“The letter,” said the sick man hurriedly, “the letter, the letter!”
Daddy leaned suddenly over the bed. It was impossible for even his hopefulness to avoid the fact that Lasham was delirious. It was a strong factor in the case—one that would certainly justify his going over to Falloner’s with the news. For the present moment, however, this aberration was to be accepted cheerfully and humored after Daddy’s own fashion. “Of course—the letter, the letter,” he said convincingly; “that’s what the boys hev bin singin’ jest now—
when you are away,
Write me a letter, love; send me a letter, love!’
“That’s what you heard, and a mighty purty song it is too, and kinder clings to you. It’s wonderful how these things gets in your head.”
“The letter—write—send money—money—money, and the photograph—the photograph—photograph—money,” continued the sick man, in the rapid reiteration of delirium.
“In course you will—to-morrow—when the mail goes,” returned Daddy soothingly; “plenty of them. Jest now you try to get a snooze, will ye? Hol’ on!—take some o’ this.”
There was an anodyne mixture on the rude shelf, which the doctor had left on his morning visit. Daddy had a comfortable belief that what would relieve pain would also check delirium, and he accordingly measured out a dose with a liberal margin to allow of waste by the patient in swallowing in his semi-conscious state. As he lay more quiet, muttering still, but now unintelligibly, Daddy, waiting for a more complete unconsciousness and the opportunity to slip away to Falloner’s, cast his eyes around the cabin. He noticed now for the first time since his entrance that a crumpled envelope bearing a Western post-mark was lying at the foot of the bed. Daddy knew that the tri-weekly post had arrived an hour before he came, and that Lasham had evidently received a letter. Sure enough the letter itself was lying against the wall beside him. It was open. Daddy felt justified in reading it.
It was curt and businesslike, stating that unless Lasham at once sent a remittance for the support of his brother and sister—two children in charge of the writer—they must find a home elsewhere. That the arrears were long standing, and the repeated promises of Lasham to send money had been unfulfilled. That the writer could stand it no longer. This would be his last communication unless the money were sent forthwith.