Desert Gold (Chapter 5, page 2 of 17)


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Chapter 5

It was light when he awoke, but a strange brightness seen through what
seemed blurred eyes. A moment passed before his mind worked clearly,
and then he had to make an effort to think. He was dizzy. When he
essayed to lift his right arm, an excruciating pain made him desist.
Then he discovered that his arm was badly swollen, and the hand had
burst its bandages. The injured member was red, angry, inflamed, and
twice its normal size. He felt hot all over, and a raging headache
consumed him.

Belding came stamping into the room.

"Hello, Dick. Do you know it's late? How's the busted fist this
morning?"

Dick tried to sit up, but his effort was a failure. He got about half
up, then felt himself weakly sliding back.

"I guess--I'm pretty sick," he said.

He saw Belding lean over him, feel his face, and speak, and then
everything seemed to drift, not into darkness, but into some region
where he had dim perceptions of gray moving things, and of voices that
were remote. Then there came an interval when all was blank. He knew
not whether it was one of minutes or hours, but after it he had a
clearer mind. He slept, awakened during night-time, and slept again.
When he again unclosed his eyes the room was sunny, and cool with a
fragrant breeze that blew through the open door. Dick felt better; but
he had no particular desire to move or talk or eat. He had, however, a
burning thirst. Mrs. Belding visited him often; her husband came in
several times, and once Nell slipped in noiselessly. Even this last
event aroused no interest in Dick.

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