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Doctor In The House (1946)

[10]
EVERYONE working in hospital is so preoccupied with the day-to-day rush of minor crises that the approach of Christmas through the long, dark, bronchitic weeks of midwinter comes as a surprise. The holiday cuts brightly into hospital routine, like an unexpected ray of sunlight in an Inner Circle tunnel. At St Swithin's there was, however, one prodromal sign of the approaching season-a brisk increase in attendance at the children's department.
Every year at Christmas the Governors gave a tea-party in the main hall of the hospital for a thousand or so of the local boys and girls. They were men not used to stinting their hospitality, and provided richly for the tastes of their guests. It was the sort of affair that could be adequately described only by Ernest Hemingway, Negley Farson, or some other writer with a gift of extracting a forceful attractiveness from descriptions of active animals feeding in large numbers.
The children began to collect outside the locked doors of the out-patient department soon after midday; by three the front of the hospital looked like an Odeon on Saturday morning. At four sharp the doors were opened by the porters and the mob were funnelled into the building-scratching, fighting, shouting, and screaming, their incidental distractions from the fists and elbows of their neighbours overwhelmed with the urgent common desire to get at the food. They rushed through the entrance lobby, stormed the broad, wooden-floored hall, and expended their momentum in a pile of sticky, white-glazed buns.

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