We came back to learn there had been no action, so our fellows took the opportunity to rest and take care of their equipment. Andrew greeted us upon our return. “Welcome back! How did you find Nurse Robbins?”
“We did not,” Adolphus said.
“Had she moved to another station?”
“You could say that. Her station is one we shall all partake of one day.”
“It seems you are speaking in riddles, for I do not understand you.”
“Andrew, she is dead. She died of something she contracted from one of her patients.”
“Oh. That is most unfortunate.”
“Yes. She was so young, only twenty years old.”
Andrew dropped his head, and I took by that he was praying for the poor young woman.
After a decent interval, I said, “How has it been here?”
“Oh, fortunately it has been very quiet. We know, though that will change. We just don’t know when.”
“That is as it always is and ever shall be.”
“Fighting without end, amen.” Adolphus spoke grimly.
“Yes. You know how it is.”
“We do indeed.”
Evening was coming on fast, so we divided the night up into shifts so we would know when we were to stand guard. Since Andrew had the first shift, Adolphus and I made ourselves as comfortable as we could and tried to sleep. I replayed the events of the day in my mind and so could find no rest. After about an hour, Adolphus spoke. “Caleb.”
“Have you slept yet?”
I raised myself on one elbow. “Not a wink. How about you?”
“I regret to say that I have not.”
“I have been thinking about Miss Robbins, and how she was tragically cut down in the prime of her life.”
“Yes, that is so difficult to bear. It is hard enough to sustain the loss of one who is advanced in years, but in that circumstance, we bear it with the thought of a full and meaningful life with the expectation of eternal life to come.”
“Indeed we do. But that is not to say that both do not cause us grief, and it is that grief I am feeling now. I was thinking that Miss Robbins was about Laurel’s age, and should something similar happen to her, I know I could not bear it.”
“You would be surprised what you can sustain, Caleb. I have known several who have sustained a similar loss, and yet with the solace of friends and family and faith in God’s goodness, they go on to even greater consderations.”
“I pray that it may be so.”
“As do I. Look, we had best try to gather a few minutes’ sleep that is available to us before it is our turn to stand watch. That time is fast approaching.”
“Well advanced. We will talk again soon.”
“Yes, we will.”
With that, we turned over and had a few minutes’ sleep. I became insensate rather quickly, and dreamed a dream that was both disturbing and uplifting.