knuckles, turning his shoulder toward her in shyness.
Didn't she remember--what was it?--Kennicott sitting beside her at Fort
Snelling, urging, "See how scared that baby is. Needs some woman like
Magic had fluttered about her then--magic of sunset and cool air and the
curiosity of lovers. She held out her hands as much to that sanctity as
to the boy.
He edged into the room, doubtfully sucking his thumb.
"Hello," she said. "What's your name?"
"Hee, hee, hee!"
"You're quite right. I agree with you. Silly people like me always ask
children their names."
"Hee, hee, hee!"
"Come here and I'll tell you the story of--well, I don't know what it
will be about, but it will have a slim heroine and a Prince Charming."
He stood stoically while she spun nonsense. His giggling ceased. She was
winning him. Then the telephone bell--two long rings, one short.
Mrs. Erdstrom galloped into the room, shrieked into the transmitter,
"Vell? Yes, yes, dis is Erdstrom's place! Heh? Oh, you vant de doctor?"
Kennicott appeared, growled into the telephone:
"Well, what do you want? Oh, hello Dave; what do you want? Which
Morgenroth's? Adolph's? All right. Amputation? Yuh, I see. Say, Dave,
get Gus to harness up and take my surgical kit down there--and have him
take some chloroform. I'll go straight down from here. May not get
home tonight. You can get me at Adolph's. Huh? No, Carrie can give the
anesthetic, I guess. G'-by. Huh? No; tell me about that tomorrow--too
damn many people always listening in on this farmers' line."
He turned to Carol. "Adolph Morgenroth, farmer ten miles southwest of
town, got his arm crushed-fixing his cow-shed and a post caved in on
him--smashed him up pretty bad--may have to amputate, Dave Dyer says.
Afraid we'll have to go right from here. Darn sorry to drag you clear
down there with me----"
"Please do. Don't mind me a bit."
"Think you could give the anesthetic? Usually have my driver do it."
"If you'll tell me how."
"All right. Say, did you hear me putting one over on these goats that
are always rubbering in on party-wires? I hope they heard me! Well. . . .
Now, Bessie, don't you worry about Nels. He's getting along all right.
Tomorrow you or one of the neighbors drive in and get this prescription
filled at Dyer's. Give him a teaspoonful every four hours. Good-by.
Hel-lo! Here's the little fellow! My Lord, Bessie, it ain't possible
this is the fellow that used to be so sickly? Why, say, he's a great big
strapping Svenska now--going to be bigger 'n his daddy!"
Kennicott's bluffness made the child squirm with a delight which Carol
could not evoke. It was a humble wife who followed the busy doctor out
to the carriage, and her ambition was not to play Rachmaninoff better,
nor to build town halls, but to chuckle at babies.
The sunset was merely a flush of rose on a dome of silver, with oak
twigs and thin poplar branches against it, but a silo on the horizon
changed from a red tank to a tower of violet misted over with gray. The