Ferdinand went, and Aunt Abby leaned over the silent figure.
“What do you suppose ailed him, Eunice? He was perfectly well, when he went to bed, wasn’t he?”
“Yes,” came a muffled reply.
“Get up, Eunice; get up, dear. That doctor will be here in a minute. Brush up your hair, and fasten your kimono. You won’t have time to dress. I must put on a cap.”
Aunt Abby flew to her bedroom, and returned quickly, wearing a lace cap Eunice had given her, and talking as she adjusted it.
“It must be a stroke—and yet, people don’t have strokes at his age. It can’t be apoplexy—he isn’t that build—and, too, he’s such an athlete; there’s nothing the matter with him. It can’t be—oh, mercy gracious! it can’t be—Eunice! Sanford wouldn’t kill himself, would he?”
“No! no! of course not!”
“Not just now before the election—no, of course he wouldn’t! But it can’t be-oh, Lord, what can it be?”
“I have never been so mystified in all my life!” Dr. Harper spoke in a perplexed, worried way, and a puzzled frown drew his shaggy eyebrows together. Though the family physician of most of the tenants of the large, up-to-date apartment house, he was of the old school type and had the kindly, sociable ways of a smalltown practitioner.
“I know Sanford Embury, bone, blood and muscle,” he said; “I’ve not only been his physician for two years, but I’ve examined him, watched him and kept him in pink of condition for his athletic work. If I hadn’t looked after him, he might have overdone his athletics—but he didn’t—he used judgment, and was more than willing to follow my advice. Result—he was in the most perfect possible physical shape in every particular! He could no more have had a stroke of apoplexy or paralysis than a young oak tree could! And there’s no indication of such a thing, either. A man can’t die of a stroke of any sort without showing certain symptoms. None of these are present—there’s nothing present to hint the cause of his death. There’s no cut, scratch or mark of any description; there’s no suggestion of strangulation or heart failure—well, it’s the strangest thing I ever ran up against in all my years of practice!”
The doctor sat at the Embury breakfast table, heartily partaking of the dishes Ferdinand offered. He had prescribed aromatic ammonia for Eunice, and a cup of coffee for Miss Ames, and then he had made a careful examination of Sanford Embury’s mortal body.
Upon its conclusion he had insisted that the ladies join him at breakfast and he saw to it that they made more than a pretense of eating.