If an honest, fearless sailorman and his wife cared to sink on their barge in full view of the patients at Bellevue Hospital, it was not the business of any woman doctor to interfere, Julio Almstandt, seventy-one years old, and a former city lifeguard, exclaimed yesterday.★ The same thing held for the police. In fact, it would take more policemen than there were in New York State to get him off his barge even if it was almost under water.
Almstandt's floating home, which for two years has been moored in the East River behind Bellevue Hospital, began to list seriously Sunday night, so alarming Dr. Beulah Rhoden, acting medical superintendent of the hospital, that in an attempt to save its owner she brought on an exciting struggle in which the seventy-one-year-old sailor worsted the police, his long years at sea having taught him that a barge could not sink very far in eight feet of water.
The trouble started, Almstandt explained, when his hand pump got out of order last week. By Saturday night the water had risen over the floor of the little cabin he had built on the barge, and which he had divided into a bedroom, a "parlor" and a "dining salon." Undismayed, he took his wife, who is sixty-five, upstairs into the "sun parlor," which protrudes from the top of the cabin. Nothing makes a sailor feel more at home than a little water on the parlor floor, he meditated.
Then the river began to pour in through the open seams that are usually above the water-line. During her daily inspection, Dr. Rhoden was horrified to notice that the craft was settling fast. She rushed down to the____________________