inappropriately costly in texture and unnecessarily refined in trimming and finish, for a person in her position in life. I should not like these things to be said of me, and therefore it is my duty not to say them of Mrs Rubelle. I will merely mention that her manners were, not perhaps unpleasantly reserved, but only remarkably quiet and retiring -- that she looked about her a great deal, and said very little, which might have arisen quite as much from her own modesty as from distrust of her position at Blackwater Park; and that she declined to partake of supper (which was curious perhaps, but surely not suspicious?), although I myself politely invited her to that meal in my own room.
At the Count's particular suggestion (so like his lordship's forgiving kindness!), it was arranged that Mrs Rubelle should not enter on her duties until she had been seen and approved by the doctor the next morning. I sat up that night. Lady Glyde appeared to be very unwilling that the new nurse should be employed to attend on Miss Halcombe. Such want of liberality towards a foreigner on the part of a lady of her education and refinement surprised me. I ventured to say, `My lady, we must all remember not to be hasty in our judgments on our inferiors -- especially when they come from foreign parts.' Lady Glyde did not appear to attend to me. She only sighed, and kissed Miss Halcombe's hand as it lay on the counterpane. Scarcely a judicious proceeding in a sick-room, with a patient whom it was highly desirable not to excite. But poor Lady Glyde knew nothing of nursing -- nothing whatever, I am sorry to say.
The next morning Mrs Rubelle was sent to the sitting-room, to be approved by the doctor on his way through to the bedroom.
I left Lady Glyde with Miss Halcombe, who was slumbering at the time, and joined Mrs Rubelle, with the object of kindly preventing her from feeling strange and nervous in consequence of the uncertainty of her situation. She did not appear to see it in that light. She seemed to be quite satisfied, beforehand, that Mr Dawson would approve of her, and she sat calmly looking out of window, with every appearance of enjoying the country air. Some people might have thought such conduct suggestive of brazen assurance. I beg to say that I more liberally set it down to extraordinary strength of mind.
Instead of the doctor coming up to us, I was sent for to see the doctor. I thought this change of affairs rather odd, but Mrs Rubelle did not appeal to be affected by it in any way. I left her still calmly looking out of the window, and still silently enjoying the country air.
Mr Dawson was waiting for me by himself in the breakfast-room.
`About this new nurse, Mrs Michelson,' said the doctor.
`I find that she has been brought here from London by the wife of that fat old foreigner, who is always trying to interfere with me. Mrs Michelson, the fat old foreigner is a quack.'
This was very rude. I was naturally shocked at it.
`Are you aware, sir,' I said, `that you are talking of a nobleman?'
`Pooh! He isn't the first quack with a handle to his name. They're all Counts -- hang 'em!'
`He would not be a friend of Sir Percival Glyde's sir, if he was not a member of the highest aristocracy -- excepting the English aristocracy, of course.'
`Very well, Mrs Michelson, call him what you like, and let us get back to the nurse. I have been objecting to her already.'
`Without having seen her, sir?'
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|