WHEN I AWAKENED, that April morning, in my attic bedroom, my head still cloudy from late hours of study, I felt constrained, reluctantly, to review my financial position. Thanks to the gratuity which I had received on my demobilization from the Navy three months before, the fees for my medical classes were paid up until the end of the year. The gold watch and chain I had inherited from my father, once again judiciously pawned, had provided me with the requisite instruments and secondhand textbooks. I had even managed to discharge in advance my annual dues to the Students' Union. In an academic sense I was strictly solvent.
But, alas, the other side of the ledger was less satisfactory. In my anxiety to ensure that nothing should interrupt this resumption of my studies, I had given slight heed to the minor consideration of keeping body and soul together. For the past month I had been subsisting on an occasional tearoom snack, supplemented by bizarre bargains from the local market brought into my lodging of an evening in a paper bag. I was, moreover, two weeks behind with my room rent, while my total assets -- I counted the few coins again -- were precisely three shillings and fivepence. Viewed from the rosiest aspect, it seemed scarcely an adequate sum on which to feed and clothe myself for the next eight months. Something must be done . . . and quickly.
Suddenly I burst out laughing, wildly, hilariously, rolling about on the lumpy flock mattress like a colt in a meadow. What did it matter? I was young, healthy, filled with that irrepressible spirit only