* A Distributed Proofreaders Canada eBook *

This eBook is made available at no cost and with very few restrictions. These restrictions apply only if (1) you make a change in the eBook (other than alteration for different display devices), or (2) you are making commercial use of the eBook. If either of these conditions applies, please check with a https://www.fadedpage.com administrator before proceeding. Thousands more FREE eBooks are available at https://www.fadedpage.com.

This work is in the Canadian public domain, but may be under copyright in some countries. If you live outside Canada, check your country's copyright laws. If the book is under copyright in your country, do not download or redistribute this file.

Title: Dr. Grimshaw's Sanitarium

Date of first publication: 1934

Author: Fletcher Pratt (1887-1956)

Date first posted: Sep. 11, 2020

Date last updated: Sep. 11, 2020

Faded Page eBook #20200927

This eBook was produced by: Al Haines

This file was produced from images generously made available by Internet Archive/American Libraries.

[Source: Amazing Stories Science Fiction, May 1934]

Dr. Grimshaw's Sanitarium


Many of the functions of the human organizations are subject to great beneficial or unfortunate effects from the operation of the ductless glands. Some affect the growth, making a man large or small. Many cases of gigantism are due to the pituitary gland, so that a circus giant may be looked upon as abnormal, independent of his size. We are only at the beginning of the appreciation of the functions of the mysterious glands in the human system and operations on the size of human beings may yet enter into regular medical practise.

NOTE by the editors: The following manuscript is one of the results of the famous Grimshaw Sanitarium scandal, an event which in its day, made a tremendous stir, cost a state superintendent of hospitals his post, and turned the course of an election. But every state has its scandals of this type. It is seldom that their reverberations extend beyond the immediate locality; and for the benefit of those who have not heard of or do not remember the Grimshaw case, we will briefly rehearse the known facts.

Dr. Adelbert Grimshaw, a physician of German extraction, opened a private sanitarium for nervous cases at Gowanda, near the grounds occupied by the State Hospital for the Insane. It was a very select institution, catering to the wealthiest patients, and the high fees Dr. Grimshaw secured from them enabled him to establish a charity ward in which, with admirable public spirit, he labored to improve the condition of the indigent feeble-minded.

Dr. Grimshaw appears to have effected some remarkable cures in insanity cases; several well-attested instances of complete recovery from paranoia are recorded under his ministrations. At the same time it was noted that a good many patients died at his sanitarium, and later investigation revealed that these belonged to two classes—wealthy patients whose relatives were at a great distance, and both poor and wealthy patients who had no relatives at all.

It was the case of Harlan Ward that led to the scandal. This unfortunate young man, the son of the famous automobile manufacturer, was committed to Grimshaw's sanitarium by his parents and wife in the autumn of 1927 in an effort to cure him of the liquor habit. He was duly discharged as cured some eight months later, but about a year after his discharge it was discovered that he had begun to take drugs, and he was returned to the institution. Some time after this, while his wife and parents were in Europe they received a cablegram from Dr. Grimshaw announcing the death of the young man. They at once returned to the United States and made arrangements for the removal of the body from the place where it had been temporarily interred at the Trinity (Episcopal) Chapel of Gowanda to the family vault at Short Hills, Long Island. While passing through New York City, the hearse carrying the casket was struck by another car. The hearse was overturned and the casket broken. It proved to contain, instead of the body of Harlan Ward, a dummy dressed in his clothes and stuffed with sand, the face being represented by an ingenious wax mask.

There was an immediate investigation, in the course of which many facts came to light. The most striking of these was that in nearly every case of patients, whose death at the sanitarium had been reported by Dr. Grimshaw, the body was similarly missing, and a sand-stuffed dummy was substituted in the coffin. None of these bodies has ever been discovered. The death certificates had all been signed by Dr. Grimshaw himself.

This sensational discovery was followed by the arrest of Dr. Benjamin Voyna, Grimshaw's chief assistant. Papers found in the safe of the Grimshaw Sanitarium showed beyond doubt that it had been made the headquarters of a gang engaged in distributing narcotics, and that both Dr. Grimshaw and Dr. Voyna were deeply engaged in the traffic. It was undoubtedly at the sanitarium itself that Harland Ward had contracted the drug habit that proved his ruin.

