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Serialised in Argosy, 17-31 December 1938
Filmed by Metro Goldwyn Mayer, 1938

First book editions:
Dodd, Mead & Co., New York, 1941
Grosset & Dunlap, New York, 1941

This e-book edition: Roy Glashan's Library, 2019
Version Date: 2019-02-24
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Argosy, 17 December 1938, with first part of "Young Doctor Kildare"

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"Young Doctor Kildare," Dodd, Mead & Co., New York, 1941



THE three who loved him had prepared the house for the homecoming of young Kildare. From front door to kitchen they had polished and rearranged, and the only room left free of summer flowers was the parlour. This sanctum of the New England home had been turned into an office so that Dr. Lawrence Kildare could have his medical headquarters on one side of the hall, as usual, and on the other side would appear the brass door-plate of Dr. James Kildare, his son.

To be without a parlour was something like being without a face but Lawrence Kildare was determined upon the sacrifice because, as he said, they were welcoming Jimmy home not only as a son but as a doctor. The twenty years of schooling had ended; he had received his degree; and now he must be made to feel that he entered this house upon an equal footing with the oldest man in it. That was the way the elder Dr. Kildare put it, modestly proud of his own humility.

So they had stripped away the flowered carpet for the sake of a tan rug, replaced the family photographs with Jimmy's framed diplomas from grammar school, high school and college. For the bric-à-brac in the corner cabinet they substituted from the attic reserves a solid mass of battered medical journals and antiquated texts; above all the round table with its bronze bowl gave way to a big mahogany desk. Martha Kildare found it at Jefford's secondhand store and her hands polished it brighter than new. Now she leaned to blow a speck of dust from the shining surface; with her handkerchief she scoured away the spot of mist which her breath had left; and then she gave her attention to Beatrice Raymond who was reading aloud, softly, the words which old Dr. Lawrence Kildare had written on the white scratch pad that lay in the centre of the desk-blotter. The gravity of the words had caused him to write them with care, like a schoolboy copying a text, but the tremor of his seventy years appeared in the capitals with which each word began:

Welcome Home To My Dear Son, For Ever!

As she finished reading, Beatrice Raymond lifted her head and murmured: "After all this, how terrible it would be—" but then she was stopped by the anxious, searching eyes of Martha Kildare. Beatrice wore a summer dress of organdy with a flowery pattern climbing dimly over it to her brown throat. Now she held out her skirt daintily and turned like a mannequin. "Do you think I'll do, Aunt Martha?" she asked. For they were such close neighbours that they had to use family names.

"Darling!" breathed Mrs. Kildare. "But don't you think you ought to wear the little jacket to the train? It has such a sweet ruffed collar."

"It would cover my arms, though," answered the girl, "and I think he ought to see how I've improved. I was all elbows, two years ago."

"As though your points were to be counted, and you were a prize calf," said Martha Kildare.

"Calves twenty years old generally are called cows," remarked Beatrice.

"Beatrice!—But what do you mean?" asked Martha Kildare.

"I don't know, exactly," answered the girl, "only I hope it's more than a calf affair—"

Old Dr. Kildare began to be nervous about train-time. They still had half an hour for the eight-minute drive, but then there is always the danger of a tyre blowing. He bundled his wife and Beatrice into the car which had done five years of slow service and would do five years more.

On the way to the station, the wind fluffed the organdy dress and whispered in her hair with a small voice of unhappy prophecy. When they reached the station the doctor looked gloomily around, saying: "You'd think some of the folks might have turned out to welcome Jimmy."

"He never made many friends—but always fast ones," said the mother.

"Well," chuckled the doctor, "it's true that he always hewed to the line and let his fists fall where they might. But maybe they've knocked some of the fight out of him back there in Hillsdale—What's the matter, mother?"

"I forgot to baste the turkey before I left," she exclaimed.

"You have the fire turned down low, haven't you?" suggested the doctor.

"Yes, it's down low."

They got out and stood on the platform. It faced north, and even in August the shadow was iced with a remembrance of winter. An express-man wheeled out a hand-truck. Eccentric old Jim Carrington walked back and forth with a long stride, getting a good constitutional out of the ten-minute wait. Then Phil Watson and Jigger Loring and Steve Barney joined the doctor's group, smiling, talking cheerfully about how fine it would be to have Jimmy back, and all the while their self-conscious eyes avoided the prettiest girl in town. If only Jimmy had not grown too big for the town!

Then the train was there on them, swaying its tall forehead around the bend, looking as important as a trans-continental limited. The engine shut off. It rolled on momentum; the brakes took hold, passing an electric shudder of vibration into the steel rails; the train stopped. A dozen people were dismounting.

"Beatrice, he couldn't have missed it!" whispered Martha Kildare.

But there he was getting down last of all with a time-bitten suitcase in his left hand and a book in the right, the forefinger keeping a place. That suitcase had been quite fresh and leather- looking when she helped to pack it two years before. Jimmy had changed, too.

He himself was aware of the alteration as he stepped down the platform, but he felt that the cool of the wind which fingered through his clothes was seeing him more clearly than human eyes. He had a new body. Physical labour had built him up and stressed the important muscles like underlined words on a page of print. He was not proud of that body which his clothes masked but it gave him a more secure and comfortable sense of equipment for the world he was entering.

He put the suitcase down, which gave him a left hand to shake with the three high-school friends. They said: "Hi, Jimmy?" and "Whacha say, old boy?" and "You look great!" Then his mother got to him. She was sixty years old, for Jimmy was a late-born child. She had a high-blood-pressure look, reddish purple high up the cheeks. She was too fat. Between elbow and shoulder the flesh bagged down against the sleeve. Age puckered her eyelids and the weariness of woman was in the eyes. He held her close a moment then turned to grip his father's hand. The old man was standing too straight. A blow would break him now, for he could not bend. His old-fashioned, professional mask of sharp-trimmed moustaches and pointed beard seemed detached from the face like a wig that barely adhered.

After that he kissed Beatrice. She stood up on tiptoe and turned her cheek like a child being kissed by an older relative. They went on to the car. In the rear seat, he stood up his suitcase between their knees and made sure that his finger had the right place in the book. He made doubly sure by glancing at the page.

... after the fever has persisted with severity or even with an increasing intensity for five or six days the crisis occurs. In the course of a few hours, accompanied by profuse sweating, sometimes by diarrhoea, the temperature falls to normal or sub-normal.

The crisis may occur as early as the third day or may be delayed to the tenth; it usually comes, however, about the end of the first week. In delicate or elderly persons there may be collapse...

"What do you think of your Beatrice now?" asked his mother, who was turned about to gloat over him.

"Beatrice? She's great," said Kildare.

"'It usually comes about the end of the first week,'" he was rehearsing in his mind, and there had been a thought knocking right behind his teeth, except that his mother's interruption checked it. He would have to pray that it might return; perhaps it was the diagnosis that he searched for. The question made him look again at Beatrice. She held up her chin and turned her head for him, fixing her smile.

"Don't be silly," said Kildare.

"It's only a prop smile," admitted Beatrice, "but it's brand new and I thought it was quite good."

"See the new wing on the hospital?" asked Lawrence Kildare.

"No," said Kildare.

"He's thinking about something," decided Beatrice. "What are you thinking about, Jimmy?"

"Look back and you'll see it," insisted the father. "More than fifty thousand dollars went into that. It's going to bring surgery right up to date in our town."

Kildare looked through the back window. The hospital had a block to itself, surrounded by trees which were set adrift by the motion of the automobile; the top branches obscured the highest roof of the building. His eye glanced on up into the empty blue of space.

"They're all set for you over there," remarked the father. "You're going to have a happy interne year in our hospital, my boy."

"Ah?" murmured Kildare.

"What are you thinking about, Jimmy?" asked the girl.

"Children hate questions," said he.

"That's right. Be nice and mean. Be yourself," she answered.

He watched her relax, suddenly, with her hands folded in her lap and her eyes considering him impersonally. She had a special way of slipping into herself and looking out at the world.

Then he was walking up the path towards the house, carrying his suitcase, the marked book still in his right hand. The others fell away so that he had to step first into the front hall. All the hours of preparing were wasted on him. His eye found the brass door-plate which announced 'Dr. James Kildare' and remained on it.

"It was all your father's idea—oh, Jimmy," said his mother, "if you ever grow up to be half as good and wise as—There! See what we've done!"

"Well, look at that," commented Kildare. He took an idle step or two into the room. "How did you get rid of the old-fashioned funeral that used to be in here?"

"Jimmy Kildare!" whispered Beatrice, fiercely.

"Why, it's great," said Kildare. He wandered about the room with the book still in his hand. "Look at all these!" He flicked his fingers over the old journals in the curio case. He leaned at the desk. There it seemed to take him minutes to read the words which the meticulous pen of his father had written on the scratch pad. After that he looked up at the surprise and pain in his mother's face. He straightened himself with a jerk. "Who could want a better office than this?" he demanded of the world at large.

"Well, you've got sun, and air, and room for your thoughts," remarked the old doctor. "More than I had when I hung out my shingle. A good deal more. You remember, mother?"

But Mrs. Kildare was hurrying out towards her kitchen, and the doctor took his son into the vegetable garden to look over the shining rows of young onions. It was his belief that in the onion were locked up vital secrets of health and strength and long life. "Sulphur and iron turn the trick," declared Lawrence Kildare. "And so I've got an iron sulphide worked into the soil. You'll have some of those onions with your turkey dressing. Come to think about it, Jimmy, was there ever a great nation that got along without onions? Greece? Rome? When they grow rich, the onion disappears from the table; weakness of the soul and the body follow, decadence. Look at Egypt. Egypt, too. Wherever you find civilised man, you find onions—"

Afterwards, when Martha called that dinner was ready, he was saying: "I'm at the age which begins to get a bit weak in the knees, Jimmy, but with plenty of open air and with you to spell me, I'm going on for another decade, my lad."

"Of course," muttered Kildare.

He came into the dining-room with his father as a horse whinnied behind the house, beyond the vegetable garden. Kildare looked out the window at a big shining bay in the pasture.

"That's that Maggie mare of yours, of two years ago," he said to Beatrice.

"She's just six now, and full of beans," answered Beatrice. "I've taught her to jump because I know you like short-cuts across country. Try her later on and see if you'd like to keep her."

"Keep her?" exclaimed Kildare. He looked sharply at the girl, sticking his head out as though he were searching for offence and ready to find it. He said nothing more.

"But, Jimmy," his mother reproved, "don't you think it's the most lovely gift?"

"It's too lovely. I won't take her horse," declared Kildare.

"Why, James—" said the old doctor, amazed.

But Kildare had fallen into a brown study over the soup. He had hardly tasted it twice before he jumped up, exclaiming: "I have to send a wire. Maybe I've got it! Maybe I've nailed it down!"

"What, my lad?" asked the doctor.

"Oh, an old fellow in the hospital back there in Hillsdale. He's sick a month with recurring fever and nobody's been able to spot it."

Then they could hear his voice at the telephone in the hall, giving an address and adding for a message: "Suggest Bed Eight has relapsing fever please advise what results."

"Isn't Jimmy a little strange, Larry?" suggested the mother.

"Boys have to grow up," answered the old man, "and a grown brain needs occupation."

Jimmy came back into the room with the distant consideration of thought gone from his eyes. He smiled on them all one by one, as though he were seeing them for the first time. At his mother's chair he leaned a moment to say: "It's great to be back."

The mother and father shone with happiness. Only Beatrice kept examining him with a studious intentness.

Old Dr. Kildare said: "What have you fixed on? You've never said what it's to be—medicine, surgery, research, obstetrics—"

"I don't know," answered Kildare.

"Ah, but you have a preference by this time!"

"No, I haven't. I'm not so keen on any of them," said Kildare.

"Not so keen—" breathed the old man. "Ah, well," he went on, relaxing, "it simply means that you're ideally suited to the life of the country practitioner—a well-rounded business that keeps your hand in everything. Lots of good minds are looking favourably on general practice instead of this eternal, infernal specialising..."


AN owl started going ka-pooo-pooo, a fool of an owl who might have known that her sounding horn would frighten every young rabbit into hiding and turn the field mice into motionless little brown stones. No wind stirred to set the stars trembling, for the moon had turned the world to ice and covered the fields with silver; under every blade of grass its shadow was frozen fast in place. That was how it seemed to Kildare as he stood at his window, sleepless, but the night was as hot on his face as it was cold to his eye.

He turned, his monstrous shadow twisting before him on the floor. A fragrance of mignonette made the heat of the night more palpable. Once in his boyhood he had spoken of liking that perfume; a dozen years later his mother still remembered and that was why the jar of it bloomed on the corner table. He was stifled suddenly by more than the still heat of the night. He threw off his pyjamas, stepped into swimming trunks and tennis shoes, and walked out under the moon, his feet finding their own way along the path that moved crookedly through the adjoining empty lot.

He went on down McKinley Street and into the open country with trees walking slowly overhead between him and the moonlit sky. There in the clear the moon had the world to itself again until he reached the tangle of shrubbery and great willows by the river. It was a mere trickle at this time of the year but it was no spendthrift; it husbanded all its resources and spread them out like a purse of silver to make the big swimming pool. It was a famous pool. The boys drove twenty miles to come to its green banks; and he saw, at the bend where the pool turned out of sight, the sleek dark mark of the slide which had been used in the old days. In the centre of the water, the same old derelict of a tree showed the tip of its shoulder and one desperate, upflung arm.

He climbed to the top of the dead tree which made the highest platform for the bravest of the divers. It slanted out from the bank over a deep part of the pool—unless time and the soft current had drifted the sand-bank closer to the shore. He kicked off the tennis shoes and stood up straight. When he was ten he had stood there like that, showing his teeth with terror and hoping the other lads would think it a smile. They had thought so, as a matter of fact; that high dive plus the hardness of his fists had simplified his earlier years in the village school, but now he forgot the distance beneath him as he looked out over the trees at the little village. The street lamps were dim yellow jewels against the white dazzle of the moonlight. There was hardly enough of the town to fill the palm of the hand.

He gripped his body harder with his arms, then dived with a strong outward bound that left the stump shaking behind him. He thought he saw, as he shot down, a dimness of shadow under the face of the pool. Perhaps that was the loom of the sand-bank. But he made no effort at a shallow dive, cleaving deep until the tips of his fingers touched the ooze of the bottom; then he shunted himself up to the surface. The water yielded as life does not yield. He cut into it savagely, swimming a fast crawl, and then let himself drift face up. There was a bright star up near the zenith. He forgot the movement of the water and watched that single point of brightness until it began to shiver into rays; that was when he turned his head and saw the white figure sitting at the turn of the lagoon.

He stood up, treading water, and called: "Hi—Beatrice?"

"Hi," said the girl.

He swam to the shore and sat down on his heels, the water from his body pattering down.

"What's the idea?" he asked.

"I thought I'd cool off," said Beatrice. She was in perfect repose, leaning against a rock with her hands clasped around one knee. Her bare legs meant that she had a swimming suit under her dress, no doubt.

"Girls never come here," he pointed out.

"This girl does," she answered, and let it go at that, making one of those familiar pauses in which she was always so at home, and he so ill at ease.

He drew a little closer.

"Don't drip on me, Jimmy," she cautioned in that calm voice of hers.

"The shadow covers up your eyes," he said to explain his crowding. "I never know what you're all about unless I can see your eyes."

She made a slow gesture, drawing her hair back from her forehead so that the moonshine poured freely over her face. While he studied her, another long moment of pause came between them and the frogs began to sing their chorus of soprano, alto, and bass, point and elaborate counterpoint that dizzied the ear.

"It's no good," commented Kildare. "You're being sour."

"No, I'm not being sour."

"You're being sour. You always could subtract yourself from any scene from the first time I can remember."

"What's the first time you can remember?" she wanted to know.

"Ten years ago. I was sixteen. How old would that make you?"


"You had straight knees; and your socks never fell down in wrinkles. Your hair was brighter then."

"I'm sorry the hair went wrong."

"It isn't bad, when the sun hits it... You didn't have that mole on your cheek, then; you had two dimples instead of one; there wasn't any cleft in your chin; when the wind hit your hair it simply exploded all over the place and that always started you laughing. You had a sweet way of laughing, for a little kid... Are you only twenty, Beatrice?"

For some mysterious reason she required another pause before answering this simple question. "I'm twenty," she agreed at last, and seemed to have a little difficulty in getting out the words. "Why 'only' twenty? Am I producing too many moles and cleft chins and things? Do I seem a lot older?"

"No, but you're sort of filled out. I mean—well, I don't know. Let's have a swim and I can tell better."

He stood up and faced the water, stretching his arms up over his head and yawning some of the day's weariness out of his body, some of the trouble out of his brain. Behind him her clothes rustled. The dress fell to the ground like a patch of moonlight. She walked past him and tried the water with one foot.

"You look fine," said Kildare.

She stepped to the top of a five-foot rock, and the water slapped softly together behind her feet as she dived. She came up in the middle of the lagoon.

"You got a kink in your back and your head was crooked," commented Kildare. "You were diving better two years ago."

Without waiting for her reply, he cut from the rock into the water, rising beside her.

"Let's see you crawl," he commanded.

She turned on her face and crawled; Kildare followed beside her, his head raised so that he could watch. At the farther bank she made a racing turn that plunged head and shoulders under, but as she came up he said: "That's enough. You're wallowing, you're not lying out straight."

"Sorry," panted the girl.

"I had all that wallow out of you, two years ago—and now you've lost your wind, too."

"I'm sorry," she repeated.

"Sorrow won't get your wind back. A bit of roadwork would, though. If women would do some cross-country jogging it would be fine for their hips, too."

Instead of answering, she walked out of the pool, sleeked some of the water from her body with the edge of her hand, and sat down in the grass.

"Come back in and let me see if I can't straighten out that wallow," ordered Kildare.

"Damn the wallow," answered Beatrice.

This got him quickly out of the pool. He stood over her.

"What did you say?" he demanded.

"I said: 'Damn the wallow!'" she replied, and tilting back her head a little, she looked up at him with a perfectly unmoved face and that blankness which always made him a little uncertain.

"Sit down, Jimmy," she said.

He astonished himself by obeying, a reflex action so swift that he did not have time to think out this moment.

"Stretch out and wiggle your toes and forget everything," she directed, and as he lay back she wadded the dress together and slipped it under his head. It gave him comfort, pressing up against the nape of his neck.

"Beatrice—" he said.

"Well?" she asked, absently.

"Four years ago we used to sit and talk like this."

"What of it?"

"But I was a grown man and you were only a baby. Great Scott, that would have made you only sixteen, or something. I never knew you were that young."

"I never was," she told him.

"What do you mean you never were?"

"I was born old," she said.

"How old were you born?"

"About your age, I suppose," said Beatrice.

He studied this question and her face at the same time. There still was moisture from the pool shining on her sun-darkened skin. Where the chin rounded and the throat filled he considered the shadows that moved with her movements. Along the cheeks, the shadows became intricate delicacies.

A sense of comfort increased in him. It grew out of the coolness of the grass and the warmth of the air. Down in the pool, ripples still splashed along the shore but the quiet was returning. The troubles which had been wearing his brain threadbare were gone; he did not want them back.

"Four years ago," he said, "I was out of college and all that—and you seemed eighteen or twenty even then."

"I put on long skirts when I was fourteen," she explained, "and made father get me a horse."


"You were back from your sophomore year and you liked riding. I put a mean bit on that poor horse. I used to make him dance and then talk big to him. You noticed me quite a lot that summer."

"Are you trying to tell me that six years ago you'd made up your mind—" he began.

"Ten years ago," she corrected. "Some people are clever and do things fast. Some of us just find out what we want and keep pegging."

He turned his head and stared at her until she laid a hand over his eyes. With her fingertips, she read his face as surely as the blind read Braille.

"You mean that when you were only ten—"

"Hush!" she said.

She touched the lines beside his mouth.

"These came from working in the grain fields," she pointed out, "and from the first of the month when there were plenty of bills and not much money... Here's the jaw muscle turning into tougher rubber all the time. This is what says: 'I will last out the day; I will live through the year; I will win that scholarship.'"

He drew a long, long breath.

"If you weren't making me quite so happy, you'd be putting me to sleep," he told her.

"These are all new—these long lines across the forehead," she went on. "They say: 'What is it I want and when will the answer come?' But down here between the eyes, getting darker and darker—these are the hours as deep as wells where nobody can go but Jimmy by himself."

He caught a quick breath which would not go out of him for a moment in speech. Then he was able to say:

"I love you for that, Beatrice."

"How much do you love me?"

"As high as the sky," said Kildare.

"I see," murmured the girl.

"What do you see?" he asked.

"It's only boy and girl stuff to you, still. And Dartford isn't big enough to give you room for growing."

He said nothing. With the ball of her thumb she tried to rub away the frown that had settled between his eyes. Then she said: "If you have all of New York and ten thousand cocktail parties, and your name in the big papers, what does it matter when you get to your father's age? And isn't his life good enough? If you've gone to your patients in a Rolls-Royce with a chauffeur or driven yourself in a Ford, in the wind-up, it's just the sick people you've helped that matters."

"It's not that—" he began to answer. "What makes you think that I'm not going to stay here?"

"Listen, Jimmy. I know you so well that I could even pick out your neckties. I know how to shut up and never say a word when you're sour. You want clean shoes, but not shiny ones. You like to dance, but not with a big crowd. I know all your favourite desserts. I know every dish of your mother. I've learned camp- cooking; I've practised these two whole years with a rifle; I can even pack a mule and throw a diamond hitch and I've hiked Collum Hill twenty times so I could be used to rock climbing and all the things you like."

"But wait a minute. But, Beatrice, you're a thousand times too good—"

"Be quiet a moment. Jimmy, Jimmy, I've got some money of my own, and we could buy the Andrews house with a small down payment and I've spotted every good stick of secondhand furniture within twenty miles. I've haunted every shop and dickered for low prices till they hate me."

He put one arm across his eyes; she watched the tension of his mouth.

"There wouldn't be any babies until—well, until the right time came." She laughed a little but Kildare was silent. Then she drew away the arm which covered his eyes.

"Is nothing any good?" she asked.

"Old dear, I want to explain—"

"You want to explain that women are great stuff and all that, but you have something else in your mind. One of these days you're going to wake up, Jimmy, and the girl who fills your eyes when you step out of your trance is going to get the sort of love that only comes once in a century. When that day arrives, I want to be there."

He put out his hand. She placed hers in it, palm up, watching him closely.

