Summary and Analysis Chapter XXXVI



Martin returns to New York on the St. Buryan, where he encounters Miss Gwilliam again, returning from a winter in Trinidad and Caracas. She receives short answers when she inquires about Sondelius and Leora and draws the conclusion that he is stupid and not very successful. Other shipboard acquaintances think that he is in love. Martin is eager to get back to his test tubes but is afraid of criticism because he believes that his experiment has too many loopholes. He decides to take his tables to a biometrician and to be governed by expert advice as to what to publish. For the first time in weeks, he sleeps without terror.

To the astonishment of his fellow passengers, Martin is greeted at the pier by reporters, from whom he is rescued by Rippleton Holabird, now full Director of the Institute. Terry Wickett gives Martin a delayed welcome and brings the news that Gottlieb is now on pension. With Leora, Sondelius, and Gottlieb gone, Martin now has only Terry as a kindred spirit, and the two promise to stick together.

Martin is received with much acclaim by the Institute, the newspapers, the Public Health service, and even Congressman Almus Pickerbaugh. He refuses all invitations to speak, however. Foreign Men of Measured Merriment are brought in to see him. He is made head of the new Department of Microbiology at twice his old salary. He calls on Gottlieb, who does not recognize him. He closes the flat where he and Leora lived and takes a room at a hotel. Then he takes his figures to Raymond Pearl, the biometrician, who decides that the results of Carib village should be questioned as the epidemic may have passed its peak before inoculation began. Holabird advises Martin to issue an ambiguous summary. Martin is furious. He knows that Holabird has barely skimmed the report and is far from understanding it. Terry Wickett encourages Martin to remain with the Institute for a while as there is more math and chemistry to learn and Martin needs a laboratory.


The shallowness of Holabird and the genuine scholarship of Wickett, concealed under a rough exterior, are again emphasized in this chapter. Terry's reference to his shack in the woods of Vermont is an example of foreshadowing. Satire of the Institute and its high officials is prominent, also, for Martin is expected to rush into print and popularity before the results of his experiment can be thoroughly checked. Even Wickett, however, admits that except for being "a dirty, lying, social-climbing, sneaking, power-grabbing hypocrite," Holabird is all right.