Of the other facts uncovered by the police there were two of such singular character that the present manuscript appears to afford the only adequate explanation for them, however fantastic it may seem. One of these was that while running a sanitarium and a drug ring, Dr. Grimshaw apparently found time for the breeding of large numbers of cats. Over thirty were found in and about the premises by the State Police when they raided the place. The other, and more extraordinary fact, was that Dr. Grimshaw, through a chain of agents, seems to have been engaged in the peculiar business of supplying circuses and vaudeville impressarios with dwarfs.

Most of these midgets (as is not unusual) were morons, and many of them were both drug-users and drug-peddlers.

Dr. Voyna ultimately received a jail sentence of five years; the heaviest allowable for dope peddling under the laws of the United States. Grimshaw was never apprehended. Warned no doubt by the first newspaper accounts of the bursting of the Ward casket, he took to flight and has not been found since. If he is ever arrested it is doubtful whether any charge but drug-peddling will lie against him. The laws of New York require that a body shall be produced before a charge of murder can be substantiated, the corpus delicti, and as we have stated not one of the bodies of his victims has been found. Investigation of the doctor's past career showed that he had been a graduate of Heidelberg and Jena where he took high honors in endocrinology, but that he later lost his German license on account of malpractice. His original name was Grundhausen.

As to the present manuscript. When the State Troopers raided the Grimshaw Sanitarium they found it nearly empty. In the search for incriminating evidence, which followed, one of the troopers found three gelatine capsules in a corner by the fireplace in the reception room. He dropped them into his pocket and forgot about them until some time later. When he examined them, he found they contained something white. Imagining it might be drugs of some kind, he turned them over to the State Medical Examiner.

The Medical Inspector opened one of the capsules and found that it held a small wad of exceedingly thin paper, apparently cut or torn from the edge of a thin-paper edition of the Bible. He noted that something was written on the paper in minute characters. With the aid of a microscope, he was able to decipher the writing, which was finer than anything but the finest known engraving. Like the first, the other capsules contained strips of paper, and when the whole had been deciphered and arranged in its obvious order the following manuscript resulted. It will be noted that there is a gap in the story, representing, probably, another capsule which has not yet been found.

Into whatever hands this may fall, I pray to God that the finder will lay it before the police at the earliest opportunity. I herewith lay a complaint that Dr. Grimshaw is engaged in the drug traffic; Dr. Voyna, his assistant must be involved also. I fear that in spite of my precautions this will fall into Grimshaw's hands; if so, it will only provide that good doctor with a view of how he looks to other people—Sherman and Kraicki, Arthur Kaye and myself. Dr. Grimshaw, we salute you! Behold your mirror—a mirror set in a skull, as it were—for we speak to you as men already dead. And you, unknown finder and reader of this last testament of a dying man, if you be not Grimshaw himself, will you do me the last favor that even the condemned of the scaffold may ask? A small thing—merely to inform Miss Millicent Armbruster of 299 Wallace Avenue, Buffalo, that John Doherty is indeed dead.

Then put the police on the trail. The officers will no doubt be skeptical—ask them to make an examination of the coffin that supposedly contains the remains of Arthur Kaye.

I may as well start my story at the beginning, lest I be taken for one of the sad souls that infest this place, merely maundering under a delusion of persecution. I have no such mania; neither am I one of the dipsomaniacs and drug-fiends kept here for "cures;" strangely ironic word. My name is John Doherty; I am a graduate of Hamilton College, class of '16, a member of the Theta Alpha fraternity, and a detective by profession. I was led into the business by a certain taste for romance and a physical development that caused me to become a member of most of the athletic teams at college.

I had been working for the Pinkerton agency for some time when they sent me as additional guard with a money shipment from Buffalo to Philadelphia. The messenger in charge of it was suspected of double-dealing. It was essential that extra protection be provided, and I was locked with him in the baggage car. The journey was a long one, the motion of the train soporific. I suppose I dozed; I was wakened by a flicker of motion as the messenger drew his gun, and we both fired at practically the same moment. My bullet killed him; his just grazed my skull, rendering me unconscious.

When I had recovered from the injury, I found some difficulty in concentrating enough attention on my work to do it properly, and my employers, as a matter of gratitude, decided to send me to Dr. Grimshaw's Sanitarium, which had already achieved a considerable reputation through the remarkable success of the doctor in handling just such cases.

