality of herself
by Buddhism, of which she knew absolutely nothing, and,
while waiting for Nirwana, she contrived to spend more
than her husband allowed her on the vanities of this
fleeting show. But she liked doing kindnesses that cost
you nothing, and she said Buddhism taught you to be kind.

"Important business," replied Kenneth. "I go back
to-night."

"And how is that poor thing?"

"James is dreadfully weak. We are anxious about
him."

"I can't understand how you permitted that opera-
tion. However, nobody can want him to live. You will
make a much better "

"Don't, please, Clara!"

"Oh certainly. But surely it goes without saying.
Well, I wrote to you to Paris how tiresome!"

"It is about that letter I am come."

"Oh! I had a note from Mrs. Coster this morning
they are Coster and Coster, you know, the great ship-



THE HEALERS. 15

building people, fabulously rich. Would you ring for
my maid. You know, she picks up all my letters and
sorts them. I couldn't do it for myself."

"I wonder Donald allows you."

"Donald? I tell him he may thank his stars. Is
there another woman in London could drop all her
letters about for her maid to find? I haven't a key in
my possession. My purse and my cheque-book lie in
an open drawer. That is the chief beauty of Buddhism,
it teaches you to ignore all the vanities of life." She
lay back in her blue-and-silver boudoir; the diamonds
flashed all about her white satin evening-gown. "Ellis,"
she said, "find me that letter which came this morning,
in the big scrawly hand."

"I don't think I remember, my lady." "Then look
for it, please," said the Countess sharply. A hunt en-
sued, the maid vainly protesting that the letter had not
yet come into her hands. Ultimately it was discovered,
in Lady Clandonald's armchair, behind the cushion
against which she was leaning, to complain.

"I am so glad to be of use," remarked Lady Clan-
donald. "This is what Mrs. Coster says: "Yes, I am
looking for a governess for my three little girls, aged
respectively nine, seven, and four. I should like a nice
person, thoroughly respectable and refined; of course all
her belongings would have to be quite unexceptionable.
We should require first-rate references from the British



I 6 THE HEALERS.

Consul and one or two pastors of the Established Church
of the country, for one cannot be too particular nowadays.
She had better be diplomte" (the woman has no idea
what it means), "and we should expect her to teach
French, German, the usual English subjects of course,
and the rudiments of Latin, algebra, a little Italian, plain
sewing, fancy-work, elementary music and drawing, no
singing or dancing, but she would have to do calisthenics
with the children, and lung exercises and drill, and all
the ordinary outdoor games. It is essential that she
should skate, and be gentle with children, and sweet-
tempered, but firm. Oh, I forgot, of course she must be
a Protestant, but not a Dissenter" (how bigoted!), "as
near Church of England as they have in their country,
please, and her French must be Parisian!'" Lady
Clandonald put down the letter for a moment "Why,
these people who don't know on from en always persist
in thinking that the Paris accent is the best!" She re-
sumed: "'She would not be expected to come into the
drawing-room after dinner, unless we are quite alone,
when I should like her to read to me for an hour, or, if
her music is good, she might play to my husband; he
likes to be played to sleep after dinner.' "

"Is there any more?" asked Kenneth.

"My dear Kenneth, one can see you never cor-
responded about a governess. There is a lot more.
'Her age should be preferably' (she writes "preferably"



THE HEALERS. 17

with three r's) 'between twenty-five' (she has scratched
that out and put "seven") 'and thirty-three; we should
pay her thirty-five guineas, and nice presents at Christ-
mas * "

"Thanks," said Kenneth on his feet. "A guinea for
every year she has spent since her birth, getting ready
for Mrs. Coster's family."

"Do you think your young lady will do?" asked his
cousin sweetly.

"I fear not. She is only the most accomplished girl
I ever met. Not half enough accomplished to teach the
little Coster-mongers ! "

"My dear Kenneth, you are quite unjust. I assure
you the letter is in no way unusual. Of course she
doesn't expect to get quite all she asks, but very nearly.
And the wages are very good!"

