When the trail had grown almost cold, there happened a little incident which put him on the scent again. He had thought suddenly of his patient in the compartment and made a visit, only to find her asleep. Upon his return he said:
“You behaved like a soldier and a nurse toward her—a girl with such a distinct flair for the game must have had longings to take up nursing—or perhaps you never read ’Sister Dora’?”
“I did read ‘Sister Dora,’” she answered, “and I was crazy about it.”
“Most girls are—hence the high death rate in hospitals,” he interrupted.
“But I gave that up—and a lot of other desires which all girls have—for something else. I had to.” Her sapphirine eyes searched the Berkshire hills again, “Something bigger and nobler—something which meant the entire sacrifice of self.”
And here the brakeman called “Next station is Berkeley Center.” Dr. Blake came to the sudden realization that they had reached his destination. She started, too.
“Why, I get off here!” she exclaimed.
“And so do I!” He almost laughed it out.
“That’s a coincidence.”
Dr. Blake refrained from calling her attention to the general flutter of the parlor-car and the industry of two porters. This being the high-tide time of the summer migration, and Berkeley Center being the popular resort on that line, nearly everyone was getting off. However as he delivered himself over to the porter, he nodded:
“The climax of a series!”
As they waited, bags in hand, “I am on my way to substitute for a month at the Hill Sanatorium,” he said. “The assistant physician is going on a vacation—I suppose the ambulance will be waiting.”
“And I am going to the Mountain House—it’s a little place and more the house of friends than an inn. If your work permits—”
He interrupted with a boyish laugh.
“Oh, it will!” But he said good-bye at the vestibule with a vague idea that she might have trouble explaining him to any very particular friends. He saw her mount an old-fashioned carry-all, saw her turn to wave a farewell. The carry-all disappeared. He started toward the Hill ambulance, but he was still thinking, “Now what is the thing which a girl like that would consider more self-sacrificing than nursing?”
MR. NORCROSS WASTES TIME