Poems & Short Stories: 4,435
Forum Members: 67,986
Forum Posts: 1,216,101
And over 2 million unique readers monthly!
Jack Green did not die. Every morning for a fortnight Constable Cameron felt it to be his duty to make enquiry--the Sergeant, it may be added--performing the same duty with equal diligence in the afternoon, and every day the balance, which trembled evenly for some time between hope and fear, continued to dip more and more decidedly toward the former.
"He's going to live, I believe," said Dr. Martin one day. "And he owes it to the nurse." The doctor's devotion to and admiration for Nurse Haley began to appear to Cameron unnecessarily pronounced. "She simply would not let him go!" continued the doctor. "She nursed him, sang to him her old 'Come all ye' songs and Methodist hymns, she spun him barnyard yarns and orchard idyls, and always 'continued in our next,' till the chap simply couldn't croak for wanting to hear the next."
At times Cameron caught through the tent walls snatches of those songs and yarns and idyls, at times he caught momentary glimpses of the bright young girl who was pouring the vigour of her life into the lad fighting for his own, but these snatches and glimpses only exasperated him. There was no opportunity for any lengthened and undisturbed converse, for on the one hand the hospital service was exacting beyond the strength of doctor and nurses, and on the other there was serious trouble for Superintendent Strong and his men in the camps along the line, for a general strike had been declared in all the camps and no one knew at what minute it might flare up into a fierce riot.
It was indeed exasperating to Cameron. The relations between himself and Nurse Haley were unsatisfactory, entirely unsatisfactory. It was clearly his duty--indeed he owed it to her and to himself-- to arrive at some understanding, to establish their relations upon a proper and reasonable basis. He was at very considerable pains to make it clear, not only to the Sergeant, but to the cheerful little nurse and to the doctor as well, that as her oldest friend in the country it was incumbent upon him to exercise a sort of kindly protectorate over Nurse Haley. In this it is to be feared he was only partially successful. The Sergeant was obviously and gloomily incredulous of the purity of his motives, the little nurse arched her eyebrows and smiled in a most annoying manner, while the doctor pendulated between good-humoured tolerance and mild sarcasm. It added not a little to Cameron's mental disquiet that he was quite unable to understand himself; indeed, through these days he was engaged in conducting a bit of psychological research, with his own mind as laboratory and his mental phenomena as the materia for his investigation. It was a most difficult and delicate study and one demanding both leisure and calm--and Cameron had neither. The brief minutes he could snatch from Her Majesty's service were necessarily given to his friends in the hospital and as to the philosophic calm necessary to research work, a glimpse through the door of Nurse Haley's golden head bending over a sick man's cot, a snatch of song in the deep mellow tones of her voice, a touch of her strong firm hand, a quiet steady look from her deep, deep eyes--any one of these was sufficient to scatter all his philosophic determinings to the winds and leave his soul a chaos of confused emotions.
Small wonder, then, that twenty times a day he cursed the luck that had transferred him from the comparatively peaceful environment of the Police Post at Fort Macleod to the maddening whirl of conflicting desires and duties attendant upon the Service in the railroad construction camps. A letter from his friend Inspector Dickson accentuated the contrast.
"Great doings, my boy," wrote the Inspector, evidently under the spell of overmastering excitement. "We have Little Thunder again in the toils, this time to stay, and we owe this capture to your friend Raven. A week ago Mr. Raven coolly walked into the Fort and asked for the Superintendent. I was down at stables at the time. As he was coming out I ran into him and immediately shouted 'Hands up!'
"'Ah, Mr. Inspector,' said my gentleman, as cool as ice, 'delighted to see you again.'
"'Stand where you are!' I said, and knowing my man and determined to take no chances, I ordered two constables to arrest him. At this the Superintendent appeared.
"'Ah, Inspector,' he said, 'there is evidently some mistake here.'
"'There is no mistake, Superintendent,' I replied. 'I know this man. He is wanted on a serious charge.'
"'Kindly step this way, Mr. Raven,' said the Superintendent, 'and you, Inspector. I have something of importance to say to you.'
