The Ball and The Cross
Evan MacIan was standing a few yards off looking at him in absolute silence.
He had not the moral courage to ask MacIan if there had been anything
astounding in the manner of his coming there, nor did MacIan seem to have any
question to ask, or perhaps any need to ask it. The two men came slowly
towards each other, and found the same expression on each other's faces. Then,
for the first time in all their acquaintance, they shook hands.
Almost as if this were a kind of unconscious signal, it brought Dr. Quayle
bounding out of a door and running across the lawn.
"Oh, there you are!" he exclaimed with a relieved giggle. "Will you come inside,
please? I want to speak to you both."
They followed him into his shiny wooden office where their damning record was
kept. Dr. Quayle sat down on a swivel chair and swung round to face them. His
carved smile had suddenly disappeared.
"I will be plain with you gentlemen," he said, abruptly; "you know quite well we do
our best for everybody here. Your cases have been under special consideration,
and the Master himself has decided that you ought to be treated specially and--
er--under somewhat simpler conditions."
"You mean treated worse, I suppose," said Turnbull, gruffly.
The doctor did not reply, and MacIan said: "I expected this." His eyes had begun
The doctor answered, looking at his desk and playing with a key: "Well, in certain
cases that give anxiety--it is often better----"
"Give anxiety," said Turnbull, fiercely. "Confound your impudence! What do you
mean? You imprison two perfectly sane men in a madhouse because you have
made up a long word. They take it in good temper, walk and talk in your garden
like monks who have found a vocation, are civil even to you, you damned
druggists' hack! Behave not only more sanely than any of your patients, but more
sanely than half the sane men outside, and you have the soul-stifling cheek to
say that they give anxiety."
"The head of the asylum has settled it all," said Dr. Quayle, still looking down.
MacIan took one of his immense strides forward and stood over the doctor with