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A Clever Doctor

A Clever Doctor image
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About twenty years ago the Honorable aud Revereud Edward Lambert, a clergyrnan of the Church of Eugland, found that kis health was growing infirm, a moral and physical languor seemed to take possession of Mm; that English ruelancholy which comes, no one know3 why or wherefore, and he could not shake it off. Young, rich, handsome, eloquent, sure of preferment in the church - what was the matter with the Honorable and Reverend Bdward Lambert? He did what all Englishmen do when other remedies fail- he crossed the channel. He thought he would seek the rays of the sun, that luminary, so scarce in England. Perhaps it was the sun that e needed. So one line day he sailed for Trance, and soon found himself at Eouen, where he staid for some days, taking every morning a walk aiound the Cathedral, carrying a volume of Dante under his arm. One afternoonho walkeü uptne Monc St. Catherine, and seating bimself on the grass gravely devoted himself to the Divine Comedy. He had scarcely lost himself in Dante' stately lueasure when a stranger approached and with the most perfect courage addressed him, asking him if he were an Englishman, and, if so, if he would permit a few minutes' conversation. 'I wish to perfect myself in your language,' said the stranger, smiling, 'and I always seize every opportunity to talk to an Englishman.' 'You airea dy speak the language fluently,' said Mr. Lambert, politely; sit down, Monsieur." Resting on the turf, with a glorious view before them, the two young men soon found themselves talking glibly of the news of the day, of Dante, of religión, politics and the weather. The Frenchman was very agreeable, well educated and up to the tiines on all points; he immediateIv told Mr. Lambert that he was a loctor and practicing his profession at ïouen. It was natural that the young elerryman shonld speak to bim of bis own ;ase, which he did freely, asking the loctor's advice. The doctor became extremely inter;sted, and, upon examining Mr. Lamsert's tongue and pulse, gave him a preicription. They walked together to Kouen, and Mr. Lambert then noticed that the doctor had a beautiful white dog, a point3r, which gamboled around bis master's lieels. They separated as they reached the Bity, the doctor to go and see bis patiants, the clergyman to seek an apothecai, where he got bis prescription prepared. The next morning tlie Honorable and Reverend Mr. Lambert was better. The doctor's prescription had made him sleep. It had given him strength, he feit an appetite for breakfast. Months of treatment in London at the hands of the best physicians had not done this for him. He wished W thank and remunérate tlie doctor, when he remembered that he did not know his name. Instinct tokl bim, howevor, that ha might meet him again on the Mont St. Catherine. So with renewed hope, healtli, energy, he walked again to the top of the hill. In five minutes he was joined by the French doctor and his dog, who oame boundiug along with his pointer nose in the grass. The two men greeted each other with smiles and shook hand3 cordially. 'You have saved my life, doctor,' said Mr. Lambert, with tmusual euthusiasm. .'Kot at all, not all, my dear friend,' said the doctor; 'I oulv g;ive you a good tonic, which also made you sleep. I found out (what none of my Ënglish brothers tu medicine seem to have found out) that you have notlnng the matter with you! Your systeni needs a little jogging, that i3 all. llailroad travel, my dear friend, will soon set you up. Now, 1 dare say, you hajve oeen leading a very easy and sedentary life; now, haven'tyou?' 'It is true, I have.' 'Take my advice, travel, ride day and night; take no medicine, excepting these syrups, which I will give yon; seek adventure, lead a more varied existpiice, and, my friend - you are all right!' Now canse the delicate question ot money, and the EngliShman feit for the proverbial guinea. He tendered it to the French doctor, who laughingly pushed it away, with a very soft, well formed, white hand. 'Never - never,' said he; 'for so slight a service, permit me to make my advice a return for 'a lesson in Engllah con versation !' ' It was gracefully dono, and the embarrassed Englishman put his gold back intohis pocket. 