“My dears,” she began, “I miss you very much. Often I’m lonely enough to cry. Of course,” she added hastily (for they must not worry), “of course, every one is nice to me. I like every one, too. That is, except Dr. Blanchard. I guess I told you about him; he’s the resident physician. He’s awfully good looking but he’s not very pleasant. I never hated any one so—” she paused, for a moment, as a round tear splashed devastatingly down upon the paper.
MRS. VOLSKY PROMISES TO TRY
As Lily pattered across the room, on her soft, almost noiseless little feet, Rose-Marie stopped talking. She had been having one of her rare conversations alone with Mrs. Volsky—a conversation that she had almost schemed for—and yet she stopped. It struck her suddenly as strange that Lily’s presence in any place should make such a vast difference—that the child should bring with her a healing silence and a curious tenderness. She had felt, many times before, a slowing up in conversations—she had seen the bitterness drain from Ella’s face, the stolidness from Bennie’s. She had even seen Pa, half intoxicated, turn and go quietly from a room that Lily was entering. And now, as she watched, she saw a spark leap into the dullness of Mrs. Volsky’s eyes.
With a gentle hand she reached out to the child, drew her close. Lily nestled against her side with a slight smile upon her faintly coral lips, with her blue, vacant gaze fixed upon space—or upon something that they could not see! Rose-Marie had often felt that Lily was watching beautiful vistas with those sightless eyes of hers; that she was hearing wonderful sounds, with her useless little ears—sounds that normal people could not hear. But she did not say anything of the sort to Mrs. Volsky—Mrs. Volsky would not have been able to understand. Instead she spoke of something else that had lain, for a long time, upon her mind.
“Has Lily ever received any medical attention?” she asked abruptly.
Mrs. Volsky’s face took on lines of blankness. “What say?” she mouthed thickly. “I don’ understan’?”
Rose-Marie reconstructed her question.
“Has Lily ever been taken to a doctor?” she asked.
Mrs. Volsky answered more quickly than she usually answered questions.
“When she was first sick, years ago,” she told Rose-Marie, “she had a doctor then. He say—no help fer her. Las’ year Ella, she took Lily by a free clinic. But the doctors, there, they say Lily never get no better. And if there comes another doctor to our door, now—” she shrugged; and her shrug seemed to indicate the uselessness of all doctors.
Rose-Marie, with suddenly misting eyes, lifted Lily to her knee... “The only times,” she said slowly, “when I feel any doubt in my mind of the Divine Plan—are the times when I see little children, who have never done anything at all wicked or wrong, bearing pain and suffering and...” she broke off.