Observations of an Orderly eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 103 pages of information about Observations of an Orderly.
his living in the future, and had decided to become a professor of roller skating.  He would loudly tell his wife that she would never again be able to summons him for assault by kicking:  the fancy leg would not give the real one sufficient purchase for an effective kick.  And she was not to complain, in future, about his cold feet against her back in bed:  there would be only one cold foot, the other would be unhitched and on the floor.  And of course there were endless jokes about what had been done with the amputated leg, whether it had got a tombstone, and so forth:  some of the suggestions going a trifle beyond what good taste, in more fastidious coteries, would have thought permissible.  But Bill had his own ideas of the humorous, and maybe his own no less definite ideas of dignity.  In this latter virtue I counted the fact that although once or twice, when he was very low, he gave way to a little fretting to me, he never, I am convinced, let fall one querulous word in the presence of his wife.  She sat by her husband’s side, and when things were at their worst the two said naught.  The wife numbly watched her Bill’s face, turning now and then to glance at the activities of little Bill with his engine, or to smile her thanks to the patients who sometimes came and gave the child pickaback rides.  When I intruded, I knew I was interrupting the communings of a loving and happily married pair; and the “slangings” of each other which signalised Bill’s recovery and his wife’s relief, did nothing to shake my certitude that, like many slum dwellers, they owned a mutual esteem which other couples, of superior station, might envy.

Personally I have never known a cockney patient who did not evoke affection; and as a matter of curiosity I have been asking a number of Sisters whether they liked to have cockneys in their wards.  Without a single exception (and let me say that Sisters are both observant and critical) the answers have been enthusiastically in the affirmative.

XIII

THE STATION PARTY

An earnest shopman not long ago tried to sell me a pair of marching-boots, “for use”—­as he explained, lest their name should have misled me—­“on the march.”  Had he said “for use after the war” he might have been more persuasive.  When I told him that marching-boots were no good to me, it was manifestly difficult for him to conceal his opinion that, if so, I had no business to flaunt the garb of Thomas Atkins.  When I added that if he could offer me a pair of running-shoes I might entertain the proposition, his look was a reproach to irreverent facetiousness.

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Observations of an Orderly from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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