It can be seen that you have a real talent for science. Get out of college and I’ll pay you the best college education anywhere you want to go. You can teach, do research … I firmly believe that you will become something great. “
Shaman shook his head. “I’m not afraid of being hurt. When I was little, you tied my hands and refused to eat until I needed my voice. Back then you tried to get the best out of me, not to spare me pain. “
Rob J. sighed, then nodded. “All right then. When you’ve got your mind set on the medical profession, you can apprentice me. ”But Shaman shook his head. “That would be nothing more than a handout for your deaf son. You are convinced that it is pointless. “
“It’s not a good idea at all. I cannot imagine a good medical school accepting you. At the moment, second-rate institutes are springing up like mushrooms everywhere, and they are happy to take you. They take anyone who has money. But it would be a grave mistake to study medicine at such a would-be university. “
“Neither do I.” And Shaman asked his father to compile a list of the best medical schools that were easily accessible from the Mississippi Valley.
Upon their return, Rob J. went to his study, compiled the list, and gave it to his son before dinner, as if to remove the subject from his mind. Shaman poured fresh oil into the lamp and sat at the small table in his room until well after midnight, writing letters of application. In order to avoid unpleasant surprises, he made it unmistakably clear in every letter that the applicant was a pigeon.
The horse called Bess, the former Monica Grenville, had been skinny and lame after carrying Rob J. across half the continent, but now, in her retirement, she was fat and happy again. But for poor blind Vicky, the horse Rob J. bought to replace Bess, life was nothing but suffering. One afternoon in late autumn, on his way home, Rob J. saw Vicky standing in the pasture, trembling, her head bowed, her skinny legs slightly spread and as self-absorbed, as he knew it from people who were confused and weakened as they walked toward death.