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(DR. FRESTON'S BROTHER.I -I

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(DR. FRESTON'S BROTHER. SEARCH OF YEARS AND HOW IT r WAS HAPPILY ENDED. T Ttr ■' sister in a large male surgical ward ► the > wn hospital 'n South Wales at cuired"16 w^en following incident oc- dis^st^eW nion^'s previously one of those Hion .'rous colliery explosions, only too com- and ^n.our neighbourhood, had taken place, iniur *§ men> P°or fellows, all badly ward ^een brought into the accident our h 6 a lieavy time of it, and comnwT suroe0n—never very strong—had I hia j 6 broken down under the strain of H |?t,&d attention to his patients. casft« r the satisfaction of seeing all the th« 0Jle exception) fairly started on cam r°a^ to convalescence before he, too, iyi 8 °n the sick list, and was ordered abso- fW,. re^ ^or several months. No man ever deg^ed a. rest more than he. co,n,s^ant an(l unwearied labours of on A1 had -earned the blessing pronounced kjc. f i,011 Adhem as "One who loved oW '"men" e greatly missed his into^,l,r.es0Ilce in the wards, and felt small f "lom '> .^e ^ctoT who came as his his pj^' fe6lmg sure that no one could take how** ^r8st°n. the temporary house surgeon, ever, made a. favourable impression on ft. ^rival, .and soon showed that he 1<e, Ouo'ily knew his work. lie had a- quiet, ffitkV manner, and we had worked to- m', 8l" some d-av.s before I learned anything thfJ'6 .!a^x>llt him. Then an accident, if m e such a thing, showed me the real ret) ?ne evening, on going his rounds, I i T+ a new case, just come in, to him. in +cas a 1Ban had been found lying I ylg ^0ad. He. had evidently fallen against I rpj and had received a scalp wound. ( pTl "e ^'as a stranger in the town was I ino^'v some papers in his pocket, show- „ fi. *lmi to have been discharged from a | vio^f Tossel at Swansea, a few days pre- f j have not made out his history vet I said; "he seems to be very poor, and ap- Parellilv has no friends." •^o friends repeated Dr. Freston, with expression I had not seen on his facej °.re- "Very few of us realise what those or<ts mean, sister. It means more than uu ^endlessness. It means a man's life f? influence for good upon it— i restraint to keep him from sinking to the |^West depths: no anchor to hold him back -sunering shipwreck on the rocks which r) Pro,1D(l us some seen, and some hid- ones more dangerous than all. No • e seemed to have forgotten he was speak- Self me' aDcl remembering, checked him- T We see so many such lives in our work," 1 said. i. Yes," he said, slowly and absently, as if ls Oughts were far away, "it must always i Look, sister! he said, and his strong liand shook as he held it towards me. .————————————— UtW sight, even if those who suffer are 56 dangers to us." then turned round to faca me, ^°r0e }> 6 more quickly, as if lie wished to ',nj> "imself to say something. all k 018 the most pitiful sight of J|?auss I am haunted by the feeling be a j/^e^vhere in this world there may now Hlv t w'ho is friendless and alone through ttiay i Every fresh face I see I think %e +i e his. Every morning I wake with I 1 OUght that I may see it before night." "'o"Oed at him with intense interest. My L ftie ,s instinct, which so seldom errs, told le had never spoken of this to any to hine ore, and that it was a great relief 1 l; to do so now. readlolftled to hear more. He seemed to welat the- syinpath;,r expressed in my face and "I h n Inore quietly: °aly tac* a younger brother. There were ^ts, 0 of us. I was older by three in appearance and character I y iiiy f^tally "unlike. He had been spoiled Va 'er' wh° always let him have his ^troj|g >T.' chiefly, I fancy, on account of the ^iecl -vyV, ness he bore, to our mother, who t ford 611 ^e were quite young. I was at t CJ xford,We were quite young. I was at eri&g fading for a degree previous to en- kild I be hospital, when my father died, i 1 bore you? I have no right 8'^vays j a'jl thig 0n you, but somehow vou ? other ri °°k as if you were used to hearing Coittes + Ple's troubles. I notice everyone I'Plea^0 you-" I i, /if0 on-" Icould say no more. ? i^ti^o. a™er had had a nasty fall in the l ^Ore r 'd, and wras almost at the last &l,fect to hom. All his affairs were in ^8lwavt,r i'.r' hut he was anxious about Jack [i 'k"'Yon'ifi m ^*r,Su thought." r °ftikP after him, Tom,' he said. ^0u ftrom-me y°u will look after him. If ff^ise i ,lSe kriow voii won't go back. A +,f a Promise Avith. you, Tom I could I 1 di(j' U8fc ^°U-' | j ^r°Wise, again and again, and God J-iAthej. ^-eaR^ to keep my word, and my k W/led.