Once when the clash had a suspicious ring of familiarity, he grinned.
“What’s the matter?” demanded Don huffily. “What are you laughing at? Me?”
“No,” said Kenny. “I was just thinking of a man I know. Name’s Whitaker.”
Thus May came with a warm wind of spice and fresh misgivings furrowed the doctor’s brow.
“Now that the windows are opened so much,” he fretted, “the rumble of that quarry is inferno. The blasts bother him?”
“He jumps,” said Joan.
“I thought so. He must have peace and quiet. If Mr. O’Neill is willing, we’ll move him to the farm.”
By the time the orchard flung out its white prayer of blossoms to the sun, the doctor had his patient at the farm.
And summer dreamed again upon the hills.
Pine-sweet wind still blew around the cabin, the sylvan river laughed in the sun, wistaria hung grape-like on the ladder of vine; but over it all, to Kenny, brooded the pathos of change.
He longed wistfully for the gay vitality of that other summer when every day had been an exquisite intaglio of laughter. There were times when unreasonably he even missed Adam. How the nights in contrast had sharpened the joy of his days! And he hated the village boy who ferried the punt back and forth upon the river, hated the horn with its transforming miracles of reminiscence, for it pointed the nameless lack of sparkle now that struck melancholy into his soul. He had lived in Arcady and jealously he would have hoarded each detail of its charm.
The days were long and quiet. Life for all of them centered around the wheel-chair on the porch. There Joan read aloud while the nurse kept wisely in the background, and Hannah at meal-times set the table on the porch.
In the long afternoons of study that Kenny spent with Don, Brian asserted his independence and banished books. He seemed content to talk. Joan listened eagerly to his tales of the road, never tiring of Don’s vagabond adventures. After the worried months of monotony and pain, the afternoons of reminiscence were tonic for them both. Lazy humor crept back to Brian’s eyes. At times he whistled. Wind and sun were tanning his skin to the hue of health.
He had his dark hours. Every effort then to cheer him left him tired and quiet. Talk of the chain of circumstances that had, oddly, brought them all together, he avoided with a frown. Any reference to her life in New York, Joan found, plunged him into gloom. Was it, she wondered, because he knew his accident had brought her year of play and study to an end? She longed passionately to tell him how easy it had been for her—how trifling, as a sacrifice, in the face of his kindness to Don; but shyness held her back.
“Honeysuckle days!” Brian called his days of convalescence, for the vine upon the porch hung full.