Chapter 26

           MartinEdendidnotgoouttohuntforajobinthemorning. Itwaslateafternoonbeforehecameoutofhisdeliriumandgazedwithachingeyesabouttheroom. Mary,oneofthetribeofSilva,eightyearsold,keepingwatch,raisedascreechatsightofhisreturningconsciousness. Mariahurriedintotheroomfromthekitchen. Sheputherwork-callousedhanduponhishotforeheadandfelthispulse. 

           "Youlikadaeat?"sheasked. 

           Heshookhishead. Eatingwasfarthestfromhisdesire,andhewonderedthatheshouldeverhavebeenhungryinhislife. 

           "I’msick,Maria,"hesaidweakly. "Whatisit? Doyouknow?" 

           "Grip,"sheanswered. "Twoorthreedaysyoualladaright. Betteryounoeatnow. Bimebyplentycaneat,tomorrowcaneatmaybe." 

           Martinwasnotusedtosickness,andwhenMariaandherlittlegirllefthim,heessayedtogetupanddress. Byasupremeexertionofwill,withrearingbrainandeyesthatachedsothathecouldnotkeepthemopen,hemanagedtogetoutofbed,onlytobeleftstrandedbyhissensesuponthetable. Halfanhourlaterhemanagedtoregainthebed,wherehewascontenttoliewithclosedeyesandanalyzehisvariouspainsandweaknesses. Mariacameinseveraltimestochangethecoldclothsonhisforehead. Otherwiseshelefthiminpeace,toowisetovexhimwithchatter. Thismovedhimtogratitude,andhemurmuredtohimself,"Maria,yougettadamilkaranch,allrighta,allright." 

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