^ite happy with my promise j. ? to aT"1? in his ears* and his eyes rest- t- ,ftVeFj he last on his darling Jack. He for6Sp rne for a, i)v-"ixent. How could 11 y°tt +f 1 am thankful he died .happy, t kept' „ Unk he knows now, sister, how 1 «Cy,roi(i?" t 'j \vpt(.m7 head, but did not speak. t!6^ t],„ back to Oxford, and Jack en- h • -At SaiUe That was the mis- aad +t ^is-tance—if I had only seen him °Ug}i. tften—ye nxio-ht have got on well W » at my elbow, always bursting Vl5! r0_°°m when I wanted to read, filling T-vith friends as noisy and light- J1 aJl si(1/UlliSelf, spending money recklessly to 4 jo] anfl turning everything I said fte^a11 th3s was a daily annoyance i it vTew intolerable. I had no sym- e/rew- uj0a ^vitli any of his pursuits, and if u^atJ)6 °0^ an(l reserved, until one day, %V i rfK)re than usual, I told him that Jij; to g° to the dogs he might go }j,Q e- jj-. His temper was as quick as &Uie answer drew a sharper one "ich roused him to a fury. 'You won't see me again, so you need not trouble your head about it. I can work for myself,' and he was gone. Even then, sister, if I had gone after him, I might have stopped him, but I was mad with him, and was glad that he was gone. As glad then to hear that he was gone a,s I should be now to hear tha,tonce again on this earth I might hope to see his face. I live for that, and one day it may come." "And you never heard of him again?" "No sound from that day to this. He went without money, and he could draw none except through me." "Perhaps," I suggested, utterly at a loss what to say, "he found some work or-" "Work! Jack never did a day's work in his life; he was not made to work." "Do you think that some of his friends ——" I began, rather hopelessly. "No," he replied, with a deep tone of sadness in his voice; "no; not one of his friends ever heard of him—that's four-no, five years ago. Five years—and night and day I think of these words, 'You will look after Jack, Tom. There was a., silence I did not know how to break. I think, sister," he added, looking up with eyes which long sorrow had filled with won- derful depth of expression, "I think I should have put an end to my life before now; but I knew father's first question would be, 'Have you looked after him, Tom?'" The door opened to admit the stretcher with a new case from the surgery, and Dr. Freston was in a moment the professional man, absorbed in investigating the extent of the new arrival's injuries. Before leaving the ward he turned to the bedside of the patient whose friendless con- dition had led to our conversation. He took down the head card to iiii up the details. "N a'Ine, sister?" "George Thomas." "Agef "I do not know: he looks about forty; but he is very weather-beaten." The doctor glanced at the tanned, scarred face, nearly hidden by bandages, and stood hesitating, pen in hand. "Occupation—do you know?" "Sailor." "No other particulars, sistsr?" He hid the card on the table and wiped his pen carefully-a. methodioal and orderly man in every detail of his work. "I only found a few coppers and these old papers in his pocket," I said, 'showing the contents of a pocket-book much the worse for wear. One crumpled piece of paper had the words, "15, Back Wells-court, Swansea," written upon it; probably the address of his last lodging. I proceeded to unfold another piece, and found an old, plain gold locket, worn thin and bright; one side was smooth, on the other was a monogram still faintlv legible, "J. F." I felt it suddenly snatched from my hands. Dr. Freston had seized it, and, carrying it quickly across the ward, turned the gas full on, and gazed on the locket with eyes that seemed to pierce it through. "Look, sister!" he said, and his strong hand shook as he held it towards me, "there can be no mistake. I remember this locket so well. Jack gave it to my father with his photograph inside before he went to school, and after father died Jack kept it. It was an old joke of theirs to take each other's things, because they were marked with the same initials. I could swear to this any- where, and I see quite oloariy how it came here. Jack met this man at Swansea; per- haps he came off the same boat, and if he was hard un—but he must have been hard up before he would part with this, and then it's not much use to anyone else. No one would give a shilling for an old thing like this, but here it is,- and here's