"No," she said. "It's no good. Not even with the moon helping. You simply don't want this girl."

"I do, Beatrice," exclaimed Kildare. "I think you're—"

"Hush!" murmured Beatrice. "There's only one last thing to say. That's about your father. He's worked hard for you. If you go away—remember that he's an old man. He's brittle with age. He can't stand up to shocks. And he counts on leaning on you from now on."

He sprang up to his knees, arguing with violent gestures of both hands. "I'd rather lose a leg than hurt him or disappoint him; but—I don't know how to put it—there's something in me that has to try to come out and there's no place for it in Dartford."

She became silent, her arms wrapped around her knees, her head back as though she were looking at the stars; but her face was blind with suffering.

"It makes me sick to think that I'm hurting them or you," said Kildare. "And, Beatrice, how did you know that I wasn't going to stay home and put in my year as interne in that little one-horse hospital? How did you know?"

"Kiss me, Jimmy, will you?" she asked.

He leaned over hastily and kissed her.

"I do love you," said Jimmy. "You're more to me than anything in the world, practically."

"Now you go along home, please," she said.

"And leave you out here alone? Don't be crazy!"

"I've got to be alone," she told him. She had her head back still and that blind face of pain frightened him a little. "If I were going to cry about it, then I'd want you to stay here and comfort me; but it's not that way."

"But sitting here—all alone—what are you going to do, Beatrice?"

"I'm going to unravel a lot of knitting and start all over again on a different piece," she answered.

Of this he could make nothing. "You really want me to leave you?" he insisted.

"Yes," she said.

He turned from her and went off with his head down, something like a guilty small boy. The chorus of the frogs cried: Boo! after him. He was glad when he was over the next rise of land and the derisive choral was gone from his ears.


THE rest of that night Kildare turned in his bed restlessly. Sometimes he lay still, thinking out a new set of speeches with which he could break the news of his departure gently, but when he got up in the morning and dressed, he heard a thin-bladed hoe chiming in the vegetable garden and went out to find the old doctor already at work along the onion rows. His overalls, supported by sweat-stained braces, had fitted him snugly in days which Kildare could remember but now they flared out loosely around the hips. The flesh had dwindled from his neck. Only two lean fingers of muscle, under the brown of the skin, tried to support that big head.

He stood up and rested on the hoe-handle.

"You're up early, Jimmy," he said. "But you add a lot to this landscape of mine. Even that mare over yonder seems to be waiting for you. Maybe she's heard Beatrice talking so much that she knows you by reputation."

Kildare put up his hand to a pain in his throat. He wanted to find the subtle, the frictionless way of getting at this business, but he had been unable to think of anything. He was not rich in the artifices of tact. He had quiet ways, but in the ultimate pinch he usually wound up by jumping at the throat of his affairs and then hanging on.

He said: "Father, I came out to say something that I hardly can get past my teeth. I know you've counted on me here but I can't stay."

"You can't stay—here?" repeated his father, wondering.

"I've got to get to a big hospital. There's a chance to place in the Dupont General in New York and I'm going there for my interneship."

"You don't tell me!" said the old man. He looked quickly past Kildare into the distance.

"It's like this," explained Kildare, sweating. "The Dartford hospital is fine. Everything would be great over there. All the people would be kind to me for your sake. But—I simply have to get into a bigger place."

"Do you, Jimmy?" asked the old doctor. "Well, well—I thought you hadn't fastened on anything in particular—medicine or surgery or research—I thought just a general kind of a training—"

"I have to see them in thousands—I have to watch them pass through in thousands—a hundred faces of every disease you can shake a stick at—I've got to—"

When emotion choked him off, his father said: "Sounds kinds of wholesale, doesn't it? Maybe we are just a little retail out here in Dartford... You know, Jimmy, if living at home would cramp your style a bit, I could arrange—"

"Oh, God, no!" cried Kildare. "It isn't that. There's no place in the world I want to live except right here!"

"So—so—so," said the doctor, speaking as though to quiet a nervous horse. The hoe on which he leaned wobbled a little and the hands which gripped it were hard-clenched. "It won't be very good news for your mother, I'm afraid."

"I'm sorry," said Kildare, and hated himself for finding no more eloquent words. "I'll go tell her now," he added.

He had turned away, anxious to have that face of controlled grief behind him, when his father said: "Just a minute, Jimmy. Perhaps, after all, it would be a little better if I told her."

Kildare stood still and watched his father go by him. His heart was beating so that the whole landscape trembled. He walked over the pasture fence where Maggie, the bright bay mare, was watching him with a mischievous interest. When he came closer she grew alert for flight but stretched out her head to make a final, sniffing inquiry. Kildare gave her the back of his hand and with prehensile upper lip she began to try to grapple it. She was as mischievous as a kitten; for how could she be aware of human misery? But she pricked her ears and tossed her head when a woman's voice cried out from the house, sharp and small with pain.

Kildare grabbed the top rail of the fence and held hard to it for a long moment. He had expected a difficult time but this was beyond expectation, like the difference between war in newspaper headlines and war in the bleeding field.

After a while he went over to the Raymond house and rang the front doorbell. Mrs. Raymond opened for him. She had given her height and her dignity of carriage to her daughter but she was as cold as Beatrice was warm. Her husband died ten years before and now at forty she was accustomed to the premature winter of her widowhood. She said: "Good morning, James. Come in."

He stood in the front parlour, where footsteps and voices were muffled by red carpet and plush curtains. The great brass andirons watched him with sparkling eyes. In the dead room they alone were fully alive. It was the most imposing room in Dartford and here middle-class respectability was permanently on view like a body in a state coffin. Awe inherited from the years of his boyhood descended upon Kildare again.

"May I see Beatrice?" he asked.

"Beatrice was out late," said Mrs. Raymond. She paused. In the pause her glance coldly accused him of knowing only too well why Beatrice had been out so criminally late. "She is sound asleep now."

"I wish I could see her," said Kildare.

Mrs. Raymond started to make one of her more frigid replies, because she prided herself on being able to keep the proper distances in her little world, but a closer look at the set face of Kildare changed her mind.

She murmured something and went hurrying up the stairs. Kildare heard the knock at the door. After a while the voice of Mrs. Raymond exclaimed with muffled horror: "You can't go down like that. Beatrice, what are you thinking of?"

"Of Jimmy," the girl answered, and her footfalls came down the stairs in a soft hurry with a windy whispering of clothes. She appeared to Kildare in a dressing-gown of green silk with figurings of yellow and dull red. Her hair was tousled. She had to stop in the doorway to pull on a slipper which was half off her foot. Then she came on to him, walking more slowly, examining him from a nearer and a nearer distance.

"You did it," she said quietly, "and now you can't take it. I know—Was it simply dreadful?—Sit down over here. Don't say anything. Talking won't help—"

He took her in his arms. He put his face down against her hair and closed his eyes. Yet even with his eyes closed he could feel Mrs. Raymond stepping into the open doorway—and out of view again.

"I don't know what there is about you, but you take the ache out of things."

He sat down on the couch and dropped his face into his hands. Beatrice sat close beside him. A touch or a word would have been unendurable but she did not speak, and he could see her slim hands resting in her lap, tied into a painful knot.

"You know everything. You're never wrong. You're always perfect," said Kildare.

She said nothing. She was simply there, filling all space so that grief and evil could not come near him.

"I've had a beating and I've come here to whine. Do you mind?" he asked.

"It's lovely to be usable, and to be used," she answered.

"I told him and he just took it," said Kildare. "After a while he said that if it was the thought of living at home that cramped my style—"

"Poor Jimmy! Poor Jimmy!" she said.

"He went in and told mother; and I heard her cry out—the way a woman does when—the way a woman cries when she can't stand it. Just one breath, and then nothing. Ah, my God! Don't comfort me. Maybe I'm a rat."

"You're either the worst rat in the world or else you're just our old Jimmy grown up," said the girl.

The words shocked him out of his sorrow a little. He lifted his head and looked wildly at the future.

"Suppose I go down there and don't do anything big?" he whispered. "I've broken their hearts and I've hurt you. Suppose after all I don't do anything big!"

"Don't worry about me. I think I like it."

"Like it?" he repeated, amazed.

"Yes, like it. The kind of pain that your sort of man gives me."

"What do you mean?" he asked again.

"I don't know," said Beatrice. "But if you stopped to think and ask yourself where you were going, you'd never get anywhere."

"I suppose that means something," he answered. "If only God would let me know exactly what I want to do—medicine, surgery, or what. It's like knowing that you have to spend your life working on pictures. Like knowing that you can't live without 'em, but not having the foggiest idea whether you want to etch or draw or use a camera or do pastels or try to whack out the big stuff in oils. But I've got to be there in crowds—crowds of the sick—I don't know what I'll do to them, but I've got to have them around, under my eyes, thousands of them. Does it sound crazy to you?"

She made one of those thoughtful pauses. He waited, growing more breathless because her final judgment seemed so important.

"No, it's not crazy. It's just like you, that's all," she said. "I don't know why it's like you but it is."

The voice of Dr. Lawrence Kildare sounded in the front hall, speaking with Mrs. Raymond. Now he came into the room saying: "What's the matter with that boy of mine? Won't he let you have your sleep out, Beatrice?... Here's a telegram that just came for you, Jimmy."

Kildare looked into the steady old eyes for a long moment, making fierce inward resolutions. Then he tore the telegram open. When he had read it, he let it fall. He had the look of one before whom doors are opening rapidly, showing the way through great new halls of light. It was plain that for the moment he had forgotten everyone in the room.

Beatrice, without asking permission, picked up the paper and read aloud, softly:


"Who was the sick person, Jimmy?" asked the girl. "Somebody you were terribly fond of?"

"Fond of?" echoed Kildare, impatiently. "I don't even know his name!"


DR. CAREW, medical director of the Dupont General Hospital, did not wear false teeth because without them he looked like Cicero. He had the same bald dome and the same downward-sagging lines; he had the same general air of the wise bull about to bite. He added to the effect by earmarking himself as a man of culture; that is to say, he damned modern books, architecture, painting, music and in general the direction of our intellectual course. In the hospital he was considered a 'character', a reputation which is sure to give a man more leeway than is good for his soul. Now he was talking to the entering group of internes in his large office, leaning forward on his desk.

He said: "We still are waiting for Dr. Gillespie, who takes an interest in the entering groups of internes. He prefers to be present when they are inducted into the service of the hospital. Gillespie is our internist. But you all know about him. He is a legend though he is still alive. Before he dies, he hopes to discover some young brain sufficiently intelligent to receive the heaped-up stores of wisdom which a great diagnostician has gathered in the course of a long life. During twenty-five years he has searched for such a man."

Carew, paused, joined the tips of his fingers together, and contemplated this gesture, which might have been one of prayer.

"Perhaps," he said, gently, "Gillespie will achieve his quest today; perhaps he will find his man among you."

The hope which Carew expressed in this manner was denied by the faint smile which pulled his mouth to one side.

"Ah," he added, looking up, "and here is Gillespie in person. Hurrying, as usual."

Here a door was cast open and Gillespie entered. A thousand tales of the famous diagnostician, a thousand whispering murmurs that travelled through the medical world, had prepared Kildare for his first sight of the eccentric, but still there was a shock. He worked twenty-four hours a day so that it often was said that he never was quite in bed and never was entirely out of it; that is to say, he always was preparing for the good, long sleep which he needed so much and which never came to him. On this occasion he must have been actually in bed and he had dressed in three gestures to keep this important appointment.

He was wearing a grey flannel coat with the collar turned up to conceal the nightgown beneath. The skirt of the gown, too casually poked inside his trousers, escaped to the rear and hung down under the tail of the coat almost to his knees. In place of shoes, he had stepped into carpet-slippers with elastic sides and rubber-padded soles. He had a huge dome of a skull with a windy mist of white hair on top of it and scraggy, scrawny features descending from the immensity of the brow. He was not a very clean antiquity. The grey stubble of two days' beard covered his face. A bit of yellow egg-yolk was streaked in one of the wrinkles near his mouth.

He said: "Good morning, everyone. That damned Conover didn't wake me up in time, and then he wouldn't let me come till I'd had some breakfast... What have you got here, Walter?"

"A number of learned young men," said the dry voice of Carew, "and the man you want is surely among them."

"I doubt it," answered Gillespie. "But go on, go on! Carry on, Carew, and speak your piece."

Carew said: "Young gentlemen, to tell you all that is in my mind would require time and time is the one commodity which this century cannot produce. Besides, I would rather be brief and remembered than discursive and forgotten. I take it that most of you come from institutions of culture, that Horace remains on the back of your tongues like the taste of his own Falernian, that Phidias fills your eyes and Bach your ears. Since all these things are true, or should be true, it hardly is necessary to remind you that discipline is needed chiefly by barbarians and therefore that you will be accorded from the first the liberty proper for free-born citizens of the world of the mind. However, in a hospital of this size there must be rules. To gentlemen of your capacity, worthy of being masters of your own days, these rules will be only the slightest encumbrance but if there should be one or two among you—which I doubt—who expect like children to saunter through the year in this hospital, if there by any chance should be one among you who does not love duty for its own sake, to him and to him alone I say that the Dupont Hospital treats every man as well as it can but as harshly as it must.

"In the meantime, in the highest hope and expectation that the hospital will be worthy of you and that you will be worthy of the hospital, I extend to you my personal greetings. Dr. Gillespie, have you anything to say?"

During this rhythmical incantation, Gillespie had shown the greatest impatience. He walked up and down the room, looking out the window at one moment, then scanning the internes, staring at the ceiling, or putting his hands behind his back to flop up and down the double tails of coat and nightgown like the wing- sheaths, black and white, of a beetle. Attracted by one of the internes, he went over to him, felt his shoulder-muscle, and then craned his neck around to peer into his face. Whatever he looked for he did not find and shook his head in manifest disappointment. Carew greeted three silent interruptions with some black looks but stuck to his lines like a good actor. When he was asked to speak, Gillespie was sitting at the side of the desk, using his thumbnails to clean the other nails of his hands.

"After you've put 'em to sleep with your prologue, how the devil can I wake 'em up, Walter?" asked Gillespie. "However, come here, my boys!"

The internes made a diffident movement towards him. He slapped his hands palm down on the desk, saying: "What do you see in my hands? Come, now—look! Take hold of 'em. Turn 'em over. Look with your eyes and look with your brains and tell me what's in 'em."

The internes hardly dared to touch the hands of greatness, but they crowded their heads together, staring at the withered old paws. Big, blue veins wandered loosely under the skin.

"There's a touch of eczema here, sir," said one.

"Bah!" exclaimed Gillespie.

"Slightly clubbed tips—that's a sign of pulmonary trouble at some time or other, isn't it, sir?" asked another.

"Rot!" said Gillespie.

Kildare picked up the left hand and looked earnestly at a slight discoloration partly under the nail of the little finger and partly at the edge of the nail, like a small mole.

"May I feel the epitrochlear gland, sir?" asked Kildare, reaching for Gillespie's left elbow.

The diagnostician jumped up and banged a fist on the desk. "What the devil do you mean, young man?" he demanded. "What are you? What's your name?"

"Kildare," he answered, with his eyes still on the left hand of the internist.

"Kildare—Kildare—an Irish name," said Gillespie. "The Irish are a useful lot on horseback. Maybe that's your talent, Kildare. Horses, horses!"

And he strode suddenly out of the office. Broad grins, malicious eyes, turned upon Kildare.

"Perhaps the rest of you feel a little grateful," commented the dry voice of Carew. "The lightning rod has saved the house, I think—and perhaps Mr. Kildare will be less curious about elbows from now on. Your rooms have been assigned. You may go to them." He added: "Dr. Kildare will kindly remain a moment behind the others."

The internes filed from the room. Their laughter began when they were hardly outside the door. When they were gone, Carew stood up and made a half gesture towards Kildare with a pale hand. Kildare took the hand gingerly in his own and dropped it at once. Carew said: "My old schoolmate, your father, has written to me about you. I remember Lawrence Kildare as a happy nature but a casual mind. I trust that time has remedied the defect. As for you, I shall give you more than your share of my personal attention and trust that it may benefit you. I trust that Gillespie's reaction may not be that of the hospital staff at large. Good day."

Kildare went down to the office to find out his room assignment. Since he knew none of the other internes, he had not even attempted to write down a preference as to a roommate. He discovered that his bags already had been sent up to Room 114, so he followed them through the clean shimmer of the halls. The hospital was so big that it never was silent. From passing subway trains or huge trucks in the street or perhaps cellar machinery, a slight tremor lived continually through the building. Footsteps never were done hurrying. Voices opened and were shut away behind doors. Life was so housed in enormous space in that great institution that these sounds gathered into the consciousness of Kildare no more loudly than the humming of a bee, a sleeping noise on a warm summer's day. It was not a place in the world; it was a world in itself.

When he came to 114 he found a naked room with white walls and two iron single beds, two small desks, two narrow bookcases, a double washstand. His bags stood beside one of the beds. An adjoining door stood open, with voices pouring cheerfully through it.

He could not help hearing a fellow with a loud bass exclaiming: "If you catch a cluck, we're going to lock that door, Tommy, and close you in with him. You've got to get somebody human for a roommate or be damned if you can share our terrain."

Kildare went to the open door and looked in on three young men in the midst of unpacking.

"It seems that I'm what Tom has caught," he said, in his grave way, "and I hope I'm human enough. My name is James Kildare."

They stood up and shook hands with him. Stanley Vickery, Dick Joiner, and Tom Collins.

"If you like that long drink, you'll like Tom," declared Vickery. "And maybe you need a drink since Gillespie dropped on you like a hawk, but think of God joining two names like that together and expecting a man to live up to them all by himself? Where's that questionnaire, Tommy?"

This Vickery was a blond giant with a downright, battering, football look about him. His roommate, Dick Joiner, smiling and pudgy, did not look up to much unless that bulging flesh were muscle instead of fat. Tom Collins, to make the three as unlike as possible, was a dark-faced, long, light cat of a man. When the questionnaire was mentioned, he at once pulled out a long sheet of paper.

"This is a short cut to knowing one another," he explained. "School and college and medical school first, please. Joiner and Vickery are from Groton and Harvard; I'm only from Andover and Yale, so they won't let me stay in the same room with them; but we can keep the door ajar and get some of the air from the high life, now and then."

"I went to grammar school and high school in Dartford; then to Hillsdale for college and the medical course."

"Hillsdale?" murmured Collins. "Well—next question—what musical instrument? Vickery fiddles, Dick bangs the piano, and I, brother, can handle the drums—if you could do things with a saxophone, for instance, or an accordion, or anything at all—?"

"Sorry," said Kildare.

"Nothing?" pleaded Collins.

"Nothing," answered Kildare.

"Games are next. Where do you stand on that? Golf, tennis, ping pong, or what? Vickery used to smash himself to pieces trying to get through that Big Blue football line; now he makes a fool of himself at squash rackets. Joiner was a roving centre and a stumble-burn all over the lot. When he stumbled against Yale he got that vacant look that never leaves him. Now he does golf and tennis. As for me, I swing it, Kildare. What's in the blood has to come out—"

"I box a little," said Kildare, "and tennis makes a good quick workout."

"Tennis—workout," said Collins, frowning at the paper as he wrote the answers down. "What do you drink? Wine, whisky, gin, or beer? Dick sops up the beer and see what it's doing to him; Stan loves the Black Label; and it's the giggle-water for me, old son."

"I have beer—now and then," said Kildare.

An odd little silence had settled over the room. "Now and then," murmured Collins, as he wrote down the words. "Now we get down to indoor talents. Can you make that seven come eleven, or does contract suit you, or poker, or do you ride the time away with stud, now and then."

"I haven't enough money to gamble," answered Kildare.

"You couldn't make a fourth at anything?" sighed Collins.

"I used to play cribbage with my mother," said Kildare. "That's all I know about cards. I don't go in for them much."

"Doesn't go in for them—much," wrote Collins.

Kildare could feel in the air a crossing of glances and the silence crept out from the corners of the room like a cold shadow.

"I'll be getting at the unpacking," he said. He looked at them one by one, with a deliberation which was peculiarly his own. He knew in his very bones that they were the best; they were what he wanted. He hadn't known people like this at Hillsdale because Hillsdale did not have them; and there was an upward bounding of his heart as it came over him that perhaps here was a mighty, quadrangular friendship which might endure through all their lives. But all he could say was: "I'm glad I've met you." Then he went back into his room.

The packing occupied him. The books he had with him more than filled his bookcase, but he made room on the top shelf for the double picture frame which held the photographs of his mother and father. He could hear low murmurs of voices from the three in the adjoining room; after a time Tom Collins came into the room, stepping quietly, his face dark, and just after he entered the door between the two rooms closed. It was done with care but Kildare distinctly heard the key turn and the bolt sliding in the lock. It was a shock to him. That hope of the great friendship vanished. It was as though that were a prison gate locking, and he on the prison side.

Collins, still silent, adjusted the dials of a radio in a corner of the room and presently the voice of a crooner was wailing rhythmically in the air. Kildare would not have protested for thousands of dollars but out of his impatience a faint sweat began to gather on his forehead and his upper lip. He had found in Hillsdale only one blessing: silence.


DURING the first week they were distributed to fit into the various needs of the hospital. Kildare was assigned to an ambulance in the emergency service. A resident physician took him out into the ambulance court one evening and introduced him to the driver and attendant who would ride with him on calls. The resident was a brisk young man who was growing a professional moustache. He said: "Here's your army. These fellows will do what you tell them. If this is your first shot at this business, let me tell you right now is the time to begin giving orders and never ask for advice. We have three pairs of hands with every ambulance but never more than one set of brains."

The driver and attendant regarded the resident with an eloquent blankness of eye. Both of them were men in the upper thirties but Kildare knew what the resident meant: Superior knowledge gives and demands the authority to command. Kildare lingered after the resident went inside again. The streamlined length of the ambulance, before the week ended, would enclose a part of his destiny the way a steel shell encloses a blasting charge. The attendant stood by, grinning. He was a pink-faced man with the neck and shoulders of an athlete and the loose good nature of a child in his face.

"You look as though you'd been in the army—you stand that way," said Kildare.

"Marines," said a woman's voice beside them. "The infantry pulls the chin in; the marines, they stick it out."

"Lay off that, Sally," protested the attendant.

"Sergeant Jeff Weyman. Sergeant Beans. That's what they used to call him. That's how tough he was," continued Sally.

"Go on and scram on out of this, will you?" asked Weyman.

