Sidney's heart, considering what was happening to it, behaved very well.

"For goodness' sake, Sidney," said Dr. Max, "here you are a young lady and

I've never noticed it!"

This, of course, was not what he had intended to say, being staff and all

that. But Sidney, visibly palpitant, was very pretty, much prettier than

the Harrison girl, beating a tattoo with her heels in the next room.

Dr. Max, belonging to the class of man who settles his tie every time he

sees an attractive woman, thrust his hands into the pockets of his long

white coat and surveyed her quizzically.

"Did Dr. Ed tell you?"


"Sit down. He said something about the hospital. How's your mother and

Aunt Harriet?"

"Very well--that is, mother's never quite well." She was sitting forward

on her chair, her wide young eyes on him. "Is that--is your nurse from the

hospital here?"

"Yes. But she's not my nurse. She's a substitute."

"The uniform is so pretty." Poor Sidney! with all the things she had meant

to say about a life of service, and that, although she was young, she was

terribly in earnest.

"It takes a lot of plugging before one gets the uniform. Look here,

Sidney; if you are going to the hospital because of the uniform, and with

any idea of soothing fevered brows and all that nonsense--"

She interrupted him, deeply flushed. Indeed, no. She wanted to work. She

was young and strong, and surely a pair of willing hands--that was absurd

about the uniform. She had no silly ideas. There was so much to do in the

world, and she wanted to help. Some people could give money, but she

couldn't. She could only offer service. And, partly through earnestness

and partly through excitement, she ended in a sort of nervous sob, and,

going to the window, stood with her back to him.

He followed her, and, because they were old neighbors, she did not resent

it when he put his hand on her shoulder.

"I don't know--of course, if you feel like that about it," he said, "we'll

see what can be done. It's hard work, and a good many times it seems

futile. They die, you know, in spite of all we can do. And there are many

things that are worse than death--"

His voice trailed off. When he had started out in his profession, he had

had some such ideal of service as this girl beside him. For just a moment,

as he stood there close to her, he saw things again with the eyes of his

young faith: to relieve pain, to straighten the crooked, to hurt that he

might heal,--not to show the other men what he could do,--that had been

his early creed. He sighed a little as he turned away.

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