I was received with extreme courtesy, subjected to a searching series of inquiries as to my tastes, habits and past life, and then given a series of tests that were readily recognizable as modified Binet-Simon examinations. It seemed rather unnecessary, as a man with a college diploma is supposed to be beyond that sort of thing, I fancy, but I made no comment, imagining that Dr. Grimshaw knew his business. He did—to my infinite cost.

At the sanitarium I was given a pleasant room and very little by way of occupation. I was kept in at all times save during meals and for a short period in the afternoon, when all the patients were taken for exercise to a large park or garden, with a small stream running through it. During this period I encountered Arthur Kaye, a large man with a high forehead, who was under treatment for dipsomania; a man named Kraicki, a decayed Polish aristocrat of a sort who was troubled apparently with a chronic weak-mindedness; Sherman, the interne in charge of our wing, to whom I felt considerably drawn by common tastes in literature and art.

There was little to do in the park but to sit and talk with these three. We formed a more or less self-sustaining group, somewhat separated from the other patients and internes about us.

For a time, we attempted to amuse ourselves by playing bridge, but this resource proved futile. Kraicki was totally incapable of keeping his mind on the game, and would ask the most absurdly naïve questions about what he should do when he held four aces. Naturally, the enforced idleness began to become somewhat wearisome. I am of an intensely active temperament, and have led an active life, and I began to cudgel my brains for something to do. Even a covert breaking of rules struck me as a fascinating occupation; at least it would provide me with something to plan and accomplish.

Searching about for a rule to break in the most interesting way, I hit on the problem of the wall. At the left side of the park a high stone wall separated our bourne from that where the charity patients were confined. Sherman remarked one day that nobody but Grimshaw himself, and his leading assistant, Voyna, were allowed beyond it, and the building in which the charity patients were kept was only connected with the main body of the sanitarium by a kind of covered passage. To get over that wall and solve the mystery of the seclusion of the charity patients—that would be an enterprise worthy of accomplishment.

So one afternoon, just before we were called for the regular period of exercise, I arranged a dummy in my bed. After the exercise period, as we emerged from the dining room, a more or less disorderly group, I slipped around a corner into the operating room and waited behind the door till the attendants, who brought up the rear of the procession, had passed, then back into the dining room, and out one of the windows into the park again. There I concealed myself in a little group of maples by the edge of the stream until darkness came. I knew the night attendant in the halls would flash his lamp through the peep-hole in the door of my room, but trusted to the dummy (as I have many times done in detective work) to deceive him.

After the lights in the building went out, I searched along the wall until I found a tree growing against it, scaled it with some little difficulty and dropped down on the other side. I found myself in another exercise yard—not so large nor so well carpeted with grass as ours, and without the stream. It was entirely shut in by a lofty wall, crowned with spikes on every side save that where I came over.

The windows of the charity patients' building were barred like ours. Thinking myself more or less of a fool and my adventure a rather paltry one, I tried the door, more to assure myself of the impossibility of entering than for any other reason. To my surprise it was unlocked. In the lower hall, there was a single dim light, but the building was silent save for a subdued moaning from somewhere upstairs. The maniacs who formed Dr. Grimshaw's more serious cases were usually making some noise of that sort, so I gave the matter no thought.

I was about to try the upper floor to see what I could observe through the peep-holes, when I heard the grating of a key in the lock at the end of the covered passage. The outer door was too far away to be attempted with any prospect of success. I must find concealment, and quickly. Fortunately a large clothes hamper stood in the hall. Into it I leaped, and by the grace of the gods, found it empty save for a couple of towels. Through its sides I could get a somewhat imperfect view of the hall, and I saw that the newcomers were three in number—Grimshaw, Voyna and a boy of about twelve, I should judge.

They passed me so closely that their clothes brushed my place of concealment, and they turned on the light in the room by whose door the hamper stood. I was unable to see what they were doing, but Grimshaw's voice rose sharp and clear:

"You'd better be reasonable and take your medicine. It will relieve the pain."

A second voice replied. "But I won't take it, I tell you. I know what it is, it's dope. You can do what you like; you made a midget out of me, but you ain't going to make no dope fiend out of me."

The voice was neither Grimshaw's nor Voyna's; I had heard both often enough. It must therefore belong to the boy, and then the startling connotation of the speech struck me—it was no boy but a dwarf or midget.

"You won't take it, eh?" said Grimshaw, with a kind of suppressed fury in his voice, "I'll show you!" and I heard the sound of a blow.