"I'm going to scram," agreed Sally. "He's a good boy now," she told Kildare, keeping her ironical eye fixed on Weyman as she spoke. "We've agreed that I'm to scram and keep on scramming if he can't hang on to this job. But he still thinks that he's in the marines and that everybody else is gobs for him to beat up when he wants action. So long, Beans."

She went away, leaving the rainy dimness of the court still darker; for she took away something with her, as a pretty girl always does.

"Long time?" asked Kildare.

"Two—three years," said Weyman. "She's kind of sour."

He tried to smile but his anxious eye still was following her through the rain.

"She's pretty," commented Kildare.

"Yeah, but she's got me in the doghouse," said Weyman. "She's sour. So I gotta hang on to this job..."

They got their first call within an hour. Weyman went inside the ambulance. Kildare got up on the driver's seat. They were doing fifty by the time they pulled out of the long curve of the entrance drive and the siren cut loose as they swung into the city traffic. The rain came down in gusts and blind, thick volleys, like the spray blown by a storm off the face of a heavy sea. The traffic huddled in tangles and jams, bewildered under this downpour, but the scream of the siren kept reaching out an invisible hand which opened their way. The streets, brightly polished, were as treacherous as greased metal but the driver took an Irish delight in this danger.

A saloon was their point of call. A dozen men stood down the line of the bar listening to a radio crooner while they drank. The bartender came around the corner of the bar to show the stretcher-bearers the way. Stretched in a corner with a towel under his head lay a middle-aged man with a white bloat of a face. A policeman sat beside him.

"One of these brittle guys," said the bartender. "He takes a couple of shots and goes out like a light."

"He oughta go to the can with the other drunks," observed the policeman, "but he's got this little cut bleeding here behind the ear so I couldn't book him." Kildare kneeled and peered at the cut. The blood leaked out slowly. The drops distilled one by one. He felt for the pulse.

"Booze, isn't it?" asked the cop.

"Or heart," said Kildare. "Heart or whisky."

"But why ain't there much of a breath to him?" demanded the cop.

"Because he's hardly breathing," answered Kildare, and they got the senseless body into the ambulance.

The bartender came out to them with word that the hospital had called ordering the ambulance to stop for an injured man on the way back. Kildare, inside the ambulance with his stethoscope over the heart of the patient, listening to the wavering uncertainty of the pulsation, shook his head. Weyman said: "He's only one more that's out with booze. Sometimes we gotta cord 'em up like wood, they come in so fast."

"Can you give oxygen?" asked Kildare. "Do you know how to adjust the face-mask?"

"Yeah, sure I know," said Weyman.

"Let this fellow have oxygen, then. I don't like that heart," said Kildare as the ambulance stopped.

It was only three blocks from the saloon, a high, narrow old rooming house. Kildare and the driver carried up the stretcher. A coloured maid opened the door to them. She led them into a front parlour where a scented punk burned in a little vase. On the floor lay a youth with a deep, raw-edged cut across his head. A red-stained towel was folded under his head, and beside him sat a high-chested woman in an evening gown. She had a neck thick enough to bear a yoke, and from her lobeless ears dangled a pair of large ornaments. She sat in a rocking chair and wielded a big fan. With each sway of the chair she gave the air a stroke of the fan, keeping a perfect rhythm.

"It's one of those places, eh," murmured the driver. "One of what places?" asked Kildare.

"Ah, you know what I mean," said the driver, smiling. "Minnie, get the gentlemen a drink," called the lady of the house. "What the devil are you thinking about?" The coloured maid disappeared.

"Can you get this lug out of here before he dies on me?" asked madame. "He's calling on a niece of mine and he takes a nose-dive downstairs because he can't handle his booze—"

"Did anybody give him a head start?" asked Kildare, examining a bump behind the ear of the injured man.

"What kind of a head start?" asked madame, leaning from her chair, with an effort that made her wheeze.

"He was hit from behind," answered Kildare.

"Should a guy start a fight he can't finish?" demanded madame.

"Get the stretcher ready," directed Kildare to the attendant.

The telephone rang and madame picked it out of its cradle on the table beside her. "Hello—hello—yes—yes, it's here—it's for you, doctor."

Kildare took the telephone. A sharp, barking voice over the wire said: "Dr. Kildare? Pick up 111 Lester Street, right around the corner from you. Woman. Suicide. Gas."

Kildare swabbed the skull-wound with iodine and made a swift bandage. The victim began to groan, making a feeble gesture of protest with one hand. Kildare looked up the nostrils and into the ears with his pocket light. There was a slight coagulation of blood in the right nostril. He lifted the eyelids. The right pupil was enlarged. The pulse ticked away rapidly, between 120 and 130.

"This may be serious," said Kildare. "I think it's a fracture."

"Wouldn't you know it?" groaned madame. "A blackjack never was any good. Sandbags are the stuff. But listen, doc—you know what they would have done with that thug in most houses."

"They would have rolled him out in the street," answered Kildare.

"I wouldn't do that, I never do it," remarked madame. "So give me a break, will you?"

"Everything I can," said Kildare. He picked up the head of the stretcher.

They rushed the senseless man down the stairs and into the ambulance. The rain came crash as they reached the sidewalk. It turned the street dim and brightened the pavement with the trampling of a million tiny feet. Water-dust flew up to the second stories.

Weyman, whistling blithely, was in the act of adjusting the face-mask for the oxygen as they pushed the second stretcher into the ambulance. Kildare looked into the grey face of the first patient and caught Weyman by the wrist, hard.

"I told you to get that oxygen to him fast. What have you been doing?" he demanded.

"Take it easy, doc," answered Weyman. "These mugs, they get a load but they can carry it."

Kildare, feeling for the disappearing pulse, said: "How far away is Lester Street?"

"Around the corner," answered the driver.

"Drop me off there and then get this man to the hospital, fast. It's coronary, I think. Tell them that. And this is a fractured skull. The next time I tell you to do something, you're going to do it, Weyman!"

"Don't get tough with me, brother," snapped Weyman. "I don't take loose chewing from any of you—"

"Hand me the oxygen flask."

A moment later the ambulance had stopped. He lingered for a single breath as the oxygen reached the sick man; there was only a feeble rallying of the pulse. "Get him back to the hospital and then work fast and soft with him. Don't throw him around," directed Kildare. "You were too slow with him, Weyman."

"The hell you say," answered Weyman, glaring with fighting eyes.

Kildare met the glance for a brief instant; but dignity was never a thing that he was willing to fight for. "Get these two to the hospital and hurry back for me," he said.

He climbed down to the sidewalk and through the vague smother of the rain faced 111 Lester Street. It was built of rough bricks which gave it an unfinished look, like a face from which the skin has been flayed. Kildare looked at it through the downrushing of the storm and remembered some of the dingy railway stations which he had left behind on trains. In just such a place as this reputations are left behind, particularly very intangible stuff like the good repute of a young doctor.

He was ringing the front doorbell. The echo of it ran far back and walked up lonely stairs. The door opened. In the hall stood a man with a half-finished glass of beer in his hand. "Third floor up," he said. "She's cooked."

"Is she dead?" asked Kildare.

"As a herring," said the man.

Kildare trotted up the stairs. Two or three doors opened and people looked at him. Somebody said: "They oughta get the stink of the gas out of the house. It ain't healthy."

Then he came to the third floor. Three or four lodgers were loitering around a doorway. A woman with a man's squared face was in command inside the room, a greasy-grey face, with grey hair clotted across the forehead.

"Get her out of here, will you, doc?" she asked. "It gives a house a bad name to have a thing like this happen. The scuts—they come in off the street and dirty up a decent place."

Kildare stumbled over the strip of matting that lay by the bed with a rectangle of dust revealed beneath it. The window was open but the smell of gas still hung sweet and foul in the air. The rain, splattering from the window-sill, polished the floor with wet. From the iron bed one blanket, rat-eaten at the end, draggled down on to the floor; a sheet was pulled up over the figure of the suicide; only a fraying of blonde hair appeared beyond the upper edge.

"Don't be taking the sheet away with her," said the landlady.

Kildare drew the covering away. She was young; he saw the hands knotted into half-formed fists. Perhaps those fingers still clutched a bit of life. His intentness on the trail of that life half-blinded him. He got the muzzle of the stethoscope over the heart at once. Sounds from the outer world besieged him, the storm, the traffic noises, and worst of all the stirrings of the people in the room, confusing the trail like leaves which cover the sign of the beast from the hunter. Yet in spite of these noises through the tube of the stethoscope he detected a ghost of a fluttering sound, a vague pulsation.

He flung the stethoscope aside and lifted the girl from the bed—weight about a hundred and twenty, bones well covered, no sign of malnutrition, age perhaps twenty-two. He called out orders for warm blankets, hot water.

"Get what he wants," said the landlady to the excited roomers, "but he'll never bring her around. There ain't a flicker in her—"

Kildare had her stretched on the floor on her face, the left arm straight ahead, the right arm bent, her head lying over her right hand. He pushed a finger inside her mouth and pulled her tongue forward. The touch of her teeth made him think of the naked skull, all that flesh stripped away to the bare, blank essential. Her lips were soft and cold and dry, like cloth. He kneeled, putting his thumbs in the small of her back, his fingers spread out over the floating ribs. He began to swing his weight forward and back. He pulled out his watch and laid it on the floor beside him because of the frantic impulse to go faster and faster. Fifteen pressures a minute were enough. More than that might hurry and stifle the returning natural respiration.

"A lot of hoorah for what?" asked the landlady. "Suppose he brings her around, she'll blot herself out some other way. When they go nutty you can't do anything about it."

"Get down and wait for the ambulance," panted Kildare. "When it comes, tell Weyman to bring up the oxygen on the run—and give me a bit of cotton, somebody."


FOOTFALLS went banging down the stairs. Somebody put a can of cotton near by. He pulled out a wisp of it and laid it on the girl's arm near her lips. Then he resumed that rhythmical pressing, relaxing, pressing, swinging his body to give it force. Five minutes of the Schaefer Method and you know you've been doing something; fifteen minutes and you may be done in. However, he was not thinking about fatigue just now. He said: "Somebody help me?"

A girl with a colourless pigtail of blonde hair flopped down on her knees beside him. She was not more than ten. Her dirty hands were doubled into fists and her eyes glittered with eagerness.

"I'll help—leave me help," she begged.

"Watch that bit of cotton near her lips. Tell me when it stirs. Tell me when her breath stirs it."

"Maggie, get away from that thing!" called an angry woman.

Maggie stiffened straight up from her knees. "Shut up and leave me be!" she shouted.

Weyman was there with the oxygen a moment later and adjusted the face-mask.

Maggie was swaying back and forth, maintaining an unconscious imitation of Kildare. She breathed deeply, to inspire breathing in the suicide; her white face turned red. Once Kildare smiled at her and she twisted her lips in an effort to smile back. His arms were numb with effort. Hands kept fumbling about him as more blankets were swathed around the body on which he worked.

"Take my place here," Kildare directed Weyman. "It's the Schaefer Method. Understand?"

"Yeah, but she's out like a light," said Weyman, scowling as he took Kildare's position. "What's the use getting dirty hands for nothing?"

"Slower!" commanded Kildare. "Fifteen to the minute, and no faster. Put your back into it—"

He tried his stethoscope on her side but he could get nothing. He felt her body and found it still deathly cold. Her colour was very cyanotic. He opened his case, filled a syringe, and gave an injection of the respiratory stimulant, coramine. Her skin was gooseflesh, slightly rough to the touch. After that he looked up at the animal, curious faces which thronged the doorway. He could not endure the sight of them. Out in Dartford all the faces are kindly; it never rains in Dartford except softly, to nourish the earth; in Dartford the sun shines every day. He took off the mask. He pulled up her eyelids and one glance at the lifeless eyes was enough to take the heart out of him. He pinched the blue out of a fingernail, then studied the return of the colour. He pulled out her lower lip, pinched it white. Into the white ran a faint cherry red, a stain of life dimmer than the first pale breath of dawn in the sky.

"Get away from her," he said to Weyman. "I'll take her now."

"Leave me try, doc. I'm getting the swing of it. Leave me carry on," urged Weyman, staring with an odd hunger at the half- hidden face of the girl.

But Kildare brushed him aside and took his place. Perhaps one worker was as good as another, but he had a queer feeling that the necessary electric impulse could flow out of his hands alone. In the meantime, until natural respiration began, in spite of the blankets the outer cold was soaking gradually deeper and deeper into the body. Like water it might touch the ultimate spark and then all would be darkness for ever.

"Look! Look!" screamed Maggie. "It's moved! It's moved! She's breathing—"

She began to sob. She had her upper lip caught in her teeth so that no breath of hers might touch the tell-tale cotton and give a false sign of returning life.

"She's stopped again!" whispered Maggie.

"Is she your sister?" Kildare whispered to Maggie. "She's nobody's sister in this house; she's just a thing off the streets," said the landlady.

The blue pallor began to alter in the face of the suicide. Kildare, sitting back on his haunches, kept his hands lightly in place and felt the answering respiration begin, swell, fade away, and begin again. His eyes burned with the sweat that ran down into them. Maggie took a soiled handkerchief and mopped his face. "You won't let her die, will you?" she asked. "Look at how careful she's made. Look at how beautiful."

Kildare looked, but his concern was not with pretty details. Now that she was alive he knew that he had wanted to save her in order to learn what had caused this attempt on her life. Causes matter more than cures, whether of body or soul. Maggie caught his arm with both hands and, looking up at him, exploded: "You're good!" He could not find an answer. This adoring gratitude left him a trifle bewildered and ashamed.

He had the ambulance drive slowly so that he could maintain the artificial respiration all the way back to the hospital; he kept it up even as he walked beside the stretcher which took the girl into the emergency ward. By this time, the cyanotic colour had diminished and the natural tint was returning.

That was when her lips stirred. With head bowed close, he listened to a breath of words.

"—mon mestier et mon art—" she said.

A quick-step of excitement began in the ward. Four or five nurses appeared about the stretcher in a cluster. They held their heads on one side to peer more closely at this patient, and glanced at one another with a sort of furtive pleasure. They seemed both alarmed and delighted. Kildare had not the least idea why.

Their swift hands had her in a bed. They were bringing fresh, soft blankets to swathe her. The blanket which was nearest to her throat was deeply fringed with red, the danger flag which told everyone that this was a critical case. They were packing hot- water bags around her to prevent the deadly chill. Kildare, with one hand on her pulse, watched and counted the respirations. They were very shallow. Between each one he despaired of seeing the next begin; but gradually the pulse was touching his fingertips with a more assured pressure, though still uncertain and wavering, like the steps of a child that is learning to walk.

A man's voice, vaguely familiar, said: "Where's the beauty you're telling me about?"

"Shut up!" commanded Kildare, for at that moment the lips of the girl had moved, and he was leaning forward to catch the words. All he could hear was: "—et mon art—"

The same man's voice repeated: "This is the beauty, is it?"

"What beauty?" snapped Kildare. "Be still, will you?"

"Doctor!" gasped the nurse. "This is Dr. Gillespie!"

The name froze up Kildare's brain like an exquisitely subtle anaesthetic. He looked up and saw the great diagnostician wearing a face newly clean from the razor. A white coat shone on him.

The great Gillespie taking her pulse said: "She will live—she will live. But you're right, nurse. I never saw anything more lovely; nor anything stranger than a young doctor who had no eye to see what he was working on."

Kildare, rallying himself from his work like a man stepping out of darkness, looked at his patient again with eyes that saw her for the first time, and understood at last the excitement of the nurses over this patient. That straggle of blonde hair turned into red-gold out of a medieval ballad. It was not bobbed but flowed down after the fashion of older and wiser centuries around a perfect face. He remembered what Maggie had said. In fact she was 'made careful'. He forgot her again as he stared at the great Gillespie.

"I'm sorry, sir," he said.

"Sorry for what? Damn your sorrow," said Gillespie's organ bass of a voice. "Sorry you didn't have eyes to see her, or a heart to tell you by instinct what to look for? Don't tell me about it. Tell God that you're sorry he made you that way—I'll take care of this case, doctor—"

A nurse, looking at Kildare with curiously contemptuous eyes, remarked: "The reporters are waiting for you, Dr. Kildare."

"Kildare? Kildare? I remember the name," echoed Gillespie as Kildare went out of the ward. In this manner he was blacklisted by the finest brain in the hospital. For that matter, was there in the whole country, or even in the world, a greater diagnostician than this same Gillespie who had given up his life to medicine like a monk, rendering up his days to the service of heaven? This Gillespie, this text of illimitable knowledge, would be a closed book to him from now on. He had begun his interneship with a disaster.

As he came down the corridor he heard the voice of his ambulance driver saying: "This is the one. Kildare is his name."

He faced them, waiting.

The ambulance driver stood back and three brisk young men came up to Kildare, pulling notebooks out of their pockets. They were from The MessengerThe Globe, and the Associated Press.

"We want a few words with you about Kegelman," said one of them.

"Kegelman?" asked Kildare, bewildered.

"He doesn't know the name," said The Globe man.

Somebody laughed briefly, and the corridor pushed the sound from wall to wall, bandying it tirelessly about.

The ambulance driver, who stood back with a queer look of superior virtue, remarked: "That was the first guy we picked up."

As if that first laughter had been a signal for the inquisition, they gathered around him now, ready to pick the bones of his ignorance. Their voices were mockingly low- pitched.

"Yeah. The one that died," said the reporter from The Messenger.

"Dead?" repeated Kildare.

"You didn't know that either, eh?" they asked of him as they wrote in their books.

"Now, doctor," queried one, "is it true that after picking up this John Kegelman instead of returning to the hospital with him you made another call?"

"Yes," said Kildare.

"Where you picked up another accident case?"

"Yes," admitted Kildare.

"And from there you went on to make still a third call?"

"There was a telephone message from the hospital—" began Kildare.

"Was it at your discretion to answer or not answer that third call?" asked a reporter. "In other words, are you in command of that ambulance or not?"

The questioner's face was pallid as paper; very old, very cunning.

"In command of it—yes," agreed Kildare.

"So that it was at your own discretion that you made the third call?"

"That's true," said Kildare, "but—"

"I guess that's all we want, isn't it?" asked a reporter. "All right, Harry!"

A photo-flash spurted white along the corridor. "Thanks very much," one of the reporters was saying. They turned their backs on him.

He stood, a statue carved of exhaustion and agony, straight and perilously quiet. His eyes burned with a sickening question, and dreadful premonitions came surging to his heart. God, what next? What blunder had he done now?

"I don't know about you fellows," declared The Messenger, "but I'm going to spread this."

"Sure," agreed The Globe: "Human interest."


AN ambulance call sent Kildare away to resume his night's work but he saw Gillespie later on, during the dark hours of the next morning when he came off duty. He went to the emergency ward, first, to look at the attempted suicide. Her bloodless skin had a greenish-grey tint like certain kinds of jade; the cyanotic colouring remained only around the eyes and in one pale shadow beneath the lower lip. Now that he was instructed to look for beauty, he could see a wealth of it. Her head was of the Mediterranean type, the brow low and broad and the features worked with exquisite precision. Her pulse remained rapid and irregular but she seemed surely on the way to recovery. He had been certain enough of that, before; it was not this question which brought him back to stare at her.

A nurse came to stand by the bed, watching Kildare with a cold curiosity. "What do you think, doctor?" she asked.

"A lot of question-marks," answered Kildare. "Why did she do it?"

"Maybe Dr. Gillespie knows—he wants to see you," said the nurse.

Kildare hesitated. If the great man wanted to see him, it could not be for any friendly reason, he was sure; but he went at once to the diagnostician. Next to the children's clinic there was a small waiting-room with a brass plate over the door bearing the legend which was famous throughout the medical world: 'Dr. Gillespie. Office hours: 12 A.M. to 12 A.M.' In fact, he kept himself ready to receive patients for twenty-four hours of the day. In two rooms, one for his bed and library, one for his office interviews, he lived year after year, rarely putting foot outside the hospital walls. The penniless old man refused to accept a larger fee than a dollar a visit, and even this fee was payable on easy terms. For as he explained, he wanted more sick people, not their money.

In this waiting-room Kildare discovered, in the four rows of seats, the oddest group of people who could be found outside of a nightcourt. Over them presided that grizzled Negro, Conover, who was almost as celebrated as his master. For forty years he had served Gillespie day and night, except on Friday evenings when he left the hospital and got himself carefully drunk with Jamaica rum.

A tall man in camel's-hair coat and silken neck-scarf preceded Kildare into the room. He leaned on a walking stick and on the arm of his wife. She had health enough for two, with big, expansive jowls and oversize diamonds jittering in her ears.

"You can take us right in to the doctor," she said to Conover. "This is John H. Miner, of San Francisco."

"Set down and rest your feet," suggested Conover. "The doc'll see you when your turn comes."

Mrs. Miner laughed a little, though she was not greatly amused.

"I've brought you the John Miner," she said. "If you'll kindly tell the doctor—"

"Even if he was John H. Archangel Gabriel," said Conover, "he'd have to set down there and rest, trumpet an' all, till his turn come... What you want, doctor?"

"Dr. Gillespie sent for me. My name is Kildare."

Conover rose from his desk, opened the door of the inner office, and held Kildare by the arm. Inside, Gillespie was using a stethoscope on a man who stood stripped to the waist.

"You like to see Dr. Kildare?" Conover asked.

"I don't like to, but I need to."

"Step in, doctor," Conover invited, and closed the door behind Kildare as Gillespie's patient said, smiling: "Have I got to cut down on the stuff, doctor? Should I taper off to beer and wine, perhaps?"

Gillespie hooked the earphones of the stethoscope around his neck and stepped back, shrugging.

"Why taper off?" he asked. "Stick to the whisky if you like it better. Because it's too late for you to change."

The thrill of fear went visibly through the body of the patient. "Too late?" asked his shaken voice. "You mean that I can't be cured?"

"Four months with whisky—six months without, say. Why not be happy right to the end?" asked Gillespie's remorseless voice. "You had your warning ten years ago, and your chance... This way out, please!"

But the patient, struck to a blind stagger, reached out a feeble hand as though his eyes were gone and he could only feel his way. A big attendant took him by the arm and fetched him through the far door.

"Why d'you look at me?" demanded Gillespie, scowling at Kildare. "You wouldn't talk to 'em like that, I suppose? The fools who throw away what God gave 'em you'd still baby 'em with soft talk?"

Kildare said nothing.

"Answer me!" shouted Gillespie.

"You've been telling me things, not asking questions, sir," said Kildare.

