||Uncommonly sensitive to her owner's moods--for he had imputed personality to her--Dr. Paige's rakish blue coupé noted at a glance that this was one of those eventful mornings when she would be expected to steer her own course to Parkway Hospital.
The signs of Dr. Paige's preoccupation were unmistakable. Sylvia, who usually plunged through the street door of the Hermitage Apartments wagging her tawny tail from a hinge located in the lumbar region, was following her broad-shouldered master with an air of gravity absurdly appropriate to the serious concern of his flexed jaw and faraway eyes. Pete, the garage-boy, instead of loitering to tell the young surgeon what kind of day it was, had ambled off without venturing the customary amenities valued at a quarter.
Assured that her entire family was safely aboard, the coupé hummed a subdued monody on her twelve well-organized cylinders, and glided into action. Reckless of Sylvia's precarious dignity on the slippery rumble seat, she illegally swung herself around in the middle of the busy block, narrowly missing a ten-ton removal-van, and earning an impolite salutation from the burly driver of a gasoline tank. Dusting apprehensive fenders for a half-mile on Elm, she nonchalantly scraped the whole arc of the right kerb at the corner of Euclid, made pretence of colour-blindness at One Hundred and Eighty-Sixth, where she knew the cop, grazed a hub-cap at the narrow entrance gate, forced an empty ambulance into the dogwood bushes as she scudded round the big stone building, and demobilized a small convention of smoke-stealing orderlies in the parking-ground at the rear.
Pleased with her undamaged arrival, she belatedly made a great show of professional poise, by rolling to a discreet stop on the crunching gravel between Dr. Armstrong's sand-coloured sedan and the five-year-old roadster of Dr. Lane, who at that moment was noisily tuning up for departure.
Sighting the smart car sliding into the stall beside him, the grey-haired anaesthetist turned off his cyclone and nodded a greeting without enthusiasm.