Chapter 68ONE morning Philip on getting up felt his head swim, and going back to bed suddenly discovered he was ill. All his limbs ached and he shivered with cold. When the landlady brought in his breakfast he called to her through the open door that he was not well, and asked for a cup of tea and a piece of toast. A few minutes later there was a knock at his door, and Griffiths came in. They had lived in the same house for over a year, but had never done more than nod to one another in the passage.
"I say, I hear you're seedy," said Griffiths. "I thought I'd come in and see what was the matter with you."
Philip, blushing he knew not why, made light of the whole thing. He would be all right in an hour or two.
"Well, you'd better let me take your temperature," said Griffiths.
"It's quite unnecessary," answered Philip irritably.
Philip put the thermometer in his mouth. Griffiths sat on the side of the bed and chatted brightly for a moment, then he took it out and looked at it.
"Now, look here, old man, you must stay in bed, and I'll bring old Deacon in to have a look at you."
"Nonsense," said Philip. "There's nothing the matter. I wish you wouldn't bother about me."
"But it isn't any bother. You've got a temperature and you must stay in bed. You will, won't you?"
There was a peculiar charm in his manner, a mingling of gravity and kindliness, which was infinitely attractive.
"You've got a wonderful bed-side manner," Philip murmured, closing his eyes with a smile.
Griffiths shook out his pillow for him, deftly smoothed down the bedclothes, and tucked him up. He went into Philip's sitting-room to look for a siphon, could not find one, and fetched it from his own room. He drew down the blind.
"Now, go to sleep and I'll bring the old man round as soon as he's done the wards."
It seemed hours before anyone came to Philip. His head felt as if it would split, anguish rent his limbs, and he was afraid he was going to cry. Then there was a knock at the door and Griffiths, healthy, strong, and cheerful, came in.
"Here's Doctor Deacon," he said.
The physician stepped forward, an elderly man with a bland manner, whom Philip knew only by sight. A few questions, a brief examination, and the diagnosis.
"What d'you make it?" he asked Griffiths, smiling.
Doctor Deacon looked round the dingy lodging-house room.
"Wouldn't you like to go to the hospital? They'll put you in a private ward, and you can be better looked after than you can here."
"I'd rather stay where I am," said Philip.
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