“Please take me home and send for Dr. Tarpion,” she says, relapsing into lethargy.
Men seize David Lockwin, for he is bleeding profusely.
“He terrifies her!” they exclaim. They wash his forehead. He has a long cut over the brow.
Work fast as he may with court-plaster Esther is carried forth before the druggist can be in front to aid. People are full of praise for the heroic man.
“But he won’t be no prettier for it,” say the gossips of the neighborhood.
ESTHER AS A LIBERAL PATRON
Esther Lockwin has been confined to her room for a month by Dr. Tarpion’s orders. The servants say she will not enter a carriage again.
David Lockwin has hired an extra clerk, and is daily under a surgeon’s hands. After six months of suffering he is promised a removal of the red fimbrications; his nose shall be re-erected; his throat shall be reasonably cleared.
He lies on his cot, and Corkey is a frequent visitor.
“You wa’n’t no prize beauty, that’s a fact,” says the candid Corkey. “I think you’re wise, but I’d never a did it. You’ve got as much grit as a tattooed man. Them fellers, the doctors, picks you with electric needles, don’t they? Yes, I thought so. Well, I suppose that’s nothing side of setting up your nose. But she sets up there like a hired man—you’ve got a good nob now! Yes, I’m deep in politics again. I’m a fool—I know it, but I don’t spend more’n five hundred cases, and I go to the legislature sure. If I get there some of these corporations that knocked me out afore will squeal—you hear me! No, you don’t spend no money on me. I wish you could git out and hustle, though. But you ain’t no hustler, nohow. Want any drug laws passed?”
Corkey must do the greater part of the talking. He sits beside the bed carrying an atmosphere of sympathy that the feverish lover needs. Gradually the thoughts of the sympathizer fix on the glass graduate. It tickles his membranes. His head quakes, his tongue whirs, he jars the great bottles outside with his sneeze.
The tears start from his eyes, his throat rebels at its misusage, his big red handkerchief comes out. It makes a sharp contrast with his jet black hair and mustache.
“Old man,” he said, “do you suppose your bone-sawers could cut that out of me? It makes me forgit things sometimes. Oh, yes, yes! That puts me in mind! I came to tell you this morning that Mrs. Lockwin was coming over to thank you!”
“It’s time,” whispers the lover, bravely.
“I told her to come on. She needn’t be afraid of you. I tell you she was mighty glad when I tell her you was a friend of mine.”
There is a click at the door-latch. The patient starts. Corkey looks out into the store.
“Here she is!” whispers Corkey, smoothing the coverlet. “How d’ye do, Mrs. Lockwin? Just step in here. Mr. Chalmers is not able to sit up.”