Page:O Henry Prize Stories of 1924.djvu/196

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spectacles. I bought them from such a peddler twenty years ago.”

"I’ll bet you did,” mocked the doctor.

He came across the room holding the bandage as a child might hold a cat’s cradle and tied it tight round Tilly’s eyes.

“Not a whole week!” wailed Tilly.

“A whole week,” said the doctor, pulling on his gloves. “Betsey can surely amuse you for a week.”

It was nine o’clock in the morning and the Shindledecker kitchen was in order for the day. The cow had been milked hours ago, the dog and cat had been fed, the human beings had eaten their breakfasts, the dishes had been washed, and a dozen doughnuts, four pans of rusk, three pies, and one cake had been baked. At the window sat Betsey, a mass of blue, star-dotted material on her lap. The starry quilt was out of the frame and she was putting in the hem. Outside the rain poured upon the sodden earth. From within the landscape looked inexpressibly dreary, but when the door was opened there came in the smell of spring.

Tilly did not sit at the window, nor was there sewing in her lap; she sat in the corner of the settle and her hands were empty. The black bandage remained across her eyes.

"First it was a week,” she said, despairingly. ‘Then another week and another week, and now yet another week.”

“I have a feeling that next time it will be different.”

Betsey spoke in the strained voice of one determined to be cheerful.

“I have no such feeling,” answered Tilly. “I feel that he will come and come and come and that I will sit and sit and sit. If it was only something in the world to do!”

“I’ll read to you,” offered Betsey.

“I know the Bible from beginning to end,” declared Tilly. “I’ve read it every day since I was little. I don’t believe it’s meant we shall get stale on it. And the hymn book, that I not only know, but I can say it and sing it from the beginning to the Doxology, both German and English. And the Martyr Book, that I know, too. I know all about how they were persecuted and driven out and sent to prison and beheaded. I know how one of the brethren was burned with