He turned from her with set lips and began to pace the floor.
Again her mood changed.
“I wish you’d sit down, Sam,” she said. Her helpless tone had gone now. “You make me nervous walking up and down like a caged lion. Sit down—won’t you, please?”
“I was thinking,” he said.
“Well, think over in that chair. I have something to say to you which is important—something about Margaret’s health.”
He stopped abruptly.
“What do you mean? Is she ill?”
“No, not now, but she may be.”
Thayor strode rapidly to the door.
“Come back here—don’t be a fool. She is asleep after the Trevis dance. The child did not get home till after three.”
“And you let her get ill?” he cried.
“Sit down, will you—and listen. Dr. Sperry came here the day you left, and he told me he had not liked the child’s appearance for a long time, and that she ought to have the air of the mountains at once.”
“And you called that charlatan in to see my daughter!” he cried indignantly. All his anger was aroused now. When any wall was raised in his path, this man Sperry was always behind it.
“I did not,” she retorted savagely, “and Dr. Sperry is not a charlatan, and you know it. It was owing to his good heart that he came of his own accord and told me.”
Thayor gripped the arm of his chair.
“Why didn’t you call Leveridge?” he cried.
“There was no necessity. Dr. Sperry merely told me that Margaret was not over strong, and that she needed a change of air, and where she could be kept out of doors. He said there was no immediate danger,” she went on steadily, “because the child’s lungs are still untouched.”
“Does Margaret know?” he asked between his teeth. Sperry and Margaret were the two poles of a battery to Thayor.
“Does she know? Of course not! Do you consider Dr. Sperry a fool?”
“Do I think him a fool? Yes, and sometimes I think he’s worse,” and he looked at her meaningly. “I’ll see Leveridge at once—now—before I change my clothes. He’s seen Margaret almost every day since she was born and this silk-stocking exquisite of yours hasn’t seen her ten times in his life!” And he strode from the room.
Thayor’s interview with Alice only made him more determined than ever to carry out his plans at Big Shanty. If he had hesitated at the danger to Margaret, he got over it when Leveridge said, with marked professional courtesy:
“I should not have diagnosed her case as seriously; I should not worry in the least,” adding confidentially—“I should be very much surprised if Dr. Sperry were right. However, I’ll keep an eye on Margaret, and if I see things going the wrong way I might advise Lakewood in the spring. To send that child to as severe a climate as the woods in winter, would, in my opinion, be the worst thing in the world for her, Sam.”