The announcement of Sidney's engagement was not to be made for a year.

Wilson, chafing under the delay, was obliged to admit to himself that it

was best. Many things could happen in a year. Carlotta would have finished

her training, and by that time would probably be reconciled to the ending

of their relationship.

He intended to end that. He had meant every word of what he had sworn to

Sidney. He was genuinely in love, even unselfishly--as far as he could be

unselfish. The secret was to be carefully kept also for Sidney's sake.

The hospital did not approve of engagements between nurses and the staff.

It was disorganizing, bad for discipline.


Sidney was very happy all that summer. She glowed with pride when her

lover put through a difficult piece of work; flushed and palpitated when

she heard his praises sung; grew to know, by a sort of intuition, when he

was in the house. She wore his ring on a fine chain around her neck, and

grew prettier every day.

Once or twice, however, when she was at home, away from the glamour, her

early fears obsessed her. Would he always love her? He was so handsome and

so gifted, and there were women who were mad about him. That was the

gossip of the hospital. Suppose she married him and he tired of her? In

her humility she thought that perhaps only her youth, and such charm as she

had that belonged to youth, held him. And before her, always, she saw the

tragic women of the wards.

K. had postponed his leaving until fall. Sidney had been insistent, and

Harriet had topped the argument in her businesslike way. "If you insist on

being an idiot and adopting the Rosenfeld family," she said, "wait until

September. The season for boarders doesn't begin until fall."

So K. waited for "the season," and ate his heart out for Sidney in the


Johnny Rosenfeld still lay in his ward, inert from the waist down. K. was

his most frequent visitor. As a matter of fact, he was watching the boy

closely, at Max Wilson's request.

"Tell me when I'm to do it," said Wilson, "and when the time comes, for

God's sake, stand by me. Come to the operation. He's got so much

confidence that I'll help him that I don't dare to fail."

So K. came on visiting days, and, by special dispensation, on Saturday

afternoons. He was teaching the boy basket-making. Not that he knew

anything about it himself; but, by means of a blind teacher, he kept just

one lesson ahead. The ward was intensely interested. It found something

absurd and rather touching in this tall, serious young man with the

surprisingly deft fingers, tying raffia knots.

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