I have chosen this because I think it illustrates fairly well a quality of sincerity which, if anything, characterizes my work. It has been said that the medical profession proves the best training ground for a novelist since there it is possible to see people with their masks off. Certainly, in my writing, I have drawn largely upon my experience as a doctor, and for this reason also I submit to you the enclosed fragment, since it deals with something which actually took place.
A. J. CRONIN
THOUGH IT WAS nearly midnight when Andrew reached Bryngower, he found Joe Morgan waiting on him, walking up and down with short steps between the closed surgery and the entrance to the house. At the sight of him the burly driller's face expressed relief.
"Eh, Doctor, I'm glad to see you. I been back and forward here this last hour. The missus wants ye--before time, too."
Andrew, abruptly recalled from the contemplation of his own affairs, told Morgan to wait. He went into the house for his bag, then together they set out for Number 12 Blaina Terrace. The night air was cool and deep with quiet mystery. Usually so perceptive, Andrew now felt dull and listless. He had no premonition that this night call would prove unusual, still less that it would influence his whole future in Blaenelly.
The two men walked in silence until they reached the door of Number 12, then Joe drew up short.
"I'll not come in," he said, and his voice showed signs of strain. "But, man, I know ye'll do well for us."
Inside, a narrow stair led up to a small bedroom, clean but poorly furnished, and lit only by an oil lamp. Here Mrs. Morgan's mother, a tall grey-haired woman of nearly seventy, and the stout elderly