Nell of Shorne Mills (Chapter 3, page 1 of 6)

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Chapter 3


It was a strange name--the name of a woman, of course. Nell wondered
whether it was his sister--or sweetheart? Perhaps it was his wife?

She waited for some minutes; then she woke Molly, and returned to her
own room.

Drake Vernon was unconscious for some days, and Nell often stole in and
stood beside the bed; sometimes she changed the ice bandages, or gave
him something to drink. He wandered and talked a great deal, but it was
incoherent talk, in which the names of the persons he whispered or
shouted were indistinguishable. On the fourth day he recovered
consciousness, but was terribly weak, and the doctor would not permit
Mrs. Lorton to enter the room.

He put his objection very cleverly.

"I have to think of you, my dear madame," he said. "I don't want two
patients on my hands in the same house. Talk him back into delirium!" he
added to himself.

All these days Mrs. Lorton continued to "hush," Nell went about with a
grave air of suspense, and Dick--it is not given to this historian to
describe the state of mind into which incessant repression drove that

On the sixth day, bored to death, and somewhat curious, he strolled into
the sick room. Drake Vernon, propped up by pillows, was partaking of
beef tea with every sign of distaste.

"How are you getting on, sir?" asked Dick.

The sick man looked at the boy, and nodded with a faint smile.

"I'm better, thanks; nearly well, I devoutly trust."

"That's all right," commented Dick cheerfully. "Thought I'd just look
in. Shan't upset you, or disturb you, shall I, sir?"

"Not in the very least," was the reply. "I'm very glad to see you. Won't
you sit down? Not there, but some place where I can see you."

Dick sat on the end of the bed and leaned against the rail, with his
hands in his pockets.

"I ought to introduce myself, I suppose. I'm what is called in the
novels 'the son of the house'; I'm Nell's brother, you know."

Mr. Vernon nodded.

"So I see, by the likeness."

"Rather rough on Nell, that, isn't it? I'll tell her," said Dick, with a
spark of mischief in his eye. "Why, she's as black as a coal, and I'm

"You are alike, all the same," said the invalid, rather indifferently.

"My name is Dick--Dick, as a rule; Richard, when my stepmother is more
than usually riled with me."

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