"And, by Jove, it was important. Little Thunder had broken his pledge to Raven to quit the rebellion business and had perfected a plan for a simultaneous rising of Blackfeet, Bloods, Piegans, and Sarcees next month. Raven had stumbled upon this and had deliberately put himself in the power of the Police to bring this information. 'I am not quite prepared,' he said, 'to hand over this country to a lot of bally half-breeds and bloody savages.' Together the Superintendent and he had perfected a plan for the capture of the heads of the conspiracy.
"'As to that little matter of which you were thinking, Inspector Dickson,' said my Chief, 'I think if you remember, we have no definite charge laid against Mr. Raven, who has given us, by the way, very valuable information upon which we must immediately act. We are also to have Mr. Raven's assistance.'
"Well, we had a glorious hunt, and by Jove, that man Raven is a wonder. He brought us right to the bunch, walked in on them, cool and quiet, pulled two guns and held them till we all got in place. There will be no rebellion among these tribes this year, I am confident."
And though it does not appear in the records it is none the less true that to the influence of Missionary Macdougall among the Stonies and to the vigilance of the North West Mounted Police was it due that during the Rebellion of '85 Canada was spared the unspeakable horrors of an Indian war.
It was this letter that deepened the shadow upon Cameron's face and sharpened the edge on his voice as he looked in upon his hospital friends one bright winter morning.
"You are quite unbearable!" said the little nurse after she had listened to his grumbling for a few minutes. "And you are spoiling us all."
"Spoiling you all?"
"Yes, especially me, and--Nurse Haley."
"Yes. You are disturbing her peace of mind."
"Disturbing her? Me?"
A certain satisfaction crept into Cameron's voice. Nothing is so calculated to restore the poise of the male mind as a consciousness of power to disturb the equilibrium of one of the imperious sex.
"And you must not do it!" continued the little nurse. "She has far too much to bear now."
"And haven't I been just telling you that?" said Cameron savagely. "She never gets off. Night and day she is on the job. I tell you, I won't--it should not be allowed." Cameron was conscious of a fine glow of fraternal interest in this young girl. "For instance, a day like this! Look at these white mountains, and that glorious sky, and this wonderful air, and not a breath of wind! What a day for a walk! It would do her--it would do you all a world of good."
"Wait!" cried the little nurse, who had been on duty all night. "I'll tell her what you say."
Apparently it took some telling, for it was a full precious quarter of an hour before they appeared again.
"There, now, you see the effect of your authority. She would not budge for me, but--well--there she is! Look at her!"
There was no need for this injunction. Cameron's eyes were already fastened upon her. And she was worth any man's while to look at in her tramping costume of toque and blanket coat. Tall, she looked, beside the little nurse, lithe and strong, her close-fitting Hudson Bay blanket coat revealing the swelling lines of her budding womanhood. The dainty white toque perched upon the masses of gold- brown hair accentuated the girlish freshness of her face. At the nurse's words she turned her eyes upon Cameron and upon her face, pale with long night watches, a faint red appeared. But her eyes were quiet and steady and kind; too quiet and too kind for Cameron, who was looking for other signals. There was no sign of disturbance in that face.
"Come on!" he said impatiently. "We have only one hour."
"Oh, what a glorious day!" cried Nurse Haley, drawing a deep breath and striding out like a man to keep pace with Cameron. "And how good of you to spare me the time!"
"I have been trying to get you alone for the last two weeks," said Cameron.
"Yes, for a month! I wanted to talk to you."
"To talk with me? About what?"
"About--well--about everything--about yourself."
"Yes. I don't understand you. You have changed so tremendously."
"Oh," exclaimed the girl, "I am so glad you have noticed that! Have I changed much?"
"Much? I should say so! I find myself wondering if you are the Mandy I used to know at all."
"Oh," she exclaimed, "I am so glad! You see, I needed to change so much."
"But how has it happened?" exclaimed Cameron. "It is a miracle to me."
"How a miracle?"