"You're the calm and cool type, are you?" sneered Gillespie. "You have eyes and you can use 'em, too. Isn't that right?... What did you think you saw on my hand this morning, for instance?"

"A small melanoma—I think you know what it means, sir," said Kildare.

"Bosh and nonsense!" roared Gillespie, but he fell silent a moment later and, dragging a hand through the white mist of his hair, he looked past Kildare at some face of unhappiness which was not far away. He rallied himself back to his usual gruffness to ask: "Since you have eyes in your head, tell me why Barbara Treat did it?"

"Barbara Treat?"

"You don't know her name?" growled Gillespie. "You didn't even know that she had a face, until it was pointed out to you. What do you know about her?"

"Her height and weight, approximate age, general physical condition, and a few details which are not medically important," said Kildare.

"What details?" asked Gillespie.

"She was educated abroad, rides horses and plays tennis," said Kildare.

"What tells you she was educated abroad?"

"The sort of French she speaks."

"What did she say?"

"'Mon mestier et mon art—'" repeated Kildare. "If it's a quotation the next words are: 'c'est vivre."'

"'My business and my art is living—living is my occupation and my art,"' translated Gillespie. "Very good. Excellent from a young woman who has just tried to kill herself. How do you explain that?"

"An inverted impulse, perhaps."

"The tennis?" snapped Gillespie.

"She has the tennis callus on her right thumb."

"Has she the saddle callus from riding?" asked the great man, sneering.

"She has well-developed muscles under her shoulders," answered Kildare. "Also her forefingers show the pull of reins."

"Interesting," said Gillespie. "Have you any interest in her identity?"

"None, sir," answered Kildare.

"Ha?" cried Gillespie. "She's young, beautiful, and even rich, you tell me; and yet you don't give a damn about her."

"I care very much about her—as a case," said Kildare.

"Ah, only as a case?"

"Yes, sir. What made her turn on the gas in a cheap rooming house?"

"Despair because she had lost the comfortable home you infer in her background," suggested Gillespie.

"Her nails had been carefully manicured not more than two or three days before; and she had not lost weight," answered Kildare.

"You mean that she ran away from a happy home to kill herself in a tawdry little rooming house?"

"That's my suggestion," said Kildare.

"A clear indication of an unsettled mind."

"I think not, sir," said Kildare.

"Ha? And why not?"

"I don't know," answered Kildare. "I have an instinctive feeling—"

"God in heaven!" exclaimed the diagnostician. "Are you talking to me about instinctive feelings? Are you a doctor or a schoolgirl?"

Kildare was silent.

"Is this lovely girl a human being or a problem to you?" demanded Gillespie.

Kildare was silent again.

"Answer me!" bellowed Gillespie.

"A problem, sir," said Kildare.

"Ice-water! Ice-water!" cried Gillespie. "A man of ice-water instead of blood. Even the nurses in the emergency ward have seen it already. A man with no heart, so there can't be emotion in him. A brain without a body! God help your friends. You'll bring enough pain to 'em. And God help you in this hospital. They want men here, not machines—Good-bye!"

Kildare rang the police and got the Bureau of Missing Persons. There were, he was told, eleven girls of a similar description missing within the past few days. But they'd come up the next day with photographs and try to make an identification. Then he went back to the emergency ward to look at Barbara Treat.

The dawn had come; it was stronger than the electric lights and marked the faces and the wrinkled bedding with daubs of soot. Three others were in the ward, one an alcoholic with stertorous breathing and a face of pale purple. Kildare shut them out of his mind as he stood over Barbara Treat. Her pulse was rallying still. The delicate pastel red of her lips showed the life coming closer to the surface.

The nurse came to her side, glanced curiously at Kildare, and went away after a hesitant moment, as though she hardly dared to trust such a charge to such a doctor.

The eyes of Barbara Treat opened a moment later. They were that vivid blue which we call violet. The whites were slightly smoked with yellow and almost imperceptibly veined with red. The lens seemed not for outward so much as inward use and he had a singular feeling that he was looking straight into her mind. She grew aware of him by degrees, detail by detail, and then forgot him, passing back deeply into her own thoughts.

She was remembering. A shadowy line of pain deepened between her eyes; her lips pinched; there was a slight dilation of the nostrils. It was a pleasure to Kildare to view these characteristic symptoms from a point so close to the object. The visible diminution of her colour also was worthy of attention together with a slight tremor of the entire body. A moment later she had clasped her hands together. But all these surface indications, like wind and wave shadows on the surface of the profound ocean, gave him no picture of the objects which floated in the deep of her mind.

"Where am I?" she whispered.

It is a medical rule to reassure every patient. Kildare followed the rule in three steps, saying: "You are resting well; you'll sleep again soon; nothing shall harm you because I am your friend."

He was pleased to see the effects of the words at once, noting that the tremor disappeared, the tension of the face was relieved greatly, and a lifted hand moved towards him. He took the hand in his. It was dry and cold, an unfavourable symptom in such a case. He chafed the hand between both of his. Perhaps it was the warmth that caused her to smile a little. She relaxed, her head turning gradually to the side. She seemed, in fact, to be smiling at thoughts she desired to hide. Then sudden fear, as sharp and biting as pain, closed her hand hard over his.

"Steady, steady," said Kildare. "Everything is all right and I'm your friend."

The words were prescribed; they were almost out of the book; but they had an almost instant narcotic effect.

"Friend—" she whispered, and a faint recognition appeared in her before she relaxed again into sleep. Her hand still clung a little to his. She took a deep breath with a shuddering exhalation and drew his hand against her breast. This was an unexpected advantage because it enabled him to study the rhythm of her heart, that great chronometer of the sick room.

As he expected, consciousness returned again, and again with a knife-thrust of pain that made her entire body tremble, her startled eyes stared at him.

"All right—I'm a friend," said Kildare, patiently.

"Then let me die. Help me to die!" she whispered.

In this no-man's-land of half-mind, half-darkness, it may be useful to influence the patient by firm, insistent suggestion which often exerts a semi-hypnotic effect. Kildare seized upon the opportunity.

"I'll help you," he repeated. "But now we are going to sleep; now we are going to rest; now we relax; we breathe deeply and the sleep enters us. We need to sleep and be strong. Then we can do what needs to be done."

"It needs to be done," she whispered, her eyes closing.

"I'm a friend. I'll help you," said Kildare.

"Friend—" said her almost soundless lips, and again they smiled, remaining parted as the next wave of sleep overcame her.

A shadow crossed close to Kildare. He was aware of the nurse who now looked from him to the patient with an air of awed surprise.

Kildare said: "Don't come too close, please. She's almost ready to talk. Like hypnotism. She may tell everything."

The awe and the interest disappeared from the glance of the nurse. "Like peeping through a keyhole, isn't it?" she suggested, sardonically.

As Barbara Treat stirred towards consciousness again, he leaned close and murmured: "It's all right—I'll help you—"

"I have to die—" whispered her lips.

"Why do you have to die? Why do I have to help you to die?" he asked.

"Before they all find out—" she answered.

She was gone again. His own lack of sleep was sucking out his life. An ache went out of his back down his legs and up into the base of his brain. So he gave up the hold that linked them hand to hand and mind to mind, as it were. He withdrew his fingers, gradually. Her own hand followed in a blind gesture but fell to her side again; her breathing became more deep and regular. So, after another moment of watching, he left the room, only lingering at the door to say to the nurse: "It's not a mental case. Not a bit. A guilty secret. That's all. If we can probe that to the bottom—"

"What a detective you would have made! What a friendly detective!" said the nurse, icily.

Kildare went up to his room to find Tom Collins in the act of rising for his day's work, stretching long, double-jointed arms and yawning his eyes out of sight.

"Hey, you look as though you'd been out among' em!" said Tom Collins. "What you been doing? Swinging her?" Kildare answered, slowly: "I've been out collecting trouble—like marbles—and I've got a whole pocketful." Then he went to bed.


IN four hours he was wakened by jazz. In the next room he could hear the radio and the voices of the three friends. He shaved, bathed in haste, and was dressing when Collins came in with mail and tossed two letters on Kildare's desk.

"I hear you went fishing and pulled Venus out of the sea," said Tom Collins. "I hear she's got gold dust in her hair. So I go down and have a look. And is she real, brother! She is!"

"Has she talked?" asked Kildare, tearing open his letters.

"How could I tell has she talked?" answered Collins. "The moment I saw her I was floating. I was swinging it. All the violins went jitter-jump when I saw that babe, and all the drums went whicha-whatcha-hotcha. Like this!"

He spun across the room with intricate tanglings and untanglings of his long legs. Kildare yawned and opened the letters. His mother told him that Judge Banks had gone broke and stopped building the new barn; and his father had a new fertiliser for the onion-bed; and they both loved him and missed him and hoped one day he would be home with them again.

Beatrice Raymond wrote a different sort of letter, as direct as her spoken words:

Dear Jimmy,

Asking questions of you is dangerous, because you always answer with the truth but I have to ask one now. Do you love me? You've never told me and that's why I have to ask. I know you like me but is your heart empty without me? Is everybody else a hideous bore?

I shudder when I ask the question, but I have to ask it. Do you love anything except your work, really and truly?


He spent a long moment looking up, as he always did when a question searched his soul with pain; but then he found himself wondering whether this were a pain more real than what he had felt when he faced Gillespie the night before. After that he scratched out an answer.

Dear Beatrice,

After what's been happening to me recently, I begin to believe that I don't feel things as other people feel them. The people at the top here haven't much use for me. On top of that the thought of losing you is pretty bad. I suppose that's what you mean. If without you my heart isn't empty and there's no salt in the taste of life, you want to know it so that you can start forgetting me. Anyway, I have to tell you the truth. You're the best I know. You're tops. But probably something is left out of my makeup. The fact is that there's plenty of taste to life without you. There's almost too much taste, in a way. When I think of you, I think of quiet, and vacation days, and somebody who always understands everything. But you want more than that. You want a love with a taproot that goes down to bedrock. Maybe I never can love anybody that way. I don't know. I'm going to dread the answer you will send to this letter but I can't lie to you.

Much love,


It was hard to seal that letter and put the stamp on it. He looked up grimly from that work to find Tom Collins watching him with a whimsical eye.

"Don't she love you, brother?" he asked. "If she doesn't, this won't help, unless she likes this kind of fame. They're writing editorials about you. Listen!"

He folded back a newspaper, saying: "That fellow your ambulance picked up last night—the drunk, the first one—he wasn't drunk after all, it turns out. And the newspapers decided to get tender about him. Suppose he were your brother or son or father, or something. Here's the editor stepping into his work. He says: 'Are our hospitals our public servants or our public masters? Must we continue to suffer from their brutal haste? Poor Kegelman, house-painter out of work, drops from a heart attack, is picked up as a drunk, tossed into an ambulance handled by a young interne on his first day of duty, and allowed to die like a rat in the dark.' That's pretty stiff, Kildare, isn't it?"

Perhaps it was not a very odd coincidence that brought a telephone call for Kildare at that moment. He was told that Dr. Carew would see him at once.

Old Carew was polishing the shining dome of his head with one hand when Kildare came into the office. Off to the side stood Bill Weyman, the ambulance attendant, in a uniform of military neatness. His hair shone like opaque brown glass and his eyes held so straight forward that nothing could bend his glance from the high goal of duty. He was the perfect figure of discipline.

Carew said: "Kildare—dead drunkard—newspapers. Yes. My young friend, I have called you in to tell you that every good report that appears about this institution is a help to us, and every bad report is a loss of blood. Of blood, literally. We depend upon the money of taxpayers. We depend upon the money given by the charitable. The additional wing which was planned fifteen years ago still is unbuilt. The laboratories and their equipment rust away. The beds, the mattresses, the linen, the antiquated kitchen, the very face of the hospital is growing old and decrepit; and the face of age revolts the public eye, my very young friend."

Here Carew made a pause in which he seemed to be listening to the echoes of his own words. At last he said: "Have you heard the report of the autopsy on this Kegelman—or do you know who Kegelman was?"

"I do know, sir," said Kildare.

"Ah? From the newspapers I gathered that you were in some doubt as to his identity," said Carew. "The autopsy discovered that it was a coronary case, not alcoholism." Kildare said nothing.

"One bit of bad news from the hospital," commented Carew, "is like one swallow of poison—it undoes the good effects of much honest living and labour. What was the appearance of this Kegelman when you picked him up?"

"His colour was ashen-grey," said Kildare, remembering the details. "His face was beaded with perspiration. His pulse was irregular and rapid. He was in a state of shock. Even in his coma he gave indications of being in great pain."

"Great pain—ashen-grey colour—they are not classical symptoms of alcoholism, are they, Dr. Kildare?"

"No, sir," said Kildare.

"To what, other than alcoholism, might you have attributed the pain and the colour of the face?" asked Carew, so softly that Kildare knew he was on trial for his life—the life of his medical reputation, at least. The doctor who fails once fails for ever, and he knew it.

"There was the head injury, which suggested a possible fracture," answered Kildare.

"That was your diagnosis, then," insisted Carew.

"I thought that it might be a coronary case," said Kildare, the words coming out hard and flat.

He felt the glance of poor Weyman turn upon him. The head of the attendant did not move but his eyes managed to reach Kildare with an electrical appeal.

"Thinking that it might be a coronary case," said Carew, "what did you propose to do about it, my very young friend?"

"I thought of giving oxygen," answered Kildare, "and going straight back to the hospital. But a second order came to pick up another case."

"When in the ambulance you know that you are in charge," stated Carew. "You could have come straight to the hospital and disregarded the radio order."

"Yes, sir," admitted Kildare.

"Not coming to the hospital, you immediately had oxygen administered, did you not?"

"Oxygen was being administered," said Kildare, slowly, "by the time we had picked up the second call."

"By the time you had picked up the second call? And in the meantime you permitted that state of shock and asphyxia to continue without administering a single whiff—"

From the corner of his eye Kildare could see the forehead of Weyman, red-varnished with the heat of his blood and shining with ten thousand beads of sweat. This was the time to make the man a sacrifice. But he heard himself saying as Carew choked with unuttered anger: "The case might have been alcoholism and concussion, sir."

Carew took a deep breath. He blinked his eyes shut, and without looking up again he said: "You are young; it was your first day. Strange that many who have been here for years never have given their hospital such a hard blow. Perhaps you are not at home in the emergency service. I'll see that you're transferred to surgery... That is all!"

He still had his eyes closed as Kildare walked into the hall. There Weyman overtook him, walking rapidly, his heels making a loud clicking through the naked corridor. The ambulance attendant mopped his face as he drew alongside:

"Is that gunna do you in? Are they gunna do you dirt for that?"

"That'll be all right," said Kildare.

"I didn't ask you to cover me up," insisted Weyman.

"Never mind," said Kildare.

"I'd be down flat on my face," declared Weyman. "The old girl would be the first one to step on me, on her way out. And I never would have seen her again. My God, doc—"

"It's okay," said Kildare. "Quit it, will you?"

Weyman quit it. Kildare went down to the dining-room, unclenched his teeth, and made himself swallow a cup of coffee. He heard someone say, and it was like a thought made vocal out of his own brain:—"that's one way to get into the newspapers!"

But what held him like a dog on a leash was the need to see Barbara Treat again as quickly as possible. She was in the psychopathic ward, of course, between the locked doors and the barred windows. The great Gillespie himself came out, surrounded by a group of internes, attending and resident physicians; for wherever he went a cluster of the hungry-minded was sure to form about him. When he saw Kildare he halted and with a gesture pointed him out and held him motionless, like a fish on the end of a spear.

"Ah, there he is!" said Gillespie. "There is the fellow who caught her. Therefore he ought to know all about her. What's wrong with this Barbara Treat, doctor? Tell us, will you?"

The others stood back a bit, cruelly amused, already laughing in the anticipated pleasure of the game.

"Won't you tell me first, Dr. Gillespie?" asked Kildare. "I've never examined her when she was fully conscious."

"But why should you? Few of you young fellows ever enter the state of full consciousness," said Gillespie, as his companions roared. "By sheer sympathy in the kindred state, you ought to be able to tell me what's wrong with her, eh? Tell us, Dr. Kildare, what form of mania is it?"

Kildare looked up.

"The ceiling won't tell you, however, I'm afraid," said Gillespie.

Kildare, crimson of face, waited for the laughter to die down again. Then he said: "It's not a mania."

"No? No?" echoed Gillespie with a mock admiration. "No form of dementia at all? Just a whim, perhaps? Young man, do you know that she's just attempted her life a second time?"

The shock got Kildare on to his toes, but he said nothing.

"But it's not dementia," said Gillespie. "Not a mania at all. Probably trying to escape from boredom, eh?"

"She's simply afraid," said Kildare.

"Ah? Not a maniac fear, though?"

"No, sir, a natural one."

"And of what, I pray?"

"I don't know," said Kildare.

"He doesn't know," echoed Gillespie.

His followers broke into a hearty laughter. Kildare stuck out his chin. "I know why you're doing this, but it's unfair, sir," he said.

"Know why I'm doing what?" demanded Gillespie, scowling. "What do you know?"

"Nothing, sir, naturally," replied Kildare.

Gillespie turned on his heel, exclaiming: "A damned lot of impudence!"

Ugly, inquisitive glances turned back towards Kildare. He thought that two or three of the older men were about to pause to give him a bit of pungent advice; but finally they went on, afraid to miss even random words. It astonished Kildare to hear the parting words of Gillespie, for the diagnostician was saying: "What fools we'd be with our laughter, if he turned out right in the end!"


A NURSE was at the door of the psychopathic ward, about to enter. She was a tall, pale-haired Swede of a girl and she was pursing a smile like a cigarette upon her lips as Kildare came up to her. He said, with a bluntness which could be peculiarly his own: "It's a great thing to have something to smile about, isn't it?"

The nurse was named Lindon, or something like that but more Swedish. The Swedes are a fighting people and this abrupt questioning made her angry. She cleared her throat and looked Kildare over deliberately before she answered: "Pardon me, doctor. I didn't know that there was a hospital rule against smiling."

"Of course there isn't," nodded Kildare, watching her. "Particularly when there's a Gillespie to set the example."

The pale, Swedish-blue eyes of the nurse held to his without flinching.

"Well, doctor?" she asked.

There was no answer to that. The door of the ward opened, then, and Kildare entered with the accurate sense that he had been making a fool of himself. The head nurse sat at a table near the door, and he said to her: "I want to see Miss Treat. What's she done?"

"Rather clever, you know," remarked the head nurse.

"She broke the crystal out of her wrist watch and slashed the veins of her left wrist quite badly. There she is in restraining sheets—left aisle at the far end."

He went down through the room slowly, trying to get words in his throat and finding none that made sense. Left and right he picked up a few impressions of the other women in the ward. One old thing sat up in an attitude of command with her hand stretched out before her as though she were about to address a throng. The gesture remained though the words never came. That hand could remain suspended for an hour, perhaps, if she were a true catatonic case of dementia praecox. Another woman of middle age sat with her chin on her fist, contemplating eternal space and chuckling at the immensity of the jest which it contained for her. At the barred window at the end of the room a tall girl with an emaciated body stood with her hands locked behind her head, staring upward towards the sky, speaking quietly. Then Kildare stood over the bed of Barbara Treat.

She was tense with high excitement, her whole body rigid, the lips compressed and the nostrils flaring. Someone near the door laughed. The sound set her shuddering.

"It's all right," said Kildare, "but you should have waited. Don't you remember that you were to wait?" She had to consider him through a long moment before the terror, like an opaque mist, melted from her eyes and let recognition come through. Fear is ugly and she had been terribly afraid. A mere week of this concentrated agony might write years into her face in an ineradicable, fine hand. Now, as she relaxed a little, the beauty began to flow warmly back.

"I remember your voice," she said.

"When you were coming out of the mist—away back there. I was the friend who talked to you," he told her.

"Were you?" she asked. "Friend?"

"You were to wait for me. You recall that?" asked Kildare. "Now you've been foolish."

Laughter again came from the end of the room, stifled laughter. It brought a gasp from Barbara Treat.

"Steady, steady!" said Kildare. "They're not laughing at you."

"They are!" she whispered. "They're laughing at me. They all know, but why should they laugh?"

"That's the only thing you're wrong about," argued Kildare. "They don't know. They only laugh because most girls are silly. But they know nothing. I'm the only one who knows."

"You?" she breathed, terrified of him at once.

"Don't you remember talking things over with me?" lied Kildare.

"Did I?" pleaded the girl.

The voice of the emaciated figure at the barred window began to mumble a soft prayer. She spoke to a lover and called the name of God.

"Poor thing—poor girl," murmured Barbara Treat. "Do they think I'm like that? Is that why they have me in here?"

"Exactly," said Kildare. "If they knew about you, if they really knew, of course they wouldn't have brought you to a psychopathic ward. But I'm the only one who knows."

Shame made her crimson. Her face shone with a fine perspiration. With his handkerchief he wiped it away.

"You were not to be ashamed," urged Kildare. "Don't you remember? We agreed on that."

"Did we?" she whispered.

"Of course we did, or I wouldn't be here. Don't you remember that, now?"

"And did you swear never to speak to a soul about it?" she asked, panting out the words with a dreadful eagerness.

"No, because you trusted me. You knew that I never could say a word that would hurt you," he told her.

"Ah, but promise me now!" she begged.

He tried to add up quickly the loyalties of a medical man to his hospital and those other loyalties which the Hippocratic Oath states so clearly, to say nothing of the honour of man to man, and man to woman. His own voice surprised him, saying: "I'll promise, of course."

"And swear?" she asked. "No, I don't want that. A promise is better than an oath, if there's your honour in it."

He had a cold feeling around the base of the brain that it was wrong, that it was disastrously wrong for him to make the promise, and that he would be called strictly to account for it later on, but in spite of that he was putting his hand over his heart, like a silly Frenchman or something, and saying solemnly: "My honour's in it, too."

"Thank you," she whispered, and then she began to cry, making poor stifled motions beneath the sheet to get a hand to her eyes. He kept his handkerchief busy. A nurse came up with preparations for giving a hypodermic.

"You'd better wait," murmured Kildare.

"Yes, doctor," said the nurse, and paused rather insolently to survey the patient and then Kildare before she went away.

"I'm sorry—I can't stop!" breathed Barbara Treat.

"It's all right to cry. It'll do you good," said Kildare. "But you remember," he lied, "that we agreed there'd never be anything worthy of tears between us? Don't you remember how well we understood everything together?"

