A HEAD CASE.
We were discussing that much discussed question, whether it is better to be wounded in the leg or in the arm, when young Spilbury butted in.
"I don't know about legs and arms," he said, "but I know there are certain advantages in having your head bound up." Spilbury's own head was bound up, and we all said at once that of course the head was much the worst place in which to be wounded.
"It may be," said Spilbury. "But what I said was that there are certain advantages in having your head bound up. That's not quite the same thing as being wounded in the head. For instance, I wasn't wounded in the head. I was wounded in the jaw. But they can't bandage the jaw without bandaging the head, which I have found has certain advantages."
"I can't see where they come in," said Cotterell, "except so far as personal appearance goes, of course. I won't say that that nun-like head-dress doesn't become you. You look almost handsome in it."
"It is extremely polite of you to say so," said Spilbury, "but I was not thinking of that. I was thinking of Dulcie."
There was silence for a space, and then Cotterell said, "If you do not mention her other name, you may tell us about Dulcie."
"I became acquainted with Dulcie" Spilbury began, "or the lady I will call Dulcie—for that is not actually her name—while we were quartered at a camp somewhere in England. Friendships ripen quickly in war-time. I was signalling officer, and perhaps I signalled to Dulcie rather more than I meant. I won't say I was wholly blameless in the matter."
"I shouldn't," said I.
"I won't," said Spilbury. "After I went out we corresponded. But after a little I began to see I had perhaps over-estimated my affection for Dulcie. At the time I was wounded I had owed her a letter for some time, I remember. When I got back to England I did not let Dulcie know at once, but after a while she heard where I was in hospital and came to see me. In the meantime I had met Daphne."
"This is a highly discreditable story," said Cotterell. "I am sorry I allowed you to tell it."
"I won't finish it, then," said Spilbury complacently.
"Yes, you must finish it now."
"Well, I didn't quite know what to do about it. I had felt when we were somewhere in England that Dulcie brought out all that was best in me. I found now that Daphne brought out still more."
"She must have been a clever girl," I said.
"She was," said Spilbury, "but I saw that if they both tried at once they might bring out almost too much. I had to act quickly, for Dulcie was already by my bedside."
"'Well, Reggie,'" she said.
"I looked at her kindly but firmly.
"'I think there is some mistake,' I said. 'I don't remember having met you.' Then I pointed to my bandaged head, and added, 'I may have forgotten. My memory isn't very good.'
"Well, she chatted a bit about general subjects, and then departed. I don't mind saying I felt rather a worm. Also I wasn't quite sure that Dulcie couldn't bring out more that was good in me than Daphne, after all. So I thought about it a bit, and then wrote and said I'd remembered her now, and would she come again to see me?...