For a few moments they walked on in silence, the tote road leading them into the forest. After a time the nurse said softly,
"It was you who began it."
"Yes, you--and then the nurse. Oh, I can never repay her! The day that you left--that was a dreadful day. The world was all black. I could not have lived, I think, many days like that. I had to go into town and I couldn't help going to her. Oh, how good she was to me that day! how good! She understood, she understood at once. She made me come for a week to her, and then for altogether. That was the beginning; then I began to see how foolish I had been."
"Yes, wildly foolish! I was like a mad thing, but I did not know then, and I could not help it."
"Oh, everything! But the nurse showed me--she showed me--"
"Showed me how to take care of myself--to take care of my body--of my dress--of my hair. Oh, I remember well," she said with a bright little laugh, "I remember that hair-dresser. Then the doctor came and gave me books and made me read and study--and then I began to see. Oh, it was like a fire--a burning fire within me. And the doctor was good to me, so very patient, till I began to love my profession; to love it at first for myself, and then for others. How good they all were to me those days!--the nurses in the hospital, the doctors, the students--everyone seemed to be kind; but above them all my own nurse here and my own doctor."
In hurried eager speech she poured forth her heart as if anxious to finish her tale--her voice, her eyes, her face all eloquent of the intense emotion that filled her soul.
"It is wonderful!" said Cameron.
"Yes," she replied, "wonderful indeed! And I wanted to see you and have you see me," she continued, still hurrying her speech, "for I could not bear that you should remember me as I was those dreadful days; and I am so glad that you--you--are pleased!" The appeal in her voice and in her eyes roused in Cameron an overwhelming tide of passion.
"Pleased!" he cried. "Pleased! Great Heavens, Mandy! You are wonderful! Don't you know that?"
"No," she said thoughtfully; "but," she drew a long breath, "I like to hear you say it. That is all I want. You see I owe it all to you." The face she turned to him so innocently happy might have been a child's.
"Mandy," cried Cameron, stopping short in his walk, "you--I--!" That frank childlike look in her eyes checked his hot words. But there was no need for words; his eyes spoke for his faltering lips. A look of fear leaped to her eyes, a flow of red blood to her cheeks; then she stood, white, trembling and silent.
"I am tired, I think," she said after a moment's silence, "we will go back."
"Yes, you are tired," said Cameron angrily. "You are tired to death. Mandy, you need some one to take care of you. I wish you would let me." They were now walking back toward the town.
"They are all good to me; they are all kind to me." Her voice was quiet and steady. She had gained control of herself again. "Why, even John the Chinaman," she added with a laugh, "spoils me. Oh, no harm can come to me--I have no fear!"
"But," said Cameron, "I--I want to take care of you, Mandy. I want the right to take care of you, always."
"I know, I know," she said kindly. "You are so good; you were always so good; but I need no one."
Cameron glanced at the lithe, strong, upright figure striding along beside him with easy grace; and the truth came to him in swift and painful revelation.
"You are right," he said as if to himself. "You need no one, and you don't need me."
"But," she cried eagerly, "it was good of you all the same."
"Good!" he said impatiently. "Good! Nonsense! I tell you, Mandy, I want you, I want you. Do you understand? I want to marry you."
"Oh, don't say that!" she cried, stopping short, her voice disturbed, but kindly, gentle and strong. "Don't say that," she repeated, "for, of course, that is impossible."
"Impossible!" he exclaimed angrily.
"Yes," she said, her voice still quiet and steady, "quite impossible. But I love you for saying it, oh--," she suddenly caught her breath. "Oh, I love you for saying it." Then pointing up the road she cried, "Look! Some one for you, I am sure." A horseman was galloping swiftly towards them.
"Oh hang it all!" said Cameron. "What the deuce does he want now?"
"We must talk this out again, Mandy," he said.
"No, no!" she cried, "never again. Please don't, ever again; I could not bear it. But I shall always remember, and--I am so glad." As she spoke, her hands, with her old motion, went to her heart.
