A Man's Woman
When Adler heard Bennett's uncertain steps upon the stairs and the sound of
Lloyd's voice speaking to him and urging that there was no hurry, and that he
was to take but one step at a time, he wheeled swiftly about from the windows of
the glass-room, where he had been watching the October breeze stirring the
crimson and yellow leaves in the orchard, and drew back his master's chair from
the breakfast table and stood behind it expectantly, his eyes watching the door.
Lloyd held back the door, and Bennett came in, leaning heavily on Dr. Pitts's
shoulder. Adler stiffened upon the instant as if in answer to some unheard bugle-
call, and when Bennett had taken his seat, pushed his chair gently to the table
and unfolded his napkin with a flourish as though giving a banner to the wind.
Pitts almost immediately left the room, but Lloyd remained supervising Bennett's
breakfast, pouring his milk, buttering his toast, and opening his eggs.
"Coffee?" suddenly inquired Bennett. Lloyd shook her head.
"Not for another week."
Bennett looked with grim disfavour upon the glass of milk that Lloyd had placed
at his elbow.
"Such slop!" he growled. "Why not a little sugar and warm water, and be done
with it? Lloyd, I can't drink this stuff any more. Why, it's warm yet!" he exclaimed
aggrievedly and with deep disgust, abruptly setting down the glass.
"Why, of course it is," she answered; "we brought the cow here especially for
you, and the boy has just done milking her—and it's not slop."
"Slop! slop!" declared Bennett. He picked up the glass again and looked at her
over the rim.
"I'll drink this stuff this one more time to please you," he said. "But I promise you
this will be the last time. You needn't ask me again. I have drunk enough milk the
past three weeks to support a foundling hospital for a year."
Invariably, since the period of his convalescence began, Bennett made this
scene over his hourly glass of milk, and invariably it ended by his gulping it down
at nearly a single swallow.
Adler brought in the mail and the morning paper. Three letters had come for
Lloyd, and for Bennett a small volume on "Recent Arctic Research and
Exploration," sent by his publisher with a note to the effect that, as the latest