The House Surgeon turned her about until she was again looking across the line of scattered blossoms—into the indistinguishable darkness beyond. He laughed joyously, as a man can laugh when everything lies before him and there are no regrets left behind. “Have you forgotten so soon? We are to cross the primrose ring—right here; and follow the road—there—into faeryland after the children.”
“The beds really do look empty.”
“They certainly do.”
“And we’ll find the children there?”
“And I’ll not have to give them up?”
“Of course not.”
“And we’ll all be happy together—somewhere?”
She turned quickly and reached out her arms to him hungrily. “I know now why a maid always follows the Love-Talker when he comes a-wooing.”
“Because he makes her believe in him and the country where he is taking her, and that’s all a woman asks.”
WHAT HAPPENED AFTERWARD
Everybody woke with a start on the morning following the 30th of April; things began to happen even before the postman had made his first rounds. The operators at the telephone switchboards were rushed at an unconscionably early hour, considering that their station compassed the Avenue. The President was trying to get the trustees, Saint Margaret’s, and the Senior Surgeon; the trustees were trying to get one another; while the Senior Surgeon was rapidly covering the distance between his home and the hospital—his mind busy with a multitude of things, none of which he had ever written with capitals.
Saint Margaret’s was astir before its usual hour; there was a tang of joyousness in the air, and everybody’s heart and mind, strangely enough, seemed to be in festal attire, although nobody was outwardly conscious of it. It was all the more inexplicable because Saint Margaret’s had gone to bed miserable, and events naturally pointed toward depression: Margaret MacLean’s coming departure, the abandoning of Ward C, the House Surgeon’s resignation, and Michael’s empty crib.
Ward C had wakened with a laugh. Margaret MacLean, who had been moving noiselessly about the room for some time, picking up the withered remains of the primrose ring, looked up with apprehension. The tears she had shed over Michael’s crib were quite dry, and she had a brave little speech on the end of her tongue ready for the children’s awakening. Eight pairs of sleepy eyes were rubbed open, and then unhesitatingly turned in the direction of the empty crib in the corner.
“Michael has gone away.” she said, softly, steadying her voice with great care. “He has gone where he will be well—and his heart sound and strong.”
She was wholly unprepared for the children’s response. It was so unexpected, in fact, that for the moment she tottered perilously near the verge of hysterics. The children actually grinned; while Bridget remarked, with a chuckle: