The Magic Egg and Other Stories
The Staying Power Of Sir Rohan
During the winter in which I reached my twenty fifth year I lived with my mother's
brother, Dr. Alfred Morris, in Warburton, a small country town, and I was there
beginning the practice of medicine. I had been graduated in the spring, and my uncle
earnestly advised me to come to him and act as his assistant, which advice, considering
the fact that he was an elderly man, and that I might hope to succeed him in his excellent
practice, was considered good advice by myself and my family.
At this time I practised very little, but learned a great deal, for as I often accompanied my
uncle on his professional visits, I could not have taken a better postgraduate course.
I had an invitation to spend the Christmas of that year with the Collingwoods, who had
opened their country house, about twelve miles from Warburton, for the entertainment of
a holiday house party. I had gladly accepted the invitation, and on the day before
Christmas I went to the livery stable in the village to hire a horse and sleigh for the trip.
At the stable I met Uncle Beamish, who had also come to hire a conveyance.
"Uncle Beamish," as he was generally called in the village, although I am sure he had no
nephews or nieces in the place, was an elderly man who had retired from some business, I
know not what, and was apparently quite able to live upon whatever income he had. He
was a good man, rather illiterate, but very shrewd. Generous in good works, I do not
think he was fond of giving away money, but his services were at the call of all who
I liked Uncle Beamish very much, for he was not only a good story-teller, but he was
willing to listen to my stories, and when I found he wanted to hire a horse and sleigh to
go to the house of his married sister, with whom he intended to spend Christmas, and that
his sister lived on Upper Hill turnpike, on which road the Collingwood house was
situated, I proposed that we should hire a sleigh together.
"That will suit me," said Uncle Beamish. "There couldn't have been a better fit if I had
been measured for it. Less than half a mile after you turn into the turnpike, you pass my
sister's house. Then you can drop me and go on to the Collingwoods', which I should say
isn't more than three miles further."
The arrangement was made, a horse and sleigh ordered, and early in the afternoon we
started from Warburton.
The sleighing was good, but the same could not be said of the horse. He was a big roan,
powerful and steady, but entirely too deliberate in action. Uncle Beamish, however, was
quite satisfied with him.