Milk, sleep, light things that he could hold very tightly with his hands. Now, upon this March afternoon, he watched the pink clouds with a more intent gaze than he had given to them before. Their colour and shape bore some reference to the life that he had left. They were “like” a little to those other things. There, too, shadowed against the wall, was his Friend, his Friend, now the last link with everything that he knew.
At first, during the first week, he had demanded again and again to be taken back, and always he had been told to wait, to wait and see what was going to happen. So long as his Friend was there, he knew that he was not completely abandoned, and that this was only a temporary business, with its strange limiting circumstances, the way that one was tied and bound, the embarrassment of finding that all one’s old means of communication were here useless. How desperate, indeed, would it have been had his Friend not been there, reassuring pervading him, surrounding him, always subduing those sudden inexplicable alarms.
He would demand: “When are we going to leave all this?”
“Wait. I know it seems absurd to you, but it’s commanded you.”
“Well, but—this is ridiculous. Where are all my old powers I Where are all the others?”
“You will understand everything one day. I’m afraid you’re very uncomfortable. You will be less so as time passes. Indeed, very soon you will be very happy.”
“Well, I’m doing my best to be cheerful. But you won’t leave me?”
“Not so long as you want me.”
“You’ll stay until we go back again!”
“You’ll never go back again.”
Across the light the nurse advanced. She took him in her arms for a moment, turned his pillows, then layed him down again. As he settled down into comfort he saw his Friend, huge, a great shadow, mingling with the coloured lights of the flaming sky. All the world was lit, the white room glowed. A pleasant smell was in his nostrils.
“Where are all the others? They would like to share this pleasant moment, and I would warn them about the unpleasant ones.”
“They are coming, some of them. I am with them as I am with you.” Swinging across the Square were the evening bells of St. Matthew’s.
Henry Fitzgeorge smiled, then chuckled, then dozed into a pleasant sleep.
Asleep, awake, it had been for the most part the same to him. He swung easily, lazily upon the clouds; warmth and light surrounded him; a part of him, his toes, perhaps, would be suddenly cold, then he would cry, or he would strike his head against the side of his cot and it would hurt, and so then he would cry again. But these tears would not be tears of grief, but simply declarations of astonishment and wonder.