“Yes,” I answered, and hesitated.... “Is Mr. Krebs in?”
“Well,” she replied in a lifeless tone, which nevertheless had in it a touch of bitterness, “I guess there’s no reason why you and your friends should have known he was sick.”
“Sick!” I repeated. “Is he very sick?”
“I calculate he’ll pull through,” she said. “Sunday the doctor gave him up. And no wonder! He hasn’t had any proper food since he’s be’n here!” She paused, eyeing me. “If you’ll excuse me, Mr. Paret, I was just going up to him when you rang.”
“Certainly,” I replied awkwardly. “Would you be so kind as to tell him—when he’s well enough—that I came to see him, and that I’m sorry?”
There was another pause, and she stood with a hand defensively clutching the knob.
“Yes, I’ll tell him,” she said.
With a sense of having been baffled, I turned away.
Walking back toward the Yard my attention was attracted by a slowly approaching cab whose occupants were disturbing the quiet of the night with song.
“Shollity—’tis wine, ’tis wine, that makesh—shollity.”
The vehicle drew up in front of a new and commodious building,—I believe the first of those designed to house undergraduates who were willing to pay for private bathrooms and other modern luxuries; out of one window of the cab protruded a pair of shoeless feet, out of the other a hatless head I recognized as belonging to Tom Peters; hence I surmised that the feet were his also. The driver got down from the box, and a lively argument was begun inside—for there were other occupants—as to how Mr. Peters was to be disembarked; and I gathered from his frequent references to the “Shgyptian obelisk” that the engineering problem presented struck him as similar to the unloading of Cleopatra’s Needle.
“Careful, careful!” he cautioned, as certain expelling movements began from within, “Easy, Ham, you jam-fool, keep the door shut, y’ll break me.”
“Now, Jerry, all heave sh’gether!” exclaimed a voice from the blackness of the interior.
“Will ye wait a minute, Mr. Durrett, sir?” implored the cabdriver. “You’ll be after ruining me cab entirely.” (Loud roars and vigorous resistance from the obelisk, the cab rocking violently.) “This gintleman” (meaning me) “will have him by the head, and I’ll get hold of his feet, sir.” Which he did, after a severe kick in the stomach.
“Head’sh all right, Martin.”
“To be sure it is, Mr. Peters. Now will ye rest aisy awhile, sir?”
“I’m axphyxiated,” cried another voice from the darkness, the mined voice of Jerome Kyme, our classmate.
“Get the tackles under him!” came forth in commanding tones from Conybear.