'Doctor,' said he, in a low voice, hesitatingly, 'I am an Englishman, and I hate to be under an obligation; you have lifted a load olí my heart, which has hung taere for six months; you have made a new man of me. Now allow me to be of some service to you. I leave here by rail at one o'clock tomorrow morning, for Paris, until then I am at your service, - and fovever after. Can I do anything for you?' The doctor reflected a moment, and looked at his dog. 'I don't know, indeed; and yet I do happen to think of one thing. You might save me a journdy to Paris, which, with my engagements, is just now inconvenient. But it is asking too much, perhapa.' 'What - how - too much?' said tke clergyman. 'Well, I have a uumber of sick peopie under my charge whom I treat for diseases of the brain. One of these is a very rich woman, who is slightly deranged. I hoped to have cured her. Unhappily she hasdetermined to return to Paris, and I have no authority to detain her. I perceive that she will fret until this caprice is gratifled. I must go wlth her to place her in charge of her friends, and I have been putting off from day to day, because I cannot leave my other patients, the duty of taking her home. Now, if you would escort her, it would be a real service,' said the doctor. 'My dear sir, a crazy young woman, at one o'clock at night, and I a clergyman of the Church of England.' said Mr. Lambert, forgetting his late gratitude. 'Oh, she is f orty-six, my dear sir, and her mania is a very quiet one. She looks and acts likeasheep, poor woman, and she will scarcely speak to a stranger. 1 do not know that she will go with you. The hour is rather early - oue iñ the morning- but still. I might ask her, and it will be a real favor to me.' 'Bring her along, doctor!' said the clergyman, ashamed of his own reluctance; 'bring her along- a sheep and f orty-six; I will take care of your patiënt to Paris!' Talking in this way they reached the gates of the city. Before scparating, the doctor gave hia ca,r4 to Lambert. 'Au revoir,' said he; 'and perhaps adieu, my dear sir. Let me hear from you from time to time; and I hope if we never meet again, that you will retain, as I shall do, an agreeable recollection of our acquaintance. I may not see you again, as my friend may not be willing to go with you - adieu!' Mr. Lambert glanced at the doctor'a card, feeling anew the embarrassment of the possible night journey with an insane woman. and regretting his ise, in spite of his gratitude. He read on the eard - 'Dr. de La Belle, rué Anfeoine; No. 11." Mr. Lambert walked through the rue Antoine and stopped at Xo. 11. It was a large, handsome house, with the announcement in black letters on a brass píate Docteur de La Belle. On arriving at his hotel he asked the landlord if he knew of Dr. de La Belle. 'I believe, sir,' said the man, civily, ■that he is the best physician in Eouen.' At one o'clock in the morning Mr. Lambert waited with some anxiety in the depot the arrival of the train. Dr. de La Belle had not arrived. The English clergyman rubbed his hands with great satisf action - for ke did not care for this particular responsibility- when some one touched him lightly on the shoulder. It was the doctor! Seated on a bench was a lady in black, with her veil drawn over her face. 'I have taken a coupe,' said the doctor, 'so you will not be incommoded by other travelera. HereisMademoiselle's purse, ticket' and little tra veling satchel perhaps she will need something. Have the kindnessto show her ticket to the conductor. I have telegraphed to Paris to her frienda, who will meet her at the station. She is as quiet as a dove. Should you find her agitated, glve her a drop of this essence on sugar; here is the bottle. Monsieur Lambert, Mademoiselle!' He then helped along the invalid lady, and put her in the corner of the coupe. He then, after arranging her with great kindliness, steppedout, held Mr. Lambert by the hands and talked with Freneh effusion, as the officials hurried passengers out and in, 'I trust you will have no trouble, adieu,' said'he, giving a final word of kindness to his fair patiënt, and arranging her f ootstool. 'Oh, no! I dare say not,' said Mr. Lambert, bowing to the lady, and ng his seat by her side. 'Uut what a owerf ui odor there ia in the coupe, - vill it not disturb the lady ?' 