With a handkerchief held to his mouth Doc stepped into the corrodor. The coughing continued for some minutes, finally subsiding leaving Doc weak in the knees.
Rather than returning to the compartment, Doc made his way down the swaying corrodor and stepped out onto the platform between cars. The air was breezy with the smell and taste of coal smoke.Doc leaned back against the train car, listening to the clicky clack of the wheels.
He had to gauge his breathing, if he tried to take big breaths it just brought on more coughing. Finally, with his breathing under control, he turned to reenter the car when it suddenly opened.
Martha Louise tilted her head and said, “Doctor Holliday, are you not well?” her eyes were filled with worry.
Doc forced a smile and said, “I’m fine madam, and I thank you for asking. I believe I smoke too many chroots. It’s a habit I’ve intended to quit.”
“Sir, I do believe that cough is more than a cigar cough. I have a dear friend that is a doctor in Albany.”
” I do thank you, Martha, but I don’t think a little cough is enough to warrant a doctor.” Doc said.
“You men are all so stubborn. My daddy’s just like you.”
Doc laughed, and the coughing resumed, racking his entire body. He had to grasp the guard railing with both hands. When he finally got it under control Martha took his arm and assisted him back to their sitting compartment.
Approching the compartment they could hear loud voices, and cursing, coming from both male and female. Opening the door, both Archibald and Kathern Kaye looked up startled. Between them perched on Archibald’s knees was Doc’s instrument case. They were using it as a card table.
“Martha, he’s making up rules to excuse his poor playing.” Kathern said with a pout.
Archibald laughed. “I was just trying to make the game interesting.”
“You two are acting like children. It’s hard to believe you are in your twenties.” Martha scolded.
“What are we playing?” Doc asked.
“Stud.” both siblings replied.
Doc Holliday pulled out his pocket watch. It was 5:20. They were due into Albany at eleven.
Kathern Kaye, clapped her hands. “My deal.” she said.
They settled into a three handed card game. Martha returned to her paper book.
They played several hands, with Doc winning one, Kathern winning two and Archibald winning one. Doc had trouble concentration on the game, and played poorly. Then at seven the porter rapped on the door to announce that supper was being served.
The siblings were eager to dine on a train, having never done so before. Doc declined joining them. He said he was going to rest awhile.
After the three had left, Doc loosened his tie, placed one of the fringed pillows against the window, and lay back. His chest hurt. He wondered if he was having a heart attack. He slept.
The three siblings returned to the sitting compartment at nine to find Doc sprawled out across the bench seat. His color was bad and his breathing was shallow. Martha rang for the porter.