I said to my nurse: “The mention of his umbrella seems to agitate your father.” She turned quite pale. “It does,” she said. “I hope you haven’t mentioned it.” I said that I had merely asked for information. “And did you get it?” asked she. I said that I had— since it was apparent that one has to carry an umbrella if one wishes to have it handy to jump upon. She didn’t laugh at all, and looked so withdrawn that it was quite plain I need expect no elucidation from her.
I had to dismiss the subject altogether. But, later on, Li Ho (who appears to partially approve of me) gave a curious side light on the matter. At night as he was tucking me up safely (the sofa is slippery), he said, “Honorable Boss got hole in head-top. Sun velly bad. Umblella keep him off.”
“But he carries it at night, too,” I objected.
Li Ho wagged his parchment head. “Keep moon off all same. Moon muchy more bad. Full moon find urn hole. Make Honorable Boss much klasy.”
Remarkably lucid explanation—don’t you think so? The “hole in head top” is evidently Li Ho’s picturesque figure for “mental vacuum.” Therefore I gather that our yellow brother suspects his honorable boss of being weak-headed, a condition aggravated by the direct rays of the sun and especially by the full moon. He may be right—though the old man seems harmless enough. “Childlike and bland” describes him usually. Though there are times when he looks at me with those pale eyes—and I wish that I were not quite so helpless! He dislikes me. But I have known quite sane people do that.
I am writing nonsense. One has to, with sciatica. I hope this confounded leg lets me get some sleep tonight.
P.S.: Not exactly an ideal home for a young girl—is it?
It had rained all night. It had rained all yesterday. It had rained all the day before. It was raining still. Apparently it could go on raining indefinitely.
Miss Farr said not. She said that it would be certain to clear up in a day or two. “And then,” she said, “you will forget that it ever rained.”
Professor Spence doubted it. He had a good memory.
“You look much better this morning,” his nurse went on. “Have you tried to move your leg yet?”
“I am thinking of trying it.”
This was not exactly a fib on the part of the professor because he was thinking of it. But it did not include the whole truth, because he had already tried it, tried it very successfully only a few moments before. First he had made sure that he was alone in the room and then he had proceeded with the trial. Very cautiously he had drawn his lame leg up, and tenderly stretched it out. He had turned over and back again. He had wiggled his toes to see how many of them were present—only the littlest toe was still numb. He had realized that he was much better. If the improvement kept on, he knew that in a day or so he would be able to walk with the aid of a cane. And he also knew that, with his walking, his status as an invalid guest would vanish. Luckily, no one but himself could say when the walking stage was reached—hence the strict privacy of his experiments.