"Oh the deuce take it!" said Cameron as the Sergeant flung his horse back on his heels at their side. "What does he want?"
"Constable Cameron," said the Sergeant in a voice of sharp command, "there's a row on. Constable Scott has been very badly handled in trying to make an arrest. You are to report at once for duty."
"All right, Sir," said Cameron, "I shall return immediately."
The Sergeant wheeled and was gone.
"You must go!" cried Mandy, quick fear springing into her eyes.
"Yes," said Cameron, "at once. Come, I shall take you home."
"No, never mind me!" she cried. "Go! Go! I can take care of myself. I shall follow." Her voice rang out strong and clear; she was herself once more.
"You are the right sort, Mandy," cried Cameron, taking her hand. "Good bye!"
"Good bye!" she replied, her face suddenly pale and her lips beginning to quiver. "I shall always remember--I--shall--always be glad for--what you said today."
Cameron stood looking at her for a moment somewhat uncertainly, then,
"Good bye!" he said abruptly, and, turning, went at the double towards his quarters.
The strikers had indeed broken loose, supported by the ruffianly horde of camp followers who were egging them on to violence and destruction of property. At present they were wild with triumph over the fact that they had rescued one of their leaders, big Joe Coyle, from Constable Scott. It was an exceedingly dangerous situation, for the riot might easily spread from camp to camp. Bruised and bloody, Constable Scott reported to Superintendent Strong lying upon his sick bed.
"Sergeant," said the Superintendent, "take Constables Cameron and Scott, arrest that man at once and bring him here!"
In the village they found between eight hundred and a thousand men, many of them crazed with bad whiskey, some armed with knives and some with guns, and all ready for blood. Big Joe Coyle they found in the saloon. Pushing his way through, the Sergeant seized his man by the collar.
"Come along, I want you!" he said, dragging him to the open door.
"Shut that there door, Hep!" drawled a man with a goatee and a moustache dyed glossy black.
"All right, Bill!" shouted the man called Hep, springing to the door; but before he could make it Cameron had him by the collar.
"Hold on, Hep!" he said, "not so fast."
For answer Hep struck hard at him and the crowd of men threw themselves at Cameron and between him and the door. Constable Scott, who also had his hand upon the prisoner, drew his revolver and looked towards the Sergeant who was struggling in the grasp of three or four ruffians.
"No!" shouted the Sergeant above the uproar. "Don't shoot--we have no orders! Let him go!"
"Go on!" he said savagely, giving his prisoner a final shake. "We will come back for you."
There was a loud chorus of derisive cheers. The crowd opened and allowed the Sergeant and constables to pass out. Taking his place at the saloon door with Constable Scott, the Sergeant sent Cameron to report and ask for further orders.
"Ask if we have orders to shoot," said the Sergeant.
Cameron found the Superintendent hardly able to lift his head and made his report.
"The saloon is filled with men who oppose the arrest, Sir. What are your orders?"
"My orders are, Bring that man here, and at once!"
"Have we instructions to shoot?"
"Shoot!" cried the Superintendent, lifting himself on his elbow. "Bring that man if you have to shoot every man in the saloon!"
"Very well, Sir, we will bring him," said Cameron, departing on a run.
At the door of the saloon he found the Sergeant and Constable white hot under the jeers and taunts of the half drunken gang gathered about them.
"What are the orders, Constable Cameron?" enquired the Sergeant in a loud voice.
"The orders are, Shoot every man in the saloon if necessary!" shouted Cameron.
"Revolvers!" commanded the Sergeant. "Constable Cameron, hold the door! Constable Scott, follow me!"
At the door stood the man named Hep, evidently keeping guard.
"Want in?" he said with a grin.
For answer, Cameron gripped his collar, with one fierce jerk lifted him clear out of the door to the platform, and then, putting his body into it, heaved him with a mighty swing far into the crowd below, bringing two or three men to the ground with the impact of his body.
"Come here, man!" cried Cameron again, seizing a second man who stood near the door and flinging him clear off the platform after the unlucky Hep.
