“Well, I reckon the Angil Gabriel himself’d quarrel with a man that had one of them intermittent fevers,” said the old man thoughtfully. “They’re powerful trying’. You feel better—a little—and you perk up and think you’re goin’ to get well, and then, fust thing you know, there you are—all to do over again. If I had my ch’ice of all the diseases in the calendar, that’s the one I wouldn’t take. Some on ’em you hev the comfort of knowin’ you’ll die of ’em—if ye live long enough.” He chuckled a little. “But this one, ye can’t die and ye can’t get well.”
“But he is going to get well?” The girl’s eyes held him.
“Yes, he’ll be all right if he can set out in the wind a spell—and the sun. The fever’s broke. What he wants now is plenty to eat and good company. You’ll be comin’ up to see us byme-by, mebbe?” He looked at her hopefully.
“Do you think I could?”
“Well, I dunno why not. He’ll be gettin’ restless in a month or so. You might as well be married up there as anywhere. We’ve got a good minister—a fust-rate one.”
She smiled a little wistfully. “He won’t have me,” she said.
“Shucks!” said Uncle William. “You come up, and if he don’t marry you, I will.”
A bell sounded somewhere. She started. “I must go.” A thought crossed her face. “I wonder if you would like it—the recital?” She was looking at him, an amused question in her eyes.
“Is it speaking pieces?” said Uncle William, cautiously.
“Playing them, and singing—one or two. It’s a musicale, you know. You might like it—” She was still thinking, her forehead a little wrinkled. “They are nice girls and—Oh—?” the forehead suddenly lifted, “you would like it. There are sea-pieces—MacDowell’s. They’re just the thing.—” She held him hospitably.—“Do come. You would be sure to enjoy it.”
“Like enough,” said Uncle William. “It takes all kinds of singing to make a world. I might like ’em fust-rate. And it won’t take long?”
“No—only an hour or two. You can leave him, can’t you?” The pretty forehead had wrinkled again.
“Easy as not,” said Uncle William. “Best thing for him. He’ll have a chance to miss me a little.”
She smiled at him reproachfully. “We’ll have to hurry, I’m afraid. It’s only a step. But we ought to go at once.”
Uncle William followed in her wake, admiring the quick, lithe movements of the tall figure. Now that the flower-like face was turned away, she seemed larger, more vigorous. “A reg’lar clipper, and built for all kinds of weather,” said Uncle William as he followed fast. “I wouldn’t be afraid to trust her anywheres. She’d reef down quick in a blow.” He chuckled to himself.
She looked around. “Here we are.”
They had paused at the foot of a flight of stairs. Down the narrow hall-way floated a mingled sound of voices, high and low, with drifting strains of violin-bows laid across strings and quickly withdrawn.