’Zekiel went upstairs deliberately, one step at a time. His footfalls, it seemed to him, must be heard all over the house. He paused before Huldy’s door. He opened it a couple of inches, when the thought struck him that he ought to knock. He started to close the door and do so, when he heard a faint voice say, “Come in, ’Zekiel.” So he was still ’Zekiel to Huldy. He opened the door and walked bravely into the room, but his bravery forsook him when he had taken a few steps. He had expected to find her in bed, as she had been every day before when he had called. But there she stood before him, the same Huldy as of old. Not exactly the same, however, for her cheeks had lost much of their rosy tint and there was a pensive look to the face that was new to it, which ’Zekiel saw, but could not understand.
There were two chairs close together before the fire. She sat down in the left-hand one and motioned ’Zekiel to the other, which he took.
“I thought I would find you abed,” said ’Zekiel. “I didn’t know you were up.”
“Oh, yes,” said Huldy. “I got up and dressed as soon as the doctor took the jacket, that’s what he called it, off my arm. I felt so much better I couldn’t stay in bed any longer.”
“Well,” said ’Zekiel, “when the schoolmaster used to tell me to take my jacket off I didn’t feel near as well as I did before,” and then they both laughed heartily.
They sat silent for a few moments, when Huldy, turning her face with that sad look towards him, said, “There is something on my mind, ’Zekiel, that I wish I could take off as easily as the doctor did that jacket.”
“Oh, nonsense,” cried ’Zekiel; “why should you have anything on your mind? You are a little bit low spirited because you have been cooped up in bed so long.”
“No,” said Huldy, “that isn’t it. I have wronged a person and I am afraid that person will never fully forgive me. I am real sorry for what I have done, and I am going to tell the person and ask for pardon.”
“Well,” said ’Zekiel, “the person must be pretty mean spirited if he or she don’t forgive you after you say you are sorry, ’specially if you promise not to do it again.”
“Oh, I shall never do it again,” said Huldy. “Once has nearly killed me. I suffered ten times more from that than from my broken arm.”