By Christmas Day Sidney was back in the hospital, a little wan, but

valiantly determined to keep her life to its mark of service. She had a

talk with K. the night before she left.

Katie was out, and Sidney had put the dining-room in order. K. sat by the

table and watched her as she moved about the room.

The past few weeks had been very wonderful to him: to help her up and down

the stairs, to read to her in the evenings as she lay on the couch in the

sewing-room; later, as she improved, to bring small dainties home for her

tray, and, having stood over Katie while she cooked them, to bear them in

triumph to that upper room--he had not been so happy in years.


And now it was over. He drew a long breath.

"I hope you don't feel as if you must stay on," she said anxiously. "Not

that we don't want you--you know better than that."

"There is no place else in the whole world that I want to go to," he said


"I seem to be always relying on somebody's kindness to--to keep things

together. First, for years and years, it was Aunt Harriet; now it is you."

"Don't you realize that, instead of your being grateful to me, it is I who

am undeniably grateful to you? This is home now. I have lived around--in

different places and in different ways. I would rather be here than

anywhere else in the world."

But he did not look at her. There was so much that was hopeless in his

eyes that he did not want her to see. She would be quite capable, he told

himself savagely, of marrying him out of sheer pity if she ever guessed.

And he was afraid--afraid, since he wanted her so much--that he would be

fool and weakling enough to take her even on those terms. So he looked


Everything was ready for her return to the hospital. She had been out that

day to put flowers on the quiet grave where Anna lay with folded hands; she

had made her round of little visits on the Street; and now her suit-case,

packed, was in the hall.

"In one way, it will be a little better for you than if Christine and

Palmer were not in the house. You like Christine, don't you?"

"Very much."

"She likes you, K. She depends on you, too, especially since that night

when you took care of Palmer's arm before we got Dr. Max. I often think,

K., what a good doctor you would have been. You knew so well what to do for


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