"Wages!" bounced Kenneth.

"Yes, isn't that right? Oh, salary. How funny you
are! Why don't you keep this girl yourself, to teach
James, if he gets better?"

"Why not, indeed? I daresay the Coster idiots are
not much better than he!"

"You ought to go in for Buddhism," said Lady Clan-
don aid, smiling. "It would teach you to feel kindly
towards these poor rich slaves of wealth. You can't
think what a comfort it is to me, in our present-day
society, when all the horrid people have got all the

The Healers, II. 2



I 8 THE HEALERS.

money, to think of them as hampered on their way to
Nirwana, by these earthly possessions that other people
envy them. My poor sister Dolgelly is crying her eyes
out because Jack has had losses. Now, if Donald were
to tell me that we must give up one of our places in the
country, I should not mind a bit!"

"I see!" said Kenneth.

"Won't you come and dine to-morrow?"

"I must leave for Paris to-night."

"Well, it's no great loss. Our chef is ill, and the
cook does her best, but we miss poor Hippolyte sadly."

"After all," said Kenneth to himself, as he was borne
through the orange mist of oily dirt by a swift and
splashy hansom, "a man could do worse for the girl he
loves than to rescue her from governessdom and make
her Lady Graye."



THE HEALERS. I 9



CHAPTER H.

A FEW days later they carried Sir James, amid all
the luxurious discomforts of modern travel, from Paris to
Bardwyk, and dropped him, more dead than alive, into
the refreshing peace of an earliest spring- tide, the first
soft awakenings of nature, in a land of slow waters, low
meadows, and motionless trees. He lay with closed
eyes, very white, possibly dreaming.

It was Ducrot who almost drove him from the villa.
Ducrot was a good doctor, and by no means a bad man,
though a hard and fast money-maker; but he naturally
didn't want people to die in the Etablissement. As
soon, therefore, as the sum of future 'pension' days grew
measurably small, the doctor recommended country air.
He was much annoyed at Edward's hesitations. Did his
eminent young colleague not recognise that a change
could be only "beneficial?" Well, did he, called away
by his marriage mes compliments! desire to confide
Sar Shems to a rural practitioner; to some provincial
"Bains?" Edward shuddered at the idea of the pro-
vincial hydro. Who are the unfortunates that fill, with
their hopes and their woes, and their often slender



2O THE HEALERS.

purses, those modern bagnios that are springing up like
toad-stools all over our enervated world?

So the ten per cent commissions were paid to the
various people who laid claim to them, on the fanciful
total fixed by those people themselves. Edward, refusing
to ask anything like what they advised him, had just
enough left, after all demands had been satisfied, to buy
a decent outfit at the Belle Jardiniere. It was rather
hard on him that Kenneth, ignorant of these complica-
tions, should frankly declare disapproval of the cut of
the Jardiniere clothes.

Miss MacClachlin saw the party off from the gloomy
Gare du Nord, the only gloomy spot in Paris pre-
sumably there hang about it, in the mist of its sunless
name, every traveller's dingy memories of departures for
dreary skies. Miss MacClachlin was in everybody's way,
but that was not a thing she readily noticed. "I shall be
there," she had told them all, "at fifteen minutes to the
hour." (Punctuality, says Hortense, is the thief of time.)

Maria stood confiding to the preoccupied Kenneth
her fresh troubles with Hortense, which must end in a
marriage with the shock-headed young butcher and a
wine-shop. "And I shall have to provide the wine-shop!"
lamented the old maid, "in the interests of morality. I,
who loathe wine-shops! But she resolutely refuses to
marry him else."

"Well, you'll be rid of her; that's one comfort,"



THE HEALERS. 21

suggested Kenneth. "Ye-e-es," hesitatingly responded
Maria MacClachlin. "She managed them wonderfully,
you know." The good work, without Hortense, looked
practically hopeless; who but she could distinguish be-
tween drink and devotedness, between emotion and
blague; who but she could keep order at the distribu-
tion of prizes and presents, could calculate the amount
of hot chocolate required, or explain how the chevaliers
liked it made? "I shall have to join you in Holland,"
said the poor lady. "Have you got a society for the
protection of animals there?"