"No I won't," said the voice, rising near tears.

"Wait a minute," (this was Voyna speaking) "That's not the way, Grimshaw. You can't bully these Americans. Show him how much he will gain by it. Look here—you take the medicine the doctor is good enough to prescribe for you, and in a short time you will not only be well enough to be discharged, but we will find you a position in which you will make more money than you ever saw before."

"You go to hell," said the third voice (it had a singularly boyish timbre that touched me). "I won't take your dope and won't peddle your dope. Look at Tony Gasbotta. He's peddling dope—" his speech was broken by the sound of another blow, and somewhere, one of the maniac patients began to shout.

"Shut the door, will you, Ben?" said Grimshaw, and that was the last I heard.

My muscles were cramped by the confinement, but I lost no time in escaping from the hamper and the building. I wondered whether they had been giving me drugs in my food; how many of the sanitarium's employees were in on this business; and what lay behind all these sinister manifestations. "You made a midget out of me"—what could it mean. I judged, however, that Sherman was honest enough, else he would have been admitted to whatever grisly secrets the charity building held. As to habit-forming drugs in our food, I was not so sure, but it didn't look like it, if they had to coerce the dwarf into taking the dope. And then, the whole thing might be the result of a maniac's imagination. I had no guarantee the dwarf was sane.

Nevertheless, I slept beneath the trees that night. I feared that I might run into Grimshaw or Voyna in the halls, and if they were actually engaged in any such shady business as it seemed, such an encounter would be dangerous to the last degree. In the morning I entered by the same way I had left the building, hid in the operating room again, and joined the crowd at breakfast, after which I went to my room and destroyed the dummy. Just what to do was a problem, but I reasoned that Sherman would tell me better than anybody else what lay behind it, for even if he were not involved, he could add much corroborative information to what knowledge of the events I had. If he should prove one of the gang, then I must trust to strength and speed to escape.

That afternoon, during the exercise period, I told him the whole story. Kaye and Kraicki hung around and heard it too—somehow I couldn't seem to get rid of them.

"My God!" said Sherman, when I had finished, "So that's why..." and he stopped.

"That's why what?" I asked.

"Why no one but Voyna is allowed in the charity wing or on the third floor of this building," he said. "I always thought it was queer."

"But are you sure they're not putting drugs in our food?" I asked.

He gave a little laugh. "Hardly possible," he said. "There are too many people here and too many visitors. No, that would be crude. Moreover, there are too many internes here. Someone would be sure to notice the taste. It is very characteristic."

That was a relief, at all events. As to the question of whether Grimshaw and Voyna were actually engaged in the drug traffic, Sherman seemed not quite certain, but judged that the best procedure would be to certify me cured, get me out and let me return with search warrants and police and check up on that mysterious charity ward. Leaving the problem at that point, we went to dinner.

The table was unusually quiet that night, and I imagine it must have grated on Kraicki's rather frayed nerves. At all events, before any of us could check him, he burst out with

"I know what's the matter. They're all mad at you, Dr. Grimshaw, because you peddle dope." I slid a plate to the floor, where it broke with a crash, but it was too late—my action only served to emphasize the indiscretion of the speech. Grimshaw darted a sudden look at us, and making some excuse, left the table. Trouble was in the air.

After the meal, the doctor summoned Kraicki to his office. I knew things would very likely be stirring that night, so I did not even bother to undress; merely turned out my light, and waited by the door for what was coming.

Sure enough, along about one o'clock, the door creaked slowly open, and a hand holding a flashlight was extended through the aperture. I snatched the wrist, pulling the holder clear in and off balance with my left hand, at the same time striking out with all my force with the other hand. My blow struck full in the intruder's face and he went down as though pole-axed. But Grimshaw had been fully forearmed. As the first man went down, a second gripped me by the knees, and when I bent to care for him, a third leaped on my back. I put up a good battle, but they were too many for me. They got me down and strapped tight, and not till then did someone turn on the light I saw Grimshaw standing over me, dabbing a blooded mouth with his handkerchief.

"So!" he said, and I could not but admire the man's calmness. "You have delusions of persecution. You imagine I am trying to give you and other patients cocaine. I am afraid my treatment has not been altogether successful in your case. You will have to take another treatment—a long one, Mr. Doherty." He looked incredibly benignant. I began to speak.

