Page:The Voyage Out.djvu/335

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333
THE VOYAGE OUT

There's a bundle of letters for you—letters from England."

Instead of saying, as he meant her to say, that she wished to see them, she said nothing for some time.

"You see, there they go, rolling off the edge of the hill," she said suddenly.

"Rolling, Rachel? What do you see rolling? There's nothing rolling."

"The old woman with the knife," she replied, not speaking to Terence in particular, and looking past him. As she appeared to be looking at a vase on the shelf opposite, he rose and took it down.

"Now they can't roll any more," he said cheerfully. Nevertheless she lay gazing at the same spot, and paid him no further attention although he spoke to her. He became so profoundly wretched that he could not endure to sit with her, but wandered about until he found St. John, who was reading The Times in the verandah. He laid it aside patiently, and heard all that Terence had to say about delirium. He was very patient with Terence. He treated him like a child.

By Friday it could not be denied that the illness was no longer an attack that would pass off in a day or two; it was a real illness that required a good deal of organisation, and engrossed the attention of at least five people, but there was no reason to be anxious. Instead of lasting five days it was going to last ten days. Rodriguez was understood to say that there were well-known varieties of this illness. Rodriguez appeared to think that they were treating the illness with undue anxiety. His visits were always marked by the same show of confidence, and in his interviews with Terence he always waved aside his anxious and minute questions with a kind of flourish which seemed to indicate that they were all taking it much too seriously. He seemed curiously unwilling to sit down.

"A high temperature," he said, looking furtively about the room, and appearing to be more interested in the furniture and in Helen's embroidery than in anything else. "In this climate you must expect a high temperature. You need not be alarmed by that. It is the pulse we go by" (he tapped his own hairy wrist), "and the pulse continues excellent."