"Did we?" asked the girl, the tears suddenly stopping.

He dried the last of them, leaning casually against the high restraining rail of the bed which fenced her around like a child in a crib; and he smiled down at her as he spoke. If there were no audience except the sick, he always felt that he could have been one of the great actors.

"We understood perfectly," he assured her. "And we'll have the same understanding again, and always."

"But if you know what I've done—how much do you know?" she asked, her face burning again.

"Everything," said Kildare. "And understand everything," he added.

She closed her eyes, but flashed them open again to try to catch some change in his expression; somehow he managed to maintain that same devoted look of adherence and faith. The very skin of her face drew tight with her pain.

"But you're a doctor," she said. "And doctors will say anything just to—"

"I'm not talking as a doctor," lied Kildare, with a swift chill crawling through his spinal marrow. "Not as a doctor," he repeated. "But because you mean a lot to me, I want you to be happier."

"As though it weren't—as though I hadn't—I mean, as though there were nothing wrong?" she asked. Tears came rushing back to her eyes and made her lips tremble with the forerunning of sobs. "In your heart you know how you despise me!"

"Listen to me," said Kildare. "I've only been in the hospital for a few days and already I'm a failure. They laugh at me. But I keep trying to remember that what they think doesn't matter because they're strangers. If a friend were to laugh—if you were to laugh, for instance, it would be different."

"Is that honest? Do I count that much with you?" she asked.

"You do, because we're both in pain," he said. "And so you see, in a way, we can be doctors to one another."

She was saying gently: "It's true, then. You don't think that I'm unclean. God bless you for that. But if I've told you everything, then you know—"

Just at the moment when he hoped the revelation would come, her voice died away, and Kildare's hope died with it.

"We will talk again later, when you're stronger," he said. "That's why I want you to rest now."

"I shall rest," said the girl.

"And close your eyes for sleep."

"I shall close them," she said, and obeyed.

"And promise me that you will do nothing until you've seen me again?"

"I promise," she whispered. "I don't want to die now. Not so suddenly."

Kildare went back through the ward. At the entrance he said to the head nurse: "You can take the restraining sheet away from Miss Treat, if the resident agrees. She won't make another attempt."

The head nurse surveyed him from the eye to the Adam's apple and back again. "I'll bring it to the attention of the resident doctor," she said coldly.

As he went out, while the door was closing behind him, he heard one of the nurses say: "He's wonderful, isn't he? He knows how to make the girls cry!"


HE went back to his room with a book on neuropsychiatrics from the hospital library and was well into it when Tom Collins came in and turned on his radio full blast. Kildare endured as much as he could, while the jazzy words crooned their way into the midst of the medical terms. Then he covertly made two balls of cotton and wadded them into his ears. After that he could hear the singing, but only as a far-off murmur down the wind, or the drowsing noises of bees on a summer's day. It was a long time later before something other than the music reached him from the outside. He looked up at last and heard the angry voice of Collins saying, as he pulled the cotton from one ear: "If you don't want to answer, why don't you say so, and be damned to you?"

There was Collins with a pamphlet open and his finger marking the place about which he had been trying to ask some question. Kildare turned to explain but Collins slammed out of the room; a moment later his voice was raised in a fine staccato of cursing in the room of Vickery and Dick Joiner near by. Kildare sighed. He had been wondering if he could not ask Collins and his chums if they thought it honourable for an interne to make love to a sick patient for the sake of her nervous and mental health, but he could see that he had opened a wider gap than ever between him and the rest.

So, impatient of himself, he closed his book and went off to hunt for relief in the place where he never failed to find it—one of the great free clinics which the hospital maintained. There were a dozen parts of the huge building about which he knew nothing, but already he was familiar with every nook and corner of the clinics. There, where the sick gathered in a steady stream, he found himself employed by an irresistible fascination.

It was the children's clinic that he headed for at this hour of the day. They were unlike all the other patients. Mature people dreaded the very thought of disease but the children seemed to feel that important maladies gave them an added personal dignity. Regardless of faces, to every white uniform of nurse or doctor they gave a boundless ocean of trust. To adults, hospitals, like the police, are symbols of things that have gone wrong; to children the police and the hospitals are emblems of fatherly and motherly care. But Kildare was not thinking of that as he moved slowly through the waiting-room, scanning white faces and humped shoulders and parents anxious or serene.

"What are you thinking about, Kildare?" asked a man's voice behind him.

"I was thinking how much good stuff comes out of bad soil," said Kildare. Then, turning, he recognized Gillespie. He stood on his dignity at once.

"Ah, our independent thinker," said Gillespie, standing closer and looking down his nose at every feature of Kildare's face, as though each had a separate meaning. "Aloof, proud, hostile. Why?"

"I think you know why, sir," said Kildare.

"Not at all. I'd like to have an explanation of your attitude towards me, young man," insisted Gillespie.

"Suppose there was a whole library of books across the street from your house, and you wanted to read the books?"

"Are you trying to pay me a compliment?" growled Gillespie.

"On the contrary," said Kildare. "Suppose that they have guards at the library who throw you out when you try to get in."

"Stuff and damned nonsense," said Gillespie. "But what are you doing down here?"

"I don't know, sir," said Kildare.

"I mean, are you learning or just looking?"

"I thought the two went together, sir," said Kildare. "Don't be clever when you talk to me," snapped Gillespie. "Don't try to be smug and cryptic and short in your answers... By the way, I wonder what's the matter with that pinch-faced baby, yonder?"

"Malnutrition," answered Kildare.

"And that pot-bellied one with the square head?"

"Rickets," said Kildare.

"What's wrong with that little girl on the front bench?"

"She's allergic, I think," said Kildare. "I think that's an itching eczema she has on her hand."

"There's a sick-looking baby, yonder," said Gillespie. "Not much to that one."

"Dehydrated, isn't it?" asked Kildare.

"How do I know?" snapped Gillespie. "You're the one who's giving the information and I'm doing the listening. What a fat boy that one is, Doctor Kildare!"

"That pituitary gland must be off function," suggested Kildare. "Extracts might help that boy, don't you think?"

"I'm not thinking. I'm letting you think for me. What about that mouth-breather, there?"

The child had the pinched nose and the infantile, drooping lips of the mouth-breather.

"Adenoids, I suppose," said Kildare. "I'll take a look."

The youngster grabbed suddenly for his mother's skirts. "I'm sorry. He's a terribly nervous child, sir," she apologised.

"It's all right," said Kildare. "He won't be nervous with me."

He picked up the boy under the arm-sockets and lifted him on to a bench. The lad seemed to have lost his tension; he looked with a mild curiosity into the face of Kildare.

"You're one of these fellows who have a touch with children, are you?" asked the sneering voice of Gillespie.

"No," answered Kildare, "but sick people never are afraid of me."

He took an antiseptic stick from a nurse and depressed the child's tongue. "Say 'ah'," he directed, and then nodded at Gillespie. "Adenoids and tonsils," he remarked.

"Should there be an operation?" asked Gillespie, tapping the chest of the boy and listening.

"Yes. Certainly an operation," said Kildare.

"General anaesthesia?"


"Run along, son," said Gillespie to the child, putting him back on the floor. "So you'd give a general anaesthesia, would you? You'd get out the tonsils and the adenoids, all right; and then you'd have a dead child. That chest is full of tuberculosis. The anaesthesia would kill him, young Dr. Kildare!"

He turned on his heel and went off, shrugging and chuckling to himself; and Kildare looked for a long moment after him. Then he had to go up to begin his work in the surgical service. Dr. Vincent Herbert, the head of the service, saw him and said: "You like fat men, Kildare?"

Kildare regarded the surgeon with a bit of care. Vincent Herbert himself was broad and rosy enough of face, large of belly and voice, to be a successful obstetrician.

"I like fat men well enough," said Kildare, guardedly.

"All right," laughed Herbert. "We'll give you one to work on right now. There's a fat man with a bad appendix going into Room 9. Take him on, Kildare. Scrub up and just take him on so that I can see how you work."

It was not twenty minutes before Kildare, his feet pinched in sneakers, his hands filmed over with rubber gloves, was masked and sweating in the torrid humidity of Operating Room 9. The malicious bad luck which had followed him every day in the hospital seemed to be with him now. Vincent Herbert was himself on hand as though to enjoy his little joke at the expense of the latest addition to his service. And the joke itself was a middle- aged beer-drinker with a four-inch wall of fat layered across his abdomen. Through that white greasy dough Kildare had to slice down before he arrived at the aponeurosis of the muscle. A moment later he was at last on the site of the appendix, but instead of sticking out of the end of the cecum as a normal one should, this was a retrocecal appendix withdrawn completely from view. Even Vincent Herbert, as he watched, swore a little.

Out of the dim distance Kildare vaguely heard a voice saying: "Are you up to that job, Kildare? Can you handle that?"

He heard the words but did not hitch them together into a co- ordinate meaning. The flat voice of Vincent Herbert was informing the students in the gallery of the nature of the trouble. A whispering shuffle, an excited murmur gave a thin answer. And Kildare felt the craning of necks as nurses and assistants around the table peered down at the difficulty, like people on the edge of a cliff, admiring the enormity of an abyss. As a matter of fact, he knew that it was quite deep enough for him to lose his surgical reputation in it, as he had lost one reputation already on the ambulance. But his hands went on.

He was already extending the incision; and now he was at work on what every surgeon hates most to do—cutting through the peritoneum which seals the great cavity of the body from invading germs. He cut it down the lateral side of the cecum along the appendix until he could get at the appendix itself. That work and the re-sealing of the peritoneum was a long job. His feet began to pinch and burn in the wretched little sneakers which were all he could afford to risk in the iodine-drippings and blood- spatterings of the operating-room. And the sweat ran sometimes in maddening trickles under his mask. However, the incision was closed with the last stitch, finally, and he was able to look up.

Somebody said: "Good work, Kildare!"

That was another interne; and suddenly he recognised big Vickery, the football player, looking at him with kindly eyes above the white of the mask. Then a hand grabbed him and steered him into the hall, and across the hall into a vacant operating- room. It was Vincent Herbert in person, saying, as Kildare pulled off the mask, "You've got the hands. You've got the whole make- up. Kildare, when you get through with your interne year, I want you to think of surgery for your future. What about it?"

It was plain that Herbert was inspired to add a more personal promise of a future if there were an opening for it, but Kildare was looking up at the ceiling with puzzled eyes, asking questions of himself.

"In one word, what do you think of surgery as a profession?"

"I think," answered the honest, blunt voice of Kildare, "that it's like being a master mechanic. A very fine sort of mechanic, of course," he hastened to add. But his words already had told on Vincent Herbert heavily. The chief surgeon grew taller by inches of offended dignity.

"It's every man's privilege," he said, "to pick his way in the world; but it's God's pity that so many are born blind and never get eyes."

Then he took himself away, before Kildare could rally his wits to make some conciliatory remark.

At lunch, Tom Collins sat down unexpectedly beside him.

"Vickery says you're a devil with a knife," said Collins. "Good work, guy. They can't look down at a fellow with a handy scalpel. He has too much point... And now that I've got you all built up high, have you ten bucks to spare till tomorrow?"

"In my room," said Kildare.

"Sure—sure—that's all right," said Collins. "I won't need it till this evening. She's a Russian, Jimmy. Where they have the platinum mines. That's why her colour is natural—Whicha-whatcha-hotcha!—I'll be round for that cash this evening."

He drummed lightly on the table.

"I hear that the great Vincent Herbert thought you might work in with him, after your interne year. That right? If it is, it can't be straight that you turned him down! That would be about twenty thousand a year almost from the start, Brother Kildare."

"Surgery is great stuff," explained Kildare, getting at the words with difficulty. "But it doesn't touch what I'm after."

"What are you after?" asked Collins, almost concerned.

"I don't know," said Kildare. "Something that has more to do with people—"

"Good God, doesn't surgery have to do with people?"

"Of course it does," agreed Kildare, "but it doesn't touch their insides—I hardly know how to put it."

"Well, we'll talk it over some time," said Tom Collins, indifferently, as he rose.

"I wanted to tell you about not hearing you the other day—" began Kildare, but Tom Collins was gone, improvising a catch-step on the way.

After lunch, Kildare pocketed the ten dollars out of his other clothes to make sure that he would have it on hand when it was wanted. One of the beauties of the surgical service was that when the daily programme of operations had been completed there was little to do; he was about to use that leisure to go to the women's psychopathic ward when an attendant ran him down with word that the great Carew in person wished to see him.

"There's some kind of hell popping all over the place," said the panting attendant, accompanying Kildare to the elevator. "They even had old Gillespie up there. Somebody says it's old Chanler that's with Carew. You know—the guy that owns all the oil that's tucked under the chin of Texas. John D. Rockefeller runs errands for him and Henry Ford washes his windows once a week."

There was no waiting to see Carew. The administrator of the hospital came out in person and took Kildare into a corner of the outer office. A glint of something even brighter than anger was in his eyes.

"Dr. Kildare," he said, "you have had beginner's luck. You have brought the daughter and sole heir of Robert Mann Chanler to our hospital." A warmth in his intonation implied that the hospital was peculiarly the property of Carew and Kildare.

"We are not mercenary," said Carew, "but we cannot help knowing that the hospital has crying needs which can be met not by the public but by the private purse; and therefore we must be sharply aware that a hundred million dollars and his wife are sitting in my office at the present moment, together with the fiancé of their daughter. David Hamilton also is a man of large fortune... Kildare, the future of the hospital is, to a certain extent, dependent upon our immediate actions! And you are important, very important, in our picture. They want particularly to see you. They have been at the lodging house where the unfortunate girl made the attempt on herself. They are strangely insistent on seeing you at once. And I cannot help telling you, Dr. Kildare, that on the excellence of the impression you make a great deal may depend... Shall we go in? Are you prepared?"

"I'm ready," said Kildare.

"As for removing you from the ambulance service," said Carew, "of course you understand that that is the fortune of war."

"Certainly," said Kildare.

"You're a good lad," said Carew, with amazing warmth, and led the way into his office.

It was high up in the great building, so that its tall windows framed a smoking prospect of New York skyscrapers and, in the distance, the crowded river, and the bridges bent like delicate fingers to hold Manhattan to the mainland. It seemed that this background was specially arranged for the portrait of the millionaire as he stood up from his chair. His years were fifty or so but he was half young and half old. His body already was beginning to starve and bend with age but his face was still ruddy, firm of texture, and bright-eyed. He had the white, sparse hair of a very old man but his moustache was black, with the healthy sheen of youth. Beside him, young David Hamilton looked handsome enough to model men's clothes—if he ever had to give up his polo string. The men were put out of his mind at once by Robert Chanler's wife. She would not even let them shake hands with him but kept his hand in both of hers and made him sit down beside her. She was a big, ugly woman with an understanding kindness written into every line of her face.

"It's you who found our girl, Dr. Kildare," she said. "They'd drawn the sheet up over her face and given her up, but that didn't stop you."

Carew breathed: "Kildare!"

"Didn't he tell you that, Dr. Carew?" she asked, without taking her eyes from Kildare for an instant. "Perhaps he doesn't talk about things. He merely does them... Am I making you terribly embarrassed and unhappy, Dr. Kildare, when I thank you for keeping our girl for us?"

The tears ran out of her eyes over the profound ugliness of her face but she kept on smiling at him.

"I'm glad that I was there."

"I'm going to ask you one thing," she said. "Is it true that although she was saved, my poor Barbara is almost worse than dead? Is it dementia praecox?"

"No," said Kildare.

The others had settled into their chairs but this word got them up again on the jump. Carew said: "Dr. Kildare—my dear lad—really—"

Big Robert Chanler came right over and poured his shadow down on Kildare. A pleasant reek of Havana tobacco breathed from his clothes. His wife kept a tighter hold on Kildare's hand.

"There are lots of older and better doctors than I am, in the hospital," said Kildare.

"I don't give two pennies for the older and wiser doctors," answered the mother. "I want to know what you think. On your honest soul, you don't believe that she's out of her mind?"

"No," said Kildare, and again there was a faint exclamation of protest from Carew.

The tears stopped running from her eyes and a new look came into them. "There's an instinct in me—it's probably a crazy, blind mother's instinct—that makes me feel you're right," she said. "But leaving out all the other things she has done—Dr. Kildare, when I saw her a few moments ago she screamed and fainted!"

Kildare jumped to his feet.

"She's always loved me and been close to me," said the mother. "But when she saw me just now she seemed to be trying to tear away the restraining sheet, as they call it—"

"Did they have that thing still on her?" asked Kildare, softly, through his teeth.

"Is there any natural explanation of her reaction when she saw me?" she asked.

"I'd like to talk to her," said Kildare.

"Impossible," answered Carew. "She is, of course, necessarily under a sedative and must have complete—"

"Let him see her. Please!" cried the mother. "Will you let him see her, Dr. Carew?"

"If Dr. Kildare thinks it wise—" said Carew, slowly, holding the interne with his eye.

"I'd like to—I think it wise," said Kildare in spite of that commanding eye.

"Very well," answered Carew. "I'll telephone to the ward."


THE women's psychopathic ward, Kildare found, no longer contained Barbara Chanler. She had been moved to a private room. The priest-like figure of Lane Porteus, the great psychiatrist, appeared at the door as Kildare entered. He had his assistant with him, peering through huge spectacles that permitted him to see only the scientific truths and no others.

"That's Dr. Kildare now," said the nurse.

One carefully hooded lamp gave a dim twilight to the room, for the window had been darkened. A peppery sweetness of roses lived in the air for flowers in every corner were banked like the tributes at a funeral. Kildare dimly perceived these things as famous Lane Porteus approached him and offered a chill, bony hand.

"I understand," said the psychiatrist, "that you are to take over for the moment. I hope you will not undo too much that has been done, Dr. Kildare. In all humility, I hope that you will not undo too much!"

Then he went out.

"How is she?" Kildare asked the nurse.

"Miss Chanler is not very well, Dr. Kildare," said the nurse. It seemed hard for her to make a report to such an underling. "Here is her chart. She will have to have more sedatives; she is in a practically spastic state at present."

He pushed open the door and went slowly around the big white screen which gave a double privacy to the bed. He could hear her breathing, hurried and rasping. Then she swallowed, audibly. The restraining sheet still swathed her, outlining the rigid body as though the cloth were wet.

"You've had a shock," said Kildare, coming up to her. "But it's going to be all right, now."

The girl whispered: "They all know... I'll never see them again. I want to die."

"We'll get this thing away, and then we'll talk," said Kildare.

He lowered the side of the bed, unfastened the sheet that bound her, and set free her hands. Her left hand and wrist were bandaged. After that he pulled up a chair and sat down. It seemed to him that a whole procession of famous spirits were standing behind him, criticising. In the forefront stood Lane Porteus and the great Gillespie. He said nothing through a long moment but listened to the breathing as it grew easier.

After a while a hand fumbled. He found it and held it. It was cold and dry. A little more of this tension and she would not need gas or broken glass to finish her. She gripped his fingers hard, with a trembling strength. In a queer absentness of mind he felt the tough tennis callus inside the thumb. There was a constant tremor in her, like something wavering and about to fall.

"All of them—they all know!" she said. "Why don't they tell me about it?"

"Hush—they don't know," said Kildare.

But her whisper answered: "I saw Dave Hamilton white with disgust and trying to smile and be a gentleman. I'll die before I ever see him again. I'll hold my breath till my heart bursts—"

"If they had the least idea about anything," answered Kildare, "why did they send me here to find out what's wrong?"

"Is it true?" she gasped.

"Because the nurses told them that I was here and that you talked with me. They begged me to come here and see what I could discover. How could they tell that I knew everything already?"

"Everything?" asked that small voice of agony.

He felt that every word expended a vital energy. Yet he knew it was good for her to talk.

"Don't you remember?" said Kildare.

"But did I tell everything?"

"Because you knew nothing could matter to me," said Kildare.

She turned over on her face and began to sob heavily, but stifling the sound with the pillow as though even the noise of her weeping might betray something to the outer world. But Kildare did not matter, it seemed. He alone was of the inner circle. He put his hand on her back and felt her body go rigid and loose in recurrent spasms. All these were perfect symptoms of dementia praecox; Lane Porteus and the rest of the great ones were agreed about her; there was only the unproven instinct of Kildare against the lot. As he thought of that, the fear came oddly back on him.

She found his other hand and kept on weeping against it.

"It's all right," said Kildare. "Nobody else knows. That's what makes everything all right."

The weeping stopped. He put out his handkerchief and fumbled it over her face.

"Blow!" commanded Kildare.

She blew. He fumbled the handkerchief again and drew it back.

"How gentle and how sweet you are!" said the girl.

"Be quiet," said Kildare. "You must rest again."

She was silent for a moment. He could tell how thought came and went in her by the pressure of his hand.

"They can't help knowing," she said then. "That girl will tell them. She's always wanted David, and she's always hated me."

"I can make her be quiet," said Kildare.

"But the man! What if he talks? When I saw him the day after, I knew that he was simply a beast!"

"I'm attending to him, also," said Kildare.

"How could I have done it!" she moaned.

Her voice went up the scale into a whispering scream. Kildare slipped an arm under her and held her close to him with both hands. She was shuddering violently from head to foot.

"I've got to die. I want to die!"

"You're wrong," said Kildare. "We can face it out, together. That's what friendship amounts to: two people who stand back to back and keep trouble away."

"Will you say that again?" she asked.

He said it again, and as he spoke her rigid body grew flaccid once more. He laid her back in the bed.

"Don't leave me!" she pleaded.

"I'll be right here," said Kildare.

"Don't leave me—till I'm asleep. Make me sleep so deep that I won't dream."

"You're going to sleep that way now."

He put his hand on her head. She held the other with a grasp that momentarily relaxed, and gripped hard again, and then fell away completely. After that he stood up but remained leaning over the bed for a time. Once she cried out in a quick, muffled voice of pain. He spoke, and instantly she was asleep again. It seemed to Kildare, as he made his way quietly from the ward, that the funereal sense had gone out of the fragrance of the roses and that life had come back into the air of the room.

At the door, which had remained slightly ajar, he found the nurse with two attendants standing close, their heads bowed as they still listened.

He said: "I've taken off the restraining sheet. I hope it won't be put back on her."

The resident psychiatrist standing by with arms folded, sullenly enduring his vigil, now lifted his head and stared at the young interne.

"I wonder if you'll permit another hypodermic presently, doctor?" he asked with infinite irony.

"She's sleeping soundly," answered Kildare. "Do you think it well to waken her for a hypodermic?"

