"My old studies in alchemy," observed he, "and my sojourn, for
above a year past, among a people well versed in the kindly
properties of simples, have made a better physician of me than
many that claim the medical degree. Here, woman! The child is
yours--she is none of mine--neither will she recognise my voice
or aspect as a father's. Administer this draught, therefore,
with thine own hand."
Hester repelled the offered medicine, at the same time gazing
with strongly marked apprehension into his face. "Wouldst thou
avenge thyself on the innocent babe?" whispered she.
"Foolish woman!" responded the physician, half coldly, half
soothingly. "What should ail me to harm this misbegotten and
miserable babe? The medicine is potent for good, and were it my
child--yea, mine own, as well as thine! I could do no better for