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Newspaper Page Text
THE CLAIM OF LIFE
By H. M. Egbert
Copyright by W. G. Chapman,)
Cyrus Vane stood in the laboratory
of the hospital, watching his test
tubes. The little colonies that were
spreading upon the gelatine meant
that the new bacillus could be devel
oped in an ordinary medium. With
this he planned to do what science
had hitherto failed in doing. He hoped
to cure infantile paralysis and con
vert what was a scourge into a mild
For six weeks he had devoted his
time to this alone. Meanwhile the
scourge had fastened itself upon the
town. Children were dying. It had
never been checked. What a boon
the new antitoxin, prepared from the
bacillus, would be!
Vane was sure of it He had in
jected it into apes and watched them
recover from artificially induced pes
tilence. He had tested the serum in
every possible way. Why, then, could
he not give it to the world?
That question is often asked by
those who are impatient for new rem
edies. The answer is that, before the
conservative physician will make pub
lic his achievements it is necessary
for the proof to have been piled up
in at least a thousand experimental
In short, all over the country phy
sicians were trying out Vane's discov
ery, on monkeys, on apes, and per
haps here and there on children who
were in the grip of the disease and
could not have been harmed by the
serum, even if it failed to benefit
But until the results of the thou
sand cases were known the serum
could not be made public property.
Vane had said as much to the
wretched women, who, having heard
rumors of his discovery, groveled be
fore him that morning, imploring the
serum for their children. He had al
most forced tieni away.
He walked thoughtfully homeward.
The wide street was almost empty,
only a few storekeepers sat under
their awnings, gasping in the heat.
Here and there was a knot of white
crepe upon the handle of a door.
Vane fancied that the eyes of the
townspeople followed him a little ma
liciously. He was within a block of his house
when a woman rushed out at him
from an open door on whose handle
the familiar knot of crepe hung.
"Dr. Vane you will save my Fred
dy!" she cried, clutching at his arm.
She Read the Verdict in His Eyes
"One gone I asked you this morn
ing, you remember. I have only one
more and he has the disease. You
won't leave me childless, doctor!"
"I can do nothing for you, madam,"
replied the doctor sternly. N
The woman cried and clawed con
vulsively at his sleeve.
"You don't understand. Listen,
doctor. My second little boy s- dy-