WILLIE'S PLANS BEAR FRUIT.
When his studies were finished, Willie returned to assist his father,
for he had no desire to settle in a great city with the ambition of
becoming a fashionable doctor getting large fees and growing rich. He
regarded the end of life as being, in a large measure, just to take his
share in the general business.
By this time the reputation of the Prior's Well had spread on all sides,
and the country people had begun to visit the Leas, and stay for a week
or ten days to drink of the water. Indeed so many kept coming and going
at all hours through the garden, that the MacMichaels at length found
it very troublesome, and had a small pipe laid to a little stone trough
built into the garden wall on the outside, so that whoever would might
come and drink with less trouble to all concerned.
But Willie had come home with a new idea in his head.
An old valetudinarian in the city, who knew every spa in Europe, wanted
to try that of Priory Leas and had consulted him about it. Finding that
there was no such accommodation to be had as he judged suitable, he
seriously advised Willie to build a house fit for persons of position,
as he called them, assuring him that they would soon make their fortunes
if they did. Now although, as I have said, this was not the ambition of
either father or son, for a fortune had never seemed to either worth
taking trouble about, yet it suggested something that was better.
"Why," said Willie to his father, "shouldn't we restore a bit of the
Priory in such a way that a man like Mr Yellowley could endure it for
a little while? He would pay us well, and then we should be able to do
more for those that can't pay us."
"We couldn't cook for a man like that," said his mother.
"He wouldn't want that," said his father. "He would be sure to bring his
The result was that Mr MacMichael thought the thing worth trying, and
resolved to lay out all his little savings, as well as what Willie could
add, on getting a kitchen and a few convenient rooms constructed in
the ruins--of course keeping as much as possible to their plan and
architectural character. He found, however, that it would want a good
deal more than they could manage to scrape together between them, and
was on the point of giving up the scheme, or at least altering it for
one that would have been much longer in making them any return, when Mr
Shepherd, who had become acquainted with their plans, and consequently
with their difficulties, offered to join them with the little he had
laid aside for a rainy day--which proved just sufficient to complete
the sum necessary. Between the three the thing was effected, and Mr
Yellowley was their first visitor.
I am sorry to say he grumbled a good deal at first at the proximity of
the cobbler, and at having to meet him in his walks about the garden;
but this was a point on which Mr MacMichael, who of course took the
old man's complaints good-humouredly, would not budge, and he had to
reconcile himself to it as he best might. Nor was it very difficult
after he found he must. Before long they became excellent friends, for
if you will only give time and opportunity, in an ordinarily good
man nature will overcome in the end. Mr Yellowley was at heart
good-natured, and the cobbler was well worth knowing. Before the former
left, the two were often to be seen pacing the garden together, and
It is quite unnecessary to recount all the gradations of growth by which
room after room arose from the ruins of the Priory. When Mr Yellowley
went away, after nearly six months' sojourn, during the latter part of
which, so wonderfully was he restored by the air and the water and the
medical care of Mr MacMichael, he enjoyed a little shooting on the
hills, he paid him a hundred and fifty pounds for accommodation and
medical attendance--no great sum, as money goes now-a-days, but a good
return in six months for the outlay of a thousand pounds. This they laid
by to accumulate for the next addition. And the Priory, having once
taken to growing, went on with it. They cleared away mound after mound
from the garden, turning them once more into solid walls, for they were
formed mainly of excellent stones, which had just been waiting to be put
up again. The only evil consequence was that the garden became a little
less picturesque by their removal, although, on the other hand, a good
deal more productive.
Yes, there was a second apparently bad consequence--the Priory spread as
well as grew, until it encroached not a little upon the garden. But for
this a remedy soon appeared.
The next house and garden, although called the Manse, because the
clergyman of the parish lived there, were Mr Shepherd's own property.
The ruins formed a great part of the boundary between the two, and it
was plain to see that the Priory had extended a good way into what
was now the other garden. Indeed Mr Shepherd's house, as well as Mr
MacMichael's, had been built out of the ruins. Mr Shepherd offered
to have the wall thrown down and the building extended on his side as
well--so that it should stand in the middle of one large garden.
My readers need not put a question as to what would have become of it if
the two proprietors had quarrelled; for it had become less likely than
ever that such a thing should happen. Willie had told Mona that he loved
her more that he could tell, and wanted to ask her a question, only he
didn't know how; and Mona had told Willie that she would suppose his
question if he would suppose her answer; and Willie had said, "May I
suppose it to be the very answer I should like?" and Mona had answered
"Yes" quite decidedly; and Willie had given her a kiss; and Mona
had taken the kiss and given him another for it; and so it was all
understood, and there was no fear of the wall having to be built up
again between the gardens.
So the Priory grew and flourished and gained great reputation; and the
fame of the two doctors, father and son, spread far and wide for the
cures they wrought. And many people came and paid them large sums. But
the more rich people that came, the more poor people they invited. For
they never would allow the making of money to intrude upon the dignity
of their high calling. How should avarice and cure go together? A
greedy healer of men! What a marriage of words!
The Priory became quite a grand building. The chapel grew up again, and
had windows of stained glass that shone like jewels; and Mr Shepherd,
having preached in the parish church in the morning, always preached in
the Priory chapel on the Sunday evening, and all the patients, and any
one besides that pleased, went to hear him.
They built great baths, hot and cold, and of all kinds--from baths where
people could swim, to baths where they were only showered on by a very
sharp rain. It was a great and admirable place.
After the two fathers died, Mona had a picture of Willie's dream
painted, with portraits of them as the two angels.
This is the story of Gutta Percha Willie.