"Come, come, don't excite yourself. I'm going to give you something to quiet your nerves," he said, and flashed out a hypodermic with which he proceeded to give me an injection.

I lost consciousness under the effects of the drug, and when I recovered it was morning. I woke in a different room; it must have been on the third floor, the forbidden floor, for I could see the tops of trees beyond the barred window.

I was kept there for a long time; just how long I am uncertain for I lost all count of the hours. During most of the period I was in a straight-jacket, and once I was operated on, somewhere at the front of the skull, for I recollect my head being held firmly in a plaster cast after the operation, and an infinite feeling of nausea as the effect of the anaesthetic wore off.

Every day a rough looking chap fed me from a spoon, and every night Grimshaw returned to give me another hypodermic injection. I felt terribly ill and depressed all that time. In the morning I would wake with a blinding headache that would last out the day, leaving me weak as a kitten. I began to develop hallucinations, too. The room seemed to grow perceptibly in size, and the strait jacket became looser.

One day, when I felt better than usual, I made an attempt to wriggle out of the now thoroughly loosened straight-jacket. It succeeded, and I lay still on the bed in a mood of profound self-congratulation. When Grimshaw entered I would rise and strike him to the floor—a poor revenge, but better than none. And there was always the chance of getting past the opened door, out and away.

But all my dreams came to nothing. I was so weakened by long confinement and pain that he handled me as though I were a child—and here, again, I noted a curious thing. He seemed at least a head taller than I; and I am a six-footer. How could that be? Drugs were the only explanation I could fit to it at the time.

The period succeeding this futile attempt to escape is all a haze for me, shot by macabre impressions. I remember once being taken out on the balcony for air, and once imagining that I saw Kaye on the next balcony, muffled in a straight jacket even as I was. But there could be no certainty, and the muffled figure did not speak. And the dreams!—the dreams! I imagined myself as light as a feather. Great giants wandered about my room with huge weapons in their hands; hideous creatures.

My first clear consciousness was when Grimshaw told us all about it. One night the evening meal was not followed by the usual injection and the morning brought the first surcease from pain in—God alone knows how long. I woke with my eyes on a ceiling that seemed miles overhead, and when I looked at the foot of the bed it appeared to have retreated to an infinite distance. The room was gigantic....

Grimshaw came in a moment later. He carried a bundle in his arms, and to my wondering eyes, he looked fifteen feet tall. He came right over to the bed, and deposited his bundle there, and with infinite astonishment, I saw it was Arthur Kaye, that big man with the high forehead, yet small enough to be carried like a baby by a Dr. Grimshaw grown titanic in size. A few moments later the doctor returned with another bundle and then a third—and they contained Sherman and Kraicki, as the first had contained Kaye.

He looked down at us with a kindly smile for a moment, and then began to shout. His voice was so extremely loud and deep that I had no little difficulty in understanding what he was saying, but I set it down as nearly as possible:

"Allow me to congratulate you four gentlemen: You are the subjects of a classical experiment—one that will undoubtedly place me in the front rank of the world's endocrinologists, and will hand your names down to posterity.

"You, Dr. Sherman, will have already understood the nature of the experiment I have performed. To the rest I must offer a few words of explanation, suitable to their somewhat limited intelligences. There are certain glands in the body, gentlemen, which are called thyroid, parathyroid and pituitary glands. They are known as the ductless glands and have no obvious function. But it has been discovered that if the pituitary or thyroid glands of a young animal, say a sheep or dog, are destroyed, the animal will be a dwarf; in other words, these glands in some way unknown to most scientists, control the growth of the animal.

"Investigation has also shown that an injured pituitary or thyroid gland in the human individual produces equally curious results—giants, seven-footers seen in circuses, being the product of insufficient gland activity. Even in adults these glands are known to produce certain effects. Dr. Haussler has recorded how an abnormally active pituitary gland caused a man's fingers to become short, wide and stubby, long after he was fully grown.

"These endocrine glands cause their changes by releasing certain substances into the blood stream, among them being various enzymes or yeasts, which by a complicated series of chemical reactions bring about the changes indicated. I have given my life to the investigation of these glands and their enzymes. It will gratify you, Dr. Sherman, to know that I have investigated over three hundred cases of dwarfism and giantism, making elaborate blood and X-ray examinations. In time I became convinced that a certain enzyme, which I call "Theta" was responsible for all known cases of dwarfism. I have isolated enzyme theta and found that a normally active pituitary body secretes and releases a counteracting enzyme to it, thus preserving the balance of the body. It then became a question whether I could produce artificial dwarfism by damaging the pituitary body and introducing enzyme theta by subcutaneous injection.

