Summary and Analysis
Martin's duties in assisting Max Gottlieb involve sixteen hours a day. Dr. Silva, dean of the medical faculty and devotee of Sir William Osler, is revered by the young medic, but Dr. Roscoe Geake is hated. Upon leaving the university for the vice-presidency of a powerful medical furniture and instrument company in New Jersey, Dr. Geake offers worldly wise advice in a farewell address to the students of Winnemac. He stresses the importance of salesmanship in the medical profession and the desirability of accumulating "good hard cash."
Leora has been summoned home to North Dakota, perhaps for months, and Martin, sick and lonely, sees her off at the Union Station. With Clif Clawson he develops the habit of getting drunk only to find that when the effect of the liquor wears off, he is even more weary and lonely.
Then comes the Founder's Day dinner at the university. Clif, always the practical joker, invites a bogus professor, introduced as Dr. Benoni Carr, to be the chief speaker. The spurious Dr. Carr becomes drunk and creates a rowdy scene at the dignified banquet. As a result, Clif Clawson, knowing that he will be expelled from the university, withdraws of his own accord to become an automobile salesman, and Martin is left more lonely than ever.
The loneliness of life at the university with both his closest associates, Leora and Clif, gone is reflected in Martin's conduct and in his attitude toward his work, which remains adequate but not outstanding.
The hoax perpetrated by Clif Clawson on the dignitaries of Winnemac seems a bit incredible. That a man who "had been a 'spieler' in medicine shows, chiropodist, spiritualist medium, esoteric teacher, head of sanitariums for the diversion of nervous women" can hoodwink the authorities into believing him a great pharmacologist is a neat bit of Lewis satire, of the tongue-in-cheek variety.