"And if she grows violent, we're not to put a restraining sheet on her?" demanded the ironical resident.

"You'll do exactly what seems best, of course," said Kildare. "But if she's not disturbed, she won't become violent. And if she seems to be excited about anything, I wonder if I may be called?"

The resident stared at him with owlish, unfriendly eyes. In place of answering the last remark he said: "Dr. Carew and the Chanlers are waiting your convenience in his office, Dr. Kildare, whenever you see fit to drop in on them."

Kildare went to Carew's office. Hamilton and the two Chanlers rose slowly, anxiously from their chairs.

"I ventured on taking off the restraining sheet," said Kildare. "Also, I suggested that she did not need another hypodermic."

"Dr. Kildare," observed Carew, "is not a psychiatrist. He does not realise the essential importance of sleep, no matter at what cost."

"She is sleeping perfectly now," answered Kildare.

The ugly face of the mother grew beautiful as she smiled. "What did you do, doctor?" she asked.

"I talked to her," said Kildare.

"What did she say?" asked David Hamilton, speaking almost for the first time, the words breaking with unexpected force out of the high tension in which he was held.

Kildare looked at him and then at the map of New York which extended in diminishing relief outside the window.

"I'm afraid that I can't repeat what she said," he told them.

"Not repeat it? But why not?" asked Carew.

"It was spoken in confidence," said Kildare.

"But my dear young Kildare, you must know that it is not necessary to preserve the confidences of a psychopathic patient."

"I'm unable to agree that she's psychopathic," said Kildare.

"The opinions of men like Porteus and Gillespie mean nothing to you?" asked Carew.

"They mean a great deal," said Kildare, growing hot in the face.

Carew picked up his telephone and asked that Gillespie be invited to his office in urgent haste. Then he sat down again in his official chair and folded his arms. He tried to smile but he was deeply shaken with anger.

Robert Chanler said: "Of course I'm completely a layman, but it would seem to me that if Dr. Kildare has won Barbara's confidence so that she'll talk with him, he is almost our only satisfactory means of getting in touch with what is passing in her mind."

"That's an obvious truth," said Carew. "He's our only bridge to her, and yet refuses to be crossed. However, we'll presently have the opinion of Dr. Gillespie. In some quarters of the medical world," added Carew, dryly, "the word of Gillespie has some trifling weight."

"I've heard him referred to as the outstanding medical genius of the entire world!" said David Hamilton.

After those words of unnecessary introduction Gillespie came striding into the office in great haste.

"I can't have these interruptions, Carew," he said in his rough way. "You've taken me away from one of the most beautiful hearts I've ever listened to. A real fibrillator with a really worthwhile murmur; a regular death-song. I don't care if the Chanlers are here; I don't care if the hospital needs two wings, and fifty other improvements; I can't be taken from my work like this—"

The self-control of Carew broke down completely under this frontal bombardment. He turned crimson and groaned: "Good God, Gillespie!"

"Ah, well, I'm sorry," said Gillespie. "I shouldn't have said that. But," he added, turning to Chanler, "you know the world puts a high value on you. It rates you as a real deep-water millionaire and it wants part of your cargo. This hospital wants a share, for instance."

His eyes were angrily bright as he looked at them.

"Mr. Chanler," said Carew, with desperate eyes, "I'm frightfully sorry that this mercenary motive should be attached to an institution devoted to the charitable service of—"

"Ah, shut up, Carew, will you?" asked Gillespie. | "Chanler's not a thin-skinned little boy. He knows what we want out of him, and by being frank about it you'll get more than if you're mealy- mouthed. Isn't that true, Chanler?"

"I'm glad you put it this way, Gillespie," said Chanler.

"I know the General Hospital has always worked like a Christian martyr for the good of the world and I also know that it has needs. You give me a chance to say that if you can put Bobby back on her feet, I'll put my resources at your disposal. Don't be embarrassed, Dr. Carew. We know your calibre and we know the rating of this hospital. That's why Barbara is still inside its walls. Suppose we get back to her case?"

"Gladly," said Carew, still sweating with the heat of his emotion. "I've asked you to come here to say again, Gillespie, what you've said before: Do you or do you not consider Barbara Chanler a psychopathic case?"

"Who else has any other opinion?" Gillespie growled.

"Young Dr. Kildare," said Carew, pointing.

"He still thinks that there is nothing but a case of fright and hysteria?" demanded Gillespie.

"He sees nothing else," said Carew. "So far he has laid the only wire that contacts her but he protects her by refusing to give his information to older minds."

"What makes you think you're right and the rest of us wrong?" asked Gillespie.

"I have a feeling—" began Kildare, and stuck there because in fact he had little else with which to expand his idea in medical terms.

"He says that he has a feeling!" exclaimed Carew.

"Ah ha?" cried Gillespie, and putting his chin on his fist he stared at Kildare with bright eyes.

"Rather absurd, eh?" remarked Carew.

"No doubt," answered Gillespie shortly, still absorbed by what he saw or tried to see in Kildare.

"This is all very painful for you, Mrs. Chanler," said Carew, "but the fact is that your daughter has suffered a slight malady of the mind. We must admit that frankly and study it frankly before we can hope to perform a cure."

"Only two things can happen here, young man," said Gillespie. "Either you must give way or the hospital must change its mind."

Kildare wiped his wet forehead. He could not speak. Chanler's wife came close to Kildare and let all her simple goodness shine directly out upon him.

"I know you're trying to shelter her, but you must talk," she said. "We owe Barbara's life to you, and I think you'll let us owe you even more than her life."

"Wait a moment," broke in Gillespie. "He doesn't know all the facts of the case. He hasn't had a chance to learn from the Chanlers the neuropsychiatrie details of the picture. He doesn't know that Barbara as a child was bright, good natured except for moods, quiet, thoughtful but excitable, over-affectionate, shy, sensitive, easily frightened, a poor sleeper. Obvious introvert, Kildare, eh?"

"I suppose so, sir," said Kildare.

"Damn the supposing. Do a little knowing and a lot less supposing. Now, three mornings ago, the Chanlers tell us, she went off to a party and came home late. Three in the morning. Policeman found her wandering in the neighbourhood at that hour. Absolutely wandering, eh?" Chanler said: "The officer asked her where she was going and she answered: 'Who am I? Where do I live?'" Chanler's wife looked suddenly down at the floor; and young David Hamilton turned quickly away.

Gillespie went on: "She comes into the house. Her father and mother, pretty badly alarmed by her late hours—she was always home early—speak to her and she seems hardly to recognise them. The next day she was suspicious, more active, sleepless, depressed. She wanted to see nobody. Never at ease or at rest. Wanted to be alone. Thought the servants were spying on her and laughing behind her back. I ask you, Kildare, is that the sense of persecution? Is that the perfect paranoid set-up?"

"It sounds so, sir," said Kildare.

"It is so, sir," said Gillespie. "And the sooner we can find what it is that upset her between twelve-thirty and three on Tuesday morning, the faster we'll be able to effect a cure. Kildare, have you any idea what it's all about and what torments her?"

"Not a perfectly clear idea," said Kildare.

"Damn perfect clarity," exploded Gillespie. "Have you any inkling at all?"

"Yes, sir," said Kildare.

"Good fellow! Out with it, then.'

"I'm sorry, sir. I gave her my word and honour that I would repeat nothing."

"Your word and honour—to a case of dementia praecox? Are you actually going to let that hold you?" shouted Gillespie. "Why, it's the damnedest thing I ever heard of. Don't you know you can be thrown out of hospital for this sort of stupidity?"

Kildare nodded dumbly.

"Do you know that once out of the hospital your career is smashed as completely as a broken tumbler?"

"I know that, sir," said Kildare.

"Then don't let yourself be damned. Speak out, man; speak out! You can see how the Chanlers feel. They know that praecox is often curable; but only if we can get the fullest picture of the case. Isn't that true?"

"Utterly true!" exclaimed the mother. "Do you see, Dr. Kildare? We all are entreating you!"

"Are you with the rest of them?" asked Kildare, suddenly, looking across the room at young Hamilton. "Certainly I am," said Hamilton.

"You see," summed Carew, "that good sense, decency, and every motive compels you to let us have what you know. Will you start now, Dr. Kildare?"

"I've thought it over carefully," said Kildare. "And there's no use pressing me a step farther. I don't find delusions in her. I merely find fear. She has my promise. I can't repeat a single word she spoke to me. I'm sorry."

"You only think you're sorry," said Carew, after a moment. "I've an idea that before you're much older, Kildare, you're going to know what sorrow really is!"


AS he left Carew's office someone followed Kildare, and as he entered the hall young Hamilton came up to him, saying: "Can I talk to you five minutes?"

"Why not?" answered Kildare.

"Everybody in there was pretty hard on you," Hamilton said. "I thought we might get somewhere by talking alone. I have a sort of right to talk about Barbara."

"I know. You were engaged to her."

"Were? I still am," said Hamilton.

"Everything is in the past, so far as she's concerned," said Kildare.

"Meaning that she's going to wipe everything out?"

"Not necessarily. But she might."

"That's hard to take."

"I hope you won't have to take it," said Kildare.

"This whole business seems to be important to you," remarked Hamilton, making a fresh beginning.

"Rather important," agreed Kildare. "It means my life—as a doctor."

"It means what?"

"They're going to throw me out of this hospital unless I tell 'em what she's told me," Kildare answered. "Once out of this hospital, I'll never get into another one. Without a year as interne, I can't practise."

"Oh, as far as your future is concerned, the Chanlers are a decent lot. They'll take care of that," said Hamilton. "They recognise their obligation."

"It's kind of 'em," said Kildare. "They might put me to work in the oil fields—or running office errands, perhaps."

"What I'm trying to say," Hamilton went on, rather hastily, "is that in some mysterious way you seem to have won Barbara's confidence. But if you don't let the hospital know what you've learned, their hands are tied. They have to find out what's in her mind before they can help her. And she won't talk to them."

"I'm glad she won't," said Kildare.

"That's a queer thing to be glad about, isn't it?"

"If she talks, they'll be all the more certain that it's dementia praecox; and the treatment they give her then may drive her out of her mind. Even if they got her back on her feet, she'd be branded the rest of her life as a girl who had been out of her head. Everyone's attitude towards her would change. Even yours. Would you still consider marriage possible?"

"You mean having children and all that?"

"Yes, all that," said Kildare. He took a good breath but did not qualify any of the words he had spoken.

"The point is, what do you propose to do with your knowledge of Barbara?"

"I propose to find out what happened to her early Tuesday morning," answered Kildare. "There's something mysterious about it. If I can find out what the mystery was and explain things to her, I think she'll be back to her normal self at once and the only thing that ever can be held against her is that she's had a nervous breakdown."

"If you're wrong, her mind may be ruined and your career goes crash."

"That's true," said Kildare. "I've got to be right. There's only one thing I can do, honestly, and I intend to do it."

He would not have been surprised, from Hamilton's contorted face, if the fellow had struck him. Instead, Hamilton reached out a quick hand and laid it on his shoulder.

"There's something magnificent about this," he said. "The rest are solidly against you but I only want to know how I can help. Can I?"

"Will you tell me where she went on a party Monday night?" asked Kildare.

"She went with Charlotte Wainwright and her crowd of artists and intelligentsia and all that tripe."

"Was one among them a girl who's had her cap set for you and who hates Barbara?" asked Kildare.

"Hilda Jarvis—" began Hamilton. "You have talked with Barbara," he added, amazed.

"Can I find them in the telephone book?" asked Kildare.

"Stephen Wainwright and Oliver Jarvis. Those are the names to look up."

"Thanks," said Kildare. "That's real help when I need it."

He went on down the hall. He had to clear himself of the wild confusion that was in his mind, like the walls of a city falling; so he went where he was most at home—to a clinic.

The only one open at this hour was the G.U. He went down there where disease has its grimmest meaning and watched the mill eat up the patients and turn them forth into the street again until he heard an attending physician saying to a wan-faced young man: "Milk and eggs. That's your diet, and plenty of fresh fruit—"

The young chap nodded, smiled faintly, and turned away. Kildare stopped him.

"It's tough," said Kildare. "You're told what to do and you haven't the money to do it."

"I didn't say so," answered the patient.

Kildare pulled the ten-dollar note from his pocket. "Make this go as far as it will," he said.

"I can't take it," said the patient, flushing. "I'm not—" Don't be silly, said Kildare. "It's hospital money. Nothing personal about it at all."

He did not realise how highly personal that gift had been until he was in his room again and found Tom Collins waiting for him, dressed to the guards. "Where have you been?" asked Collins. "I've been waiting. I've only got two and a half minutes to click with that platinum mine and if I miss I'm in the soup for ever. You've got that ten, Jimmy?"

"The fact is, I had to give it to a poor devil in the G.U. clinic—" said Kildare. "I'm sorry—"

"Widow with six orphans, eh?"

He walked up to Kildare as though he were about to strike him, changed his mind, stuck his hands in his pockets, and walked out the door. He looked back at Kildare, laughed, and then kicked the door shut behind him.

Kildare went to bed.

When he got up the next morning, Tom Collins was not in the bed across the room. Instead, big Vickery lay there, and Kildare knew that the three of them had decided that such an intolerable rat as himself was too much to be inflicted upon any single room- mate. They had decided to take him turn and turn about; a week at a time, no doubt. He got through bathing and shaving and dressing, and then went to Barbara Chanter's room.

At the door the nurse met him.

"Good morning, Dr. Kildare," she said. "So sorry that you are not on the list of people who are to be admitted to see Miss Chanler."

"Is that it?" he murmured.

"That seems to be it, doctor," said her bright, impertinent voice. She was as gay as a bird, picking something to death and about to burst into song.

"I suppose they have her in a restraining sheet again?" asked Kildare.

"Quite a good guess, doctor," she said.

"They've been drilling her with questions, I suppose?"

"Of course there has to be interrogation of dementia praecox cases," said the nurse.

"And equally of course, they got no answers?"

The nurse seemed struck by this. She looked at Kildare with brand-new eyes in which appeared a good deal of bewilderment.

"I believe they didn't," she said, and Kildare felt her eyes following him.

He had a sense of being lowered into an inescapable pit of blackness. They apparently had abandoned all hope of using him in the Chanler case, which meant there was no chance for him, now, and his dismissal from the hospital would follow in a day or two.

The routine of the day, in the surgical service, gave him no operations. He merely assisted. After that, he went back to his room. Vickery was there, but had no word for him. There was a Special Delivery letter from his father and he opened it with an increasing sense of doom. The first lines thickened the darkness. It said:

"I've just had a note from Dr. Carew. He seems a little in doubt about you fitting into the scheme of things in the Dupont General Hospital, my boy. And I wonder if, before they grow harsh and discharge you, it might not be a good idea for you to resign from the place? It is not too late for you to come here and begin your year as interne in our fine little hospital. People are more kindly and more appreciative out here, Jimmy. And your mother and I are yearning for the day that will bring you back to Dartford—"

He refolded the letter and pushed it back into the envelope. A few minutes later, he had the message for which he was waiting. Dr. Carew would see him at once.

It seemed to Kildare, when he stood in the director's office, that he was already outside of the hospital, far beyond all hope of a medical career, and lost somewhere between the smoking confusion of the harbour and the unknown horizon. Carew went, as usual, straight to the point after one circumlocution.

"Young men are rash men," he said. "And as a matter of fact without youth there would be no fire in the world. Time is needed before the fire dies down and therefore I've called you in, Dr. Kildare, to see if you have not reconsidered some of your viewpoints of yesterday? The other doctors are not able to persuade her to speak. You have talked with Miss Chanler at some length on two occasions. What you have learned from her ought to be of the most priceless moment to the psychiatrists of the hospital. You are familiar with the importance of this case to all of us. And that is why I hope that you are going to open your mind to us in the proper way."

Kildare shrugged. "If I could find a proper way, I'd talk. There isn't any proper way."

"I'm trying to be patient," said Carew, polishing his bald head with a sudden flourish. "What's improper? I beg you to tell me? What's in the slightest degree improper?"

"Do you think I'd be right in letting her injure her own good name?"

"Injure what? Damn names!" exploded Carew. "We want facts which—"

"Facts are what I'm going to get," said Kildare.


"By going out to get them."

"In this matter," said Carew, "it seems that you desire to act as a free agent. I may be at liberty to tell you that before long I expect you to be a very free agent indeed!" He let this announcement sink into Kildare and then made a sudden gesture of dismissal.

Kildare, getting out from the office of which he had seen so much, too much, went back to his room in time to find the telephone ringing. It came to him like a sound over an Arctic waste, a symbol of infinite loneliness; then over the wire he heard a girl's voice that seemed childishly small. It said: "Hello, Jimmy? Jimmy? I'm so glad to hear you!... I'm in the McAllister Hotel. When will you be free to come over?"

"Who?" echoed Kildare.

"Jimmy, for heaven's sake, don't you know me?"

"Beatrice!" he cried. And then his automatic fingers were writing down the address.


THE McAllister was down and cross-town a good twenty blocks but Kildare walked it. He went fast, with the rain spattering off the shoulders of the coat on to his cheeks. In the avenues the traffic kept piling up, choking the throats with more than they could swallow, and every now and then, at an unseen signal, all the horns began complaining together in a not unmusical chorus. At one of those traffic jams, he paused and noticed gardenias in a florist's window. They made him think of Beatrice Raymond because she, also, looked crisp and had a sort of sweetness about her, so he went in and bought one.

The lobby of the McAllister was as big and as busy as Forty- second and Broadway with the engine noises subtracted and no traffic cops, so that the streams of people kept intermingling and blocking one another. There was such a crowd that he made sure it would be a great job to find Beatrice; and then all at once there she was by a pillar. She had on a dress of hunter's green and a red hat that turned away from her face. When she saw him, she was excited. She waved and came swiftly towards him. City girls never moved as fast as that. She pulled off a glove to shake hands.

He kissed her, absently. He wished she had not taken off her glove.

"You look great," he said.

She spoke quickly, gaily, glossing over this moment of meeting with the rush of her words. Arrived that morning. Attending some wedding or other tomorrow. No, she was only staying a day or so with the Petersens, then back to Dartford. Her mother was well, everyone was fine—

He gave her the florist's box but she did not open it until they were in the taxi struggling across town. The car had halted at a traffic stop and street lamps were pouring streams of dusty brilliance over her. The red hat seemed to cast a red shadow upon her face.

"Jimmy, Jimmy, it's lovely!" she said, pinning the flower at her breast. "Is that what you do in New York—take around gardenias to all your girls?"

"To all my girls," said Kildare.

She smiled. "I hope you've picked out some big swank restaurant," she said. "You're going to have dinner with me, you know."

"I can't do that," said Kildare.

"But I've never given you anything. Please—this is my party."

"You've never given me anything but horses and things," he said. "All right, it's your party." He had two dollars and eighty-five cents in his pocket after the gardenia.

The restaurant was a little Italian place, not expensive, and the head-waiter showed them to a booth at the end of the room. They talked casually through cocktails and a meal he did not remember. Suddenly they were at coffee, and as he sipped his brandy he felt at ease again.

"But tell me about everybody at home," he said. "Tell me about father and mother." The brandy warmed him and he leaned forward. "You really look great, Beatrice. When I lean like this the gardenia nods to me. It fits you, you know—does that sound silly?"

"No. Not to me," she answered. She shook her head and smiled to prove how profoundly far from silly she thought that remark.

"You always ought to wear red hats."

"I couldn't wear them to funerals, you know."

"When we're married, you're always going to have a red hat. You're going to have lots of red hats."

"Are we going to be married, really?"

"Of course we are, some day. You still want to, don't you, Beatrice?"

"I could just barely stand it. Just barely," she said. She measured the infinite closeness of the chance between thumb and forefinger.

By now he knew the real purpose that had brought her to New York. Funeral, she had said. And it was no wedding she had come to attend but rather a funeral of James Kildare, M.D. He wanted to touch her fingers, to grip them tight.

"But tell me about father and mother," he said. "Why are you holding back about them?"

"He isn't very strong and well, Jimmy," she said. "And your mother is a little sad. Your father's not young, you know."

"I know," said Kildare. "Are you trying to tell me that he'd live longer if I were home?"

"I'm trying to tell you that," she agreed. "Every time they get a letter from you, they call me over and then we read it aloud, all around. Even when the third person reads it, there's always something new to be pointed out."

His finger wrote an absent scrawl on the tablecloth and there was a long pause before he spoke:

"Suppose a fellow were beaten and sick and sour, it would be pretty easy to give up and say: 'Beatrice, let's go home. Let's go on home together and be happy and get married and have it over with for life.'"

"I'm glad that would be easy," she said.

"You saw how low my mother and father were," said Kildare, "and you made up your mind that you'd come here and give me something to lean on, and take me back home, and love me, and give me something to be proud of in spite of the fact that I'm licked."

"Don't, Jimmy!" she begged.

"Did father show you the letter from Dr. Carew?"

"No, Jimmy, I want to explain—"

"Did he tell you about it?" demanded Kildare.

"I don't remember. I wanted to—"

"All right. He told you about it. You know that I'm about to be kicked out... Now what the devil makes you have tears in your eyes?"

"Nothing, Jimmy."

"No, go on. Tell me. Don't you think I can't take it—being kicked out?"

"It's only the terrible pain in your face," said Beatrice. "Never mind my looks. I want to tell you how down I am in the hospital. Even the internes don't want me around. I get a new room-mate every week—that's what poison I am to them. The nurses—they don't count—but even the nurses snicker behind my back. The heads of the services have no use for me. Carew has me on the carpet once a day to give me the devil. And the great man of the hospital goes out of his way to kick me in the face."

She closed her eyes. She had her hands locked hard together on the edge of the table.

"I'd be able to stand kicks from all the rest if I had one good word from Gillespie," he said. "But I had to make him an enemy the first day I saw him. Do you know who Gillespie is?"

"He's their great man, isn't he?"

Kildare, reaching for words, was silent a moment before he said: "He's almost God, to me."

"Then how could you make him hate you?"

"The first day. He was sitting at the table with the internes around and he asked us if we saw anything on his hands worth noticing. Nobody saw anything important until I noticed a little mole under the nail of the small finger of his left hand. I asked him if I could feel the gland above the elbow, here. And he jumped up in a rage and he's hated me ever since."

"But, Jimmy, how strange! How cruel and strange. What did it mean, anyway?"

"Nothing but cancer," said Kildare, sighing. "If the gland above his elbow is swollen and hard, it means that cancer is in him and attacking the lymphatics."

