Song of the Lark HTML version

Part I. Friends Of Childhood
Chapter I.1
Dr. Howard Archie had just come up from a game of pool with the Jewish
clothier and two traveling men who happened to be staying overnight in
Moonstone. His offices were in the Duke Block, over the drug store. Larry, the
doctor's man, had lit the overhead light in the waiting-room and the double
student's lamp on the desk in the study. The isinglass sides of the hard-coal
burner were aglow, and the air in the study was so hot that as he came in the
doctor opened the door into his little operating-room, where there was no stove.
The waitingroom was carpeted and stiffly furnished, something like a country
parlor. The study had worn, unpainted floors, but there was a look of winter
comfort about it. The doctor's flat-top desk was large and well made; the papers
were in orderly piles, under glass weights. Behind the stove a wide bookcase,
with double glass doors, reached from the floor to the ceiling. It was filled with
medical books of every thickness and color. On the top shelf stood a long row of
thirty or forty volumes, bound all alike in dark mottled board covers, with imitation
leather backs.
As the doctor in New England villages is proverbially old, so the doctor in
small Colorado towns twenty-five years ago was generally young. Dr. Archie was
barely thirty. He was tall, with massive shoulders which he held stiffly, and a
large, well-shaped head. He was a distinguished-looking man, for that part of the
world, at least.
There was something individual in the way in which his reddish-brown hair,
parted cleanly at the side, bushed over his high forehead. His nose was straight
and thick, and his eyes were intelligent. He wore a curly, reddish mustache and
an imperial, cut trimly, which made him look a little like the pictures of Napoleon
III. His hands were large and well kept, but ruggedly formed, and the backs were
shaded with crinkly reddish hair. He wore a blue suit of woolly, wide-waled serge;
the traveling men had known at a glance that it was made by a Denver tailor. The
doctor was always well dressed.
Dr. Archie turned up the student's lamp and sat down in the swivel chair
before his desk. He sat uneasily, beating a tattoo on his knees with his fingers,
and looked about him as if he were bored. He glanced at his watch, then
absently took from his pocket a bunch of small keys, selected one and looked at
it. A contemptuous smile, barely perceptible, played on his lips, but his eyes
remained meditative. Behind the door that led into the hall, under his buffaloskin
driving-coat, was a locked cupboard. This the doctor opened mechanically,
kicking aside a pile of muddy overshoes. Inside, on the shelves, were whiskey