`Dr Ansell told me you were here,' said Morel, holding out his hand.

Dawes mechanically shook hands.

`So I thought I'd come in,' continued Paul.

There was no answer. Dawes lay staring at the opposite wall.

`Say "Caw!"' mocked the nurse. `Say "Caw!" Jim Crow.'

`He is getting on all right?' said Paul to her.

`Oh yes! He lies and imagines he's going to die,' said the nurse, `and it frightens every word out of his mouth.'

`And you must have somebody to talk to,' laughed Morel.

`That's it!' laughed the nurse. `Only two old men and a boy who always cries. It is hard lines! Here am I dying to hear Jim Crow's voice, and nothing but an odd "Caw!" will he give!'

`So rough on you!' said Morel.

`Isn't it?' said the nurse.

`I suppose I am a godsend,' he laughed.

`Oh, dropped straight from heaven!' laughed the nurse.

Presently she left the two men alone. Dawes was thinner, and handsome again, but life seemed low in him. As the doctor said, he was lying sulking, and would not move forward towards convalescence. He seemed to grudge every beat of his heart.

`Have you had a bad time?' asked Paul.

Suddenly again Dawes looked at him.

`What are you doin' in Sheffield?' he asked.

`My mother was taken ill at my sister's in Thurston Street. What are you doing here?'

There was no answer.

`How long have you been in?' Morel asked.

`I couldn't say for sure,' Dawes answered grudgingly.

He lay staring across at the wall opposite, as if trying to believe Morel was not there. Paul felt his heart go hard and angry.

`Dr Ansell told me you were here,' he said coldly.

The other man did not answer.

`Typhoid's pretty bad, I know,' Morel persisted.

Suddenly Dawes said:

`What did you come for?'

  By PanEris using Melati.

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