Her charge shivered again at the mere mention of coffee. The juncture was critical. He might still be dreaming, but in another moment he must know. He closely, even coolly, watched the two cups of coffee that were placed before them. He put a benumbed hand around the cup in front of him and felt it burn. It was too active a sensation for mere dreaming. He put sugar into the cup and poured in the cream from a miniature pitcher, inhaling a very real aroma. Events thus far seemed normal. He stirred the coffee and started to raise the cup. Now, after all, it seemed to be a dream. His hand shook so that the stuff spilled into the saucer and even out on to the table. Always in dreams you were thwarted at the last moment.
The Montague girl had noted the trembling and ineffective hand. She turned her back upon him to chat with the waitress over by the food counter. With no eye upon him, he put both hands about the cup and succeeded in raising it to his lips. The hands were still shaky, but he managed some sips of the stuff, and then a long draught that seemed to scald him. He wasn't sure if it scalded or not. It was pretty hot, and fire ran through him. He drained the cup--still holding it with both hands. It was an amazing sensation to have one's hand refuse to obey so simple an order. Maybe he would always be that way now, practically a cripple.
The girl turned back to him. "Atta boy," she said. "Now take the orange. And when the toast comes you can have some more coffee." A dread load was off his mind. He did not dream this thing. He ate the orange, and ate wonderful toast to the accompaniment of another cup of coffee. The latter half of this he managed with but one hand, though it was not yet wholly under control. The three eggs seemed like but one. He thought they must have been small eggs. More toast was commanded and more coffee.
"Easy, easy!" cautioned his watchful hostess from time to time. "Don't wolf it--you'll feel better afterwards."
"I feel better already," he announced.
"Well," the girl eyed him critically, "you certainly got the main chandelier lighted up once more."
A strange exhilaration flooded all his being. His own thoughts babbled to him, and he presently began to babble to his new friend.
"You remind me so much of Tessie Kearns," he said as he scraped the sides of the egg cup.