'Oh, no! I think not,' said Dr. de La Belle; :I brokeabottle of cologne, as I ivas helping her in. It will all disappear in a few raoments.' The train departed ; and Mr. Lammert, who feit exceedingly wide awake, a,nd who found Dr. de La Belle's cologne very strong, tried to draw his fair friend into a conversation. She was separated from him by a high basket of flowers, the doctor's last attention. The poor insane woman would not answer a word, and from her immovaable calm the doctor concluded that slie was asleep. When they arxived at Paris, he determined that she should speak. "Mademoiselle," said he in a loud voice, 'do awake and listen lo me: I mustleave you for a moment to go and flnd your iriends.' He sought a long time, but could not flnd anybody who wanted a lady from Itouen. He carne back to the caíriage very discontentedly, when, to his intense astonisbment, he found a crowd around the eompartment where the lady still sat. He went forward to see what was the cause of the exci loment. 'Are you the man who fcraveled from Rouen in this coupe?' said n policeman. 'Yes.' 'Do you know that this lady is dead ? You have poisoned her with prussic acid! She has been dead four hours!' And the populace groaned. The clergyinan was speeclüess with horror, He tried to olear himself with all the earnestness of an innocent man, but bis story was a most improbable one. The pólice found on him the puree or' the poor woman, and n bottle containing prussic acidl It was the little bottle whicli Dr. de La Belle had forced apon him In the train. Mr. Lambert, stunned, half dead, allowed himself to be carried to prison without resistance - he was past that. A day later he s.üd: 'Take me to Konen; I will uninask the viliain; he can never face me!' Two sergeants de ville, with other employees of the pólice in plain clothes, attended this dangerous criminal to Kouon in the raihvay, and drove to the house of Dr. de La Belle. Mr. Lambert was sure that at the sight of his face the assassin doctor would confesa all. Dr. de La Belle was engaged at the moment, and kept them some time waiting. When at last the pólice began to be troubled, the head sergeant bade them be calm. 'The house is guarded,' said he, 'he cannot escape.' Presently there entered a calm, elderly gentleman, with spectacles, which he removed as he looked at thein. 'I beg pardon for keeping you waiting,' said he, 'but did you want me ? I am Dr. de La Belle.' Mr. Lambert trembled from head to foot. An abyss opened before him, of which ho could not see the bottom. Tiiis was not at all the man wliom he had met on Mont St. Catherine. 'You are not Dr. de La Belle at all!' said the unhappy man. 'I think that I can prove that I am,' said the suave oíd doctor, smiling. Alasl everything against him. The English clergyman had fallen into the most terrible snare, laid by a most accomplished villain. They returned to Paris. 'I wish I could meet him again with his white dog,' said Mr. Lambert, throwing his hands in air. 'White dog, did you say ?' asked the sergeant de ville. Some weeks passed, and the pólice became convinced that Mr. Lambert was innocent, but they were yet waiting for the real villain. Mr. Lambert was taken blindfoldeu, and in the night, to a house, he knew not in what street, where he, however, was well lodged, and where he was allo wed to read and to write, but was strictly watched. Shortly after bis new iucarceratlon, a valet arrived with his clothes, and asked hira respectf ully to make his toilette. A sergeant escoited him to a closed carriage, and drove towards the Champs Elysees. 'Look at everybody who passes," said he. Mr. Lambert leoked, but saw nothlng. The next day the sergeant, elegantly dressed, came again, in au open carriage, and, by the side of the coach man. sat a white uointer ;log. Mr. Lambert turnee! palé. 'You have seen that dog bef ore ?' said the sergeant. 'It is bis dog,' said Mr. Lambert. 'Keep calm, and look about you,' said the policeman. But they looked in vain. They saw no m aster for the dog. 'On the night that crime was committed this dog was found in Eouen, without a master,' said the sergeant de ville. Later, the prisoner was requested to make an evening toilette, and was escorted to a grand ball in a magnifleent house in one of the best parts of Paris. 'You are servingthe ends of justice,' said the sergeant to him. 