Speedily the crowd about the door gave back, and before they were aware the Sergeant and Constable Scott appeared with big Joe Coyle between them.
"Take him!" said the Sergeant to Cameron.
Cameron seized him by the collar.
"Come here!" he said, and, clearing the platform in a spring, he brought his prisoner in a heap with him. "Get up!" he roared at him, jerking him to his feet as if he had been a child.
"Let him go!" shouted the man with the goatee, named Bill, rushing up.
"Take that, then," said Cameron, giving him a swift half-arm jab on the jaw, "and I'll come back for you again," he added, as the man fell back into the arms of his friends.
"Forward!" said the Sergeant, falling in with Constable Scott behind Cameron and facing the crowd with drawn revolvers. The swift fierceness of the attack seemed to paralyse the senses of the crowd.
"Come on, boys!" yelled the goatee man, bloody and savage with Cameron's blow. "Don't let the blank blank blank rattle you like a lot of blank blank chickens. Come on!"
At once rose a roar from eight hundred throats like nothing human in its sound, and the crowd began to press close upon the Police. But the revolvers had an ugly appearance to those in front looking into their little black throats.
"Aw, come on!" yelled a man half drunk, running with a lurch upon the Sergeant.
"Crack!" went the Sergeant's revolver, and the man dropped with a bullet through his shoulder.
"Next man," shouted the Sergeant, "I shall kill!"
The crowd gave back and gathered round the wounded man. A stream lay in the path of the Police, crossed by a little bridge.
"Hurry!" said the Sergeant, "let's make the bridge before they come again." But before they could make the bridge the crowd had recovered from their momentary panic and, with wild oaths and yells and brandishing knives and guns, came on with a rush, led by goatee Bill.
Already the prisoner was half way across the bridge, the Sergeant and the constable guarding the entrance, when above the din was heard a roar as of some animal enraged. Looking beyond the Police the crowd beheld a fearsome sight. It was the Superintendent himself, hatless, and with uniform in disarray, a sword in one hand, a revolver in the other. Across the bridge he came like a tornado and, standing at the entrance, roared,
"Listen to me, you dogs! The first man who sets foot on this bridge I shall shoot dead, so help me God!"
His towering form, his ferocious appearance and his well-known reputation for utter fearlessness made the crowd pause and, before they could make up their minds to attack that resolute little company headed by their dread commander, the prisoner was safe over the bridge and well up the hill toward the guard room. Half way up the hill the Superintendent met Cameron returning from the disposition of his prisoner.
"There's another man down there, Sir, needs looking after," he said.
"Better let them cool off, Cameron," said the Superintendent.
"I promised I'd go for him, Sir," said Cameron, his face all ablaze for battle.
"Then go for him," said the Superintendent. "Let a couple of you go along--but I am done--just now."
"We will see you up the hill, Sir," said the Sergeant.
"Come on, Scott!" said Cameron, setting off for the village once more.
The crowd had returned from the bridge and the leaders had already sought their favourite resort, the saloon. Straight to the door marched Cameron, followed by Scott. Close to the counter stood goatee Bill, loudly orating, and violently urging the breaking in of the guard room and the release of the prisoner.
"In my country," he yelled, "we'd have that feller out in about six minutes in spite of all the blank blank Police in this blank country. They ain't no good. They're scairt to death."
At this point Cameron walked in upon him and laid a compelling grip upon his collar. Instantly Bill reached for his gun, but Cameron, swiftly shifting his grip to his arm, wrenched him sharply about and struck him one blow on the ear. As if held by a hinge, the head fell over on one side and the man slithered to the floor.
"Out of the way!" shouted Cameron, dragging his man with him, but just as he reached the door a heavy glass came singing through the air and caught him on the head. For a moment he staggered, caught hold of the lintel and held himself steady.
"Here, Scott," he cried, "put the bracelets on him."
With revolver drawn Constable Scott sprang to his side.