"We have," replied Thomasine, for Edward was more
than busy with the patient. They were on the platform,
the cumbersome saloon-car alongside them; Barton,
Kenneth, and a couple of brightly interested blue com-
missionaires were lifting up, with much twisting and
solicitude, the invalid in his invalid-chair. "We have,"
replied Thomasine, "but it doesn't stop dog-carts; you
might come and try to do that."

"I dislike dog-carts," said Maria in her decided
manner, "but goat-shays are worse. Besides, we shall
never get rid of cruelty for profit as long as we cannot
even put down cruelty for pleasure. Imagine what must
be the state of mind of people who, for pleasure, start
hunting an uncarted stag! I knew a woman, Thoma-
sine, who subscribed to the society, and who, three
times a week, raced after some poor little gasping fox



22 THE HEALERS.

preserved because she said the fox was 'vermin.'
The toad!"

"How terrible it is to travel with invalids!" re-
marked Thomasine, watching the porters.

"But I sent back her subscription and paid it my-
self," said Maria. "I couldn't strike her off the list."

"You must let me show you my father's defence of
vivisection. There's neither profit nor pleasure in that.
It's quite short and clear. It has been translated into
half a dozen languages."

"It will not convert me," said Maria.

"Then nothing will," said Thomasine.

The central clock had come round to the moment of
final leave-taking. "En voiture!" said the guard for the
twentieth time, but now with the accent which must be
obeyed. Maria MacClachlin shook hands slowly with
Kenneth. Then she came close to Thomasine, and put
both arms round her shoulders. "He loves you!" she
said; and that was the cruellest, sweetest thing Maria
MacClachlin ever did.

On his arrival at Bardwyk Edward found her wedding-
present awaiting him. It was a bronze by Barrege, who
was then just coming into prominence, of a man with a
wounded boy in his arms. Doubtless Kenneth had
helped her about the commission, which must have cost
a considerable sum. The man was vaguely like Edward,
but the boy was certainly not a bit like Sir James.



THE HEALERS. 23

Yet the idiot's countenance, as he lay there, motion-
less and waxen, had certainly lost in repulsiveness what
it had gained in repose. The tormented expression had
left it; the eyes, when he opened them, looked sad, not
sore, in the clear grey atmosphere of Holland, grey-green
with the prophetic shimmer of half-hidden buddings.
Edward cautiously let in more light on the shrinking lids.
"See here, James," he said, "see how funny things look
in this country!" One day the sick lad stared into the
quiet, cloud-hung sun. Two children in wooden shoes
were solemnly toddling along the canal beneath the
poplars. He watched them through the light and shade.
Edward turned away and hastened from the room. Pre-
sently Thomasine went to look for him. "My God, if
we could but save him!" said Edward, and sobs were
in his throat. He, the strong, sensitive man, with the
cool, firm hand, he could not quite keep back at that
moment the sobs that were in his throat.

"Edward is emotional," said the Professor, "he cares
about his patients. He would never have done for my
sort of doctor, but as a psychiater he is excellent, oh,
first-rate!" The Professor had not been able quite to
forgive Edward; he was doubly gentle with his son.

The Professor had always maintained that there is
no such thing as psychiatry. No as yet discovered
medicines of any kind can minister to a mind diseased,
nor can any treatment in those cases, except a certain



24 THE HEALERS.

moral influence where the patient is not actually insane,
have lasting effect on a distracted soul. He believed the
more devoutly in a possible scientific study of insanity
the only one by microbic investigation ("madness is an
undiscovered microbe"), and it was the more distressing
to him, that Edward should turn away from this only
hope of reasonable achievement. The novel idea of the
surgical treatment of idiocy (the putting straight, to use
his own expression, what had been badly built), came,


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