Under these circumstances, the bargain was soon struck. Not a syllable about the explosion at Cheetham's was to reach the second floor lodger's ears, and no Hillsborough journal was to mount the stairs until the young man's return. If inquired for, they were to be reported all sold out, and a London journal purchased instead.
Having secured a keen and watchful ally in this good woman, who, to do her justice, showed a hearty determination to earn her ten guineas, Dr. Amboyne returned home, his own philosophic pulse beating faster than it had done for some years.
He had left Mrs. Little grateful, and, apparently, in good spirits; but, ere he had been gone an hour, the bare separation from her son overpowered her, and a host of vague misgivings tortured her, and she slept but little that night. By noon next day she was thoroughly miserable; but Dr. Amboyne's man rode up to the door in the afternoon with a cheerful line from Henry.
"All right, dear mother. Better already. Letter by post.
She detained the man, and made up a packet of things for Cairnhope, and gave him five shillings to be sure and take them.
This was followed by a correspondence, a portion of which will suffice to eke out the narrative.
"DEAREST MOTHER,--I slept ill last night, and got up aching from head to foot, as if I had been well hided. But they sent me to the top of Cairnhope Peak, and, what with the keen air and the glorious view, I came home and ate like a hog. That pleased Martha Dence, and she kept putting me slices off her own plate, till I had to cry quarter. As soon as I have addressed this letter, I'm off to bed, for it is all I can do not to fall asleep sitting.
"I am safe to be all right to-morrow, so pray don't fret. I am, dear mother," etc., etc.