The Breaking Point (Chapter 2, page 1 of 8)


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Chapter 2

Mrs. Crosby stood on the pavement, gazing after the car as it moved off.
She had not her brother's simplicity nor his optimism. Her married years
had taken her away from the environment which had enabled him to live
his busy, uncomplicated life; where, the only medical man in a growing
community, he had learned to form his own sturdy decisions and then to
abide by them.

Black and white, right and wrong, the proper course and the improper
course--he lived in a sort of two-dimensional ethical world. But to Lucy
Crosby, between black and white there was a gray no-man's land of doubt
and indecision; a half-way house of compromise, and sometimes David
frightened her. He was so sure.

She passed the open door into the waiting-room, where sat two or three
patient and silent figures, and went back to the kitchen. Minnie, the
elderly servant, sat by the table reading, amid the odor of roasting
chicken; outside the door on the kitchen porch was the freezer
containing the dinner ice-cream. An orderly Sunday peace was in the air,
a gesture of homely comfort, order and security.

Minnie got up.

"I'll unpin your veil for you," she offered, obligingly. "You've got
time to lie down about ten minutes. Mrs. Morgan said she's got to have
her ears treated."

"I hope she doesn't sit and talk for an hour."

"She'll talk, all right," Minnie observed, her mouth full of pins.
"She'd be talking to me yet if I'd stood there. She's got her nerve,
too, that woman."

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