'You can't get him in without fighting him/ the
taxi-driver said. 'Let him go. He's fine. Is he
In a way/ said Professor MacWalsey.
He watched .Richard Gordon lurching down the
street until he was out of sight in the shadow from
the big trees whose branches dipped down to grow
into the ground like roots. What he was thinking as
he watched him, was not pleasant. It is a mortal
sin, he thought, a grave and deadly sin and a great
cruelty, and while technically one's religion may
permit the ultimate result, I cannot pardon myself.
On the other hand, a surgeon cannot desist while
operating for fear of hurting the patient. But why
must all the operations in life be performed without
an anaesthetic? If I had been a better man I
would have let him beat me up. It would have
been better for him. The poor stupid man. The
poor homeless man. I ought to stay with him, but I
know that is too much for him to bear, I am
ashamed and disgusted with myself and I hate
what I have done. It all may turn out badly too.
But I must not think about that. I will now return
to the anaesthetic I have used for seventeen years
and will not need much longer. Although it is
probably a vice now for which I only invent excuses.
Though at least it is a vice for which I am suited.
But I wish I could help that poor man whom I am
' 'Drive me back to Freddy's,' he said.