||After so long a pause that Marcia felt sure whoever it was must have gone away, the front door bell rang again, a courteously brief "still waiting".
It would be a neighbour child on the way home from school with a handful of basketball tickets. Or an agent tardily taking orders for cheap and gaudy Christmas cards.
The trip down to the door would be laborious. Doctor Bowen had wanted her to avoid the stairs as much as possible from now on. But the diffident summons sounded very plaintive in its competition with the savage swish of sleet against the windows.
Raising herself heavily on her elbows, Marcia tried to squeeze a prompt decision out of her tousled blonde head with the tips of slim fingers. The mirror of the vanity table ventured a comforting comment on the girlish cornflower fringe that Paul always said brought out the blue in her eyes. She pressed her palms hard on the yellow curls, debating whether to make the effort. In any event she would have to go down soon, for the luncheon table was standing exactly as they had left it, and Paul would be returning in half an hour.
Edging clumsily to the side of the bed, she sat up, momentarily swept with vertigo, and fumbled with her stockinged toes for the shapeless slippers in which she had awkwardly paddled about through two previous campaigns in behalf of humanity's perpetuity. When done with them, this time, Marcia expected to throw the slippers away.
Roberta eagerly reached up both chubby arms and bounced ecstatically at the approach of the outstretched hands. Wallie scrambled up out of his blocks and detonated an ominously sloppy sneeze. "Hanky," he requested, with husky solemnity.
"Well--I should say so," agreed Marcia. "Please don't tell me you've been taking cold again."