Now he said carefully, “Miss Vitali will be all right. For the moment she is suffering from shock. She needs rest.'' ”What else? What was the matter with her?'' “She had swum a long way. She was not in a condition to undertake such a physical strain.'' ”Why not?''

The doctor moved toward the door. “And now you too must rest. You have been through much. You will take one of those hypnotics once every six hours. Yes? And plenty of sleep. You will soon be on your feet again. But for some time you must take it easy, Mr. Bond.'' Take it easy. You must take it easy, Mr. Bond. Where had he heard those idiotic words before? Suddenly Bond was raging with fury. He lurched out of bed. In spite of the sudden giddiness, he staggered toward the doctor. He shook a fist in the urbane face---urbane because the doctor was used to the emotional storms of patients, and because he knew that in minutes the strong soporific would put Bond out for hours. ”Take it easy! God damn you! What do you know about taking it easy? Tell me what's the matter with that girl! Where is she? What's the number of her room?'' Bond's hands fell limply to his sides. He said feebly, "For God's sake tell me, Doctor. I, I need to know.''

Dr. Stengel said patiently, kindly, “Someone has ill-treated her. She is suffering from burns---many burns. She is still in great pain. But''---he waved a reassuring hand---”inside she is well. She is in the next room, in No. 4. You may see her, but only for a minute. Then she will sleep. And so will you. Yes?'' He held open the door.

"Thank you. Thank you, Doctor.'' Bond walked out of the room with faltering steps. His blasted legs were beginning to give again. The doctor watched him go to the door of No. 4, watched him open it and close it again behind him with the exaggerated care of a drunken man. The doctor went off along the corridor thinking: It won't do him any harm and it may do her some good. It is what she needs---some tenderness.

Inside the small room, the jalousies threw bands of light and shadow over the bed. Bond staggered over to the bed and knelt down beside it. The small head on the pillow turned toward him. A hand came out and grasped his hair, pulling his head closer to her. Her voice said huskily, "You are to stay here. Do you understand? You are not to go away.''

When Bond didn't answer, she feebly shook his head to and fro, "Do you hear me, James? Do you understand?'' She felt Bond's body slipping to the floor. When she let go his hair, he slumped down on the rug beside her bed. She carefully shifted her position and looked down at him. He was already asleep with his head cradled on the inside of his forearm.

The girl watched the dark, rather cruel face for a moment. Then she gave a small sigh, pulled the pillow to the edge of the bed so that it was just above him, laid her head down so that she could see him whenever she wanted to, and closed her eyes.


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