"Animals did not give satisfactory results. Hence I was led to establish the charity ward of this sanitarium and, for experiment, secured a number of feeble-minded human specimens, whose absence would not be noted. I have succeeded in producing midgets as small as two feet ten inches in height by this means. Unfortunately it was impossible to release them into the world as normal midgets, the civilization of this country being so backward that scientific investigation of a man as an animal is actually punishable. Therefore I have introduced these midgets to the delights of cocaine and maintain my control over them by furnishing their supply of it.

"But with you gentlemen I decided to conduct the experiment on an altogether higher plane. You are already so familiar with the details of my business that I could not release you, even as cocaine-addicts. Consequently, I have decided, by carefully graduating the dosage of enzyme theta, to produce in you a series of hyper-midgets. In the cases of the charity patients death always resulted from such attempts; but they were mostly in poor physical condition and their mental weaknesses were such that cerebral collapse supervened. You however, are not feeble-minded, with the possible exception of Mr. Kraicki, you are in excellent condition. You show none of the deleterious effects that have ruined my experiments with the charity patients, and I shall proceed until I have reduced you to a size at which you will no longer be dangerous or until your death puts an end to the experiment.

"Your chances of survival are greatly heightened by the fact that I have produced artificially a second enzyme, which I call enzyme omicron, to supplement enzyme theta. Both of these substances are secreted in small quantities by the hitherto little investigated gland located——

(At this point occurs the distressing lacuna in the manuscript, a fact doubly unfortunate, since it deprives us of the opportunity for a scientific check on the extraordinary statements of Dr. Grimshaw as reported by Jack Doherty. The other details of Mr. Doherty's tale have been in part confirmed by subsequent research. A Pinkerton detective bearing the name of Dougherty was committed to the Grimshaw sanitarium in the early part of 1922. There was also a man named Arthur Kaye there at the same time, under treatment for dipsomania. The names of Kraicki and Dr. Sherman have not been traced. The deaths of Doherty and Kaye were reported by Dr. Grimshaw at widely separated intervals; that of Doherty in 1923, that of Kaye not till March, 1924. A Miss Millicent Armbruster did live at the address given by Doherty; the city records show she married a man named Kellett in October, 1922, after which all trace of her is lost.

When the story begins again, with the contents of the last capsule, it is evident that the experiment has entered its final phase and that Dr. Grimshaw had to a degree lost interest in his four patients. It begins as it broke off—abruptly in the middle of a sentence.)

—stumbled over a grass root and we had to stop for him. The grass was forest-like in its density, and if he had not waited I doubt if we would have found him again. The beetle escaped, and thus we missed a meal that night also. The garden was still too far away to be made in the dark and Kraicki was too done up to go much further; moreover once at the garden our problem would only be transferred, for we would have many wanderings to make before discovering anything small enough for our feeble efforts.

So we camped in a tuft of grass like Malays, taking turns at watching through the night. It was bitterly cold; the piece of bandage was so rough it rasped the skin and the three asleep had to use all the silk for coverlets. Every time I blundered into one of the grass stems it would drench me with icy dew, like a shower bath.

In the morning Kraicki, always weak and unstable, became so feebly insistent on not moving before he had had food, that we fairly had to drag him along. An hour's wandering brought us to a rotting twig that promised well as fuel. We pulled some of the decaying fibres loose and burdened ourselves with them. They would be handy to make a fire with, provided we ever found anything worth cooking over a fire. As for the method, there was always the possibility of striking a spark from a pebble with the piece of watch-spring Sherman had found the day before.

A little further along Sherman, who was then in the lead, shouted. We hurried up to find him standing over a June-bug, which was lying on its back, kicking feebly. I attacked the insect with a piece of watch-spring, but it was no good. His shell defied my best efforts and I received a nasty scratch on the back from his barbed legs as I tried to slay him. Sherman suggested we turn him over and work under the wing-cases, but I was afraid he would crawl away before we could accomplish anything, and our final decision was to build a pyre over him and cook him as he lay.

