Half Portions eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 266 pages of information about Half Portions.
every minute of that night and have never seen a finer character than he showed during all that dreadful fight for life.  He had several bad sinking attacks that night and came through each one simply because of his great will power and fighting spirit.  After each attack he would grip my hand and say, “Well, we made it that time, didn’t we, nurse?  And if you’ll only stay with me we’ll win this fight.”  At intervals during the night I gave him sips of black coffee which was all he could swallow.  Each time I gave it to him he would ask me if I had had some.  That was only one instance of his thoughtfulness even in his suffering.  Toward morning he asked me if he was going to die.  I could not tell him the truth.  He needed all his strength.  I told him he had one chance in a thousand.  He seemed to become very strong then, and sitting bolt upright in bed and shaking his fist, he said:  “Then by the Lord I’ll fight for it!” We kept him alive for three days, and actually thought we had won when on the third day....

     But even in your sorrow you must be very proud to have been
     the mother of such a son....

     I am a Wisconsin girl—­Madison.  When this is over and I come
     home will you let me see you so that I may tell you more than
     I can possibly write?

     Marian King.

It was in March, six months later, that Marian King came.  They had hoped for it, but never expected it.  And she came.  Four people were waiting in the living room of the big Baldwin house overlooking the river.  Flora and her husband, Adele and Aunt Sophy.  They sat, waiting.  Now and then Adele would rise, nervously, and go to the window that faced the street.  Flora was weeping with audible sniffs.  Baldwin sat in his chair frowning a little, a dead cigar in one corner of his mouth.  Only Aunt Sophy sat quietly, waiting.

There was little conversation.  None in the last five minutes.  Flora broke the silence, dabbing at her face with her handkerchief as she spoke.

“Sophy, how can you sit there like that?  Not that I don’t envy you.  I do.  I remember I used to feel sorry for you.  I used to say, ’Poor Sophy.’  But you unmarried ones are the happiest, after all.  It’s the married woman who drinks the cup to the last bitter drop.  There you sit, Sophy, fifty years old, and life hasn’t even touched you.  You don’t know how cruel life is.”

Suddenly, “There!” said Adele.  The other three in the room stood up and faced the door.  The sound of a motor stopping outside.  Daniel Oakley’s hearty voice:  “Well, it only took us five minutes from the station.  Pretty good.”

Footsteps down the hall.  Marian King stood in the doorway.  They faced her, the four—­Baldwin and Adele and Flora and Sophy.  Marian King stood a moment, uncertainly, her eyes upon them.  She looked at the two older women with swift, appraising glance.  Then she came into the room, quickly, and put her two hands on Aunt Sophy’s shoulders and looked into her eyes straight and sure.

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Half Portions from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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