Sample K01 from Christopher Davis, First Family. New York: Coward McCann, Inc., 1961. Pp. 204-210. A part of the XML version of the Brown Corpus2,009 words 340 (16.9%) quotesK01

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Christopher Davis, First Family. New York: Coward McCann, Inc., 1961. Pp. 204-210.

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Thirty-three Scotty did not go back to school . His parents talked seriously and lengthily to their own doctor and to a specialist at the University Hospital -- Mr. McKinley was entitled to a discount for members of his family -- and it was decided it would be best for him to take the remainder of the term off , spend a lot of time in bed and , for the rest , do pretty much as he chose -- provided , of course , he chose to do nothing too exciting or too debilitating . His teacher and his school principal were conferred with and everyone agreed that , if he kept up with a certain amount of work at home , there was little danger of his losing a term .

Scotty accepted the decision with indifference and did not enter the arguments .

He was discharged from the hospital after a two-day checkup and he and his parents had what Mr. McKinley described as a `` celebration lunch '' at the cafeteria on the campus . Rachel wore a smart hat and , because she had been warned recently about smoking , puffed at her cigarettes through a long ivory holder stained with lipstick . Scotty's father sat sprawled in his chair , angular , alert as a cricket , looking about at the huge stainless-steel appointments of the room with an expression of proprietorship .

Teachers -- men who wore brown suits and had gray hair and pleasant smiles -- came to their table to talk shop and to be introduced to Scotty and Rachel . Rachel was polite , Scotty indifferent . They ate the cafeteria food with its orange sauces and Scotty gazed without interest at his food , the teachers , the heroic baronial windows , and the bright ranks of college banners . His father tried to make the food a topic .

`` The blueberry pie is good , Scotty . I recommend it '' . He looked at his son , his face worried . Scotty murmured , `` No , thanks '' , so softly his father had to bend his gaunt height across the table and turn a round brown ear to him . Scotty regarded the ear and the grizzled hair around it with a moment of interest . He said more loudly , `` I'm full , old Pop '' . He had eaten almost nothing on the crested , three-sectioned plate and had drunk about half the milk in its paper container .

`` He's all right , Craig '' , Rachel said . `` I can fix him something later in the afternoon when we get home '' .

Since his seizure , Scotty had had little appetite ; ; yet his changed appearance , surprisingly , was one of plumpness . His face was fuller ; ; his lips and the usually sharp lines of his jaw had become swollen-looking . He breathed now with his mouth open , showing a whitely curving section of lower teeth ; ; he kept his eyes , with their puffed blurred lids , always lowered , though not , apparently , focusing . Even his neck seemed thicker and , therefore , shorter . His hands , which had been as quick as a pair of fluttering birds , were now neither active nor really relaxed . They lay on his lap , palms up , stiffly motionless , the tapered fingers a little thick at the joints . Altogether he had , since the seizure , the appearance of a boy who overindulged in food and took no exercise . He looked lazy , spoiled , a little querulous .

Rachel had little to say . She greeted her husband's colleagues with smiling politeness , offering nothing . Mr. McKinley , for all his sprawling and his easy familiarity , was completely alert to his son , eyes always on the still face , jumping to anticipate Scotty's desires . It was a strained , silent lunch .

Rachel said , `` I'd better get him to bed '' .

The doctors had suggested Scotty remain most of every afternoon in bed until he was stronger .

Since Mr. McKinley had to give a lecture , Rachel and Scotty drove home alone in the Plymouth . They did not speak much . Scotty gazed out at ugly gray slums and said softly , `` Look at those stupid kids '' . It was a Negro section of peeling row houses , store-front churches and ragged children . Rachel had to bend toward Scotty and ask him to repeat . He said , `` Nothing '' . And then : `` There are lots of kids around here '' .

Scotty looked at the children , his mouth slightly opened , his eyes dull . He felt tired and full and calm .

Thirty-four the days seemed short , perhaps because his routine was , each day , almost the same . He rose late and went down in his bathrobe and slippers to have breakfast either alone or with Rachel . Virginia treated him with attention and tried to tempt his appetite with special food : biscuits , cookies , candies -- the result of devoted hours in the tiled kitchen . She would hover over him and , looking like her brother , anxiously watch the progress of Scotty's fork or spoon .

`` You don't eat enough , honey . Try to get that down '' .

Rachel , observing , would say , `` He has to rediscover his own capacity . It'll take time '' .

Virginia and Rachel talked to each other quietly now , as allies who are political rather than natural might in a war atmosphere . Both watched Scotty constantly , Rachel without seeming to , Virginia openly , her eyes filled with concern . Scotty was neutral . He did not resent their supervision or Virginia's sometimes tiring sympathy . He ate what he felt like , slept as much or as little as he pleased , and moved about the draughty rooms of the house , when he was not in bed , with slow , dubious steps , like an elderly tourist in a cathedral . His energy was gone . He was able , now , to sit for hours in a chair in the living room and stare out at the bleak yard without moving . His hands lay loosely , yet stiffly -- they were like wax hands : almost lifelike , not quite -- folded in his lap ; ; his mouth hung slightly open . When he was asked a question or addressed in such a way that some response was inescapable , he would answer ; ; if , as often happened , he had to repeat because he had spoken too softly , he would repeat his words in the same way , without emphasis or impatience , only a little louder .