'Be patiënt and observe the guests.' He was presented to the lady of the house who received him very graciously, and who introduced him to her young öaughter. He talked with her and looked at the guests, out saw notnlng. Another week passeü. lie went to another ball, in the same company; his young bost, Monsieur de F., seated iiimself beside him, and drew carelessly before thera the curtains of a large window, which filled half the room. It was not long before Mr. Lambert heard the well-kjaown voice of the sergeant of pólice (who in the most irreproachable of black coats and white ties, looked like a Conde or a Moutmorenci) talking to a gentleman near him, of hunting. 'It ia a long time since I have followed the hounds,' answered the gentleman. Mr. Lambert darted frora his seat. 'It is he!' said he. 'It is Dr. de La Belle. 'Be Bilent,' said Monsieur de F., 'be silent,' and he held him in his scat by main force. In a moment they were rejoiced by the sergeant de ville. 'I have heard him! it is his voice,' said Mr. Lambert trembling all over. 'Perhaps we are still wrong,' sald that imperturbable individual. 'Stay here without moving. I will draw the curtain; look at every oue who enters with a lady on his arm; when the suspected passes, presa iny arm without a word,' 'Is it Monsieur deBocage?' askedthe host in a low voice of the oflicer, 'Probably.' said the policeman; 'he was the lover of the unfortunate Blanche Villiers.' At this moment poor Larnbert, peeping from behind the curtain, saw the well-known smiling face and jaunty figure of the Doctor of Rouen pass, with p young lady on lus arm. Me gripped the arm oL tbe officer. 'It is he,' said he, choking. The sergeant de ville drew the curtain quickly. 'The chain is complete,' said he; 'we only wait for the dog. Mr. Lambert, your imprisonment will be short. One visit more, and you are nee!' The next day a close carriage with the white pointer tied under tho seat, called for Mr. Lambert. 'I shall conduct you to his door, but you must enter alone, said the tnenrlly sergeant. 4 You are not at'aid ?' 'Afraid!' said the Englishman. 'I only desire to kill hirn.' No, no personal violence, please. You would spoil a very pretty job!' said the officer. 'Coacliman, drive to the house of Monsieur de Bocage, avenue Josephine.' When Mr. Lambert, pale as death, rang the bell of the inner door, M. de Bocage, a Parisian swell, just putting on nis glove3, opened it himself. He starled back, horrified, but soon composed himself. 'You wish to see me, sir T said he. 'Yes, you wretched murderer!' said the Honorable and Reverend Lambert, 'I do wish to seo you!' Monsieur de Bocage rotreated aeveral steps. 'You are mad,' said he. 'I have come to unmask you, villianl' 'You are deceived, my brave gentleman,' said M. de Bocage, and reaching behind him he caught up a pistol and discharged it f uil in tlio face of the Englishman. At the noise, and the fall of the clergyman. who was stunned and blinded for a moment, the two sergeants and severa! policemen entered the room, aocompaniod by a white pointer, who leaped up and caressed Monsieur de Bocage. 'Down, Thanor. down!' said the murderer, forgetting himself. 'The chain is complete,' said the sergeant joyf ully. 'Monsieur de Bocage, alias Dr. de la Belle you stand charged with the der of Mademoiselle Blanche Vilhers, in a coupe of the railway, which Ie ft Rouen at one o'clock at night on the 13th, inst, a crime which you sought to affix to this gentleman. ÍThrow a pitcher of water in his face; the pistol ball was drawn this morning, whilst Monsieur de Bocage took his chocolate - he is not hurt.)' So saying, the sergeant revived the Englishman, and took Monsieur de Bocage from his luxurious chamber, towards twenty years of the galleys. The wretch looked back. 'It was you, Thanor, after all,' said he, caressing the white pointer. 'Yes,' said the sergeant, encouragingly. 'Had you but remembered to give the poor thing a pill of strychiDne!' The Honorable and Beverend Mr. Lambert returned home much better. He had certainly taken the advice of this unknown medical adviser, and had varied his usual life considerably. He never traveled in a coupe at night again with veiled ladies, nor did he ever quite get over ihe horror of having ridden from Kouen to Paris with a corpse. He liad the curiosity to take the doctor's prescription to an apothecary in London, who analyzed it. 'A powerful stinmlant, sir,' said he; 'we should not recoramend you to use it very frequently. Still, in extreme cases of depression, it might be well.' Mr. Larabert never lost his admiration of the French pólice. They were, he thought, a very accomplished set of actors.


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