HECTOR HINTS AT A DISCOVERY.
The next day after Hector's visit, Willie went to see how he was, and
found him better.
"I certainly am better," he said, "and what's more, I've got a strange
feeling it was that drink of water you gave me yesterday that has done
it. I'm coming up to have some more of it in the evening, if you'll give
"As much of it as you can drink, Hector, anyhow," said Willie. "You
won't drink my cow dry."
"I wonder if it could be the water," said Hector, musingly.
"My father says people used to think it cured them. That was some
hundreds of years ago; but if it did so then, I don't see why it
shouldn't now. My mother is certainly better, but whether that began
since we found the well, I can't be very sure. For Tibbie--she is always
drinking at it, she says it does her a world of good."
"I've read somewhere," said the shoemaker, "that wherever there's a hurt
there's a help; and when I was a boy, and stung myself with a nettle, I
never had far to look for a dock-stalk with its juice. Who knows but
the Prior's Well may be the cure for me? It can't straighten my back,
I know, but it may make me stronger for all that, and fitter for the
"I will lay down a pipe for you, if you like, Hector, and then you can
drink as much of the water as you please, without asking anybody," said
"It's not such a sure thing," he replied, "as to be worth that trouble;
and besides, the walk does me good, and a drink once or twice a day is
enough--that is, if your people won't think me a trouble, coming so
"There's no fear of that," said Willie; "it's our business, you know, to
try to cure people. I'll tell you what--couldn't you bring up a bit of
your work, and sit in my room sometimes? It's better air there than down
"You're very kind, indeed, Willie. We'll see. Meantime, I'll come up
morning and evening, and have a drink of the water, as long at least
as the warm weather lasts, and by that time I shall be pretty certain
whether it is doing me good or not."
So Hector went on drinking the water and getting a little better.
Next, grannie took to it, and, either from imagination, or that it
really did her good, declared it was renewing her youth. All the doctor
said on the matter was, that the salts it contained could do no one any
harm, and might do some people much good; that there was iron in it,
which was strengthening, and certain ingredients besides, which might
possibly prevent the iron from interfering with other functions of the
system. He said he should not be at all surprised if, some day or other,
it regained its old fame as a well of healing.
Mr Spelman, in consequence of a talk he had with Hector, having induced
his wife to try it, she also soon began to think it was doing her good.
Beyond these I have now mentioned, no one paid any attention to the
Prior's Well or its renascent reputation.