K. questioned her, alternately soothing and probing.

"You are positive about it?"

"Absolutely. I have given him his medicines dozens of times."

"You looked at the label?"

"I swear I did, K."

"Who else had access to the medicine closet?"

"Carlotta Harrison carried the keys, of course. I was off duty from four

to six. When Carlotta left the ward, the probationer would have them."

"Have you reason to think that either one of these girls would wish you



"None whatever," began Sidney vehemently; and then, checking

herself,--"unless--but that's rather ridiculous."

"What is ridiculous?"

"I've sometimes thought that Carlotta--but I am sure she is perfectly fair

with me. Even if she--if she--"


"Even if she likes Dr. Wilson, I don't believe--Why, K., she wouldn't! It

would be murder."

"Murder, of course," said K., "in intention, anyhow. Of course she didn't

do it. I'm only trying to find out whose mistake it was."

Soon after that she said good-night and went out. She turned in the

doorway and smiled tremulously back at him.

"You have done me a lot of good. You almost make me believe in myself."

"That's because I believe in you."

With a quick movement that was one of her charms, Sidney suddenly closed

the door and slipped back into the room. K., hearing the door close,

thought she had gone, and dropped heavily into a chair.

"My best friend in all the world!" said Sidney suddenly from behind him,

and, bending over, she kissed him on the cheek.

The next instant the door had closed behind her, and K. was left alone to

such wretchedness and bliss as the evening had brought him.

On toward morning, Harriet, who slept but restlessly in her towel, wakened

to the glare of his light over the transom.

"K.!" she called pettishly from her door. "I wish you wouldn't go to sleep

and let your light burn!"

K., surmising the towel and cold cream, had the tact not to open his door.

"I am not asleep, Harriet, and I am sorry about the light. It's going out


Before he extinguished the light, he walked over to the old dresser and

surveyed himself in the glass. Two nights without sleep and much anxiety

had told on him. He looked old, haggard; infinitely tired. Mentally he

compared himself with Wilson, flushed with success, erect, triumphant,

almost insolent. Nothing had more certainly told him the hopelessness of

his love for Sidney than her good-night kiss. He was her brother, her

friend. He would never be her lover. He drew a long breath and proceeded

to undress in the dark.

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