Gasping surprisedly towards the Senior Surgeon the White Linen Nurse saw his grim mouth yank round abruptly in her direction as it yanked sometimes in the operating-room with some sharp, incisive order of life or death. Instinctively she leaned forward for the message.
Not over-loud but strangely distinct the words slapped back into her straining ears.
“If—it will rest your face any—to look scared—by all means—do so! I’ve lost control of the machine!” called the Senior Surgeon sardonically across the roar of the wind.
The phrase excited the White Linen Nurse but it did not remotely frighten her. She was not in the habit of seeing the Senior Surgeon lose control of any situation. Merely intoxicated with speed, delirious with ozone, she snatched up the Little Girl close, to her breast.
“We’re flying!” she cried. “We’re dropping from a parachute! We’re—!”
Swoopingly like a sled striking glare, level ice the great car swerved from the bottom of the hill into a soft rolling meadow. Instantly from every conceivable direction, like foes in ambush, trees, stumps, rocks reared up in threatening defiance.
Tighter and tighter the White Linen Nurse crushed the Little Girl to her breast. Louder and louder she called in the Little Girl’s ear.
"Scream!" she shouted. "There might be a bump! Scream louder than a bump! Scream! Scream! Scream!"
In that first over-whelming, nerve-numbing, heart-crunching terror of his whole life as the great car tilted up against a stone,—plowed down into the mushy edge of a marsh,—and skidded completely round, crash-bang— into a tree, it was the last sound that the Senior Surgeon heard,—the sound of a woman and child screeching their lungs out in diabolical exultancy!
When the White Linen Nurse found anything again she found herself lying perfectly flat on her back in a reasonably comfortable nest of grass and leaves. Staring inquisitively up into the sky she thought she noticed a slight black and blue discoloration towards the west, but more than that, much to her relief, the firmament did not seem to be seriously injured. The earth, she feared had not escaped so easily. Even way off somewhere near the tip of her fingers the ground was as sore—as sore—as could be—under her touch. Impulsively to her dizzy eyes the hot tears started, to think that now, tired as she was, she should have to jump right up in another minute or two and attend to the poor earth. Fortunately for any really strenuous emergency that might arise there seemed to be nothing about her own body that hurt at all except a queer, persistent little pain in her cheek. Not until the Little Crippled Girl’s dirt-smouched face intervened between her own staring eyes and the sky did she realize that the pain in her cheek was a pinch.
“Wake up! Wake up!” scolded the Little Crippled Girl shrilly. “Naughty—Pink and White Nursie! I wanted to hear the bump! You screamed so loud I couldn’t hear the bump!”