A Poor Wise Man HTML version

Chapter 40
Edith Boyd's child was prematurely born at the Memorial Hospital early the next
morning. It lived only a few moments, but Edith's mother never knew either of its
birth or of its death.
When Willy Cameron reached the house at two o'clock that night he found Dan in
the lower hall, a new Dan, grave and composed but very pale.
"Mother's gone, Willy," he said quietly. "I don't think she knew anything about it.
Ellen heard her breathing hard and went in, but she wasn't conscious." He sat
down on the horse-hair covered chair by the stand. "I don't know anything about
these things," he observed, still with that strange new composure. "What do you
do now?"
"Don't worry about that, Dan, just now. There's nothing to do until morning."
He looked about him. The presence of death gave a new dignity to the little
house. Through the open door he could see in the parlor Mrs. Boyd's rocking
chair, in which she had traveled so many conversational miles. Even the chair
had gained dignity; that which it had once enthroned had now penetrated the
ultimate mystery.
He was shaken and very weary. His mind worked slowly and torpidly, so that
even grief came with an effort. He was grieved; he knew that. Some one who had
loved him and depended on him was gone; some one who loved life had lost it.
He ran his hand over his singed hair.
"Where is Edith?"
Dan's voice hardened.
"She's out somewhere. It's like her, isn't it?"
Willy Cameron roused himself.
"Out?" he said incredulously. "Don't you know where she is?"
"No. And I don't care."
Willy Cameron was fully alert now, and staring down at Dan.