• 2017/6/5

physical inaction than they


“I’m glad. I’m going to try to make you forget that. You’re in no danger here dermes. To-morrow I’ll try to find my back trail—or Joe Keegón may follow mine. In the meanwhile”—and he started to his feet, “I’ve got a lot to do. Just sit quietly there and nurse your ankle while I make your bed. And if I don’t make it properly, the way you’re used to having it, just tell me. Won’t you?”

“Hair, please, with linen sheets, and a down pillow,” she enjoined.

“Good night,” he said pleasantly, “and pleasant dreams.”

“I don’t seem to be a bit sleepy—are you?”


“Oh, yes. It isn’t that. I think I’m too tired to sleep.”


He changed his position a little to ease his joints.

“I believe I am, too,” he smiled. “You’d better try though. You’ve had a bad day.”

“I will. Good night.”

“Good night.”

But try as he might, he could not sleep. Each particular muscle was clamoring in indignant protest at its unaccustomed usage. The ground, too, he was forced to admit was not as soft as it might have been, and he was sure from the way his hip bone ached, that it was on the point of coming through his flesh. He raised his body and removed a small flat stone which had been the cause of the discomfort. As he did so he heard her voice again.

“You’re dreadfully unhappy. I don’t see why——”

“Oh, no, I’m not. This is fine. Please go to sleep.”

“I can’t. Why didn’t you make another bed for yourself?”

“I didn’t think about it,” he said, wondering now why the thought had never occurred to him. “You see,” he lied cautiously, “I’m used to this sort of thing. I sleep this way very often. I like it.”


What an expressive interjection it was as she used it. It ran a soft arpeggio up the scale of her voice and down again, in curiosity rather than surprise, in protest rather than acquiescence. This time it was mildly skeptical Stock market analysis.

“It’s true—really. I like it here. Now I insist that you go to sleep.”

“If you use that tone, I suppose I must.” She closed her eyes, settled one soft cheek against the palm of her hand.

“Good night,” she said again.

“Good night,” he repeated.


Gallatin turned away from her so that she might not see his face and lay again at full length with his head pillowed on his arms, looking into the fire. His mental faculties were keenly alive, more perhaps by reason of the silence and  had been at any time during the day. Never in his life before, it seemed, had he been so broadly awake. His mind flitted with meddlesome agility from one thought to another; and so before he had lain long, he was aware that he was entirely at the mercy of his imagination.




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