First Page Project Gutenberg Header Page 101 of 193 Next Page Last Page CHAPTER XXI - Michael, Brother of Jerry

CHAPTER XXI

Harry Del Mar found only a few white feathers on the floor of Dag Daughtry's room in the Bowhead Lodging House, and from the landlady learned what had happened to Michael. The first thing Harry Del Mar did, still retaining his taxi, was to locate the residence of Doctor Emory and make sure that Michael was confined in an outhouse in the back yard. Next he engaged passage on the steamship _Umatilla_, sailing for Seattle and Puget Sound ports at daylight. And next he packed his luggage and paid his bills.

In the meantime, a wordy war was occurring in Walter Merritt Emory's office.

"The man's yelling his head off," Doctor Masters was contending. "The police had to rap him with their clubs in the ambulance. He was violent. He wanted his dog. It can't be done. It's too raw. You can't steal his dog this way. He'll make a howl in the papers."

"Huh!" quoth Walter Merritt Emory. "I'd like to see a reporter with backbone enough to go within talking distance of a leper in the pest-house. And I'd like to see the editor who wouldn't send a pest-house letter (granting it'd been smuggled past the guards) out to be burned the very second he became aware of its source. Don't you worry, Doc. There won't be any noise in the papers."

"But leprosy! Public health! The dog has been exposed to his master. The dog itself is a peripatetic source of infection."

"Contagion is the better and more technical word, Doc.," Walter Merritt Emory soothed with the sting of superior knowledge.

"Contagion, then," Doctor Masters took him up. "The public must be considered. It must not run the risk of being infected--"

"Of contracting the contagion," the other corrected smoothly.

"Call it what you will. The public--"

"Poppycock," said Walter Merritt Emory. "What you don't know about leprosy, and what the rest of the board of health doesn't know about leprosy, would fill more books than have been compiled by the men who have expertly studied the disease. The one thing they have eternally tried, and are eternally trying, is to inoculate one animal outside man with the leprosy that is peculiar to man. Horses, rabbits, rats, donkeys, monkeys, mice, and dogs--heavens, they have tried it on them all, tens of thousands of times and a hundred thousand times ten thousand times, and never a successful inoculation! They have never succeeded in inoculating it on one man from another. Here--let me show you."

And from his shelves Waiter Merritt Emory began pulling down his authorities.

"Amazing . . . most interesting . . . " Doctor Masters continued to emit from time to time as he followed the expert guidance of the other through the books. "I never dreamed . . . the amount of work they have done is astounding . . . "

"But," he said in conclusion, "there is no convincing a layman of the matter contained on your shelves. Nor can I so convince my public. Nor will I try to. Besides, the man is consigned to the living death of life- long imprisonment in the pest-house. You know the beastly hole it is. He loves the dog. He's mad over it. Let him have it. I tell you it's rotten unfair and cruel, and I won't stand for it." Next Page

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