The doctor pursed up his lips in comical dismay: “Not so hot, my man; not so hot! So you still want to be a doctor?”
Sandy cooled down sufficiently to say that it was the one ambition of his life.
“I know the physician in charge of the City Hospital here in New York. He’s a good fellow. He’d put you through—give you work and put you in the way of going to the Medical School. You’d like that?”
“But,” cried Sandy, bewildered but hopeful, “I have to go back!”
The doctor shook his head. “No, you don’t. I’ve paid your passage.”
Sandy waited a moment until the full import of the words was taken in, then he grabbed the stout little doctor and almost lifted him off his feet.
“Oh! But ain’t you a brick!” he cried fervently, adding earnestly: “It ain’t a present you’re makin’ me, though! I’ll pay it back, so help me bob!”
At the pier the crowd of immigrants pushed and crowded impatiently as they waited for the cabin passengers to go ashore. Among them was Sandy, bareheaded and in motley garb, laughing and shoving with the best of them, hanging over the railing, and keeping up a fire of merriment at the expense of the crowd below. In his hand was a letter of recommendation to the physician in charge at the City Hospital, and in his inside pocket a ten-dollar bill was buttoned over a heart that had not a care in the world. In the great stream of life Sandy was one of the bubbles that are apt to come to the top.
“You better come down to Kentucky with me,” urged Ricks Wilson, resuming an old argument. “I’m goin’ to peddle my way back home, then git a payin’ job at the racetrack.”
“Wasn’t I tellin’ ye that it was a doctor I’m goin’ to be?” asked Sandy, impatiently. Already Ricks’s friendship was proving irksome.
On the gang-plank above him the passengers were leaving the ship. Some delay had arisen, and for a moment the procession halted. Suddenly Sandy caught his breath. There, just above him, stood “the damsel passing fair.” Instead of the tam-o’-shanter she wore a big drooping hat of brown, which just matched the curls that were loosely tied at the back of her neck.
Sandy stood motionless and humbly adored her. He was a born lover, lavishing his affection, without discrimination or calculation, upon whatever touched his heart. It surely was no harm just to stand aside and look. He liked the way she carried her head; he liked the way her eyes went up a little at the outer corners, and the round, soft curve of her chin. She was gazing steadfastly ahead of her down the gang-plank, and he ventured a step nearer and continued his observations. As he did so, he made a discovery. The soft white of her cheek was gradually becoming pinker and pinker; the color which began under her lace collar stole up and up until it reached her eyes, which still gazed determinedly before her.
Sandy admired it as a traveler admires a sunrise, and with as little idea of having caused it.