I could only smile again. Fancy my meeting with matchmakers in this rocky desert. The poor thing meant well, of course, and I could make no further answer, for Dr. Grant was returning. He packed all his things away in his bag, and I went over to the fisherman’s bed.
“I am so glad that you are getting along so much better,” I told him.
“Thank yer kindly, ma’am,” he answered. “I’se sure a whole lot better an’ now we has grub too.”
You know how sweet the fields are after a storm, Aunt Jennie. Here it also looked as if some dreadful black cloud had lifted, so that the sun shone down again on this desolate place and made it beautiful to the sick man.
Then I had to swallow some strong tea, without milk, which I abhor. I trust I managed it with fortitude. The doctor also had to submit.
“The day is fast approaching when I shall perish from an aggravated case of tea-poisoning,” he confided to me. “Everywhere, under penalty of seeing long faces, I am compelled to swallow it in large doses. I lie awake nights seeking vainly for some sort of excuse that will be accepted without breaking hearts.”
“I hope that when you feel the symptoms coming you will hasten back to the security of civilization,” I told him.
“Even that is open to question,” he answered.
And so we brought the poor man home, Aunt Jennie, and I’m beginning to feel dreadfully sleepy, so I’ll say au revoir.
From John Grant’s Diary
Atkins has just returned from St. John’s, bringing loads of things for the Jelliffes. He consulted me timidly as to how much he might charge them for freight, for I am beginning to share with Mr. Barnett the honor of being considered as a general bureau of information. I craftily obtained his own views, and suggested a slight increase. Mr. Jelliffe audited the bill and gave the man five dollars extra for his trouble, so that by this time the whole family is weeping with joy. Atkins also brought me a batch of medical journals and a letter.
To look at Dora’s handwriting one would judge that the young woman must be at least six feet high. The letters are so big and bold that they would never suggest her actual five feet four, with a small fraction of which she is rather proud. As usual she tells me little about herself, saying that I can easily understand the nature of her work in the tenements. Of course I can and, what is more, I am chagrined to think she is toiling harder and enjoying herself less than I. Here I have a chance at great breaths of pure air, whereas in New York she is ever hurrying through sordid little East Side streets and breathing their emanations. I prefer the fish-houses, and if Miss Jelliffe were acquainted with some of those streets she would think as I do. The people I deal with here are grateful and happy to see me. Dora’s mob is apt to suspect her motives, to distrust her offers of care and instruction, and to disagree entirely with her ideas of cleanliness. I wish she were here; it seems to me that a partnership in this place could accomplish wonderful things. I would build a bit of a hospital and she could boss the patients to her heart’s content.