"How horrible! But if you told him, couldn't it be cured?"

"Cured? No, no. He can't live more than a year, probably... Look. He knows more than a thousand other doctors. In the last year of his life, he could have poured what he knows into the lap of a younger man. If God had given me luck, maybe I could have been that man. Instead, I made him hate me the moment he laid eyes on me. That's the way I do things."

"If you can't get on in that huge, heartless place, you can start in the little county hospital in Dartford," she pleaded. "Jimmy, you look frightfully sick."

His laugh hurt her.

"No, I'm all right," he said. "I'm down at bedrock. I've drilled a hole right down to bedrock, and there I am, that's all. I'm in a hole so deep and black that I'll never be able to climb out."

She watched his face and shared the silence. When she spoke her voice was soft with understanding. She said: "If it's a well as deep as that, you ought to be able to see the stars even at noon."

"The stars at noon?" repeated Kildare.

"If it's the bottom of darkness for you," said the girl, "if you look straight up you'll find some sort of a great hope and something beautiful."

He looked at her with strange eyes and then, lifting his head, looked far above her.

"It's true," he murmured at last.

"What is it, Jimmy?"

"I see the stars, all right. From this minute on, I'll always be able to see them, even at noon."

"What are they, Jimmy?"

"It's more than any woman or any wife; more than having children—and more than a father and mother," said Kildare, softly. "I want to be—"

His voice trailed away. He began to smile a little, still looking at that high distance.

"What is it, Jimmy?" she begged.

"I've never known. It wasn't surgery or general practice or research or any speciality that I was after," he said. "So I was confused. But now that everything is finished, I know what I want. A big hospital like that one. Where the sick come by thousands and thousands, every disease under the sun and you see and keep on seeing in such numbers that at last you know the face of it... I want to be a diagnostician. I want to have what Gillespie could give me. And, God, I've thrown the chance away."

"You haven't thrown it away. You'll find a new chance. We'll find it together!" she told him.

"It's no good. I'd start at the bottom washing floors and windows and shining shoes, if that would let me in. But there's no second chance for an interne. If he's kicked out of one hospital he's kicked out of them all. He'll never have a second chance."

"Is there no way you can change things? Is there no way you can change and please them?" she asked.

"Yes, I can do what they want. I can give up what I know is right and do what they want."

"Oh, Jimmy, do it. You're too young to stand against them all."

"There's no good talking," said Kildare. "And now don't cry about it."

"No, I won't cry," she said.

"She's as young as you; she's ten times more beautiful."

"Oh, is she?" asked Beatrice.

"And she's almost as fine," said Kildare. "I'll be damned before I let them do her in. She'll be my last case in New York but I'm going to give her everything I've got. Am I wrong?"

"You can't be wrong," said the girl.

"Then you and I go back to Dartford where everybody'll pity me, and I'll have to show them that I can be a good stay-at-home son, after all. I don't know when this thing will break, but tomorrow or the next day will be the finish, and then we'll take the train home. That make you happy?"

She said nothing. The weariness which only women understand was in her eyes, and she endured, silently.


WHEN Kildare got back to the hospital he found the door to the adjoining room open, and voices talking cheerfully in there; a moment after his coming, big Vickery entered, however, closed the door, gave Kildare a silent nod, and went over to his desk to look up something in a medical journal. The telephone rang. Vickery picked it up, answered, and then silently extended the receiver.

A girl's voice came over the wire: "This is Nurse Bradford. Dr. Kildare, it is totally against the rules for me to speak to you about this, but today Miss Chanler was asking for you and she was told that you were not to see her again. She grew hysterical. It was quite awful. I don't know what you can do. I suppose the hospital knows what it's doing in keeping you away from her; but it made me rather sick to see her reaction... Is it true that you're to be dismissed because you won't repeat what she has told you?"

"I'm afraid that's true," said Kildare. "I'm glad you telephoned. Thank you for that. I'll do my best to see her. Good night."

He hung up the receiver. He could not help noticing that Vickery's shoulders were resolutely hunched and he was keeping his attention fixed straightforward upon the magazine, which was a sure sign that he had heard Nurse Bradford's words over the wire. For that matter, the entire hospital probably had heard, by this time, the rumour about his approaching discharge. He went at once to Barbara Chanler's room. The door to the hall was securely closed with an attendant posted like a guard outside it; but he saw the girl's father and mother going into the adjoining room and he made bold to follow.

David Hamilton was in there, together with the great Gillespie and a nurse and female attendant; Dr. Lane Porteus's sad face appeared in a shadowy corner. No one noticed Kildare. Their eyes were too preoccupied with thoughts of the girl in the next room and their own gloomy conceptions. Mrs. Chanler, looking much older with grief and weariness, was in the centre of the stage now.

"Do you think it's safe, Dr. Porteus?" she said. "It upset her to see me before."

"I think it will throw definite light on the case if she has a similar reaction now," answered the famous psychiatrist. "I advise it... You must be prepared to find her a good deal altered. She is weaker. Excitement of this nature is bound to be vitiating."

"I'll go in, then," said the mother. Her husband went towards the door with her, keeping a protective arm about her.

"I beg your pardon," said Kildare. "I'm not wanted in this business, but if Miss Chanler is very much excited, will you give me an opportunity to quiet her?"

"An interesting offer," said Porteus, "but one which I must definitely decline."

"Are you sure about that?" asked Gillespie, unexpectedly.

Porteus was amazed. "I thought we were at one about this case, doctor," he said.

"I always like to keep the door open in hope that I can overhear a new idea," answered Gillespie. "But let it be the way you want."

"But could he quiet my poor girl?" asked Mrs. Chanler.

"Eventually," said Porteus. "I've already pointed out to you that the young doctor will do more harm than good in this case... If you will go in quietly, Mrs. Chanler, and brighten your expression a trifle—then speak cheerfully and rather casually to your daughter, I'm reasonably sure that there will be no bad effect. On the first occasion she was taken by surprise. She still thought that her anonymity was being preserved and there was natural shock when she saw you."

He turned to Kildare and added: "We won't need you here, doctor."

Kildare watched the mother enter the adjoining room; then he turned to leave, and as he stepped into the hall he heard from the sick girl a wailing cry of despair and of fear.

He shut the door quickly behind him and hurried down the hall. When he was back in his room, Vickery lifted his head from his magazine and gave him one side-glance that almost invited conversation, but Kildare threw himself face down on his bed. Sleep came pouring over his tired brain and body; he was almost lost in slumber when that remembered cry from the sick-room touched him again, an electric current through the brain. After that, no sleep was possible. He sat up, lay down again, walked up and down the hall, once more returned to his bed, and was sitting with chin on his fist when the morning came.

He showered, shaved, dressed. He could not eat. A cup of black coffee steadied him for the morning's work in the operating- rooms, but that was quickly over. He had time before lunch and used it as usual to go down to a clinic.

The eye, ear, nose and throat clinic was not a customary stamping ground for him, but he watched with a sort of grim interest the file of entrants as they stood before the girl who issued the admission cards. It might be, after all, the last time he ever watched a clinic in operation.

"Name, please, and address," the girl was saying, over and over again, and the answers formed and reformed dimly in his drowsy brain until he heard a vague, rambling voice that answered: "But who am I? And where do I live?"

"Are you drunk, or what?" asked the girl.

Kildare had the man by the arm—a miserable little pipe- stem of an arm—and led him out of the line.

"What's wrong with you?" he asked.

He stared into the queer pupils of the eyes as he listened to the patient saying: "I don't see very good. Things are far away... And who am I? I ought to know who I am."

That, said the Chanler family, was what Barbara had asked of the policeman who brought her home on that Tuesday morning.

"You've been on it quite a while, haven't you?" asked Kildare.

"On what?" asked the flat, vague voice.

"The dope," said Kildare.

"What dope?"

"That's what I want you to tell me," said Kildare.

"Do you help me out if I tell you?" asked the patient.

He was young. The more Kildare looked at him, the more he seemed to shed the superfluous age and get back towards the twenty years or so which really belonged to him.

"How much do you need to get a shot?" asked Kildare.

A dollar, begged the patient. He began to smile with an eager hope.

"A dollar can't get you far," said Kildare.

"No? Eight of them are a lot better than nothing."

"Eight what? Eight shots for a dollar?"

"Yeah, but the way I am now, it takes three or four before I can begin to feel it."

"How does it make you feel then?"

"How would giggle-smoke make you feel?"

"Giggle-smoke?" echoed Kildare.

"You know. Mufflers. Reefers."

"Marihuana, eh?"

"Yeah, that's it."

"You get the cigarettes two for a quarter?"


"Here's fifty cents," said Kildare. "But you'd better spend it on some food. Then go home and get to bed. Will you do that?"

The lie ran visibly across the eyes of the patient, like a cat chasing a mouse. "Sure, that's what I'll do," he said, taking the money. He laughed a little and nodded at Kildare. "Sure, I'll have a bite to eat and then I'll go right home." He laughed again as he turned away.

Kildare let him go unwillingly because he had something extremely worth thought; and besides, there was little that even doctors could do for that wasted bit of humanity. He went back to his room and flopped on his back, praying for a bit of sleep before lunch to clear his brain.

Vickery came in as the telephone buzzed and Kildare wearily reached for it.

Over the wire came the unmistakable voice of Dr. Carew, saying: "That you, Dr. Kildare? I naturally regret to inform you that you are to be considered by the board of the hospital for probable dismissal from the service at five o'clock this afternoon. I am letting you know this in person because I want to point out to you that every danger will be removed from you the moment you are willing to talk freely about the Chanler girl."

"I've been trying to persuade myself for two days," answered Kildare, "but I can't do it. If she's suffering from dementia praecox I'm a fool to keep my promise to her; but if she's simply a frightened, hysterical girl, I'd be a dog to violate her confidence."

Carew shouted in a sudden headlong rage: "It's your medical life that you're taking into your own hands and destroying. It's the suicide of your career. Good-bye!"

He crashed up the receiver at his end of the line. Kildare sat down to digest this final shock. But it seemed to him that his way was opening gradually before him, not to save his own scalp but perhaps to do something for Barbara Chanler.

He said: "Vickery, I know what you and your two friends think about me but I'd rather ask you than a stranger. Will you cover up for me? I'm cutting out of here to be gone till five o'clock. I'd hate to be caught out of bounds before I'm formally fired."

Vickery said: "I always knew Tommy Collins was part clown and part damn fool. He's missed you completely... You bet I'll cover for you, Kildare."

To the bewilderment of Kildare, the big fellow was shaking hands.

"Good luck," he said. "Whatever you're doing, I hope it turns out the best."

This unexpected blessing followed Kildare down to the Street. He looked up the telephone number of the Wainwrights' and rang to ask for Charlotte. She had a good-natured cold-in-the-head sort of a voice; thin in the background rattled the noise of a luncheon. "This is Dr. Kildare of the Dupont General Hospital," he said. "David Hamilton gave me your name and I wonder if you will tell me something about Barbara Chanler?"

"That poor child! Is it true that she's quite out of her head, Dr. Kildare?" asked Charlotte Wainwright.

"Not at all," said Kildare. "It's simply a nervous breakdown. Strictly that and nothing manic whatever."

"I'm so relieved to hear you say so," said the sceptical Charlotte.

"At your party Monday evening, Miss Chanler lost a small brooch. She thinks she remembers that she dropped it and that it was picked up by the man with whom she left your party. But she can't remember his name."

"Can't remember? Oh, I know how it can be."

"Little things like that are apt to worry a nervous patient. So we want to have the name and address of the man, if you can give them to us," said Kildare.

"Why, she went off with—who was it?"

Her voice, turned from the telephone, asked in the room: "Last Monday evening—who was it took Bobby Chanler home? Wasn't it Jack Parker?... Oh, was it that great big Stew Walden?... It was Stewart Walden, the illustrator and painter, doctor, and he lives at—oh, down there by Greenwich Village, some place. Wait a moment. I have it here."

Kildare wrote down the name and address and thanked her. After that he walked across to Fifth Avenue and took a bus to Washington Square. The rain of the last few days was ending. Towering cumulus clouds moved with a slow dignity across the sky and made even New York seem small in contrast. Kildare, in a narrow cross-street, found the address, and spotted the right name on the mail box. When he rang, and had opened the door, a voice called down: "Who's there? That you, Dinty?"

"No," said Kildare, "but I—"

"Sorry. Busy. Can't see anybody!" called the big voice from above. And a door slammed.

Kildare went up to the third floor. Walden's card was on the door to the left; a girl's voice whined inside the room. A man grunted a brief answer as Kildare rapped.

"Yeah?" called the man inside.

"It's important business," said Kildare. "Will you see me for a moment?"

"Busy. Too damned busy," said Walden. "Sorry, brother."

The girl was muffling a snicker.

"I've come over from Dinty," said Kildare.

"The devil you have! Wait a minute."

Kildare heard muttering voices. Then high heels tapped into a distance and were silent. The door was opened by a big fellow with a dozen extra pounds layered over his body and his face, like grease over a soup stock. In the corners of his eyes were the sort of wrinkles one sees in Paris. His eyelids were fat and purple-stained.

"Why didn't Dinty come himself?" asked Walden, impatiently.

"He thought he could send, just as well," said Kildare, guessing as he went along.

"Well, let's have it, will you?" asked Walden. "Come on in."

Kildare went into a big studio with canvases stacked against the walls and, on the easel, a portrait of a soubrette smiling over a bare shoulder. The rest of the picture was still in the most sketchy stage, but the throat and shoulder had been finished like soft satin.

"Wasn't Dinty able to come? Was he done in?" asked Walden, still holding out his hand in expectation.

Kildare opened a cigarette box he found on a table and closed it again. There were no reefers with their twisted tips in that box.

"You know how it is," said Kildare. "The best of us weaken, now and then."

"But think of old Dinty caving in!" said Walden. He laughed. And still when the voice had gone out of his laughter he was leering with surprised pleasure. "What kind of cigarettes do you want? There's some over there in the corner—there's nothing you'd want in that box there—"

But Kildare already had opened it and found, under the top layer, a dozen specimens of what he wanted to see. The brown- paper wrappings of the cigarette were hard-twisted at both ends. He picked them up in his hand, took out a handkerchief, and folded them inside the cloth.

Walden said: "What in hell's the idea?" He came rapidly across the room.

"Who the devil are you, anyway?" he asked. "You mean that Dinty had to send you here for that stuff?"

"I never saw your friend Dinty," said Kildare.

"Well, by God—" said Walden, and lowered his head with his eyes squinting and his upper lip curling back from the teeth. He looked like a picture of a backfield player running in a crowded field and expecting a tackier the next instant.

Extreme desire to do murder stopped Kildare's breath in the hollow of his throat. He waited for the big man to come at him, but something about his angry expectancy took the temper out of Walden all in a breath. He straightened up a little and said: "Come on, now. What's it about? Who are you?"

"You keep this stuff and use it on women, don't you?" asked Kildare.

"Those things? I don't know how they happened to be there," said Walden.

"You don't know?" asked Kildare, ironically. "Somebody put them there, I suppose?"

"Who are you?" demanded Walden again.

"My name is Dr. James Kildare," he said. "Does that help you?"

"Dr. Kildare?" repeated Walden, apparently weakened by the professional title. "You're not from the narcotics squad, are you?"

Kildare caught at the suggestion.

"What ought we to do with fellows like you, Walden?" he asked.

"You're one of the government crowd?" asked Walden.

Kildare said: "You've been watched for quite a while, Walden. It's hard to keep this stuff out of the hands of swine like you. You can buy 'em at two for a quarter. And the marihuana grows in every backyard where it's planted. There's no controlling the supply. If you used it to rot yourself, nobody would care. But you're one of the fellows who takes short cuts. You use it on women. You soften them up with the dope. Is that right?"

"Absolutely not!" exclaimed Walden.

"Why lie to me?" asked Kildare. "I know about you."

Walden bit his lip. He pulled it slowly, thoughtfully through his teeth. A sweat like melting mascara made his purple eyelids shine.

"Monday night—or early Tuesday morning, rather," said Kildare, "you took somebody from Charlotte Wainwright's party. Who was it?"

"I don't remember," said Walden.

"Would you remember better in jail?" asked Kildare.

"I think it was Barbara Chanler," said Walden.

"Where did you go with her?"

"No place in particular. We were just on the town for an hour or so."

"What became of her?"

"Why, I took her home, and—"

"I'd better turn you in," said Kildare. "I hoped that you'd help us. But if you try to fog the trail, to hell with you."

"What is it you want me to do, doctor?" asked Walden.

"I want you to take me every step of the way you went with her," said Kildare.

"Suppose I did?" asked Walden.

"It could be wangled for you to get off scot-free, I suppose," answered Kildare.

"I wish—" began Walden. He left his wish unuttered. "Let's go, then," he said.


LE COQ BLANC was right in the middle of a cross-town block. The entrance, as usual, was down on the cellar floor. A white rooster with a red comb and yellow legs strutted on a sign painted beside the door. The interior had a battered, well-used look, and the varnish had almost been rubbed from the top of the bar which curved halfway up the side wall and then across the rear of the room. Two waiters in soiled aprons came wearily towards them, one of them yawning, the other pushing chairs out of the way.

"This is where you brought her?"

A lad at the rear of the restaurant ran hastily up a flight of steps.

"It's not so bad," said Stewart Walden. "The drinks are cheap and it's open till three. After twelve, the dirt doesn't show so much."

Someone came down the rear flight of stairs and a man with the varnished red of an autumn apple in his cheeks came into view. He waved a greeting from a distance. "Mr. Walden," he called. "What are you doing here at this time of day?"

He was a sleek man. The baldness of his head had the look of something contrived to increase the impressive height of his forehead; but by doing this, the lower part of his face was strangely dwarfed, nose and mouth and chin seeming to occupy hardly enough space for a single one of those features. Since they lacked vertical scope, they made up for it by sticking well out to the front and this gave him an odd, pouting look.

"Only looking around for a moment, Louis," said Walden. "We're not staying. I wanted to recommend you to my friend, that's all. Shall we go along, doctor?"

But Kildare was lost in a study of the fastidious clothes of Louis and the elegant brightness of his shoes, which shone even more than the top of his head.

"You really won't stay?" urged Louis, with an expressive lift of his eyes and eyebrows towards the ceiling.

"Why not go upstairs and see what it looks like?" asked Kildare.

"Nothing to it at all," said Walden, turning.

"But Monsieur Walden!" cried Louis, wounded. "You never—" His voice halted and then resumed on a new note: "But drop in on us some evening, doctor. I have a good table d'hôte here and you will always be welcome for the sake of my good friend, Monsieur Walden."

He was bowing them out as he spoke; but there was no moving Kildare. He had felt the sign pass from Walden to the restaurateur.

"We're going upstairs, Walden."

"It's a sheer waste of time," answered Walden.

"If there's nothing up there, we won't have to stay," answered Kildare, and led the way up the stairs at the rear of the room. He felt, rather than heard, the whispering conference and the rapid interchanging signs between Walden and Louis behind him; then he came up into a long, narrow room with stencilled walls and green hangings thinly damasked in gold. Around a circular dance floor were set tables, and other tables stood in the booths which retired into the shadows along the walls.

"Nothing to it, you see," said Walden.

By this time Louis, who had lagged behind, appeared again. Just after him two fellows with pulpy faces, like prizefighters, moved slowly out into the room, beginning to move chairs, soundlessly, and work on them with dust-cloths. Kildare could not help a backward glance towards the stairs.

"This is really where you took her Tuesday morning, is it?" he asked.

"Yes. We sat downstairs," said Walden, "and after two or three drinks—"

"The music and the dancing were up here, but you sat down there?" asked Kildare.

"You know how Bobby is. She's a quiet girl," answered Walden.

"Did you ever speak to her before the Wainwright party?" asked Kildare.

"Well, not a great deal."

"Were you ever introduced to her, even, before Monday night?"

"What are you driving at?" asked Walden.

"Why do you try to make a fool out of me?" queried Kildare. "You met her at Charlotte Wainwright's for the first time. You managed while you were there to give her her first taste of giggle-smoke, as they call it. Isn't that true?"

He walked a bit closer to Walden. Walden said: "How could I tell that she'd never smoked one of them before?"

"Tell your two thugs to keep away from me, Louis," said Kildare. "We're not going to have any trouble here. This is just a friendly little sight-seeing tour."

"Exactly, exactly!" said Louis. "I am telling Pierre to open a bottle of Mumm's Extra Dry. It will be an excellent aperitif, doctor, for your evening meal."

"You're very kind. I'm not drinking," said Kildare. "By the time you left the Wainwright party, your lady for the evening hardly knew where she was going and didn't care. Is that correct?"

"Make it your story. I won't spoil it," growled Walden, turning more ugly.

"What were you serving Mr. Walden's table Tuesday morning?" asked Kildare.

"They were having a couple of—I've forgotten what they were drinking, doctor," said Louis, beginning to sweat.

"Do you remember where they were sitting?" asked Kildare.

"I can't be quite sure," said Louis.

"Not sure of such an old friend, eh? What was the complexion of the girl with Walden?"

"I cannot remember. I am so sorry, doctor."

"Perhaps you didn't have a good look at her? Not very striking?"

"Charming, I'm sure. But I did not observe very attentively."

Kildare smiled at him. He turned to Walden and kept on smiling.

"Well, I don't know what you're driving at," admitted Walden.

"Have you forgotten your table, and what you were drinking, and the size of the check, and the complexion of the girl?" asked Kildare.

Walden was silent, glaring at Louis who had made himself so obviously too supple a witness.

"Answer me!" snapped Kildare, like an officer giving a command.

"We sat over there," said Walden at last.

"In that booth?" asked Kildare.

"I suppose so," agreed Walden.

"Champagne?" asked Kildare.

"Yes. Why not? There was nothing in it," protested Walden. He grew virtuous. "Is there anything wrong in taking a girl out and buying her a bottle of champagne?"

"In the meantime," said Kildare, "you were counting the number of cigarettes she was taking. The number of the giggle-smokes. How many were there? Answer me accurately, Walden. If you lie about this, I'll know it. How many did she smoke in that booth?"

"Four," said Walden.

"Ah, four?" murmured Kildare.

"Monsieur Walden, are you discreet?" asked Louis in a dry voice which Kildare had not heard from him before.

"Four of them, on top of the liquor and on top of the others she had had before?" queried Kildare.

"It might have been fourteen and done no harm to her," protested Walden. "How could I tell that she didn't have any strength? How could I tell that she'd pass out like a light, all at once?"

