[Footnote 21: These words are so
arranged as to set in vibration and
loosen the atmosphere, that keeps the spirit incarcerated in the
physical body, and so set the latter free.]
HAMAR MAKES ADVANCES
The doctors had stated that the tenth day would see the crisis of John Martin’s illness; if he could tide over that period, he might go on for years without another attack. When the momentous day arrived, Gladys was simply eating her heart out with suspense. Not a sound was permitted in the house. The servants, tiptoeing about, hardly ventured even to exchange glances; the errand boys were waylaid and sent to the right-about, with a vague notion that if they opened their mouths their heads would be off; and some one was posted at the garden gate to deal, in a scarcely less summary manner, with visitors. Indeed, so fearful was Gladys lest her father should hear Shiel, who had managed to elude her outpost, that without meaning it, she greeted him curtly, and, more plainly than politely, gave him to understand that she wished him elsewhere.
“What have you been saying to Shiel Davenport?” Miss Templeton asked Gladys, when they met at lunch. “I passed him in the road just now, and he looked so wretched that, despite his ineligibility, I felt quite sorry for him. I am sure he is very much in love with you.”
“Nonsense,” Gladys said, “he is only a boy.” But boy though it pleased her to call him, she knew that he had played a man’s part during her father’s illness. Every night he had faithfully performed the role, she had allotted to him, at the Kingsway Hall, and upon him she was forced to admit the success of the entertainment, in a large measure, depended. Without pushing himself, or being the least bit officious, he had been equally helpful behind the scenes. He had held in check all those who, taking advantage of her father’s absence, were disposed to dispute her authority and shirk their work—and he had also, on her behalf, successfully resisted their demand for higher wages. And, over and above all this, he had always considered her personal comfort. Her meals—which she could never bother about for herself, when engaged all day at the hall—were, thanks to him, brought to her as punctually, and served as daintily, as they would have been for her father; he had taken every care that she should not be disturbed when resting; and there was, in short, nothing he had not thought of doing to lighten the load, so unexpectedly laid upon her shoulders. The only fault she could find with him, was that he had not gained the good graces of her father.
The day slowly waned. Gladys had stolen into her father’s room repeatedly to see how he fared, and to her his condition had seemed much about the same—he was as usual tired and peevish. But when, at six o’clock, she again stole in to peep at him, and found him lying back on his pillow absolutely still and motionless, and without apparently breathing, she was immeasurably shocked. Had he had another fit, or was he dead? Wild with grief and terror, she rushed from the room to telephone to the doctor, and met him on the landing.