“Geddes!” cried a voice. “Thank God, Geddes! We were told you’d been killed outright! Alicia all right, too?” Then: “Sophy!” This time it was a cry of terror. “Never tell me it’s Sophy!”
I saw his face bent over me. Then a red mist came, and then everything went dark.
Somewhere, far, far off, a faint and feeble little light glimmered, one small point of light in vast blackness. In the whole universe there wasn’t anything or anybody but just that tiny light, and swift black water, and drowning me. Something deep within me—I think occultists call it the body-spirit—was clamoring frantically to hold fast to the light, because if that went under I should go under, too. I tried to keep my eyes upon the trembling spark.
Whereupon the light changed to a sound, the monotonous insistence of which forced me to be worriedly aware of it. It was—why, it was a voice, calling, over and over and over again, “Sophy! Sophy!”
Somebody was calling me. With an immense effort I managed to raise my eyelids. I was lying in a bed, and caught a drowsy, fleeting glimpse of four posts.
posts upon my bed,
Four angels for my head,
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
Bless the bed that I lie on!
Granny used to say that for me at night; only she had said “four hangels for my ’ead,” at which I used to giggle into my pillows. I hadn’t felt so close to Granny since I was little Sophy, in the rooms over our shop in Boston. She was somewhere around me; if I went to sleep now, she’d be there when I woke up in the morning. But the sound that was a calling voice wouldn’t let me go to sleep. Slowly, heavily, I managed to get my eyes open again.
“Look at me!” said the voice imperiously. Two large dark eyes caught my wavering glance and held it, as in a vise. “Sophy! Sophy! I need you.”
Said another voice, then, brokenly: “For mercy’s sake, Jelnik, let her go in peace!”
“No, she sha’n’t die. I won’t have it!—Sophy, come back! It is I who call you, Sophy. Come back!”
My stiff lips moved. “Must go—sleep,” I tried to say.
“No, I forbid you to go to sleep, Sophy!” His dark eyes, full of life and compelling power, held my tired and dimmed ones, his firm, warm hands held my cold and inert fingers. “My love, my dear love, stay. You have got to stay, Sophy. Don’t you understand? You can’t go, Sophy!”
My dulled brain stumblingly laid hold upon a thought: Nicholas Jelnik was calling me. He was calling me because he loved me. One simply can’t go down into sleep and darkness, when a miracle like that is climbing like the morning-star into one’s skies.
“Stay!” he said, his lips against my ear. “Sophy! My love, my dear love, stay!”