"Come out!" he said to the goatee man, slipping the handcuffs over his wrists, while Cameron, still clinging to the lintel, was fighting back the faintness that was overpowering him. Seeing his plight, Hep sprang toward him, eager for revenge, but Cameron covering him with his gun held him in check and, with a supreme effort getting command of himself, again stepped towards Hep.
"Now, then," he said between his clenched teeth, "will you come?" So terrible were his voice and look that Hep's courage wilted.
"I'll come, Colonel, I'll come," he said quickly.
"Come then," said Cameron, reaching for him and bringing him forward with a savage jerk.
In three minutes from the time the attack was made both men, thoroughly subdued and handcuffed, were marched off in charge of the constables.
"Hurry, Scott," said Cameron in a low voice to his comrade. "I am nearly in."
With all possible speed they hustled their prisoners along over the bridge and up the hill. At the hospital door, as they passed, Dr. Martin appeared.
"Hello, Cameron!" he cried. "Got him, eh?" Great Caesar, man, what's up?" he added as Cameron, turning his head, revealed a face and neck bathed in blood. "You are white as a ghost."
"Get me a drink, old chap. I am nearly in," said Cameron in a faint voice.
"Come into my tent here," said the doctor.
"Got to see these prisoners safe first," said Cameron, swaying on his feet.
"Come in, you idiot!" cried the doctor.
"Go in, Cameron," said Constable Scott. "I'll take care of 'em all right," he added, drawing his gun.
"No," said Cameron, still with his hand on goatee Bill's collar. "I'll see them safe first," saying which he swayed drunkenly about and, but for Bill's support, would have fallen.
"Go on!" said Bill good-naturedly. "Don't mind me. I'm good now."
"Come!" said the doctor, supporting him into the tent.
"Forward!" commanded Constable Scott, and marched his prisoners before him up the hill.
The wound on Cameron's head was a ghastly affair, full six inches long, and went to the bone.
"Rather ugly," said the doctor, feeling round the wound. "Nurse!" he called. "Nurse!" The little nurse came running in. "Some water and a sponge!"
There was a cry behind her--low, long, pitiful.
"Oh, what is this?" With a swift movement Nurse Haley was beside the doctor's bed. Cameron, who had been lying with his eyes closed and was ghastly white from loss of blood, opened his eyes and smiled up into the face above him.
"I feel fine--now," he said and closed his eyes again.
"Let me do that," said Nurse Haley with a kind of jealous fierceness, taking the sponge and basin from the little nurse.
Examination revealed nothing more serious, however, than a deep scalp wound and a slight concussion.
"He will be fit enough in a couple of days," said the doctor when the wound was dressed.
Then, pale and haggard as if with long watching, Nurse Haley went to her room there to fight out her lonely fight while Cameron slept.
The day passed in quiet, the little nurse on guard, and the doctor looking in every half hour upon his patient. As evening fell Cameron woke and demanded Nurse Haley. The doctor felt his pulse.
"Send her in!" he said and left the tent.
The rays of the sun setting far down the Pass shone through the walls and filled the tent with a soft radiance. Into this radiance she came, her face pale as of one who has come through conflict, and serene as of one who has conquered, pale and strong and alight, not with the radiance of the setting sun, but with light of a soul that has made the ancient sacrifice of self-effacing love.
"You want me?" she said, her voice low and sweet, but for all her brave serenity tremulous.
"Yes," said Cameron, holding out his arms. "I want you; I want you, Mandy."
"Oh," cried the girl, while her hands fluttered to her heart, "don't ask me to go through it again. I am so weak." She stood like a frightened bird poised for flight.
"Come," he said, "I want you."
"You want me? You said you wanted to take care of me," she breathed.
"I was a fool, Mandy; a conceited fool! Now I know what I want--I want--just you. Come." Again he lifted his arms.
"Oh, it cannot be," she breathed as if to herself. "Are you sure-- sure? I could not bear it if you were not sure."
"Come, dear love," he cried, "with all my heart and soul and body I want you--I want only you."
For a single moment longer she stood, her soul searching his through her wonderful eyes. Then with a little sigh she sank into his arms.
