“We got here after Major Mosby sent word to me that ya had been severely wounded and to come take charge of yar recovery. So I got Ahab and Bessie to help me move ya to my uncle’s place,” she informed me in a satisfied tone.
Then she looked sternly at me and said, “Ya are to have bed rest for at least a week and then a recuperation of another two weeks. Those are tha doctor’s orders, and I plan to carry ‘em out to tha letter. Do I make myself clear, Jim Hager?”
I looked at my new commanding officer with eyes as wide as saucers, an ashen face and a mouth gaped open enough to catch flies. I actually saluted, which got Daphne’s goat.
She put her hands on her hips and narrowed her eyes to slits as she bellowed, “I mean it.”
I couldn’t do anything but start giggling. After a few seconds Daphne joined in and sat on the edge of my bed as we both convulsed into laughter. After we recuperated, I held up my right hand and vowed, “I promise to take it easy.”
This must have been what Daphne wanted to hear because she laid her head on my chest and sputtered, “When tha Major sent for me, I was so fearful that ya were mortally wounded. Upon arrival at tha Confederate hospital in Harpers Ferry, I was escorted to yar bed. I was aghast at yar pale complexion and shallow breathing. I knew I had to get ya away from that forum of death as soon as possible. Luckily, I had brought Ahab and Bessie with me. We immediately loaded ya in a carriage and came here. Ya were unconscious and jabbering tha whole way. Ya kept saying a few words that didn’t make any sense. Something about ‘keeping away from tha aliens’ and ‘sand seer ray.’ What did ya mean by that?”
I knew I was on dangerous ground so I lied, “I have no idea. I guess you can chalk it up to being out of my mind for a while.” To get Daphne’s mind off my rants and ravings I asked, “By the way, how long have I been out of my mind and sickly?”
She sat up and looked at me closely. She knew I was trying to change the subject and wasn’t being totally truthful with her, but she didn’t pursue it further as she answered, “Ya were out of yar mind and feverish for about five days before ya came back to tha land of tha living about two days ago.”
I looked at her intently for a few seconds and then ventured, “Well, Doc, whatcha recommend for my rehabilitation?”
She smiled from ear to ear and prescribed, “Bed rest for a while with medical care by me.”
I nodded in confirmation and added, “My sentiments exactly.”
I opened my arms, she leaned forward and we kissed. I quickly ended the mutual expression of love and abruptly said, “Do you have any tooth powder and a tooth brush perchance? I know my breath must be atrocious.”
In a surprised tone Daphne answered, “We confiscated yar saddlebags before we left Harpers Ferry, and I believe those items were a part of tha contents.
“Could ya bring me a pan of water and those items I mentioned?” I implored.
“Certainly! Do I need to employ tha same type of items also?” she questioned sheepishly.
“No ma’am. It’s just that I have been on tha campaign trail and haven’t had tha time to take care of my dental hygiene,” I replied.
“Nevahthaless, I believe I will join ya in yar dental curriculum,” she expressed with a favorable intonation. “Bessie, please bring Mr. Hager’s saddlebags and a pan of water,” she called. Turning to me she stated, “I’ll go get my dental paraphernalia and be back in a jiffy.”
I nodded at her and relaxed in the bed. However, a few minutes later I was startled, when Ahab came into the room carrying a pan of water accompanied by Bessie, who was carrying my saddlebags.
I slapped my arms to my sides as if I could pull my Colts from my belt, but to no avail. They were not there. At the same time I tried to sit up quickly and was racked with pain that was centered in the back of my head. I fell back on the bed and closed my eyes, grimacing with the throbbing of my neck muscles and what seemed like the whole back of my skull from the rapid, but futile, use of injured body parts. I didn’t move and had to let the pain slowly dissipate before I could open my eyes.
When I did, Ahab was standing over me. His right arm was no longer in a sling and in each of his meaty paws he held one of my Colts. His face displayed an expression of triumphant glee, and in a sarcastic timbre he intoned, “Ya looking for these, Marse Hager?”