the address of where the man stayed. It's the first clue I have ever had, sister," and his face was bright with hope. "Jack may be still there; I must go without losing a, minute. I may catch him before he goes on further. Is there anything else you want me for to- night?" He was already near the door. "No, not to-night; the others are all very comfortable; but do you not think it would be worth while to ask this man where he got the loc- ket? It may not have, been in Swansea at all, ajid you would have the journey for nothing. Give me the locket, and I will ask him." He handed it to me without appearing to follow what I had said. The idea, of his brother being within reach had taken such a hold of his mind that he could hardly endure a moment's delay before going off to seek him. I bent over No. 7's bed. "I found this among your things," I said. "Is it your own, or did someone sell it to you ?" He looked up quickly and suspiciously. "What do you want to know for?" he mut- tered. "I only want to know whether the man who owned this first was with you at this address in Swansea." He looked at me sharply, and did not answer for a minute. "Yes," he said, slowly, "the man who owned that was there when I was," and he turned round, as if unwilling to say more. I had learned all I wished, and repeated the information to Dr. Freston. "Thank you very much," he said, simply. "Good-night, sister I may not see you for a; few days." He was already on the land- ing. "Good-night, Dr. Freston," but I doubt if he heard me. He was half-way down- stairs. T- Next day Dr. Freston's work was done by the junior surgeon, and the ward routine went on as usual. I could find out nothing more of No. ,7's history, except that his real age was twenty-eight. He looked at least ten years older. He was knocked about a good deal in the world, he told some of his fel- low-patients. His injuries proved to be very slight, and on the evening of the second day he was allowed to sit up for a short time. On the day following, when it was grow- ing dusk, the door of the ward opened, and Dr. Freston came quietly in. I saw at a glance that he had not been successful in his search. There was nothing more to be learned at that address, he told me. The people there remembered quite well a man who gave the name of George Thomas sleeping there for one night a week ago, but they were sure they had no other lodger a,t the time. They knew nothing whatever about the man. He was evidently very poor, but had paid for what he had had. "I ought not to have built so many hobes upon so slight a foundation," he said, with a poor attempt at a smile and a tone of weary sorrow in his voice, "I have waited so long that I ventured to think that, per haps, at last he—"then, checking himself, and with an effort turning his thoughts elsewhere—"but I am late, sister. I must catch up my work. Have you anything for ma to-night?" "Will you sign No.-7's p ap er ? The wound was very superficial, and Mr. Jones dis- charged him this morning. lie is anxious to get on." "I must speak to him first; he may be able to tell me something more," a.nd he turned towards No. 7, sitting by the firs, and for the first time he looked him in the face—the first time for five years, rather; for I saw Dr. Freston pause as if trans- fixed, and the next moment he was at his brother's side. "Jack!" he said, "Jack!" and could not say another word. But that was all he had to say. Jack had been the thought of his life, night and day, for five years. And now Jack was there, and he held him fast, what should he say but repeat "Jack!" again and again, until he could realise that this was no dream, but father the awakening to a better and happier life than he had known bafore. Jack said nothing at all. For one moment he had looked around as if wishing to escape; but if he would he could not. And where in the world that he had found so hard and irer- ciless- could he hope to meet the warm wel- come which strove to find utterance in his brother's happy eyes, which gazed on the ragged figure before him as if he could never look, enough? That is all the tale. It gave the patients something to talk about for a day or Two, and was then forgotten—in the "ward, at least. But there are three people from whose memories no word or act recorded here can ever be effaced. Need I name them? They are Dr. Freston, Jack, his brother, and myself, Tom Freston's wife.

ABERY ST WITH COLLEGE..

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