The Sky Pilot: A Tale of the Foothills
by Ralph Connor
Excerpt: ... XII GWEN'S CANYON Gwen's hope and bright courage, in spite of all her pain, were wonderful to witness. But all this cheery hope and ... Show synopsis Excerpt: ... XII GWEN'S CANYON Gwen's hope and bright courage, in spite of all her pain, were wonderful to witness. But all this cheery hope and courage and patience snuffed out as a candle, leaving noisome darkness to settle down in that sick-room from the day of the doctor's consultation. The verdict was clear and final. The old doctor, who loved Gwen as his own, was inclined to hope against hope, but Fawcett, the clever young doctor from the distant town, was positive in his opinion. The scene is clear to me now, after many years. We three stood in the outer room; The Duke and her father were with Gwen. So earnest was the discussion that none of us heard the door open just as young Fawcett was saying in incisive tones: "No! I can see no hope. The child can never walk again." There was a cry behind us. "What! Never walk again! It's a lie!" There stood the Old Timer, white, fierce, shaking. "Hush!" said the old doctor, pointing at the open door. He was too late. Even as he spoke, there came from the inner room a wild, unearthly cry as of some dying thing and, as we stood gazing at one another with awe-stricken faces, we heard Gwen's voice as in quick, sharp pain. "Daddy! daddy! come! What do they say? Tell me, daddy. It is not true! It is not true! Look at me, daddy!" She pulled up her father's haggard face from the bed. "Oh, daddy, daddy, you know it's true. Never walk again!" She turned with a pitiful cry to The Duke, who stood white and stiff with arms drawn tight across his breast on the other side of the bed. "Oh, Duke, did you hear them? You told me to be brave, and I tried not to cry when they hurt me. But I can't be brave! Can I, Duke? Oh, Duke! Never to ride again!" She stretched out her hands to him. But The Duke, leaning over her and holding her hands fast in his, could only say brokenly over and over: "Don't, Gwen! Don't, Gwen dear!" But the pitiful, pleading voice went on. "Oh, Duke! Must I always lie here? Must, I? Why must I?" "God knows, ..".