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"Offended?" I asked him.

"No. But my partner will be home tomorrow, and I'm relinquishing my place to him. It is really his case."

"I refuse to be anybody's case. I've heard from the best authorities that no one knows anything about neuritis and that it is practically incurable. One has to suffer and suffer. Even Almroth Wright has not found the anti-bacilli. Nepenthe gives me ease; that is all the doctoring I want—ease!"

"It is doing you a lot of harm. And what makes you think you've got neuritis?"

"What ailed your Margaret?" I answered mockingly. "Did you ever find that out?"

"No... yes. Of course I knew."

"Did you ever examine her?" I was curious to know that; suddenly and inconsequently curious.

"Why do you ask?" But his face changed, and I knew the question had been cruel or impertinent. He let go my hand abruptly, he had been holding it all this time. "I did all that any doctor could." He was obviously distressed and I ashamed.

"Don't go yet. Sit down and have a cup of tea with me. I've been here three weeks and every meal has been solitary. Your Margaret"—I smiled at him then, knowing he would not understand—"comes to me sometimes at night with my nepenthe, but all day I am alone."