And Kenny made a wry face and departed—with torture in his throat. His voice had failed him utterly.
A sleety dawn was graying at the windows.
“Bed!” commanded Barrington briefly.
“Doctor Cole has found another shack. He’s waiting for you.”
“I’ll sleep to-morrow.”
IN THE SPAN OF A DAY
Kenny slept heavily until three that afternoon. Don wakened him.
“My sister is here,” he said.
Don stared a little at his quick, astonished warmth.
“She wired Doctor Cole,” he said, “and went to the farm. He brought her back with him at noon.”
“The heart of her! I might have known. And Brian?”
Brian, it seemed, was wakeful and nervous, his pain intense. The pressure symptoms had not advanced.
“Head’s better,” Don finished. “They’ve watched him like a hawk. But they’re letting up a bit now—”
“And Dr. Barrington?”
“Yes. We found another cot. The car’s in Grogan’s shed.”
From the quarry below came the rumble of a blast.
“Would you think—” he demanded, but the futility of his protest made him dumb.
“The world keeps on going,” said Kenny. He dressed hurriedly.
“Women,” commented Don gloomily, following him down the stairs, “are queer. My sister wept all over me. As if I hadn’t had enough shocks—”
He caught his breath and stumbled. In the room below Barrington stirred.
“Quiet, Don!” warned Kenny, sensing the tears of heartbreak that quivered on his lashes. He read the boy’s hot heart with a renewed shock of understanding; they were namelessly akin.
Cold sunlight lay upon the cluster of shacks. The wind that bore the rumble of the quarry upward was sharp and gusty and laden with stinging particles of grit. A group of Italian women, chattering and gesticulating in, apparently, unheeded unison, lingered near the shack where Brian lay, agonizingly conscious of nerve and body, irritably weary of the inevitable doctor at his bedside. Kenny charged them with a look of indignation and shooed them to retreat in maledictory Italian.
Inside Joan was busy at the stove.
Kenny caught her hands, protesting, praising, thanking in a breath, and Don, regarding them with a look of frank and bitter comprehension, moved off toward the window with all a boy’s disgust. In the span of a day he had learned and suffered over-much. Grogan’s world of drills and noise down there was heartless and insistent. . . . It went on and on, puffing, drilling, sorting rattling stone. Up here in the shack was the lunacy of heart-things apart from him. The thought filled him with jealous anger. And upstairs— He wheeled and glared, fighting down the agony in his throat. Kenny was moving toward the stairway.