CHAPTER XIII
I HAVE FOUGHT THE GOOD FIGHT, I HAVE FINISHED THE COURSE, I HAVE KEPT THE FAITH

THIS was the end, and Parker knew it. Consumption was far advanced; he had one chance in ten, the doctors told him, and he said those were just the odds for him, he was used to such odds. But it was the end. There were weary months ahead, and futile gestures, the West Indies and Switzerland and Rome, a silly business, all of it. Better to die in Massachusetts and be buried with his people out in Lexington, better to die with his boots on. But Lydia would not have it so, nor Hannah, nor his friends. He knew that you couldn't run away from death; he was not even sure that he wanted to run away from death. There was work to do, to be sure: there was the fight for freedom coming, a real war, and he wanted to be there; there were books to write, he was almost ready for them now. Vanity, all of it; he should know better than to tempt fate or to plan for the future. Now he was tired, incredibly tired. He was ready to let others write the books, fight the war. What was it he had said, just a year ago? "Sometimes I think of knocking at Earth's gate with my staff, saying ' Liebe Mutter, let me in.' "

The game was up now, but there were still a few conventional moves before the game was over: doctors and nurses, medicine and diet, a sea voyage, a warm climate for the winter. Lydia was managing all that, Lydia and the doctors, so many of them he could scarcely keep track of them

-276-

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