داستان کو تاه The Skylight Room صفحه 5
تعداد بازديد : 414
As she lay on her back she tried twice to raise her arm. The third time she got two thin fingers to her lips and blew a kiss out of the black pit to Billy Jackson. Her arm fell back limply. 'Good-bye, Billy,' she murmured faintly. 'You're millions of miles away and you won't even twinkle once. But you kept where I could see you most of the time up there when there wasn't anything else but darkness to look at, didn't you? . . . Millions of m i l e s . . . . Good-bye, Billy Jackson.' Clara, the coloured maid, found the door locked at ten the next day, and they forced it open. Vinegar, and the slapping of wrists and even burnt feathers, proving of no avail, someone ran to 'phone for an ambulance. In due time it backed up to the door with much gong-clanging, and the capable young medico, in his white linen coat, ready, active, confident, with his smooth face half debonair, half grim, danced up the steps. 'Ambulance call to 49,' he said briefly. 'What's the trouble?' 'Oh yes, doctor,' sniffed Mrs. Parker, as though her trouble that there should be trouble in the house was the greater. 'I can't think what can be the matter with her. Nothing we could do would bring her to. It's a young woman, a Miss Elsie - yes, a Miss Elsie Leeson. Never before in my house - ' 'What room?' cried the doctor in a terrible voice, to which Mrs. Parker was a stranger. 'The skylight room. It - ' Evidently the ambulance doctor was familiar with the location of skylight rooms. He was gone up the stairs, four at a time. Mrs. Parker followed slowly, as her dignity demanded. On the first landing she met him coming back bearing the astronomer in his arms. He stopped and let loose the practised scalpel of his tongue, not loudly. Gradually Mrs. Parker crumpled as a stiff garment that slips down from a nail. Ever afterwards there remained crumples in her mind and body. Sometimes her curious roomers would ask her what the doctor said to her. 'Let that be,' she would answer. 'If I can get forgiveness for having heard it I will be satisfied.' The ambulance physician strode with his burden through the pack of hounds that follow the curiosity chase, and even they fell back along the sidewalk abashed, for his face was that of one who bears his own dead. They noticed that he did not lay down upon the bed prepared for it in the ambulance the form that he carried, and all that he said was: 'Drive like h - l, Wilson,' to the driver.