She took his hand, that was not able to prevent her, and unbound the linen. When she saw the swelling, she shuddered, and gave a cry:
“It is a little swollen,” he said; “it will be over in four and twenty hours.”
“She shook her head. “It will certainly be a week before you can go to sea.”
“More likely a day or two; and if not, what matters?”
She had fetched a basin, and began carefully washing out the wound, which he suffered passively, like a child. She then laid on the healing leaves, which at once relieved the burning pain, and finally bound it up with the linen she had brought with her.
When it was done: “I thank you,” he said. “And now, if you would do me one more kindness, forgive the madness that came over me; forget all I said and did. I cannot tell how it came to pass; certainly it was not your fault—not yours. And never shall you hear from me again one word to vex you.”
She interrupted him. “It is who I have to beg your pardon. I should have spoken differently. I might have explained it better, and not enraged you with my sullen ways. And now that bite—”
“It was in self defense; it was high time to bring me to my senses. As I said before, it is nothing at all to signify. Do not talk of being for you only did me good, and I thank you for it. And now, here your handkerchief; take it with you.” lie held it to her, but yet she lingered, hesitated, and appeared to have some inward struggle.
At length she said: “You have lost your junket, and by my fault; and I know that all the money for the oranges in it. I did not think of this till afterward. I cannot replace it; we have not so much at home—or if we had, it would be mother’s. Look this I have—this silver cross. That painter left it on the table the day he came for the last time. I have never looked at it all this while, and do not care to keep it in my box; if you were to sell it? It must be Wort li a few piasters, mother says. It might make up the money you have lost; and if not quite, I could earn the rest by spinning at night when mother is asleep.”
“Nothing will make me take it,” he said shortly, pushing away the bright new cross which she had taken from her pocket.
“You must,” she said; “how can you tell how long your hand may keep you from your work? There it lies; and nothing can make me so much as look at it again.”
“Drop it in the sea, then.”
“It is no present I want to make you; it is no more than is your due; it is only fair.”
“Nothing from you can be due to me; and hereafter when we chance to meet, if you would do me a kindness, I beg you not to look my way. It would make me feel you were thinking of what I have done. And now goodnight; and let this be the last word said.”