Striking a spark from a stone may be easy to those who are familiar with the art; for me it was agonizing effort. When we did get our fire going, the heat excited so much activity, on the June-bug's part, that it kicked over our pile of wood and we were back where we had started. After that Kaye and I hunted up a pebble of some size, and heaving together we managed to smash the animal's head in. There were a few convulsive motions after that, but for the most part he lay still, and we managed to get the fire going in good shape.

The meat in the legs, just where they swell out before joining the body, is the best; not unlike crab-meat to the taste. Inside the body the meat was not so thoroughly cooked and very fat besides. Kraicki was the only one who would eat it.

By the time we had finished with the June-bug it was already late afternoon. The conference we held decided against pushing on to the garden. There was a good deal of June-bug meat left, and we had before us now the problem of shelter rather than that of food. There was also the question of weapons, though I solved this to some extent by worrying loose the wing cases of the beetle and splitting them down with the watch-spring. Properly sharpened on a stone, they made not inefficient poinards; rough, but good enough to attack insects with.

Kaye, who was a bit of an antiquarian, essayed making a sling with the aid of some tough grass fibres. After considerable practice, he became quite expert with this ungainly weapon. With tiny stones for ammunition, he could knock flies off distant grass-blades almost every time—an interesting but impractical feat, as after the first attempt, none of us cared to try fly-meat again. The odor alone is enough to turn the stomach. Once he did succeed in slaying a bee, however, and we got some valuable food from it, and about a week later, Kaye and his sling removed from our path a very grim and ferocious-looking spider that we all hesitated to approach.

Our main difficulty was clothing. Sherman offered the idea of working around toward the park where we could perhaps come by a handkerchief or something of the sort. He pointed out that the numerous trees would constitute an advantage, both in offering us ample fuel and a place to live under the roots, and there was a possibility of getting small fish out of the shallower reaches of the creek.

It took us over a week to make the long march, but when we had accomplished it, we were repaid for all our labor. At the border of the stream we found a chair that one of the internes must have left behind, and with it not only his medicine case, but a book, some writing paper and a bottle of ink.

This was treasure-trove indeed. Kaye and I hammered away at the catch of the medicine case for half an hour with the biggest stone we could lift, and finally managed to get it open. Beside various oddments of no utility to us, it contained a bottle of quinine capsules, which were just what we wanted. Once the quinine had been emptied out of them, they made ideal general carryalls. The bottle we succeeded in breaking, and with the sharp glass and a good deal of patience, fashioned useful tools and weapons.

I thought it would be worth while to write some kind of a record, as long as the gods had thrown the bottle of ink and the paper in our way, and with the aid of the others managed to roll the ink down to the headquarters we presently established under an arching tree-root. The paper was a wash-out, however. It was too heavy and the beetle's leg, which was perforce the only pen I had, too scratchy.

By this time it was full day, and we were running chances by going back to the things the interne had left, but the gain was worth the risk, and I made another attempt. By great good fortune the book was Brinkley's "History of Japan"—india paper. With Sherman's help I got a couple of the fly-leaves loose, and he had gone off with one when I looked up and saw the menacing shape of a man in the distance—Grimshaw, I thought, though from his height and the distance, I could not be certain. Leaving the paper behind I fled.

I doubt whether I would have written this record even then but for what has happened since. We were comfortably domiciled under our root in the park, living off grasshoppers (of which there seemed an unending supply) and making preparations for the winter. Once we even caught a mole, stabbed it to death with our glass swords, and skinned it laboriously. It furnished us both good food and clothing. Sherman developed uncanny skill with such poor needles as we could contrive, and even Kraicki contributed to the general fund of welfare by the discovery that the yellow hearts of grass stems have a delicious flavor when baked.

But three days ago there came a change. Sherman and Kraicki were out hunting together. I was in our home, trying out some darts I had made with fragments of wood and glass points, when Sherman burst in, panting with speed and very pale.

"What's the matter?" I asked, "and where's Kraicki?"

"Gone," he said. "Grimshaw's got a cat. It found us."

Then I saw it all.

So I am leaving this record. There is no more hope for us. All that remains is a chance, however remote, that these capsules will fall into the hands of some not too skeptical individual who will take the trouble to investigate—the shadowy chance of a delayed revenge which I shall not live to see. I only hope the cat will not get me before I can secrete these capsules in some place where they will be found. Winter is coming; we dare not hunt for fear of the animal, and our food is running short.


[The end of Dr. Grimshaw's Sanitarium by Fletcher Pratt]