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When a Man Marries

It Was Delirium
I was sure he was dead. He did not move, and when I caught his hands and called him
frantically, he did not hear me. And so, with the horror over me, I half fell down the stairs
and roused Jim in the studio.
They all came with lights and blankets, and they carried him into the tent and put him on
the couch and tried to put whisky in his mouth. But he could not swallow. And the
silence became more and more ominous until finally Anne got hysterical and cried, "He
is dead! Dead!" and collapsed on the roof.
But he was not. Just as the lights in the tent began to have red rings around them and
Jim's voice came from away across the river, somebody said, "There, he swallowed that,"
and soon after, he opened his eyes. He muttered something that sounded like "Andean
pinnacle" and lapsed into unconsciousness again. But he was not dead! He was not dead!
When the doctor came they made a stretcher out of one of Jim's six-foot canvases--it had
a picture on it, and Jim was angry enough the next day--and took him down to the studio.
We made it as much like a sick-room as we could, and we tried to make him comfortable.
But he lay without opening his eyes, and at dawn the doctor brought a consultant and a
trained nurse.
The nurse was an offensively capable person. She put us all out, and scolded Anne for
lighting Japanese incense in the room--although Anne explained that it is very reviving.
And she said that it was unnecessary to have a dozen people breathing up all the oxygen
and asphyxiating the patient. She was good-looking, too. I disliked her at once. Any one
could see by the way she took his pulse--just letting his poor hand hang, without any
support--that she was a purely mechanical creature, without heart.
Well, as I said before, she put us all out, and shut the door, and asked us not to whisper
outside. Then, too, she refused to allow any flowers in the room, although Betty had got a
florist out of bed to order some.
The consultant came, stayed an hour, and left. Aunt Selina, who proved herself a trump in
that trying time, waylaid him in the hall, and he said it might be a fractured skull,
although it was possibly only concussion.
The men spent most of the morning together in the den, with the door shut. Now and then
one of them would tiptoe upstairs, ask the nurse how her patient was doing, and creak
down again. Just before noon they all went to the roof and examined again the place
where he had been found. I know, for I was in the upper hall outside the studio. I stayed
there almost all day, and after a while the nurse let me bring her things as she needed
them. I don't know why mother didn't let me study nursing--I always wanted to do it. And
I felt helpless and childish now, when there were things to be done.
Max came down from the roof alone, and I cornered him in the upper hall.
"I'm going crazy, Max," I said. "Nobody will tell me anything, and I can't stand it. How
was he hurt? Who hurt him?"
 
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