Chapter Sixteen — A Reposeful Interval
The next date upon the little gold and ivory memorandum card which hung beside Aunt Mary’s watch was that set for Burnett’s picnic, but its dawning found both host and guest too much attached to their beds to desire any fetes champetre just then.
Burnett was in that very weak state which follows in the immediate wake of only too many yachts,—and Aunt Mary was sleeping one of her long drawn out and utterly restorative sleeps.
Jack went in and looked at her.
“It did storm awfully,” he said to Janice, who was sitting by the window. The maid just smiled, nodded, and laid her finger on her lip. She never encouraged conversation when her charge was reposing.
Jack went softly out and turned his steps toward the room of the other wreck.
“Well, how are stocks to-day?” he asked cheerfully on entering.
Burnett was stretched out pillowless and looked black under his hollow eyes. But he appeared to be on the road to recovery.
“Jack,” he said seriously, “what in thunder makes me always so ready to go on the water? I should think after a while I’d learn a thing or two.”
Jack leaned his elbows on the high carved footboard and returned his friend’s look with one of equal seriousness.
“What makes all of us do lots of things?” he asked. “Why don’t we all learn?”
“That’s a fact; why don’t we?” he said weakly. And then he shut his eyes again and turned his back to his caller.
Jack went down to lunch. Clover and Mitchell were playing cards in the library.
“Well, how is the hospital?” Clover asked, looking up while he shuffled the pack.
“Never mind about Burnett,” said Mitchell, “but do relieve my mind about Aunt Mary. Is the one sheet still taking effect, or has she begun to rally on a diet of two?”
“She’s asleep,” said the nephew.
“God bless her slumber,” declared Clover piously. “I very much approve of Aunt Mary asleep. When our dearly beloved aunt sleeps we know we’ve got her and we don’t have to yell. Shall I deal for three?”
“They are bringing up lunch,” said the latest arrival,—“no time to begin a hand. Better stack guns for the present.”
“So say I,” said Mitchell, “with me everything goes down when lunch comes up. It’s quite the reverse with Burnett, isn’t it?” He laughed brutally at his own wit.
“To think how enthusiastic Burr was,” said Clover, evening the cards preparatory to slipping them into their holder on the side of the table. “He’s always so enthusiastic and he’s always so sick. In his place I should feel that, if a buoyant nature is a virtue, I didn’t get much reward.”
The gong sounded just then, and they all went down to lunch, not at all saddened by the sight of their comrade’s empty chair.