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But he was very good to Naomi. He tried to forget her indifference to his beloved boys, and to soothe and strengthen her into something like her old self. She did not repulse him. All the violence and the desperation in her had burnt themselves out during that night of frenzy. She lay in bed hour after hour without moving, her long hairwhich was now beginning to come out in handfuls when she brushed itspread over the pillow. Her muscles were slack, she lay without any suppleness, heavy against the mattress. After some weeks she was able to get up, and go about her duties with the children. She never spoke of her misery, she ate, she sewed, she even gossiped with the neighbours, as before. But something was gone from herher eye sometimes had a vacant, roving look, her shoulders stooped, and her skin grew sallow.
One day the General and his staff had to go over to Louisville to attend some great military function, and Shorty was left alone in charge of Headquarters. There was nothing for him to do but hold a chair down, and keep anybody from carrying off the Headquarters. This was a dangerous condition, in his frame of mind. He began meditating how he could put in the idle hours until the General should return in the evening. He thought of hunting up Billngs, and giving him that promised thrashing, but his recent experience did not promise hopefully that he could nag that worthy into a fight that would be sufficiently interesting."Now, don't be a fool, Jim," remonstrated Shorty. "You won't help me, and you'll git yourself into trouble. Somebody's got to do it, and I'd rather it'd be you than somebody else. Go ahead and obey your orders. Git your rope and your stick and your bayonet."
Shorty started to gasp. "But I done all that""I wouldn't know," she said, and then (had she made a decision? He couldn't tell) she went on: "I'm in Psych, myself."
"Are they all gone now?"
"Yes'm," said Shorty very meekly. "To Co. Q."