Yes, yes! It seemed so to me.”
“That ’ll do, then! I want you to have him come back and write for the book when he gets well. I want you to find out and let me know if there’s anything I can do for him. I’ll feel as if I done it—for my—son. I’ll take him into my own house, and do for him there, if you say so, when he gets so he can be moved. I’ll wait on him myself. It’s what Coonrod ’d do, if he was here. I don’t feel any hardness to him because it was him that got Coonrod killed, as you might say, in one sense of the term; but I’ve tried to think it out, and I feel like I was all the more beholden to him because my son died tryin’ to save him. Whatever I do, I’ll be doin’ it for Coonrod, and that’s enough for me.” He seemed to have finished, and he turned to March as if to hear what he had to say.
March hesitated. “I’m afraid, Mr. Dryfoos—Didn’t Fulkerson tell you that Lindau was very sick?”
“Yes, of course. But he’s all right, he said.”
Now it had to come, though the fact had been latterly playing fast and loose with March’s consciousness. Something almost made him smile; the willingness he had once felt to give this old man pain; then he consoled himself by thinking that at least he was not obliged to meet Dryfoos’s wish to make atonement with the fact that Lindau had renounced him, and would on no terms work for such a man as he, or suffer any kindness from him. In this light Lindau seemed the harder of the two, and March had the momentary force to say—
“Mr. Dryfoos—it can’t be. Lindau—I have just come from him—is dead.”
“How did he take it? How could he bear it? Oh, Basil! I wonder you could have the heart to say it to him. It was cruel!”
“Yes, cruel enough, my dear,” March owned to his wife, when they talked the matter over on his return home. He could not wait till the children were out of the way, and afterward neither he nor his wife was sorry that he had spoken of it before them. The girl cried plentifully for her old friend who was dead, and said she hated Mr. Dryfoos, and then was sorry for him, too; and the boy listened to all, and spoke with a serious sense that pleased his father. “But as to how he took it,” March went on to answer his wife’s question about Dryfoos—“how do any of us take a thing that hurts? Some of us cry out, and some of us don’t. Dryfoos