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HOME > Short Stories > The Mikado Jewel > CHAPTER XVII TROUBLE
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Misfortunes rarely come singly. Theodore was so damaged by Basil that he was compelled to keep to his rooms, and had his meals sent up to him. Apart from his physical pain, the schemer was very satisfied with the result of the comedy he had played in the smoking-room. Lurking unseen at the corner of the house, he had beheld Patricia in his brother\'s arms, and could believe the evidence of his own eyes that the Rubicon had been crossed. Nevertheless, he felt a pang at losing the girl, for apart from her psychic powers, which would have been extremely useful to him in his studies, she was so pretty and charming that a less susceptible man than Dane would have regretted the success of another. But Theodore had by this time decided that he could not have his cake and eat it, so it was necessary to lose either Beckleigh or Patricia. It was characteristic of his greedy nature that he had sacrificed the girl for the estate.

No doubt Mara\'s hint that she might go with Akira to Japan had urged him to the course he had adopted, for with both his brother and his cousin out of the way, Dane did not see how he could lose Beckleigh. He was the only one save these two who had the Colpster blood in his veins, and even though his uncle disliked him, he could scarcely pass him over. With aching limbs Theodore lay snug in bed, building castles in the air. Next day he intended to arouse the old man\'s jealousy by telling him of the embrace, of the kisses, and of the probable engagement. Then the lovers would be turned out of the house. Later, when Akira came round in his yacht, Mara would go, and he would be lord of all he surveyed. No wonder Theodore chuckled.

But then came the second misfortune, and an even more unexpected one. Mr. Colpster was brought back from Hendle with a broken leg. He had duly driven Akira and his servant to the railway station, but had failed to find Harry Pentreddle at his lodgings. Rather annoyed, the old man had left a note, saying that the sailor was to come to Beckleigh and stay the night, so that he might repeat his story to the Danes, and then had turned homeward. But on the winding road which led down to the Hall, the horse had slipped on the rain-soaked ground, and Mr. Colpster, having foolishly tried to get out, had been thrown over the high bank. The coachman was uninjured, although, with the horse and vehicle, he had rolled down the slope. But the Squire had been picked up insensible by some labourers who had seen the accident, and had been carried into his own house with a broken leg.

Much concerned, Basil and Patricia had the Squire put to bed and sent for a doctor. Mara, in an indifferent way, expressed her sorrow, although she never offered to nurse her father. Instead of helping, she went up to her cousin\'s room to tell him of the accident. Not finding him in the sitting-room, she knocked at his bed-room door, and stood amazed to find that he--as she supposed--had gone to rest.

"Are you ill, Theo?" she asked, crossing to the bed.

Theodore groaned. "I had a row with Basil and he threw me out of the window."

Mara clapped her hands and her eyes sparkled. "How strong he is!" she said, which was not the sympathetic speech Theodore desired to hear. "Why did he fight you, Theo?"

"I asked Patricia to marry me and Basil cut up rough."

"No wonder!" said Mara disdainfully. "Why, any fool could have seen that Basil is in love with Patricia. He won\'t let anyone come near her. Oh!" she clapped her hands again and laughed gaily. "I should have liked to see you flying through the window."

"Little beast, you are," snarled Theodore. "I\'m all aches and pains, and my eye is black where he struck me, damn him!"

"Would you like to see the doctor?"

"No. It\'s not worth sending to Hendle for the doctor. Besides, he\'d only chatter. I know these local gossips."

"But the doctor is coming here. You had better let him examine you, Theo."

Theodore, from the shadow of the curtains, stared at the delicate face of his cousin. "Why is the doctor coming?"

"Oh, I quite forgot what I came up to tell you about," said Mara in a matter-of-fact tone. "Father has broken his leg."

"Broken his leg!" With a groan of pain Theodore hoisted himself on one elbow. "How did he do that?"

"The horse slipped coming down the winding road. Jarvis could not hold him up and they all fell over the bank. Father tried to get out, and broke his leg. But Jarvis and the horse are all right," ended Mara cheerfully.

"I don\'t believe you are sorry," said Theodore, angered at her indifference.

"I don\'t see what is the use of crying over spilt milk," replied the girl calmly. "If I cried my eyes out and tore my hair, it would do father no good."

"You might at least pretend to be sorry for him," growled Dane, sinking back.

"Well, I am. It\'s horrid to suffer pain. I\'ll tell him I\'m sorry."

"If you tell him in that voice he\'ll box your ears," said Theodore grimly. "You don\'t display much sorrow for me, young lady."

"Because I don\'t feel any," said Mara coolly. "You brought it on yourself, for I told you that Basil loved Patricia. Besides, I don\'t like you."

"I\'m not a Japanese. Eh?"

