William found it difficult to settle down in Boston under his new chairman. The precepts of the New Deal were passing into law with unprecedented rapidity, and William and Tony Simmons found it impossible to agree on whether the implications for investment would be good or bad.

Expansion - on one front at least - became unstoppable when Kate announced soon after their return from England that she was pregnant, news which gave her parents and husband great joy. William tried to modify his working hours to suit his new role as a married man but found himself at his desk increasingly often throughout the hot summer evenings. Kate, cool and happy in her flowered matemity smock, methodically supervised the decoration of the nursery of the Red House. William found for the first time in his life that he could leave his work desk and look forward to going home. If he had work left over he just picked up the papers and took them back to the Red House, a pattern to wl - dch he adhered throughout their married life.

While Kate and the baby that was due about Christmas time brought William great happiness at home, Matthew was making him increasingly uneasy at work. He had taken to drinking and coming to the office late with no explanations. As the months passed, William found he could no longer rely on his friend's judgment. At first, he said nothing, hoping it was little more than an odd out - of - character reaction - which might quickly pass - to the repeal of Prohibition. But it wasn't, and the problem went from bad to worse. The last straw came one November morning when Matthew arrived two hours late, obviously suffering from a hangover, and made a simple, unnecessary mistake, selling off an important investment which resulted in a small loss for a client who should have made a handsome profit. William knew the time had come for an unpleasant but necessary head - on confrontation. Matthew admitted his error and apologised regretfully. William was thankful to have the row out of the way and was about to suggest they go to lunch together when his secretary uncharacteristically rushed into his office.

'It's your wife, sir, she"s been taken to the hospital!

'Why?'asked William, puzzled.

'ne baby,' said his secretary.

'But it's not due for at least another six weeks,' said WilHam incredulously.

'I know, sir, but Doctor MacKenzie sounded rather anxious, and wanted you to come to the hospital as quickly as possible!

Matthew, who a moment before had seemed a broken reed, took over and drove William to the hospital. Memories of William's mother's death and her still - born daughter came flooding back to both of them 'Pray God not Kate,' said Matthew as he drew into the hospital car park.

William did not need to be guided to the Anne Kane Ma ternity Wing which Kate had officially opened only six months before. He found a nurse standing outside the delivery room who informed him that Doctor MacKenzie was with his wife, and that she had lost a lot of blood.

William paced up and down the corridor helplessly, numbly waiting, exactly as he had done years before. The scene was all too familiar. How unimportant being chairman of the bank was compared with losing Kate. When had he last said to her 'I love you'? Matthew sat with William, paced with William, stood with William, but said nothing. There was nothing to be said. William checked his watch each time a nurse ran in or out of the delivery room.

Seconds turned into minutes and minutes into hours. Finally Doctor MacKenzie appeared, his forehead shining with little beads of sweat, a surgical mask covering his nose and mouth. William could see no expression on the doctor's face until he removed the white mask, revealing a large smile.

'Congratulations, William, you have a boy, and Kate is just fine!

'Tlank God,' breathed William, clinging on to Matthew.

'Much as I respect the Almighty,' said Doctor MacKenzie, 'I feel I had a little to do with this birth myself.'

William laughed. 'Can I see Kate?'

'No, not right now. I've given her a sedative and shes fallen asleep. She lost rather more blood than was good for her, but she'll be fine by morning. A little weak, perhaps, but well ready to see you. But thexes nothing to stop you seeing your son. But don't be surprised by his size; remember he!s quite premature.'

The doctor guided William and Matthew down the corridor to a room in which they stared through a pane of glass at a row of six little pink heads in cribs.

'That one,' said Doctor MacKenzie, pointing to the infant that had just arrived.

William stared dubiously at the ugly little face, his vision of a fine, upstanding son receding rapidly.

'Well, I'll say one thing for the little devil,' said Doctor MacKenzie cheerfully, 'he's better looking than you were at that age, and you haven~t turned ouf too badly.'