the thread of flame

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER III IT occurred to me that I could escape some of my embarrassment by asking Drinkwater to stop his friend the doctor from looking in on me; but before I had time t;o formulate this plan, and while I was sitting up crosslegged in my berth, eating from the tray which Jean-Marie had laid on my knees, there was a sharp rap on the door. As I could do nothing but say, "Come in," the doctor was before me. "Good!" he said, quietly, without greeting or self-introduction. "Best thing you could be doing." The lack of formality nettled me. I objected to his assumption of a right to force himself in uninvited. I said, frigidly: "I shall be out on deck presently. If you want to see me, perhaps it would be easier there." "Oh, this is all right." He made himself comfortable in a corner of the couch, propping his body against the rolling of the ship with a fortification of bags. "Glad you're able to get up and dress. I'm Doctor Averill." To give him to understand that I was not communicative I took this information in silence. My coldness apparently did not impress him, and, sitting in the corner diagonally opposite to mine, he watched me eat. He was one of those men in whom personality disappears in the scientific observer. His features, manners, clothing, were mere accidents. He struck you as being wise, though with a measure of sympathy in his wisdom. Small in build, the dome of his forehead would have covered a man of twice his stature. A small, dark mustache was no more consciously a point of personal adornment than a patch of stonecrop to a rock. When he took off his cap his baldness, though more extensive than you would have expected in a man who couldn't have been older than forty-five, was the finishing-touch of the staid. "You've been having a long sle...
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