He had not mentioned Kate . He had not even thought about her much except once or twice at night in bed when his slowly ranging thoughts would abruptly , almost accidentally , encounter her . At these times he felt a kind of pain in his upper chest , but it was an objective pain , in no way different from others in intensity and not different in kind ; ; it was like the bandaged wound on the back of his head which occasionally throbbed ; ; it was merely another part of his weakness . He was calm , drugged , and lazy . He did not care .

Rachel mentioned Kate . She said , `` I notice the girl from across the street hasn't bothered to phone or visit '' .

Scotty said , `` That's all right . Kate's all right '' . He thought about it briefly , then deliberately turned the talk to something else .

Once , sitting at the front window in his parents' room , he saw Kate come out of her house . She was with Elizabeth . They were far off and looked tiny . The heavy branches in his front yard would hide and then reveal them . They turned at the bottom of Kate's steps and moved off in the direction of the park . He thought he saw -- it awakened and , for a moment , interested him -- that Elizabeth held a leash in her hand and that a round fuzzy puppy was on the end of the leash . Then they disappeared and Scotty got up and went into his own room and got into bed . By the time he was under the covers he had forgotten about seeing Kate .

The doctor , since Scotty was no longer allowed to make his regular trips into town to see him , came often and informally to the house . He would sit , slim-waisted and spare , on the edge of Scotty's bed , his legs crossed so elaborately that the crossed foot could tap the floor . Scotty did not mind the doctor's unsmiling teasing as he used to .

`` Husky young man '' , he said with mock distaste . `` I imagine you're always battling in school '' .

`` I don't go to school any more '' .

`` Pardon '' ? ? The doctor had to bend close to hear ; ; his delicate hand , as veined as a moth's wing , rested absently on Scotty's chest . Scotty said the same words more loudly . `` Oh . Well , we're taking a little vacation , that's all '' . He turned unsmilingly to Rachel . `` I think by the end of next week he could get out in the air a little . He could now but the weakness is very definite ; ; it would exhaust him further and unnecessarily . He'll be stronger soon '' . His stethoscope was on the table by Scotty's bed and he picked it up and wagged it at Scotty . He said fussily , `` Just keep the cap on those strong emotions '' . The stethoscope glinted silver in the darkening room . `` I'll drop by again in a few days '' .

Rachel stayed on after the doctor had gone . She smoothed the covers on Scotty's bed and picked things up from the floor . She did not touch him . Scotty watched with disinterest . He did not speak . He had no desire to .

She said , `` Do you think you'll miss school '' ? ?

He had noticed how formal and irritably exact Rachel had grown . He did not care . He felt her irritability did not concern him , yet he knew he would not care even if it did . He shook his head .

`` We've had any number of calls about you . You could win a popularity contest at that school without any trouble . Miss Estherson called twice . She wants to pay you a visit . She says the children miss you . Apparently you were the light of their lives '' .

Scotty shrugged slightly . Rachel came close to the bed , bent as if she would kiss him , then moved away . She was frowning . `` That doctor annoys me '' . She seemed to speak to herself . `` Do you suppose his self-consciousness is characteristic of the new Negro professionals or merely of doctors in general '' ? ?

She turned to him again . `` Well , Mrs. Charles -- Sally -- has phoned too . She was very worried '' . Rachel's tone was dry . `` She didn't really say '' -- She glanced away at the floor , then swooped gracefully and picked up one of Scotty's slippers . `` I mean , do you feel like seeing Kate '' ? ?

Scotty said , `` I don't know '' . It was true . He did not . There was the slight pain , but it was no different from the throbbing in his head .

`` Well , there's time , in any case . We'll wait till you're stronger and then talk about it '' . She put the slipper neatly by its mate at the foot of the bed .

Scotty said , `` Okay '' .

This time Rachel kissed him lightly on the forehead . Scotty was pleased .

His father was a constant visitor . Scotty would hear the front door in the evening and then his father's deep slow voice ; ; it floated up the stairs .

`` How's Scotty '' ? ?

And Rachel's or Virginia's reply : `` better . He's getting plenty of rest '' .

`` Is his appetite improved '' ? ? Or : `` Does he get exercise '' ? ?

The exchange was almost invariable , and Scotty , in his bed , could hear every word of it . He never smiled . It required an energy he no longer possessed to be satirical about his father . His father would come upstairs and stand self-consciously at the foot of the bed and look at his son . After a pause , during which he studied Scotty's face as if Scotty were not there and could not study him too , Mr. McKinley would ask the same questions he had asked downstairs .

Scotty would reply softly and his father , apologetically , would ask him to repeat .

`` I'm eating more '' , he would say . Or : `` I walk around the house a lot '' .

`` Perhaps you should get out a little '' .

`` I'm not supposed to yet '' . He was not irritated . He did not mind the useless , kindly questions . He looked at the lined face with vague interest ; ; he felt he was noting it , as if it were something he might think about when he grew stronger .

Mr. McKinley examined everything with critical care , seeking something material to blame for his son's illness .

`` Have you got enough blankets '' ? ? And another time , without accusation : `` You never wore that scarf I bought you '' .