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A Roving Commission by G. A. Henty

And indeed Duchesne said yesterday


"It

was not much of a fight, sir. I had such an advantage in position that I really did not like shooting them, in spite of what I had heard of their doings; but it was our lives or theirs, and I knew that if one of them got away he would bring down a score of others, and they would speedily have starved us out."

"At the present time," the captain said sternly, "mercy to these villains would be misapplied; the lesson must be a terrible one, or there will speedily be an end to white rule in the island. Another thing is, that were this revolution to succeed, we might expect similar outbreaks in our own islands. Now I will leave you. Your comrades will come in to see you, but their visits must, for the present, be short."

Nat progressed rapidly. In three days the water-dressings were given up and he was tightly bandaged, and over this, rather to his disgust, the doctor insisted upon his wearing a pair of stays.

"It is all very well, Glover," Doctor Bemish said in answer to his remonstrances, "but we know what you are. You are as active as a cat, and would be constantly forgetting yourself, and springing to do something; but these things laced tightly on will act as a reminder, and will also bind you so closely together that, while you will have the free use of your limbs, your ribs will be held as if in a vice. You will have to keep them on until the bone has fairly knit, and you

have every reason to be thankful that this is the only inconvenience you have to suffer from an expedition which might have cost you your life."

Four days later Doctor Bemish said:

"I think you can go ashore to-day. Of course you must be careful, especially, getting in and out of the boat, but if you do that and walk slowly, I do not think it will do you any harm. Madame Duchesne is up and going on nicely, and they are most anxiously expecting you, and indeed Duchesne said yesterday, that if I did not let you go on shore to-day, he would come on board to see you."

"But I feel like a hog in armour in these stays, doctor."

"Never mind that, lad, you would be almost as bad if you took them off, for I should have to put on twice as many bandages, and to pull them ever so much tighter. I have told the captain that I am letting you go ashore, and have also told Mr. Philpot, so that is all settled. I shall be going off myself in an hour, and will take you with me, and keep an eye over you until you get to their gate."

"One would think that I was a small boy going to be taken to school," Nat laughed, stopping, however, abruptly.

"There! you see," the doctor said, "that gave you a twinge, I know; you must be careful, lad, you must, indeed. There is no objection to your smiling as much as you like, but there is nothing that shakes one up more than a hearty laugh. That is why at other times laughing is a healthy exercise, but with a rib in the process of healing, it is better not to indulge in it."

"Well, I shall be ready when you are."

Nat accomplished the journey without pain.

"Won't you come in, doctor?" he asked when they arrived at the gate.

"No, Glover; this will be a sort of family party. I have warned Duchesne not to throw himself on your neck, and have told him that you are to be looked at and not touched."

With an uneasy smile Nat left him at the gate and walked up the drive. They were evidently on the watch for him, for the door opened almost immediately, and Monsieur Duchesne ran down. "Mon cher!" he exclaimed, "the doctor has said that I must not touch you, but I can scarce refrain from embracing you. How can I thank you for all that you have done?"


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