“Yes,” he said grimly. “You are coming back.”
Then she knew that his will, indomitable, inflexible, was holding her fast, heedless of all the longing of her heart to escape. Then she knew that he, and only he, was the unknown power that kept her back from peace, forcing her onward in that dread circle, compelling her to live in torment. And in that moment she feared him as the victim fears the torturer, not asking for mercy, partly because she lacked the strength and partly because she knew—how hopelessly!—that she would ask in vain.
He did not speak to her again. He was fully occupied, it seemed, with what he had to do. Only, when he had finished, he put his hand over her eyes, compelling them to close, and so remained for what seemed to her a long, long time. For a while she vibrated like a sensitive instrument under his touch, and then very strangely there stole upon her for the first time a sense of comfort. When he took his hand away, she was asleep....
Max turned at last from the bed, nodded briefly to the nurse, and went as silently as a shadow from the room.
Another shadow waited for him on the threshold, and in the light of the passage outside the room they stood face to face.
“She will live,” said Max curtly.
“And—” said Nick. He was blinking very rapidly as one dazzled.
“Yes; her reason is coming back. She knew me just now.”
Max nodded without speaking.
Nick turned his yellow face for a moment towards the open window on the stairs. His lips twitched a little. He said no word.
Max leaned against the wall, and passed his handkerchief over his forehead. Sharp as a ferret, Nick turned.
“Come downstairs, old chap! You’ve been working like a nigger for the past fortnight. You’ll knock up if you are not careful.”
Max went with him in silence.
At the foot of the stairs he spoke again. “I shall hand her over to Dr. Jim now. She will do better with him than with me as she gets more sensible.”
And so a new presence came into Olga’s room, and the figure of her dread appeared no more before her waking eyes. Not at first did she realize the change, for it was only fitfully that her brain could register any definite impression. But one day when strong hands lifted her, something of familiarity in the touch caught her wavering intelligence. She looked up and saw a rugged face she knew.
“Dad!” she said incredulously.
“Of course!” said Dr. Jim bluntly. “Only just found that out?”
She made a feeble attempt to cling to him, smiling a welcome through tears. “Oh, Dad, where have you been?”
“I?” said Dr. Jim. “Why, here to be sure, for the past week. Now we won’t have any talking. You shut your eyes like a sensible young woman and go to sleep!”
He had always exacted obedience from her. She obeyed him now. “But you won’t go away again?” she pleaded.