She broke off. She still could not trust her voice about her mother.
"Palmer's arm is going to be quite straight. Dr. Ed is so proud of Max
over it. It was a bad fracture."
He had been waiting for that. Once at least, whenever they were together,
she brought Max into the conversation. She was quite unconscious of it.
"You and Max are great friends. I knew you would like him. He is
interesting, don't you think?"
"Very," said K.
To save his life, he could not put any warmth into his voice. He would be
fair. It was not in human nature to expect more of him.
"Those long talks you have, shut in your room--what in the world do you
talk about? Politics?"
She was a little jealous of those evenings, when she sat alone, or when
Harriet, sitting with her, made sketches under the lamp to the
accompaniment of a steady hum of masculine voices from across the hall.
Not that she was ignored, of course. Max came in always, before he went,
and, leaning over the back of a chair, would inform her of the absolute
blankness of life in the hospital without her.
"I go every day because I must," he would assure her gayly; "but, I tell
you, the snap is gone out of it. When there was a chance that every cap
was YOUR cap, the mere progress along a corridor became thrilling." He had
a foreign trick of throwing out his hands, with a little shrug of the
shoulders. "Cui bono?" he said--which, being translated, means: "What the
devil's the use!"
And K. would stand in the doorway, quietly smoking, or go back to his room
and lock away in his trunk the great German books on surgery with which he
and Max had been working out a case.
So K. sat by the dining-room table and listened to her talk of Max that
last evening together.
"I told Mrs. Rosenfeld to-day not to be too much discouraged about Johnny.
I had seen Dr. Max do such wonderful things. Now that you are such
friends,"--she eyed him wistfully,--"perhaps some day you will come to one
of his operations. Even if you didn't understand exactly, I know it would
thrill you. And--I'd like you to see me in my uniform, K. You never
She grew a little sad as the evening went on. She was going to miss K.
very much. While she was ill she had watched the clock for the time to
listen for him. She knew the way he slammed the front door. Palmer never
slammed the door. She knew too that, just after a bang that threatened the
very glass in the transom, K. would come to the foot of the stairs and