“No, sir! He’d live forever, he would! He ’d never, never die!”
A CASE OF THE INNER IMPERATIVE
“This is my section,” said Dr. Elizabeth Black; and the three women who were convoying her down the aisle crowded around her for a last good-bye. There was an excited flurry of talk as they hoped her journey would be pleasant and wished they were going too; and she heartily wished they were; and they wondered if she would find it tiresome; and she assured them she was a good traveller; and they charged her to write them a postal every day. Then all four had to press into the section to make room for two men to walk past them to the next seat.
“But they did n’t get on here—they ’ve only been out on the platform,” said the youngest and prettiest of the three, lowering her voice and casting a swift glance in their direction. “They look interesting, Doctor, and if they stay on long enough maybe you ’ll scrape acquaintance with them. When I take a long journey I always know everybody in the car by the end of the second day.”
“We must go, girls,” exclaimed another. “It’s time for the train to start.” Then she produced a florist’s parcel, which she had been trying to conceal in the folds of her dress, and unrolled from it a bunch of glowing roses. Another pressed into Dr. Black’s hands a book; and the third, a box of candy.
“And here ’s a magazine Dr. Wallace sent—you know she could n’t come—and we agreed not to give them to you till the very last minute—for our last good-bye—” Her voice wavered and Dr. Black broke in with surprised and grateful exclamations.
“The book ’s a love story,” said the youngest one, an apologetic note perceptible in her voice, “but it’s a pretty story, and the treatment’s interesting, and I thought you might enjoy it, for railroad travelling always makes one feel sentimental, anyway.”
“Oh, the train ’s moving! Good-bye, dear!” The one who was nearest to Dr. Black left a hurried kiss upon her cheek, the others hastily pressed her hands, and all three scurried toward the door. Their friend raised her window and looked out in time to wave a final farewell as they landed safely upon the platform. As she settled back in her seat she saw that one of the men in the next section had also been watching for their reappearance outside. Their eyes met as she turned from the window, relieved and smiling.