Trent's Trust and Other Stories
The Convalescence Of Jack Hamlin
The habitually quiet, ascetic face of Seth Rivers was somewhat disturbed and his brows
were knitted as he climbed the long ascent of Windy Hill to its summit and his own
rancho. Perhaps it was the effect of the characteristic wind, which that afternoon seemed
to assault him from all points at once and did not cease its battery even at his front door,
but hustled him into the passage, blew him into the sitting room, and then celebrated its
own exit from the long, rambling house by the banging of doors throughout the halls and
the slamming of windows in the remote distance.
Mrs. Rivers looked up from her work at this abrupt onset of her husband, but without
changing her own expression of slightly fatigued self-righteousness. Accustomed to these
elemental eruptions, she laid her hands from force of habit upon the lifting tablecloth, and
then rose submissively to brush together the scattered embers and ashes from the large
hearthstone, as she had often done before.
"You're in early, Seth," she said.
"Yes. I stopped at the Cross Roads Post Office. Lucky I did, or you'd hev had kempany
on your hands afore you knowed it—this very night! I found this letter from Dr.
Duchesne," and he produced a letter from his pocket.
Mrs. Rivers looked up with an expression of worldly interest. Dr. Duchesne had brought
her two children into the world with some difficulty, and had skillfully attended her
through a long illness consequent upon the inefficient maternity of soulful but fragile
American women of her type. The doctor had more than a mere local reputation as a
surgeon, and Mrs. Rivers looked up to him as her sole connecting link with a world of
thought beyond Windy Hill.
"He's comin' up yer to-night, bringin' a friend of his—a patient that he wants us to board
and keep for three weeks until he's well agin," continued Mr. Rivers. "Ye know how the
doctor used to rave about the pure air on our hill."
Mrs. Rivers shivered slightly, and drew her shawl over her shoulders, but nodded a
"Well, he says it's just what that patient oughter have to cure him. He's had lung fever and
other things, and this yer air and gin'ral quiet is bound to set him up. We're to board and
keep him without any fuss or feathers, and the doctor sez he'll pay liberal for it. This yer's
what he sez," concluded Mr. Rivers, reading from the letter: "'He is now fully
convalescent, though weak, and really requires no other medicine than the—ozone'—yes,
that's what the doctor calls it—'of Windy Hill, and in fact as little attendance as possible.
I will not let him keep even his negro servant with him. He'll give you no trouble, if he
can be prevailed upon to stay the whole time of his cure.'"