The first basket went, by Johnny's request, to Sidney Page.

"I want her to have it," he said. "She got corns on her fingers from

rubbing me when I came in first; and, besides--"

"Yes?" said K. He was tying a most complicated knot, and could not look


"I know something," said Johnny. "I'm not going to get in wrong by talking,

but I know something. You give her the basket."

K. looked up then, and surprised Johnny's secret in his face.

"Ah!" he said.

"If I'd squealed she'd have finished me for good. They've got me, you


know. I'm not running in 2.40 these days."

"I'll not tell, or make it uncomfortable for you. What do you know?"

Johnny looked around. The ward was in the somnolence of mid-afternoon.

The nearest patient, a man in a wheel-chair, was snoring heavily.

"It was the dark-eyed one that changed the medicine on me," he said. "The

one with the heels that were always tapping around, waking me up. She did

it; I saw her."

After all, it was only what K. had suspected before. But a sense of

impending danger to Sidney obsessed him. If Carlotta would do that, what

would she do when she learned of the engagement? And he had known her

before. He believed she was totally unscrupulous. The odd coincidence of

their paths crossing again troubled him.

Carlotta Harrison was well again, and back on duty. Luckily for Sidney,

her three months' service in the operating-room kept them apart. For

Carlotta was now not merely jealous. She found herself neglected, ignored.

It ate her like a fever.

But she did not yet suspect an engagement. It had been her theory that

Wilson would not marry easily--that, in a sense, he would have to be

coerced into marriage. Some clever woman would marry him some day, and no

one would be more astonished than himself. She thought merely that Sidney

was playing a game like her own, with different weapons. So she planned

her battle, ignorant that she had lost already.

Her method was simple enough. She stopped sulking, met Max with smiles,

made no overtures toward a renewal of their relations. At first this

annoyed him. Later it piqued him. To desert a woman was justifiable,

under certain circumstances. But to desert a woman, and have her

apparently not even know it, was against the rules of the game.

During a surgical dressing in a private room, one day, he allowed his

fingers to touch hers, as on that day a year before when she had taken Miss

Simpson's place in his office. He was rewarded by the same slow,

smouldering glance that had caught his attention before. So she was only

acting indifference!

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