"Oh, my darling," she whispered, wreathing her strong young arms around his neck and laying her cheek close to his, "my darling, I thought I had given you up, but how could I have done it?"
At the hospital door the doctor was on guard. A massive figure loomed in the doorway.
"Hello, Superintendent Strong, what on earth are you doing out of bed?"
"Where is he?" said the Superintendent abruptly.
"Corporal Cameron? Constable Cameron is--"
"Corporal Cameron, I said. I have just had Constable Scott's report and felt I must see him at once."
"Come in, Superintendent! Sit down! I shall enquire if he is resting. Nurse! Nurse! Enquire if Corporal Cameron can be seen."
The little nurse tip-toed into the doctor's tent, lifted the curtain, took one glance and drew swiftly back. This is what her eyes looked upon. A girl's form kneeling by the bed, golden hair mingling with black upon the pillow, two strong arms holding her close and hers wreathed in answering embrace.
"Mr. Cameron I am afraid," she reported, "cannot be seen. He is--I think--he is--engaged."
"Ah!" said the doctor.
"Well," said the Superintendent, "just tell Corporal Cameron for me that I am particularly well pleased with his bearing to-day, and that I hope he will be very soon fit for duty."
"Certainly, Superintendent. Now let me help you up the hill."
"Never mind, here's the Sergeant. Good evening! Very fine thing! Very fine thing indeed! I see rapid promotion in his profession for that young man."
"Inspector, eh?" said the doctor.
"Yes, Sir, I should without hesitation recommend him and should be only too pleased to have him as Inspector in my command."
It was not, however, as Inspector that Corporal Cameron served under the gallant Superintendent, but in another equally honourable capacity did they ride away together one bright April morning a few weeks later, on duty for their Queen and country. But that is another story.
"That message ought to be delivered, nurse," said the doctor thoughtfully.
"But not at once," replied the nurse.
"It is important," urged the doctor.
"Yes, but--there are other things."
"Ah! Other things?"
"Yes, equally--pressing," said the nurse with an undeniably joyous laugh. The doctor looked at her a moment.
"Ah, nurse," he said in a shocked tone, "how often have I deprecated your tendency to--"
"I don't care one bit!" laughed the nurse saucily.
"The message ought to be delivered," insisted the doctor firmly as he moved toward the tent door.
"Well, deliver it then. But wait!" The little nurse ran in before him and called "Nu-u-u-r-s-e Ha-l-ey!"
"All right!" called Cameron from the inside. "Come in!"
"Go on then," said the little nurse to the doctor, "you wanted to."
"A message from the Superintendent," said the doctor, lifting the curtain and passing in.
"Don't move, Mandy," said Cameron. "Never mind him."
"No, don't, I beg," said the doctor, ignoring what he saw. "A message, an urgent message for--Corporal Cameron!"
"Corporal Cameron?" echoed Nurse Haley.
"He distinctly said and repeated it--Corporal Cameron. And the Corporal is to report for duty as speedily as possible."
"He can't go," said Mandy, standing up very straight with a light in her eyes that the doctor had not seen since that tragic night nearly two years before.
"Can't, eh?" said the doctor. "But the Superintendent says Corporal Cameron is--"
"Corporal Cameron can't go!"
"Yes, I forbid it."
"The Corporal is--?"
"Yes," she said proudly, "the Corporal is mine."
"Then," said the doctor emphatically, "of all the lucky chaps it has been my fortune to meet, by all the gods the luckiest of them is this same Corporal Cameron!"
And Cameron, drawing down to him again the girl standing so straight and proud beside him, looked up at his friend and said:
"Yes, old chap, the luckiest man in all the world is that same Corporal Cameron."
|Art of Worldly Wisdom Daily|
In the 1600s, Balthasar Gracian, a jesuit priest wrote 300 aphorisms on living life called "The Art of Worldly Wisdom." Join our newsletter below and read them all, one at a time.
Shakespeare wrote over 150 sonnets! Join our Sonnet-A-Day Newsletter and read them all, one at a time.