I believe he can help me, she thought, and it isn’t as if he were quite a stranger. After all, we had lunch together once!
Undoubtedly Esther slept better that night for the thought of the new doctor. It cannot be said that the doctor slept better because of her. In fact he lay awake thinking of her. He did not want to think of her; he wanted to go to sleep. Twice only had he seen her. Once upon the occasion of the red pump and once when casually passing her on the main street. There was no reason why her white-rose face with its strange blue eyes and its smile-curved lips should float about in the darkness of Mrs. Sykes’ best room. Yet there it was. It was the eyes, perhaps. The doctor admitted that they were peculiar eyes, startlingly blue. Dark blue in the shade of the lashes, flashing out light blue fire when the lashes lifted. But Mrs. Sykes’ boarder did not want to think about eyes. He wanted to go to sleep. He did not want to think about hair either. Although Miss Coombe had very nice hair—cloudy hair, with little ways of growing about the temple and at the curve of the neck which a blind man could not help noticing. In the peaceful shadows of the room it seemed a still softer shadow framing the vivid girlish face.
Still, on the whole, sleep would have been better company and when at last he did drop off he did not relish being wakened by the voice of Ann at his door.
“Doc-ter, doc-ter! Are you awake? Can I come in?”
“I am not awake. Go away.”
Ann’s giggle came clearly through the keyhole.
“You’ve got a visitor,” she whispered piercingly through the same medium. “A man. A well man, not a sick one. He came on the train. He came on the milk train—”
“You may come in, Ann.” The doctor slipped on his dressing gown with a resigned sigh. “What man and why milk?”
“I don’t know. Aunt Sykes kept him on the veranda till she was sure he wasn’t an agent. Now he’s in the parlour. Aunt hopes you’ll hurry, for you never can tell. He may be different from what he looks.”
“What does he look?”
Ann’s small hands made an expressive gesture which seemed to envisage something long and lean.
“Queer—like that. He’s not old, but he’s bald. His eyes screw into you. His nose,” another formative gesture, “is like that. A nawful big nose. He didn’t tell his name.”