“Now lie down,” he commanded gently, when the paroxysm was over. He drew the covers over me himself, lifted my head and shoulders gently with one hand, while with the other he raised the pillows to the angle he wished. Then he turned to my mother-in-law.
“She has a bad case of tonsilitis, but there is no danger,” he said quietly, utterly ignoring her rudeness at the time of his last visit. “I will stay until I have swabbed her throat again. She is to have these pellets,” he handed her a bottle of pink tablets, “once every fifteen minutes until she has taken four, then every hour until midnight. Let her sleep all she can and keep her warm. I would like two hot water bags filled, if you please, and a glass of water. She must begin taking these tablets as soon as possible.”
As my mother-in-law left the room to get the things he wished, Dr. Pettit came back to the bedside and stood looking down at me.
“Where is your husband?” he asked, a note of sternness in his voice.
I shook my head. I was just nervous and sick enough to feel the question keenly. I could not restrain the foolish tears which rolled slowly down my cheeks.
Dr. Pettit took his handkerchief and wiped them away. Then he said in almost a whisper:
“Poor little girl! How I wish I could bear the pain for you!”
My recovery from the attack of tonsilitis, thanks to Dr. Pettit’s remedies, was almost as rapid as the seizure had been sudden. My mother-in-law, forgetting her own invalidism, carried out the physician’s directions faithfully. The choking sensation in my throat gradually lessened, until by midnight I was able to go to sleep.
I have no idea when Dicky came home from his “impromptu studio party.” His mother, whose deftness, efficiency and unexpected tenderness surprised me, arranged a bed for him on the couch in the living room, and I did not hear him come in at all.
“My poor little sweetheart!” This was his greeting the next morning. “If I had only known you were ill the old blow-out could have gone plump. It was a stupid affair, anyway. Had a rotten time.”
“It doesn’t matter, Dicky,” I said wearily, and closed my eyes, pretending to sleep. I knew Dicky was puzzled by my manner, for I could feel him silently watching me for several minutes. Then evidently satisfied that I was really sleeping he tiptoed out of the room, and a little later I heard him depart for his studio, first cautioning his mother to call him if I needed him.
I spent a most miserable day after Dicky had left, in spite of my mother-in-law’s tender care and Katie’s assiduous attentions. The studio party, of which I was sure Grace Draper was a member, rankled as did anything connected with this student model of Dicky’s. The memory of the village gossip concerning her friendship for my husband which I had heard in Marvin troubled me, while even Dicky’s solicitude for my illness seemed to my overwrought imagination to be forced, artificial.