I lifted myself, and began looking for my crutches. John found them and put them into my hand, with a grave, pitiful look.
“You don’t need those sort of things,” I said, making pretense to laugh, for I had not grown used to them and felt often ashamed.
“I hope you will not need them always.”
“Perhaps not—Doctor Jessup isn’t sure. But it doesn’t matter much; most likely I shan’t live long.” For this was, God forgive me, always the last and greatest comfort I had.
John looked at me—surprised, troubled, compassionate—but he did not say a word. I hobbled past him; he following through the long passage to the garden door. There I paused—tired out. John Halifax took gentle hold of my shoulder.
“I think, if you did not mind, I’m sure I could carry you. I carried a meal sack once, weighing eight stone.”
I burst out laughing, which may be was what he wanted, and forthwith consented to assume the place of the meal sack. He took me on his back—what a strong fellow he was!—and fairly trotted with me down the garden walk. We were both very merry, and though I was his senior, I seemed with him, out of my great weakness and infirmity, to feel almost like a child.