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one. She was then too much fatigued and exhausted for a thorough examination : so he appointed next morning for seeing her again. And when the careful thorough examination was made it only confirmed his worst fears.

There was constitutional weakness, and a predisposition to spine disease : but the present suffering had evidently been caused by some strain or injury in the first place, which neglect, fatigue, and subsequent exertion had aggravated to a great extent ; "and the wonder to me is," the doctor wound up by saying, “ that you could have kept up as long as you have without calling out. You must have suffered great pain.”

“Just at a time," Isie admitted. But never that I couldn't thole it."

“And how long have you felt it ?”

About a month, maybe—I havena taken very much accoont.”

“And are you not conscious of having hurt yourself any time ?”

The white drawn face became suddenly suffused with a vivid flush, as she did not answer for a moment or two. “I might have raxed myself sometime," she then said, very low. “But I couldn't just say."

“Been lifting some of your patients, eh ?” Again Isie was silent for a longer space.

“If you could at all recall to mind, how long it is, since you were first sensible of distinct pain—" the doctor pressed.

“I dinna mind the time that my back wouldn't be sore, now and again,” said poor little Isie, truthfully enough. “Not steady, but just at a time. I've seen me that I would grow sick with it, years ago, when I was at the sewin'—I've been a good bittie better since I've not sat at the machine steady."

And Dr. McLaine shook his head. It would be a long, troublesome business at best, he feared. Sister Isobel would have to lay up altogether, and undergo immediate treatment. The delay in taking care was likely to have greatly increased the harm done.

“Oh, Sister, Sister, how could you not have spoken ?” exclaimed the Superior in great distress, when the doctor had gone.

“Dinna quarrel me, Mother," said Isie faintly, “I've enough wanting that."

“ Quarrel you, no ! but, my dear child, you cannot have thought you were acting rightly or kindly, by concealing this so long! Did you not know then, when you hurt yourself first ?"

“Eh me !" she answered with almost a sob. “What does it signifee? It's deen onywye.”

“ Have you had this pain ever since you returned ? or when you were away last ?”.

“Eh, how could I tell ?” this time there was a tinge of petulance in the tone. “ I've felt my back long and long, as I tellt the doctor. I aye thocht it rheumatism. But I ken it be to be—and I'm to lie like poor Jeannie. Eh, the sooner I'm out o' everybody's wye, the better !"

It was indeed a sore burden that poor Isie had to bear. She had been all her life the active one in whatever circumstances she had found herself—first the willing little household drudge, then nurse, "house-mother," breadwinner : latterly the energetic working novice Sister, the one to go and do what had to be done, to think and act for as well as under others. Now she was condemned for an indefinite time to complete inactivity, to actual suffering, and–hardest of allto be a care and expense and drag, so she considered it, upon the institution to which she belonged.

Yes, there was no doubt that this was the hardest; the bitterest drop in the cup to her. She had a proud independent spirit, that little fragile woman : she would have gone anywhere, submitted to any suffering, if she could have helped being dependent. She would not see, poor child ! and it was difficult to make her see, that the Home was just intended to benefit such poor friendless sufferers as herself.

It was only after the Mother had spoken to her quite authoritatively, telling her that she belonged to them now, and could not, if she would, go away, that she became at all reconciled to her state of complete dependence.

Part IV.


“For he is a gallant lad,

And a weel doin' ; And a' the wark about the house Gaes wi' me when I see him, quo' she,' Wi' me when I see him.”

Old Song

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ND in the meantime, Edmund Allardyce was spending

a very happy time at Fernytofts. As far as his recovery went, it had been as satisfactory in all respects as could be desired and expected. The change, especially to the bracing air of his native district, the rest, and the happy society of his brother and sister, and, when he was able to bear it, of his old friends the children, altogether made him feel happier and lighter-hearted than he had been for long. The weather too was favourable ; and he spent many pleasant hours in walking about the farm and fields with his brother, by degrees lending a hand to any work that was going forward-coming home with a regular “pleughman's” appetite for the ample

fare provided by Mary Allardyce. On Sundays he attended, with his brother's family, the church of his earliest recollections : where a very primitive order of things still prevailed, and where Fernies himself, honest man, thought no harm of taking a pinch of snuff during sermontime, according to time-honoured custom, and offering one to an old neighbour.

One afternoon when Edmund had been particularly busy assisting his brother in some farm-yard operation, as they were enjoying a quiet pipe together in the farm kitchen, Fernies said, “It's a pity ye're nae a fairmer, Eydie lad. I doubt ye werena cut oot for office work—ye've made a mistake.”

“Them that I've wrought for disna seem to think it,” said Edmund, with a smile.

“Maybe no—and they wouldna be vera willing to want ye. But it seems near a pity, fan ye’re so well up to the


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