At Arms with Morpheus (Henry)

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At Arms with Morpheus
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man accidentally overdosed on morphine, and his friend tried to keep him awake by insulting him and accusing him of abandoning a girl he loved, ultimately saving his life.

Tom Hopkins, a wealthy young man, visited his friend Billy one evening after they had made a call together. Feeling unwell, Tom decided to take some quinine to help with his symptoms. However, he accidentally took morphine instead, which led to him becoming drowsy and unresponsive.

Tom Hopkins — wealthy, good-natured, and chivalrous; former medical student; large build.

I never could quite understand how Tom Hopkins came to make that blunder, for he had been through a whole term at a medical college.

Billy realized the mistake and called for medical help, including an experienced doctor named Dr. Gales.

Billy — narrator; Tom's friend; resourceful and caring.

The doctors managed to stabilize Tom, but Dr. Gales instructed Billy to keep Tom awake for another hour to ensure his safety. Tom, however, was extremely difficult to rouse due to the effects of the morphine. In an attempt to keep him awake, Billy decided to make Tom angry by accusing him of abandoning a girl he had been involved with before inheriting his fortune. Tom, despite his drowsy state, became visibly upset and tried to defend himself, but ultimately fell back asleep.

Now, Tom, I said, severely, this won’t do. The big doctor said you must stay awake for at least an hour. Open your eyes.

Billy continued to provoke Tom, accusing him of being a disgrace and unworthy of associating with gentlemen. Tom, still struggling to stay awake, promised to confront Billy once he was able to stand. Eventually, Tom fell into a normal, healthy sleep, and Billy let him rest.

The next morning, Tom awoke with no memory of the events that had transpired the night before. He thanked Billy for taking care of him and, seemingly affected by Billy's accusations, decided to telegraph the girl he had supposedly left behind.