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- The Treasure-Train - 10/54 -
"I'm a friend of Dr. Bolton Burr, of Montrose," introduced Kennedy. Cranston looked at him keenly, but Kennedy was a good actor. "I have been studying some of the patients at the sanatorium, and I have seen Mrs. Cranston there."
"Indeed!" responded Cranston. "I'm all broken up by it myself."
I could not resist thinking that he took it very calmly, however.
"I should like very much to make what we call a psychanalysis of Mrs. Cranston's mental condition," Kennedy explained.
"A psychanalysis?" repeated Cranston.
"Yes; you know it is a new system. In the field of abnormal psychology, the soul-analysis is of first importance. To-day, this study is of the greatest help in neurology and psychiatry. Only, I can't make it without the consent of the natural guardian of the patient. Doctor Burr tells me that you will have no objection."
Cranston thoughtfully studied the wall opposite.
"Well," he returned, slowly, "they tell me that without treatment she will soon be hopelessly insane--perhaps dangerously so. That is all I know. I am not a specialist. If Doctor Burr--" He paused.
"If you can give me just a card," urged Kennedy, "that is all Doctor Burr wishes."
Cranston wrote hastily on the back of one of his cards what Kennedy dictated.
Please allow Doctor Kennedy to make a psychanalysis of my wife's mental condition.
"You will let me know--if there is--any hope?" he asked.
"As soon as I can," replied Kennedy, "I'll let you have a copy of my report."
Cranston thanked us and bowed us to the door suavely.
"Well," I remarked, as we rode down in the elevator, "that was clever. He fell for it, too. You're an artist. Do you think he was posing?"
Kennedy shrugged his shoulders.
We lost no time in getting the first train for Montrose, before Cranston had time to reconsider and call up Doctor Burr.
The Belleclaire Sanatorium was on the outskirts of the town. It was an old stone house, rather dingy, and surrounded by a high stone wall surmounted by sharp pickets.
Dr. Bolton Burr, who was at the head of the institution, met us in the plainly furnished reception-room which also served as his office. Through a window we could see some of the patients walking or sitting about on a small stretch of scraggly grass between the house and the wall.
Doctor Burr was a tall and commanding-looking man with a Vandyke beard, and one would instinctively have picked him out anywhere as a physician.
"I believe you have a patient here--Mrs. Roger Cranston," began Kennedy, after the usual formalities. Doctor Burr eyed us askance. "I've been asked by Mr. Cranston to make an examination of his wife," pursued Craig, presenting the card which he had obtained from Roger Cranston.
"H'm!" mused Doctor Burr, looking quickly from the card to Kennedy with a searching glance.
"I wish you would tell me something of the case before I see her," went on Kennedy, with absolute assurance.
"Well," temporized Doctor Burr, twirling the card, "Mrs. Cranston came to me after the death of her child. She was in a terrible state. But we are slowly building up her shattered nerves by plain, simple living and a tonic."
"Was she committed by her husband?" queried Kennedy, unexpectedly.
Whether or not Doctor Burr felt suspicious of us I could not tell. But he seemed eager to justify himself.
"I have the papers committing her to my care," he said, rising and opening a safe in the corner.
He laid before us a document in which appeared the names of Roger Cranston and Julia Giles.
"Who is this Julia Giles?" asked Kennedy, after he had read the document.
"One of our nurses," returned the doctor. "She has had Mrs. Cranston under observation ever since she arrived."
"I should like to see both Miss Giles and Mrs. Cranston," insisted Kennedy. "It is not that Mr. Cranston is in any way dissatisfied with your treatment, but he thought that perhaps I might be of some assistance to you."
Kennedy's manner was ingratiating but firm, and he hurried on, lest it should occur to Doctor Burr to call up Cranston. The doctor, still twirling the card, finally led us through the wide central hall and up an old-fashioned winding staircase to a large room on the second floor.
He tapped at the door, which was opened, disclosing an interior tastefully furnished.
Doctor Burr introduced us to Miss Giles, conveying the impression, which Kennedy had already given, that he was a specialist, and I his assistant.
Janet Cranston was a young and also remarkably beautiful girl. One could see traces of sorrow in her face, which was exceedingly, though not unpleasingly, pale. The restless brilliancy of her eyes spoke of some physical, if not psychical, disorder. She was dressed in deep mourning, which heightened her pallor and excited a feeling of mingled respect and interest. Thick brown coils of chestnut hair were arranged in such a manner as to give an extremely youthful appearance to her delicate face. Her emotions were expressed by the constant motion of her slender fingers.
Miss Giles was a striking woman of an entirely different type. She seemed to be exuberant with health, as though nursing had taught her not merely how to take care of others, but had given her the secret of caring, first of all, for herself.
I could see, as Doctor Burr introduced us to his patient, that Mrs. Cranston instantly recognized Kennedy's interest in her case. She received us with a graceful courtesy, but she betrayed no undue interest that might excite suspicion, nor was there any hint given of the note of appeal. I wondered whether that might not be an instance of the cunning for which I had heard that the insane are noted. She showed no sign of insanity, however.
I looked about curiously to see if there were evidences of the treatment which she was receiving. On a table stood a bottle and a glass, as well as a teaspoon, and I recalled the doctor's remark about the tonic.
"You look tired, Mrs. Cranston," remarked Kennedy, thoughtfully. "Why not rest while we are here, and then I will be sure my visit has had no ill effects."
"Thank you," she murmured, and I was much impressed by the sweetness of her voice.
As he spoke, Kennedy arranged the pillows on a chaise lounge and placed her on it with her head slightly elevated. Having discussed the subject of psychanalysis with Kennedy before, I knew that this was so that nothing might distract her from the free association of ideas.
He placed himself near her head, and motioned to us to stand farther back of him. where she could not see us.
"Avoid all muscular exertion and distraction," he continued. "I want you to concentrate your attention thoroughly. Tell me anything that comes into your mind. Tell all you know of your symptoms. Concentrate, and repeat all you think of. Frankly express all the thoughts that you have, even though they may be painful and embarrassing."
He said this soothingly, and she seemed to understand that much depended upon her answers and the fact of not forcing her ideas.
"I am thinking of my husband," Mrs. Cranston began, finally, in a dreamy tone.
"What of him?" suggested Kennedy.
"Of how the baby--separated us--and--" She paused, almost in tears.
From what I knew of the method of psychanalysis, I recalled it was the gaps and hesitations which were most important in arriving at the truth regarding the cause of her trouble.
"Perhaps it was my fault; perhaps I was a better mother than wife. I thought I was doing what he would want me to do. Too late I see my mistake."
It was easy to read into her story that there had been other women in his life. It had wounded her deeply. Yet it was equally plain that she still loved him.
"Go on," urged Kennedy, gently.
"Oh yes," she resumed, dreamily; "I am thinking about once, when I left him, I wandered through the country. I remember little except that it was the country through which we had passed on an automobile trip on our honeymoon. Once I thought I saw him, and I tried to get to him. I longed for him, but each time, when I
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