“I’m going to ask you a lot of questions,” she said, “and you’ll just close your eyes again if I speak of what you want to tell me. You do want to tell me something, don’t you?”
To her surprise, the “Yes” was not signaled back to her. She was puzzled a moment. “You want to ask me something?” she said.
“Yes,” the eyelids flicked back.
“Is it about a girl?” she asked. ("No.”)
“Is it about money of any sort?” ("No.”)
“Is it about your mother, or your people, or your home? Is it about yourself?”
She had paused after each question and went on to the next, but seeing no sign of answering “Yes” she was baffled for a moment. But she felt that she could not go to her own bed to which she had been dismissed, could not go to the sleep she so badly needed, until she had found and answered the question in those pitiful eyes. She tried again.
“Is it about your regiment?” she asked, and the eyes snapped “Yes,” and “Yes,” and “Yes” again. She puzzled over that, and then went back to the doctor in charge of the other ward and brought back with her the man who “knew Wally.” Mentally she clapped her hands at the light that leaped to the boy’s eyes. She had told the man that it was something about the regiment he wanted to know; told him, too, his method of answering “Yes” and “No,” and to put his questions in such, a form that they could be so answered.
The friend advanced to the bedside with clumsy caution.
“Hello, Wally!” he said cheerfully. “They’ve pretty well chewed you up and spit you out again, ’aven’t they? But you’re all right, old son, you’re going to pull through, ‘cause the O.C. o’ the Linseed Lancers[Footnote: Medical Service.] here told me so. But Sister here tells me you want to ask something about someone in the old crush.” He hesitated a moment. “I can’t think who it would be,” he confessed. “It can’t be his own chum, ’cause he ‘stopped one,’ and Wally saw it and knew he was dead hours before. But look ’ere,” he said determinedly, “I’ll go through the whole bloomin’ regiment, from the O.C. down to the cook, by name and one at a time, and you’ll tip me a wink and stop me at the right one. I’ll start off with our own platoon first; that ought to do it,” he said to the Sister.
“Perhaps,” she said quickly, “he wants to ask about one of his officers. Is that it?” And she turned to him.
The eyes looked at her long and steadily, and then closed flutteringly and hesitatingly.
“We’re coming near it,” she said, “although he didn’t seem sure about that ‘Yes.’”
“Look ’ere,” said the other, with a sudden inspiration, “there’s no good o’ this ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ guessin’ game; Wally and me was both in the flag-wagging class, and we knows enough to—there you are.” He broke off in triumph and nodded to Wally’s flickering eyelids, that danced rapidly in the long and short of the Morse code.