"I'm going to the whirlpool before I'm through," Vic said, hoarsely.
Trench caught him in a powerful grip and shoved him to the foot of the rotunda stairs.
"No,-you re-not-going-to-the-whirlpool,"' he said, slowly. "You're going up to the top of the dome right against that _Ad Astra per Aspera_ business up there, and open the west window and look out at the world the Lord made to heal hurt souls by looking at. And you are going to stay up there until you have fought the thing out with yourself, and come down like Moses did with the ten Commandments cut deep on the tables of your stony old heart. If you don't, you'll not need to go to old Lagonda's pool. By the holy saints, I'll take you there myself and plunge you in just to rid the world of such a fool. You hear me! Now, go on! And remember in your tussle that that big S cut over the old Sunrise door out there stands for Service. That's what will make your name fit you yet, Victor."
Vic slowly climbed up to where an hour ago the sudden opportunity for the fruition of his young life and hope had been brought to him. Lost now, unless--Nobody would ever know and Bug could lose nothing. He opened the west window and looked out at the Walnut Valley, dim and shadowy now, and the silver prairies beyond it and the gorgeous crimson tinted sky wherefrom the sun had slipped. And then and there, with his face to the light, he wrestled with the black Apollyon of his soul. And every minute the temptation grew to keep the funds "in trust," and to keep on caring for the boy he had cared for since babyhood. He clinched his white teeth and the tiger light was in his eyes again as the longing for Elinor's love overcame him. He pictured her as only one sunset ago she had looked up into his eyes, her face transfigured with love's sweetness, and he wished he might keep that picture forever. But, somehow, between that face and his own, came the picture of little Bug alone in the wretched dugout, reaching up baby arms to him for life and safety; on his baby face a pleading trustfulness.
Victor unbuttoned his cuff and slipped up his sleeve to the scar on his arm.
"Anybody can see the scar I put there when I cut out the poison," he said to himself, at last. "Nobody will see the scar on my soul, but I'll cut out the poison just the same. I did not save that baby boy from the rattlesnakes only to let him be crushed by the serpent in me. Trench was right, the S over the doorway down there stands for Service as well as for Sacrifice and Strife. Dr. Fenneben says they all enter into the winning of a Master's Degree. Shall I ever get mine earned, I wonder?"
He looked once more at the west, all a soft purple, gray-veiled with misty shadows, save over the place where the sun went out one shaft of deepest rose hue tipped with golden flame was cleaving its way toward the darkening zenith. Then he closed the window and went downstairs and out into the beautiful December twilight.
In all Kansas in that evening hour no man breathed deeper of the sweet, pure air, nor walked with firmer stride, than the man who had gone out under the carved symbol of the college doorway, Victor Burleigh of the junior class at Sunrise.