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The Mill Mystery

4. The Pollards
There's something in his soul,
O'er which his melancholy sits on brood.
Fearful as the experiences of this day had been, they were not yet at an end for
me. Indeed, the most remarkable were to come. As I sat in this room of death--it
was not far from midnight--I suddenly heard voices at the door, and Mrs. Gannon
came in with Dr. Farnham.
"It is very extraordinary," I heard him mutter as he crossed the threshold. "One
dying and another dead, and both struck down by the same cause."
I could not imagine what he mean, so I looked at him with some amazement. But
he did not seem to heed me. Going straight to the bed, he gazed silently at Ada's
pure features, with what I could not but consider a troubled glance. Then turning
quickly to Mrs. Gannon, he said, in his somewhat brusque way:
"All is over here; you can therefore leave. I have a patient who demands your
instant care."
"But----" she began.
"I have come on purpose for you," he put in, authoritatively. "It is an urgent case;
do not keep me waiting."
"But, sir," she persisted, "it is impossible. I am expected early in the morning at
Scott's Corners, and was just going to bed when you came in, in order to get a
little sleep before taking the train."
"Dr. Perry's case?"
He frowned, and I am not sure but what he uttered a mild oath. At all events, he
seemed very much put out.
I immediately drew near.
"Oh, sir," I cried, "if you would have confidence in me. I am not unused to the
work, and----"
His stare frightened me, it was so searching and so keen.
"Who are you?" he asked.
I told him, and Mrs. Gannon put in a word for me. I was reliable, she said, and if
too much experience was not wanted, would do better than such and such a one-
-naming certain persons, probably neighbors.
But the doctor's steady look told me he relied more on his own judgment than on
anything she or I could say.
"Can you hold your tongue?" he asked.
I started. Who would not have done so?
"I see that you can," he muttered, and glanced down at my dress. "When can you
be ready?" he inquired. "You may be wanted for days, and it may be only for
"Will ten minutes be soon enough?" I asked.
A smile difficult to fathom crossed his firm lip.