"It's that excitement," said Val. "I do wish Maude would be reasonable!" The illness, however, appeared to be more serious than an ordinary fainting-fit; and Lord Hartledon, remembering the suspicion of heart-disease, sent for the family doctor Sir Alexander Pepps, an oracle in the fashionable world.

"Why doesn't she get up, Pepps?" demanded the dowager, wrathfully, pouncing upon the physician one day, when he was leaving the house. Sir Alexander, who might have been supposed to have received his baronetcy for his skill, but that titles, like kissing, go by favour, stopped short, took off his hat, and presumed that Lady Hartledon felt more comfortable in bed. "Rubbish!

As he was leaving the chamber, a servant accosted him. "Lady Kirton wishes to see you, sir." "Well, Pepps," cried she, as he advanced, having loaded herself with camphor, "what is it?" "I do not take upon myself to pronounce an opinion, Lady Kirton," rejoined the doctor, who had grown to feel irritated lately at the dowager's want of ceremony towards him.

"You'd do well to get some sleep, dear," she said in a subdued tone; "and to-morrow you must get up; Pepps says so; he thinks you want rousing." "I have not slept since; it's not sleep, it's a dead stupor, in which I dream things as horrible as the reality," murmured Maude, unconscious perhaps that she spoke aloud. "I shall never sleep again." "Not slept since when?" "I don't know."

"Her heart!" echoed Sir Alexander, looking up now as if a little aroused. "Dear me, yes; her heart; I didn't say her liver. Is it sound, Pepps?" "It's sound, for anything I know to the contrary. I never suspected anything the matter with her heart." "Then you are a fool!" retorted the complimentary dowager. Sir Alexander's temperament was remarkably calm.

"In the early stage of a disorder it can rarely be done with certainty." "Now don't let's have any of that professional humbug, Pepps," rejoined her ladyship. "You doctors know a common disorder as soon as you see it, only you think it looks wise not to say. Is it small-pox?" "It's not impossible," said the doctor, in his wrath. The dowager gasped.

In this latter fear she partly lost her personal fears, so far at any rate as to remain in the house; for it seemed to her that the child would inevitably die if she left it. Late in the afternoon she rushed into the presence of the doctors, who had just been holding a second consultation. Sir Alexander Pepps recommended leeches to the throat: Mr. Brook disapproved of them.

If there's any latent affection, it has not yet shown itself. Then we'll arrange the consultation for to-morrow." Sir Alexander Pepps was bowed out; and the consultation took place; which left the matter just where it was before. The wise doctors thought there was nothing radically wrong; but strongly recommended change of air.

"Why, about your heart. That's what I suppose it is." Maude raised herself upon her elbow, her wan face fixed on her mother's. "Is there anything the matter with my heart?" she calmly asked. And then the old woman found that she had made a grievous mistake, and hastened to repair it. "I thought there might be, and asked Pepps.

"Take care you don't do yourself an injury with too much of that camphor. It is exciting." In a short time Mr. Brook arrived. When he had seen the child and was alone with Lady Hartledon, she explained that the countess-dowager had wished Sir Alexander Pepps called in, and showed him the prescription just written. He read it and laid it down.