Reuben compares his lung problems to those of Teddy Roosevelt whose father used to ride astride his horse, Greatheart, as fast as he could go to open Teddy's lungs. It speaks to Reuben less of romance than of desperation. Mrs. Roosevelt believed that she could calm her son's struggles for breath with stories of exotic pets like the glorious lavender moths of South America with wings a foot across which natives kneeled to worship. Sometimes, this worked, but usually it meant the great ride on the great horse. Reuben is reminded of this story now as he rides along behind Davy at what seems an overconfident speed. Eventually, he trots down towards Roxanna's, asking Davy when he can see him again. However, Davy won't say. The next morning, he awakens with Roxanna's hand on his head recognizing his fever. She gets him a cool cloth and asks, Is that better, darling? as she places it on his head. He is so emotional he can hardly answer her.

Sleep becomes for Reuben a warm pool into which he dives and stays, sporadically lifting his head to sense the world. Swede enters, full of a new Sundown episode and Reuben listens like a drunken editor. She has placed him in an undiscovered valley high in the mountains, a snakeless Eden and a matchless hideout. It has but one entrance, a steep slot through canyon walls which one stick of dynamite can obliterate forever. It is actually her borrowing from a plot by Zane Grey with her own detail. Reuben gets up then and goes downstairs feeling much better that he has slept without the appearance of the man with the skin bag. Roxanna is there to give him all the attention her loves, including a bow of vegetable soup. He asks her when his father is coming home and she says that he will be there this evening and that nothing of any impact happened with Andreeson. Reuben insists on asking if she knows where Davy is, even though he already knows the answer. Perhaps, it's his way of saying that Dad wasn't led after all, but he soon sees that she's just concerned for Davy. Swede enters the room then and says that if Dad says they have to go.........


There is a kind of juxtaposition of the characters of Dad and Davy in this chapter. Davy is still the man who committed a crime and the children must find a way of supporting him and still accept that he must pay some consequences. Dad is the man who still acknowledges a sense of honor and........


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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on A Long Way Gone".