Have they found something?
The Deeping boys, Selby saw, had got the toboggan out again, and were using it to slide down the steepest part of the hillside, just beyond the fall. They were going quite fast, probably not entirely in control but at least they were unlikely to do themselves any harm: the snow was deep about there. As though in confirmation, he saw the sledge buck, and bury itself, along with its passengers, in a snow bank. They climbed out pretty quickly, and their voices, excited and happy, carried thinly across the snow.
Elizabeth said: ‘They’re having more fun.’ There was a note in her voice which came as near to wistfulness as her placidity allowed. ‘Sledging was what I always liked most about winter.’
‘The boys,’ Diana said, ‘– have they found something?’
The little one, Andy, was grubbing in the snow. He had his back to them, and was bending over. He straightened up, and called to his brother who was pulling the toboggan back up the slope. Then he bent down again, and slid forward gently on his face.
Some kind of a game they were playing, Selby thought, but there had been something disquieting about the way the boy had fallen. He stood there, irresolute, watching. Stephen came down to where Andy was, stooped, lifted and turned him. He squatted with his brother a dead weight in his arms, and looked up, as though seeking help. Selby wasted no more time, but dug his sticks in and started down towards them.
An ordinary syncope, he thought, seeing the white unconscious face, the limp body. Too much exercise too soon after lunch, or perhaps a delayed shock from the tumble off the sledge. He said to Stephen:
‘All right. I’ll have him.’
‘He’s fainted,’ Stephen said.
‘Yes. He’ll be all right in a jiffy.’