There was a stir in the next room, and Allison called him, softly.
“Yes?” It was only a word, but the tone, as always, was vibrant with good cheer.
“I just wanted to tell you,” Allison said, “that my heart is over the bar.”
In the dark, the two men’s hands met. “More good business,” commented Doctor Jack. “Just remember what somebody said of Columbus: ’One day, with life and hope and heart, is time enough to find a world.’ Go to sleep now. I’ll see you in the morning.”
“All right,” Allison returned, but he did not sleep, even after certain low sounds usually associated with comfortable slumber came from the doctor’s room. He lay there, waiting happily, while from far, mysterious sources, life streamed into him, as the sap rises into the trees at the call of Spring. Across the despairing darkness, a signal had been flashed to him, and he was answering it, in every fibre of body and soul.
RISEN FROM THE DEAD
Colonel Kent, in a distant structure which, by courtesy, was called “the hotel,” had pushed away his breakfast untasted, save for a small portion of the nondescript fluid the frowsy waitress called “coffee.” He had been delayed, missed his train at the junction point, and, fretting with impatience, had been obliged to pass the night there.
He had wired to Madame Francesca the night before, but, as yet, had received no answer. He had personally consulted every surgeon of prominence in the surrounding country, and all who would not say flatly, without further information than he could give them, that there was no chance, had been asked to go and see for themselves.
One by one, their reports came back to him, unanimously hopeless. Heartsick and discouraged, he rallied from each disappointment, only to face defeat again. He had spent weeks in fruitless journeying, following up every clue that presented itself, waited days at hospitals for chiefs of staff, and made the dreary round of newspaper offices, where knowledge of every conceivable subject is supposedly upon file for the asking.
One enterprising editor, too modern to be swayed by ordinary human instincts, had turned the Colonel over to the star reporter—a young man with eyes like Allison’s. By well-timed questions and sympathetic offers of assistance, he dragged the whole story of his wanderings from the unsuspecting old soldier.
It made a double page in the Sunday edition, including the illustrations—a “human interest” story of unquestionable value, introduced by a screaming headline in red: “Old Soldier on the March to Save Son. Violinist about to Lose Hand.”
When the Colonel saw it, his eyes filled so that he could not see the words that danced through the mist, and the paper trembled from his hands to the floor. He was too nearly heartbroken to be angry, and too deeply hurt to take heed of the last stab.