The Breaking Point
Dick stood with the letter in his hand, staring at it. Who was Bassett? Who was "G"?
What had the departure of whoever Bassett might be for Norada to do with David? And
who was the person who was to be got out of town?
He did not go upstairs. He took the letter into his private office, closed the door, and
sitting down at his desk turned his reading lamp on it, as though that physical act might
bring some mental light.
Reread, the cryptic sentences began to take on meaning. An unknown named Bassett,
whoever he might be, was going to Norada bent on "mischief," and another unknown
who signed himself "G" was warning David of that fact. But the mischief was designed,
not against David, but against a third unknown, some one who was to be got out of town.
David had been trying to get him out of town. - The warning referred to himself.
His first impulse was to go to David, and months later he was to wonder what would have
happened had he done so. How far could Bassett have gone? What would have been his
own decision when he learned the truth?
For a little while, then, the shuttle was in Dick's own hand. He went up to David's room,
and with his hand on the letter in his pocket, carried on behind his casual talk the debate
that was so vital. But David had a headache and a slightly faster pulse, and that portion of
the pattern was never woven.
The association between anxiety and David's illness had always been apparent in Dick's
mind, but now he began to surmise a concrete shock, a person, a telegram, or a telephone
call. And after dinner that night he went back to the kitchen.
"Minnie," he inquired, "do you remember the afternoon Doctor David was taken sick?"
"I'll never forget it."
"Did he receive a telegram that day?"
"Not that I know of. He often answers the bell himself."
"Do you know whether he had a visitor, just before you heard him fall?"
"He had a patient, yes. A man."
"Who was it?"
"I don't know. He was a stranger to me."