As Garrison opened his eyes, dazed, weak as water, memory, full, complete, rushed into action. His brain recalled everything—everything from the period it is given man to remember down to the present. It was all so clear, so perfect, so workmanlike. The long-halted clock of memory was ticking away merrily, perfectly, and not one hour was missing from its dial. The thread of his severed life was joined—joined in such a manner that no hitch or knot was apparent.
To use a third simile, the former blank, utterly fearsome space, was filled—filled with clear writing, without blotch or blemish. And on the space was not recorded one deed he had dreaded to see. There were mistakes, weaknesses—but not dishonor. For a moment he could not grasp the full meaning of the blessing. He could only sense that he had indeed been blessed above his deserts.
And then as Garrison understood what it all meant to him; understood the chief fact that he had not deserted wife and children; that Sue might be won, he crushed his face to the pillow and cried—cried like a little child.
And a big man, sitting in the shelter of a screen, hitched his chair nearer the cot, and laid both hands on Garrison’s. He did not speak, but there was a wonderful light in his eyes—steady, clear gray eyes.
“Kid,” he said. “Kid.”
Garrison turned swiftly. His hand gripped the other’s.
“Jimmie Drake,” he whispered. For the first time the blood came to his face.
Two months had gone in; two months of slow recuperation, regeneration for Garrison. He was just beginning to look at life from the standpoint of unremitting toil and endeavor. It is the only satisfactory standpoint. From it we see life in its true proportions. Neither distorted through the blue glasses of pessimism—but another name for the failure of misapplication—nor through the wonderful rose-colored glasses of the dreamer. He was patiently going back over his past life; returning to the point where he had deserted the clearly defined path of honor and duty for the flowery fields of unbridled license.
It was no easy task he had set himself, but he did not falter by the wayside. Three great stimulants he had—health, the thought of Sue Desha, and the practical assistance of Jimmie Drake.
It was a month, dating from the memorable meeting with the turfman, before Garrison was able to leave the hospital. When he did, it was to take up his life at Drake’s Long Island breeding-farm and racing-stable; for in the interim Drake had passed from book-making stage to that of owner. He ran a first-class string of mounts, and he signed Garrison to ride for him during the ensuing season.
It was the first chance for regeneration, and it had been timidly asked and gladly granted; asked and granted during one of the long nights in the hospital when Garrison was struggling for strength and faith. It had been the first time he had been permitted to talk for any great length.