Martin's year at Rouncefield Clinic is spent among "Men of measured merriment," to use a phrase coined by Gottlieb. He is "a faithful mechanic — in a most clean and brisk and visionless medical factory."
He and Leora, however, gain in knowledge and experience. They read novels and history, and they travel; they attend plays; they meet important people at dinners given by the Rouncefields and the Duers; and Leora begins lessons in French. Yet Martin realizes the hollowness of it all, especially when he is urged by Duer to turn his laboratory experimentation into something practical. He does so, publishes an article in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, and attracts the attention of Max Gottlieb, who extends an invitation to join him in McGurk Institute, New York.
Again Martin fails to find the true spirit of science in a new and coveted position. Again the upper social strata are satirized in the wives of Rouncefield, Duer, and the suave set which forms their circle. Martin is now ready to move on to a broader and more colorful world in New York, taking Leora with him. She has tried to keep pace with him in cultural improvement though she is never really tidy in personal appearance. Their marriage relation is deepened by the experiences they share.