Soon after her arrival in Boston, Sophia called on Claire.
“Dr. Abington!” Claire cried happily, kissing Sophia on the cheek and flushing with joy. “Welcome home to Boston.”
She ushered Sophia into a modest sitting room in the house she now shared with a new medical student.
“Thank you, Dr. Reardon,” Sophia said. “But I am not here for social reasons only.” She eyed Claire with a grin. “I have a plan and I hope you will consider helping me.”
Claire raised an eyebrow. “What kind of plan?”
“There is some research I have been planning for some time now. And I think…if it goes well…I think we could submit it for the Boyleston Prize.”
“The Boyleston Prize? From Harvard’s medical school? That is quite a plan, Dr. Abington.”
“It is.” Sophia was sober.
“But…” Claire shook her head. “What about the policy—”
“Against women?” Sophia smiled again. “The papers are submitted anonymously. They will not have any way to know we are women until we have won.”
“If we win,” Claire said.
“We can, Claire. I’m sure we can.” Sophia clapped her hands on the arms of her chair with enthusiasm. “I have read the last five years’ prize papers, and I am certain that we can meet or surpass their quality. And when we do…the attention the research receives could make a real difference to the care of women and their babies all over this country—perhaps even abroad.”
It was a noble goal. It was worthy of all Sophia’s work over the years of her education. It was worthy of her parents. It was worthy of a good doctor with a good heart like Claire’s. It was worthy of Eden’s sacrifice.
All of this was in Sophia’s face, impossible for Claire to ignore. “Whether we win or not, you know I will be proud to help you,” Claire said.