“Oh, Max,” she said, with a painful gasp, “my raspberries!”
“Damn the raspberries!” growled Max. His hand travelled up to her head and removed the sun-bonnet while he was speaking. “Don’t move till you feel better!” he said. “There’s nothing to bother about.”
He pressed her temples with a sure, cool touch. She closed her eyes under it.
“But I must get on,” she said uneasily. “I want to make the jam this afternoon.”
“Do you?” said Max grimly.
She was silent for a little. He kept his hand upon her head, and she was glad of its support though she wished it had not been his.
“It must be nearly luncheon-time,” she said at last, with an effort.
“It is,” said Max. “We will go indoors.”
“Oh, but I must pick up my raspberries first, and—there’s a whole row—more—to gather yet.”
“You will have to leave that job for someone else,” he said. “You are not fit for it. Are you quite mad, I wonder?”
“It had to be done,” said Olga. “I must finish now—really I must finish.” She took his hand from her head and slowly raised it. Instantly that agonizing pain shot through her temples again. She barely suppressed a cry.
“What is it?” he said.
“My head!” she gasped. “And oh, Max, I do feel so sick.”
He stood up. “Come along!” he said. “I’m going to carry you in.”
She raised a feeble protest to which he paid no more attention than if it had been the buzzing of a fly. Very steadily and strongly he lifted her.
“Put your head on my shoulder!” he said, and she obeyed him like a child.
They encountered no one on the way back to the house. Straight in and straight upstairs went Max, finally depositing her upon her bed. He seemed to know exactly how she felt, for he propped her head high with a skill that she found infinitely comforting, and drew the window-curtains to shade her eyes. Then very quietly he proceeded to remove her shoes.
“Thank you very much,” murmured Olga. “Don’t bother!”
He came and stood beside her and again felt her pulse. “Look here,” he said. “As soon as you feel a little better, you undress and slip into bed. I’ll come up again in half an hour and give you something for your head. Understand?”
“Oh, no!” Olga said. “No! I can’t go to bed, really. I’ll lie here for a little while, but I shall be quite all right presently.”
Max continued to feel her pulse. He was frowning a good deal. “You will do as I say,” he said deliberately. “You are to go to bed at once, and you won’t come down again for the rest of the day.”
There was so much of finality in his speech that Olga became aware of the futility of argument. She felt moreover totally unfit for it. She only hazarded one more protest.
“But what about Violet?”
“She can take care of herself,” he said. “I will tell her.”