He had not moved, and when she touched his face, it was not to discover that he was hot with fever, as she had expected, but to find that he was still cold, far colder than he should have been. She rolled him onto his back and pressed her ear to his chest, trying very hard not to panic. His heart beat slowly, but in an even rhythm, and his chest continued to rise and fall. She knew there was something terribly wrong. She sensed it in every fiber of her being, had sensed it from the night before.
“Binkley,” she called from the bedroom door. “Binkley, come quickly!”
Binkley appeared only moments later. “What is it, madam? Has something happened?” He spoke evenly, but he was more shaken than she’d ever seen him.
“No,” she said, trying to be calm. “That’s just it. Nothing has happened. Nothing at all. I think you had better come and see.”
Binkley entered the room and went over to the bed, looking down at Nicholas. He picked up his hand and let it drop. Then he gingerly opened Nicholas’ eyelid and gazed at his eye. It did not move, not did it see.
Binkley stepped away and carefully folded his fingertips together. “It is curious,” he said.
“Curious?” Georgia said, wanting to scream. “Binkley, it is unlike anything I have ever seen! He should be recovering from exhaustion by now—or at least have a fever in reaction to the exposure. But instead he is still cold. I cannot understand this. He did not strike his head that you know of? I have found no evidence of it, but sometimes there is none.”
“No, I saw no indication that Mr. Daventry might have had a blow to the head. He was shocked, yes, but that is not surprising after he had pushed himself beyond his limits. Perhaps he only needs rest, a very long sleep.”
“I agree, but this is not a natural sleep. Oh, Binkley, I cannot bear that Nicholas might have saved all those lives only to give up his own. I really can’t.” She pushed her hand into her forehead hard, willing herself to stay strong. “He must get better. He must. I could not bear it if anything happened to him.”
“I am pleased to hear it, madam,” Binkley said.
Georgia’s eyes shot to his in dismay. “Binkley! How could you ever think otherwise?”
“It is not what I think that matters. It is what Mr. Daventry