Excerpt: ...showed no symptoms yet, has she?" she asked, testing
one of the buttons as if sceptical of her thread. "Well, no; not
yet. But then Dan seemed as smart as anybody six months ago, and
just look at him to-day " The mental eyes of a score of women were
turned upon Dan, as he was daily seen, round-shouldered and
hollow-chested, toiling along the snowy country roads to and from
school, coughing as he went. The topic was not an uncongenial one
to the members of the sewing-circle, who had really very little to
talk about. So absorbed were they, indeed, in the discussion of
poor Dan's fate, and of the long list of casualties that had
preceded it, that no one noticed the entrance of a young girl,
rosy-cheeked and bright-eyed, who had come to help with the supper.
There was an air of peculiar freshness about her, and as she stood
in her blue dress and white apron near the door, her ruddy brown
hair shining in the lamp-light, the effect was like the opening of
a window in a close room. Her step was arrested in 135 the act of
coming forward, and, as she paused to listen, the pretty colour was
quite blotted out of her cheeks. "I don't think Dan's will be a
lingering case," Mrs. Lapham was saying. "The lingering cases are
the most trying." Polly stood motionless. Was it true then, that
which she had dreaded, that which she had shrunk from facing? Was
it more than a cold that Dan had got? Was Dan really ill? Her Dan?
Really ill? Her heart was beating like a trip-hammer, but no one
seemed to hear it. "Queer that the doctors don't find any cure for
lung-trouble," Mrs. Royce was saying. "Seems as though there must
be some way of stopping it, if you could only find it out." "Have
you tried Kinderling's Certain Cure?" asked Mrs. Dodge. "They do
say that it's very efficacious." "Well, no," said Mrs. Lapham; "I
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