Lander came into his wife’s room between ten and eleven o’clock, and found her still in bed, but with her half-finished breakfast on a tray before her. As soon as he opened the door she said, “I do wish you would take some of that heat-tonic of mine, Albe’t, that the docta left for me in Boston. You’ll find it in the upper right bureau box, the’a; and I know it’ll be the very thing for you. It’ll relieve you of that suffocatin’ feeling that I always have, comin’ up stars. Dea’! I don’t see why they don’t have an elevata; they make you pay enough; and I wish you’d get me a little more silva, so’s’t I can give to the chambamaid and the bell-boy; I do hate to be out of it. I guess you been up and out long ago. They did make that polonaise of mine too tight after all I said, and I’ve been thinkin’ how I could get it alt’ed; but I presume there ain’t a seamstress to be had around he’e for love or money. Well, now, that’s right, Albe’t; I’m glad to see you doin’ it.”
Lander had opened the lid of the bureau box, and uncorked a bottle from it, and tilted this to his lips.
“Don’t take too much,” she cautioned him, “or you’ll lose the effects. When I take too much of a medicine, it’s wo’se than nothing, as fah’s I can make out. When I had that spell in Thomasville spring before last, I believe I should have been over it twice as quick if I had taken just half the medicine I did. You don’t really feel anyways bad about the heat, do you, Albe’t?”
“I’m all right,” said Lander. He put back the bottle in its place and sat down.
Mrs. Lander lifted herself on her elbow and looked over at him. “Show me on the bottle how much you took.”
He got the bottle out again and showed her with his thumb nail a point which he chose at random.
“Well, that was just about the dose for you,” she said; and she sank down in bed again with the air of having used a final precaution. “You don’t want to slow your heat up too quick.”
Lander did not put the bottle back this time. He kept it in his hand, with his thumb on the cork, and rocked it back and forth on his knees as he spoke. “Why don’t you get that woman to alter it for you?”
“What woman alta what?”
“Your polonaise. The one whe’e we stopped yestaday.”
“Oh! Well, I’ve been thinkin’ about that child, Albe’t; I did before I went to sleep; and I don’t believe I want to risk anything with her. It would be a ca’e,” said Mrs. Lander with a sigh, “and I guess I don’t want to take any moa ca’e than what I’ve got now. What makes you think she could alta my polonaise?”
“Said she done dress-makin’,” said Lander, doggedly.
“You ha’n’t been the’a?”
“You didn’t say anything to her about her daughta?”
“Yes, I did,” said Lander.