"Are you mad?" was the reply. "Daun't I tell ye that is the _practice?_ And isn't the practice sure to be th' opposite of the remedy? So get water as hot as he can bear it, and no leeches."
Julia remonstrated angrily. "Is this a case for jesting?"
"Deevil a jest in it," replied the doctor. "'Well then, if ye must know, th' opera-dancers apply hot water to sprains: now what is their interest? T' expedite the cure: and the faculty apply cold water: and what is their interest? To procrastinate the cure, and make a long job of it. So just hold your toungues, and ring for hot water."
Julia did not ring; she beckoned Edward, and they flew out and soon brought a foot-pan of hot water. Edward them removed Alfred's shoes and stockings, and Julia bared her lovely arms, and blushed like a rose.
Alfred divined her intention. "Dear Julia," he said, "I won't let you: that is too high an honour. Sarah can do that."
But Julia's blood was up. "Sarah?" said she contemptuously; "she is too heavy handed: and--hold your tongue; I don't take my orders from you;" then more humbly to the doctor, "I am a district visitor: I nurse all manner of strangers, and he says I must leave his poor suffering leg to the servants."
"Unnatural young monster," said the doctor. "G'im a good nip."
Julia followed this advice by handling Alfred's swollen ankle with a tenderness so exquisite, and pressing it with the full sponge so softly, that her divine touch soothed him as much or more than the water. After nursing him into the skies a minute or two, she looked up blushing in his face, and said coaxingly, "Are you mad, dear Alfred? Don't be afraid to tell us the truth. The madder you are, the more you need me to take care of you, you know."