The poor boy, wanting his empty coat! The incident, however, caused her to review the recent events. It was now evident that he had not been normal that first day. Perhaps he had had money in the coat, back in Hong-Kong, and had been robbed without knowing it. Perhaps these few words were the first real conscious words he had uttered in days. His letter of credit; probably that was it; and, observing the strangeness of the room he was in, his first concern on returning to consciousness would naturally relate to his letter of credit. How would he act when he learned that it had vanished?
She gathered up the manuscripts and restored them to the envelope. This she put into the trunk. She noticed that this trunk was not littered with hotel labels. These little squares of coloured paper interested her mightily—hotel labels. She was for ever scanning luggage and finding her way about the world, via these miniature pictures. London, Paris, Rome! There were no hotel labels on the patient’s trunk, but there were ship labels; and by these she was able to reconstruct the journey: from New York to Naples, thence to Alexandria; from Port Said to Colombo; from Colombo to Bombay; from Calcutta to Rangoon, thence down to Singapore; from Singapore to Hong-Kong. The great world outside!
She stood motionless beside the trunk, deep in speculation; and thus the doctor found her.
“Well?” he whispered.
“I believe he is conscious,” she answered. “He just asked for his coat, which he wanted under his pillow.”
“Conscious; well, that’s good news. He’ll be able to help us a little now. I hope that some day he’ll understand how much he owes you.”
“Oh, that!” she said, with a deprecating gesture.
“Miss Enschede, you’re seven kinds of a brick!”
He chuckled. “I forgot. That’s slang, meaning you’re splendid.”
“I begin to see that I shall have to learn English all over again.”
“You have always spoken it?”
“Yes; except for some native. I wasn’t taught that; I simply fell into it from contact.”
“I see. So he’s come around, then? That’s fine.”
He approached the bed and laid his palm on the patient’s forehead, and nodded. Then he took the pulse.
“He will pull through?”
“Positively. But the big job for you is yet to come. When he begins to notice things, I want you to trap his interest, to amuse him, keep his thoughts from reverting to his misfortunes.”
“Then he has been unfortunate?”
“That’s patent enough. He’s had a hard knock somewhere; and until he is strong enough to walk, we must keep his interest away from that thought. After that, we’ll go our several ways.”
“What makes you think he has had a hard knock?”
“I’m a doctor, young lady.”
“You’re fine, too. I doubt if you will receive anything for your trouble.”