"No. You\'re not anything half so nice. Would you like Basil to come and see you?" she added maliciously. "I\'m afraid Patricia can\'t, as she\'s attending to father."

"Oh, get out of the room and tell the cook to send up my dinner to me here as soon as she can. When I\'m up again, I\'ll tell Uncle George everything."

"What do you mean?"

"I shall tell him that Basil and that infernal girl are engaged, and he\'ll give her notice to quit. And I shall tell him that you intend to run away with that beastly little Japanese."

"Oh, I haven\'t made up my mind what to do," said Mara, retreating to the door. "And if I decide to go with Akira, I shall do so, in spite of father or anyone else. But you won\'t tell, Theo; you\'re only too glad for me to go. You look like a great toad lying in bed."

Theodore caught up one of his slippers. "Will you clear out?"

"Mum! Mum! Mum!" jeered Mara, with an elfish laugh. "You can\'t do anything. And even if I do go, even if Basil does marry Patricia, you won\'t get Beckleigh. Mum! Mum! Mum!" And she closed the door just in time to escape the slipper which Theodore threw with all his strength.

The doctor duly arrived and put the Squire\'s leg in splints. The old man had recovered his senses, and considering his pain, behaved himself very well. The doctor approved of his patient\'s fine constitution and cheerfully said that he would soon be on his legs again. "You\'re not dead yet, sir," he remarked, when Colpster had been made comfortable for the night.

"I don\'t intend to die," said the Squire coolly. "Quite other plans are in my mind. But while I lie here I shan\'t have anything disturbed in the house. Patricia remember that. Should Akira\'s yacht arrive, you and Mara and Basil, together with Theodore and the servants, can go to his entertainment."

"Oh, we couldn\'t leave you like that, Mr. Colpster," said Patricia quickly.

"You can and you shall. I hate a lot of fuss." And then the doctor took Patricia out of the room to explain that the patient must be kept very quiet, else he would work himself into a fever.

"Humour him, Miss Carrol, humour him," said the doctor, as he took his leave. "To-morrow I shall come over and see him. Don\'t worry."

But Patricia did worry, not so much over the Squire, who was getting along fairly well considering his age, as over the fracas with Theodore. She dreaded lest he might speak to the Squire. "And then I should have to leave," said Patricia, much distressed.

"I don\'t see why, dearest," replied Basil, twining his brown fingers in her hair and wondering if God had ever created a more perfect woman.

The two were seated, as usual, in the smoking-room, deeming that the safest place, since Theodore since the quarrel had carefully avoided entering it. It was now three days since the accident, and since Basil had been driven to disclose his feelings. They had the house to themselves almost entirely, for Mara rarely troubled them. Theodore, although he had risen from his sick-bed with a more or less discoloured eye, kept to his own rooms, and did not even present himself at meals. He cherished a deep anger against Basil, and was sullen with Patricia as the original cause of his humiliation. The elder Dane had not a forgiving nature. Nor, indeed, did his brother feel inclined to welcome any advances. He was too much disgusted with Theodore to pardon him readily.

"I don\'t see why, dearest," said Basil again, and slipped his arm round Patricia\'s waist. "Uncle George can\'t kill us."

"He could turn me out of the house, and I have nowhere to go."

"There is no reason why he should turn you out. He loves you like a daughter. I\'m certain of that."

Patricia sighed. "You are wrong, Basil. He loves me, certainly, but not like a daughter."

"What!" Basil scowled with a brow of thunder. "Does he dare to----"

"He dares nothing," interposed Patricia hurriedly, and placed her pink palm over his mouth to prevent further speech. "But I am certain that he wants to marry me."

"At his age. Ridiculous!"

"Why ridiculous? Older men than the Squire have married."

Basil\'s arm grew loose round her waist. "Do you admire him, then?"

"Of course. I both admire him and love him. Look how good he has been to me. I hadn\'t a shilling when he took me from The Home of Art."

"Patricia, do you mean to say----"

She stopped him again, and this time his mouth was closed with a kiss. "I mean to say that you are a dear old stupid thing, darling. I can\'t help myself if your uncle admires me."

"It shows his good taste. All the same----"

"All the same, I\'m going to marry you, my dear. But we\'ll both be turned out of the house, I\'m sure of that."

Basil hugged her again. "I knew you would never marry for money, dearest," he whispered.

"And if we are turned out we can live on my pay. I have to join the Mediterranean Fleet when my leave is up in a couple of months from now. My ship will be always at Malta--always calling in there, you know. We\'ll get a tiny flat, and you shall stay there when we\'re married."

"Oh, darling, that will be heaven!"

"It will be poverty," said Basil ruefully; "not what you\'re used to."

"My dear," she put her............
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