Kildare took a long, long breath. He took a cigarette, lighted it, and inhaled the smoke to the bottom of his lungs.

"I'm glad you're making sense now, Walden," he observed. "What did you do with her then, Louis?"

"What should I do?" asked Louis, helping his words with hands and shoulders and eyes. "I had her taken where she could lie down and be cared for, of course."

"Show me where," commanded Kildare.

He felt their eyes exchanging unspoken messages, and snapped his fingers in apparent irritation. "I haven't all the rest of the day for this," he declared. "Step along, Louis. Show me where you took her."

Louis crossed the room slowly. Kildare followed at the side of Walden, who looked brittle with tension. Behind them the two with dust-cloths remained closely at hand. Louis pulled back one of the green hangings and revealed a stairway with a velvet rope swinging in graceful loops up either side. A sour air of dead perfumes and stale smoke filled that passageway. The carpet, with an inch or more of padding under it, took the sound from their footfalls except a rhythmical whispering.

Behind him, Kildare felt the two hired men of Louis pressing closer. So they came to the upper hall which expanded into an open vestibule here and then narrowed and ran between a double row of rooms. Kildare felt a little sick. He put a hand out against the wall and steadied himself.

"So you brought her up here?" he asked.

"And put her here," said Louis. "Exactly here, doctor. On this couch, and put cold towels over her face and throat and fanned her until she began to come round—"

Kildare nodded, vacantly. The door of the adjoining room was open. He saw a double bed, a four-poster, and over the head of it the lower part of an old painting with the words of old French dimly inscribed: "Mon mestier et mon art c'est vivre."

He wanted a drink then, and he wanted it badly. He stepped into the open doorway. There was hardly a naked bit of wall- space. Hangings were everywhere, and there was enough of a current of air to set them rustling, whisper to whisper like cheek leaning to cheek.

"—and after we had done all that we could—" Louis was saying.

"I'm tired of hearing you lie," said Kildare. "You brought her in here, didn't you?"

"But no, doctor. No, no, no! Do I guess what you have in mind? As a matter of fact, she was only here and then—"

"Why do you try to trick me when I already know?" asked Kildare. "She was brought into this room!"

This cast them into a breathless moment of silence; then Walden grabbed Louis by the scruff of the neck. "You damned French hairless pig, you sold me out!" he said through his teeth.

"I swear to heaven—" cried Louis.

"You lie again! How else would he have known? Who else could have told him?" demanded Walden.

Louis jerked himself away with a sudden violence. He struck away the hand of Walden. Scratch even the most humble of French servitors and you will find—a democrat.

"Handle your dirt in your own way, then—cochon!" screamed Louis, and bolted down the stairs. His hired men went slowly after him, looking back towards Kildare with regretful eyes.

Kildare closed the door of the bedroom. He looked at Walden from head to foot, slowly; and big Walden began to back away from him an inch at a time.

"I know what you're thinking, doctor," he said. "But it wasn't that way. Listen to me! That evening let's say that I was as big a pig as you think and Louis says; but when Barbara passed out like a light—God, she was green as grass, and I was scared to death. I thought she was going to die. If I took her to a hospital they'd spot the marihuana and then there'd be the devil to pay. Louis and I got her up here. I kicked open the first door. We put her on the bed, there. We got the cold towels. We did fan her. I got more and more scared. I told Louis we'd have to call a doctor if he knew a safe one. He said that he did. He went to phone for his man. I went back into the bathroom and soaked the towel in cold water again. I wasn't gone more than forty seconds. And when I came back, she was gone! Do you believe that? I'm telling you the whole truth. But I know you'll think it's a rotten lie."

"No. I don't think it's a rotten lie," said Kildare. "I believe you. What did you do?"

"I looked into the hall, first. Louis came, saying that his man was on the way. I asked him where Barbara had gone. He didn't know. We went downstairs. The waiters had seen her come out and go across the room looking pretty white. We hurried down to the street. She was gone there, too."

"That's all you saw of her?"


"What about the next day?"

"I was worried. I'm no Sunday-school boy, but I was worried about that business. I went out to her house. She met me in the garden. I tried to talk to her, but she looked at me as though she didn't see me. I never saw such a pair of empty eyes. I got out and was glad to go. I'd only wanted to make sure that she was all right..."

Kildare ten minutes later was calling Hilda Jarvis on the telephone. Exactly how this girl fitted into the ugly picture he could not tell, but bluff had carried him through successfully so far and he would not abandon it now. "I'm wanting to know about the other evening when you were at Le Coq Blanc," he said.

He heard a frightened outcry, and the telephone receiver crashed up. Another load dropped from his shoulders. He waited five minutes and called again.

"Are you there again?' he said.

"I thought I'd not be able to get you—I didn't know where to call you—what do you want? Who are you?" asked Hilda Jarvis.

"I'm a friend of Barbara Chanler," he said. "She's been afraid that you've worried because she saw you at Le Coq Blanc, and she wants me to tell you that no other soul, except the three of us, knows anything about it."

"Ah, thank God!" said the girl's breaking voice. "Tell Barbara that I love her for this—I was half crazy—"

He came up to the hospital through the ambulance court, the battery of streamlined ambulances like so many torpedoes ready for action. Someone hailed him. It was Weyman, who came on the run and brought himself to a halt like a soldier. He panted out: "Is it true that you're in trouble, Dr. Kildare?"

"So they say," answered Kildare.

"Does it have anything to do with that screwy case that should have had the oxygen?" asked Weyman. "If it does, I'll go in and tell them the straight of it."

"They'd fire you, Weyman, and what would your wife think of you then?" asked Kildare.

"I've told her about you, and it's made her and me like that," said Weyman, lifting two fingers.

"That's great," said Kildare, "but that case isn't any part of my trouble. You keep your job and your wife—and good luck to you."

He shook hands with Weyman and went into the hospital. It was twenty minutes before his appointed hour with Carew and that silent firing squad which was to put his career under the sod; but he lingered a moment at the door of Gillespie's waiting-room. Gillespie himself, for once dressed in hospital whites, as lean and spruce as a greyhound, came out of his office between a pale young fellow and a girl of the swarthy Latin type. They were laughing to the point of tears, with tall Gillespie growling: "Spinach will turn the trick, my girl. Give him plenty of spinach and cut down on that fine spaghetti. He'll get the wobble out of his knees. In ten years you'll have ten bambini, if you say ten prayers to the Madonna."

"To the Madonna and to you," said the girl.

She caught the hand of Gillespie and kissed it. Then she fled with her husband, supporting him, still laughing and weeping at once, according to an extraordinary talent which all women have.

"Damned silly—" said Gillespie, and wiped the back of his hand on his coat. He turned to survey the people in his waiting-room. A baby began to cry in its mother's arms, the weak, scratchy noise which is the most irritating and commanding voice in all nature.

"Here, you," said Gillespie. "I can't have a racket out here upsetting everybody."

The mother stood up. Every case that came to the great Gillespie was, according to his inexorable rule, a charity case, but this was one which would pay, probably, by some handsome donation to the hospital. Her clothes had that half-foolish and half-surprising line which means Paris. The elderly woman who rose with her was probably the nurse, and the good-looking young chap who accompanied them but seemed at an anxious distance from the woman, no matter how close he stood—that would be the husband and father. They began to file out in vague bewilderment.

"Let me see the baby," said Gillespie.

"Yes, doctor—here!" cried the mother, and she held out the baby in her arms as though she were offering it to some protecting saint.

"How the devil can I see it through all those clothes? Get 'em off!" commanded Gillespie.

The baby's voice rose to a weary crescendo as the clothes were removed. It lay on the lap of its mother, all stomach and head and crooked red legs, squawling. Gillespie, bent over like a gaunt stork about to harpoon a frog, lifted his hands. They made one organism, like a ten-legged spider. The baby stopped its crying. The hands descended upon it. Gillespie laid his bearded face against the breast of the child and the baby, tickled by the tangle of beard, began to laugh, beating its two hands against Gillespie's head. The mother could not help smiling when she heard that laughter but with her eyes she kept imploring the doctor.

"Stuff and damned nonsense," said Gillespie, and rose.

"There's nothing to do?" begged the mother.

"Nothing to do? Of course there's something to do," roared Gillespie. "Get a new milk prescription from Johnny Cromwell. And give that baby an enema; then he'll live for ever, the way babies ought to."

Kildare went up in the elevator to the Chanler rooms. At his entrance he found a funereal picture of gloom. They had put in a couch on which the mother lay with Robert Chanler seated beside her, holding her hand. Young David Hamilton walked back and forth ceaselessly. When he saw Kildare he stopped short and stared.

From the inner room the girl's voice broke out: "I won't! I won't answer you! I won't talk!"

The great Lane Porteus came softly from the sickroom. "Another hypodermic," he said to the nurse who waited.

"Hold the hypodermic for a moment," said Kildare. "I'm going to see her."

"You?" queried Porteus. "You have permission?"

"The highest possible permission," said Kildare, and he walked through the doorway, hearing Porteus say, behind him: "Kindly check with Dr. Carew concerning the presence of young Kildare, here."

"Certainly, doctor," said the nurse.

Kildare closed the door. The daylight was almost totally closed away; in the warm darkness of the room the flowers gave out a humid weight of fragrance. In white and shadow, he studied the girl on the bed for a moment. They had swathed her, of course, in that mummy-wrapper, the restraining sheet. Kildare went to the window, raised the shade, and let the day come rushing in. Then he went to the bed and unfastened the sheet. He had finished this before the daylight and his coming had dispersed the crowded images, the unhappy dreams which filled even her waking eyes. So, after an unseeing moment, she made sure of him and reached out a sudden hand.

"Have they let you come back—after all, have they let you come back?"

"Sit up," said Kildare.

He jammed the pillow against the head of the bed and lifted her against it. For the sake of modesty, he pulled the sheet up to her chin. "What does it mean?" asked Barbara Chanler.

Kildare began to laugh. There was a crazy shake in his laughter. He pulled a dozen glorious Talisman roses out of a vase, exquisitely tailored, long, crisp buds with a flush in the gold of the outer petals and deep crimson opening at the lips of the flower. He shook the water out of the leaves and leaning beside the bed he tossed the roses one by one at her. She put up her hands to protect herself; but she began to smile in a frightened way and a wild expectancy grew up in her eyes even before he said a word.

"It was all a silly lot of nonsense, as it turned out," said Kildare. "But there might have been the devil to pay."

He threw another rose at her. She let it fall without trying to ward it off.

"Silly?" she said. "Did you say silly?"

"There was only one beastly part to the business. That beast wasn't in you, poor girl. The swine of a Walden—he'd paralysed you with dope—at the Wainwright party with those cigarettes which had the twisted ends. Remember 'em?"

She caught up a hand to her face and stared at him through the spread fingers. Horrified and overjoyed at the same moment.

"And all this to-do about nothing, all this agonising about the devil that was in you—when you were no more responsible than a poor, sick, delirious child," said Kildare.

She dropped her hands. Her head fell back against the pillow. She closed her eyes.

"Say that again to me!" she begged.

"I'm not going to be consoling and reassuring," said Kildare. "I don't have to be. I don't have to launder something that's as clean as a pin."

"Come closer. Sit down by me and tell me everything," she implored him.

Kildare laughed again. "This is a good pitching distance," he said, and tossed another long-stemmed flower. There was plenty of life in her hands to catch that one. Into her starved face the colour was beginning to run.

"To some extent," said Kildare, "you were a little bit to blame yourself. Life with Hamilton began to look a pretty dull, staid affair. Just a stupid routine. Apartment on Park Avenue, house in country, regular summer trips to Europe, polo parties. And the Wainwright party was going to be a little dash of something gay and unusual before you went into the prison routine. Wasn't that about it?"

"I wonder?" she murmured, looking inward to ask the question.

"So when Walden saw you, he thought of himself as the hunter and you the game. That's all. That's the story. But when you toppled over and passed out like a light, he was scared to death. He and that greasy-faced procurer, Louis, hurried you upstairs. They telephoned for a doctor. They put you on a bed. They put cold towels on your face—"

"And then?" she gasped.

"And then you woke up when they both were out of the room. You found yourself alone, staring up at a picture of a gay young sixteenth-century blade with a girl in his left hand and a glass of wine in his right, so to speak, and you read the words under it: 'Mon mestier et mon art c'est vivre.' And you thought you had come to the end of the world and the falling-off place."

"Was it that way?" she whispered.

"It was."

"Exactly that way?"

"Exactly that way."

"Thank God!" breathed the girl.

"And you hurried downstairs. On the way across the dance-room, you saw Hilda Jarvis. You got to the street and a taxi. After that, the shock that had brought you to your senses diminished and the drug began to take hold of you again. You were pretty far astray in your wits before you reached home. But you got there. You were one of the lucky ones. You got there, all right! You were safe, but you didn't know it."

"But Hilda Jarvis will—"

"I got in touch with her. When I mentioned Le Coq Blanc she almost fainted. I told her that you thought she might be worried because you had seen her there and that you wanted to assure her that you wouldn't tell a soul. And she almost fainted again, for joy, and said she loved you."

He threw the rest of the roses in a cluster. They fell all over her.

"So that's all there is to your nightmare," said Kildare. "And I suppose you want something very badly, just now?"

"My mother—and dad—and poor, poor—"

"He's not so poor," said Kildare. "They're all here, waiting."

"What shall I say to them?"

"Say the exact truth."

"I can't! I never could!"

"If you're worth your salt, you can," said Kildare, "and I think you're worth your salt."

There was a brief knock at the door, which then was pushed open, and the angry voice of Lane Porteus exclaimed: "Dr. Kildare, you will instantly—"

The sight of the girl sitting up in the scattering of flowers struck the next words from his lips. Kildare walked past him into the other room. He said, quite loudly: "It's all right, Mrs. Chanler. She wants to see you. And Mr. Chanler—"

They were on their feet, bewildered and excited. The mother saw the picture through the open door and ran with a cry into the sick-room. Kildare had a glimpse of the girl holding out her arms. He laid a hand on David Hamilton's shoulder.

"She wants you, too," he said.


THE weariness which came over Kildare was the aftermath of excitement and every separate sleepless hour hung a weight from his brain. He spent ten minutes in his room. That was enough to get his things together in the battered suitcases.

He was working busily when the door to the next room opened and Tom Collins came in. All the dance and fidget was gone from his feet. He said: "Jimmy, will you just call me a louse and let it go at that? I was all wrong, and dead wrong. I wish you'd shake hands before you—go up and take it."

The upward wag of his head indicated Dr. Carew and all the powers that be.

Kildare took the proffered hand and shook it earnestly, gratefully.

"I understand how the thing happened," he said. "You remember the time you spoke and I didn't answer?"

"I remember," Collins said.

"The radio kept sliding its songs into the words I was trying to study," explained Kildare. "So I made a couple of ear-pads with cotton, and put them in. That's why I didn't hear you."

He smiled at Tom Collins, and Tom made a wry face. "Did you hear that, fellows?" he asked.

Big Vickery and little, smiling Dick Joiner appeared in the doorway. But Dick was not smiling. "We heard," they said.

"It shows I'm a skunk," said Tom Collins. "Look, Jimmy. I passed the bad word about you all over the hospital."

"That's all right," said Kildare. "I won't be here long enough to get the full benefit of what they think—I've got to go, now."

"So do we," they answered.

"You?" asked Kildare.

"It's to be a dress parade," Vickery said, bitterly. "They're going to do you in with all the internes standing around to see the foul example. Damn such a system!"

The office of Dr. Carew, which was by far the most spacious in the building, had plenty of room for the seven directors to sit in a grave semicircle to lend an awful dignity to the moment. There was also plenty of room for the internes to stand back against the opposite wall. Dr. Carew, at his desk, occupied the post of vantage with Kildare a pace in front of his fellows to stand as the focal point of attention. He looked out the window at the picture of Manhattan, which had grown dim, strangely dim. His right hand tingled. He remembered, vaguely, how Tom Collins had wrung it at the last moment, causing the other internes to stare in fixed bewilderment as they witnessed that sign of a close friendship.

Dr. Carew said:

"Gentlemen, to every moment should be reserved its proper setting; and to this occasion appertains a certain solemnity—solemnity which is due to the unfortunate termination of a young career. For that purpose, gentlemen, you have been gathered together in this room; and since it is fitting that actions of importance should be clarified by the reasons which lie behind them, it is my purpose—"

Here the door opened, and the brazen voice of Gillespie said: "Am I in time? Ah, I see I am!"

Gillespie, too! Kildare from the corner of his eye watched the great man pacing up and down impatiently, as though he could not wait for the culminating moment which would cut Kildare's throat and pour out his blood as effectively as any stroke of a guillotine. A small element of wonder entered Kildare's stunned, weary brain. Great men, after all, should be above petty revenges upon very young internes. But there was Gillespie, hungrily walking up and down.

"Dr. Gillespie," said Carew, "if you will kindly compose yourself a little—"

"Perfectly composed, old fellow," said Gillespie. "Get on to the dirty work."

Carew glowered, swallowed, and then continued: "Where was I? The reasons—yes—a spirit of discipline, gentlemen, is one of the first essentials that must enter into the life of a great institution of healing, such as this. Discipline I use in the fullest sense of a word of honourable ancestry, deriving through the Old French from the Latin, discipulus, from discere, to learn. Those, therefore, who submit to discipline, are those still willing to learn. To learn, gentlemen, from the older and presumably wiser minds, is not degrading, but ennobling. We come by these steps to a consideration of the case immediately at hand, a young man who in a case of the highest moment to this institution, but in itself worthy of the utmost human effort to allay—"

The telephone rang on his desk.

"Damn!" said Dr. Carew, softly, and picked up the receiver, saying: "I absolutely cannot be—ah, Porteus—if you can telephone five minutes later—"

Something that Lane Porteus said struck him to a silence. He seemed to forget the formidable scene which he had introduced into his office. From this stage-set he was mentally abstracted for the moment.

Then he was saying: "What? Forced his way in?— I can't believe that, Porteus... But if she asked for her parents it means... But how could you and Gillespie both— Incredible!— The Chanters are asking for him?— Wait. I have to think. This is totally incredible—"

He sat stricken at the telephone, looking before him with frightened eyes.

Gillespie said: "Come, come, Carew! Hurry it up. Fire him, will you, and have it done. Fire him so that I can hire him, Carew!"

He came up to Kildare and got him by the coat collar with a scrawny hand, a thousand times discoloured by acid-burns. "That is, if you'd work for me, Kildare?"

Kildare turned helpless, bewildered eyes upon him.

"Work for me, with me!" said Gillespie. "Day and night, damn you. I'll make you wish you'd never put foot inside this hospital. Day and night, d'you hear?"

"Yes, sir," said Kildare.

He put his hands up to his head in a gesture of absolutely childish wonder.

Gillespie roared. "For twenty-five years I've been looking at the faces of young doctors. And God knows I've seen plenty of them. But they were all hands and eyes, hands and eyes, hands and eyes. There never was a diagnostician's brain among them until you came along. Kildare, will you sell your soul to me?"

"Yes, sir," said Kildare. "It's—er—it's in this hand, sir."

Gillespie grabbed it and laughed.

Dr. Carew was saying over the telephone, feebly: "Tell the Chanlers that I'm sending him—" Then he added to the assembly in the room: "Gentlemen—the spirit of discipline—to surrender our predetermined opinions to wiser judgments, as I surrender my opinion of Dr. Kildare to the new lights which have just been cast upon him—"

In the dusty quiet of Gillespie's office the diagnostician was saying: "You're at liberty to feel the gland above the left elbow, Jimmy, if you wish to. You'll find there what you expected to find. And of course you know what that means?"

Kildare was silent.

"It means, if I'm lucky, about a year is left for me. In that year, if we work day and night, I can give you every damned scruple that time has locked up in this rusty old brain of mine. You understand me?"

"Yes, sir."

"I've been hard on you," said Gillespie. "I couldn't believe that I'd found what I wanted. So I tested and kept on testing."

"Yes, sir," said Kildare.

"Then get out of here and go see the Chanlers. They're waiting for you. They'll want to put a wreath of roses around you, like a Derby winner."

In Kildare's room, Tom Collins was saying: "I've got something in my feet that'll never come out. For Lord's sake, where's some music? I'm gunna float—I'm drifting now—a hundred- million-dollar baby is all this boy turned out to be. Listen, Jimmy, hasn't she got a kid sister or a cousin or something, so you can get in on the gravy? All right, get on your way. Watch the traffic lights. And don't skid the corners—go and get it, Jimmy!"

"I'm not bound for the Chanlers," said Kildare.

"You're not what?"

"I don't want gratitude," said Kildare. "I want a lot more than that or money."

"What d'you mean?" asked Vickery.

"You'd have to see it; I couldn't describe it!" said Kildare...

The Petersens lived away up north where even Manhattan begins to look like Chicago, or London, or Los Angeles, or any other city of concrete monotonies. But it was not monotonous for Kildare when he saw the door of the apartment open and Beatrice in the dusk of the hall behind it.

"Jimmy!" she cried. "Jimmy, Jimmy, does it mean we're going home together—tonight?"

He picked her up in his arms.

"Hush, Jimmy. Don't! Let me down! The Petersens are in the back room and—"

"Damn the back room," said Kildare, and bore her into the front living-room. The Petersens, in fact, were in the rear room; but they departed like shadows, whispering. Kildare sat Beatrice down in front of the western window. He knelt behind the chair with his arms around her.

"We're not going back tonight to Dartford," said Kildare. "Gillespie—I was a fool—Gillespie—he didn't hate me—he was only watching."

"We're not going home?" echoed Beatrice, softly.

"No, no! Don't you understand? It's the stars at noon. I've seen 'em. I've picked 'em out of the sky. They're in my pocket. Gillespie—he's making me his assistant—he's going to teach me what he knows—if I'm man enough to take it... And some day we'll be married—"

"When?" asked Beatrice.

"Only a year or two. Only a few years, honey. I've got to learn from Gillespie how to read the mind of diseases and know all about human troubles—"

"A few years!" said Beatrice, more softly, even, than before.

"It's the chance I prayed for; and there it is in my hand! My God, what good luck you brought me!"

"It's wonderful, Jimmy, and it's beautiful!" she said. The catch in her voice made him stare down at her, gripping her arms hard. "But what's wrong now?" he cried. "What are you crying for?"

She gasped: "I'm crying for joy, silly."


"Young Doctor Kildare. Film Poster, 1938.