THE DRILL CONTEST
While the Winnebagos were gasping under the cold shower of upsetting events, time marched steadily onward toward the day set for the military drill contest between Oakwood and Hillsdale. In these last days the Winnebagos realized what it meant to have the honor of a town on their shoulders. Although they had little heart for drilling they must turn out every day with their company of Oakwood girls just as if nothing had happened, must be the life and brains of the company and never appear to let their enthusiasm flag. Everyone in town depended upon them to win the contest for Oakwood; everywhere they went they were greeted with pleasant smiles and complimentary remarks; they were touched and flattered by the confidence that was reposed in them—they simply had to win that contest for Oakwood. No one else knew anything about Veronica; that was kept a state secret. The Winnebagos simply told Miss Raper that she had been called out of town and would not be in the contest, and Miss Raper chose another girl to put in her place.
Migwan and Gladys and Hinpoha were sitting together getting the suits ready which they were to wear in the drill—white skirts and middies, white shoes and stockings, red, white and blue arm band—when Sahwah came in waving an envelope over her head. “Letter from Nyoda!” she called. The three dropped their sewing and fell upon her in a body.
“Open it quick!”
“Here, take the scissors.”
“Oh, read it out loud, Migwan, I can’t wait until it’s passed around.”
Migwan promptly complied while the rest listened eagerly as she read:
Good Samaritan Hospital, St. Margaret’s, N.S.
Oh, I’m so thankful I can hardly write; my pen wants to dance jigs instead of staying on the lines, but I must let you know at once because I know how anxious you have been. Sherry is out of danger, he rounded the corner today, and there isn’t much doubt about his recovery.
But if you had ever seen the day I arrived—! I got to St. Margaret’s in the afternoon, tumbled into the first cab that stood outside the station; begged the driver to lose no time getting to the hospital, and went rattledly banging over the rough streets as though we were fleeing from the German army. The hospital was filled to overflowing with the survivors of the wreck, all of whom had been brought into the port of St. Margaret’s. Beds were everywhere—in the offices, in the corridors, in the entries. It took me some time to locate Sherry because there was so much confusion, but I found him at last in one of the wards.
As I came up I heard a doctor who had
been attending him say to the
nurse beside him, “It’s all up with him, poor chap.”
Then he turned around and saw me standing
there, and I said quietly, “I
am his wife.”