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A Roving Commission by G. A. Henty

Nat went straight to the doctor


"Well,

we won't say anything more about your affair, Nat, if you don't like it; but we sha'n't think any the less, because we are all proud of you, and whatever you may say, it was a very plucky action. I know that I would rather stand up against the biggest Frenchman than face one of those savage hounds. And how is the arm going on? I see you still have the arm of your jacket snipped open and tied up with ribbons, and you keep it in a sling."

"Yes; the doctor made such a point of it that I was obliged to promise to wear it until Bemish gives me permission to lay it aside." He took it out of the sling and moved it about. "You see I have got the use of it, though I own I have very little strength as yet; still, I manage to use it at meals, which is a comfort. It was hateful being obliged to have my grub cut up for me. How long have you been in harbour here?"

"Three days; and you are in luck to find us here, for I hear that we are off again to-morrow morning. You have missed nothing while you have been away, for we haven't picked up a single prize beyond a little slaver with a hundred niggers on board."

When the captain came off two hours later with Dr. Bemish he sent for Nat.

"I am heartily glad to see you back again, Mr. Glover, and to see you looking so vastly better than when I saw you last; in fact, you look nearly as well as you did before that

encounter."

"I have had nothing to do but to eat, sir."

"Well, the question is, how is your arm?"

"It is not very strong yet, sir, but I could really do very well without this sling."

"Well, you see I have to decide whether you had better go up to the hills until we return from our next cruise or take you with us."

"Please, sir, I would much rather go with you."

"Yes; it is not a question of what you like best, but what the doctor thinks best for you. You had better go to him at once, he will examine your arm and report to me, and of course we must act on his decision."

Nat went straight to the doctor.

"Well, you are looking better than I expected," the latter said, holding the lad at arm's-length and looking him up and down; "flesh a good deal more flabby than it used to be--want of exercise, of course, and the result of being looked after by women. Now, lad, take off your shirt and let me have a regular examination."

He moved the arm in different directions, felt very carefully along each bone, pressing rather hard at the points where these had been broken, and asking Nat if it hurt him. He replied "No" without hesitation, as long as the doctor was feeling the forearm, but when he came to the upper-arm and shoulder he was obliged to acknowledge that the pressure gave him a bit of a twinge.

"Yes, it could hardly be otherwise," the doctor said; "however, there is no doubt we made a pretty good job of it. Stretch both arms out in front of you and bring the fingers together. Yes, that is just what I expected, it is some two and a half inches shorter than the other; but no one will be likely to notice it."

"Don't you think, doctor, that I can go to sea now? The captain said that you would have to decide."

"I think a month up in the hills would be a very desirable thing, Glover. The bones have knit very well, but it would not take much to break them again."


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