"You look rather fagged, and it's a goodish way to Ivy Lane," he said, by way of giving him an excuse not to go himself.
Doctor South gave a low snarl.
"It's a damned sight nearer for a man who's got the use of both legs than for a man who's only got one and a half."
Philip reddened and stood silent for a while.
"Do you wish me to go or will you go yourself?" he said at last frigidly.
"What's the good of my going? They want you."
Philip took up his hat and went to see the patient. It was hard upon eight o'clock when he came back. Doctor South was standing in the dining-room with his back to the fireplace.
"You've been a long time," he said.
"I'm sorry. Why didn't you start dinner?"
"Because I chose to wait. Have you been all this while at Mrs. Fletcher's?"
"No, I'm afraid I haven't. I stopped to look at the sunset on my way back, and I didn't think of the time."
Doctor South did not reply, and the servant brought in some grilled sprats. Philip ate them with an excellent appetite. Suddenly Doctor South shot a question at him.
"Why did you look at the sunset?"
Philip answered with his mouth full.
"Because I was happy."
Doctor South gave him an odd look, and the shadow of a smile flickered across his old, tired face. They ate the rest of the dinner in silence; but when the maid had given them the port and left the room, the old man leaned back and fixed his sharp eyes on Philip.
"It stung you up a bit when I spoke of your game leg, young fellow?" he said.
"People always do, directly or indirectly, when they get angry with me."
"I suppose they know it's your weak point."
Philip faced him and looked at him steadily.
"Are you very glad to have discovered it?"
The doctor did not answer, but he gave a chuckle of bitter mirth. They sat for a while staring at one another. Then Doctor South surprised Philip extremely.
"Why don't you stay here and I'll get rid of that damned fool with his mumps?"
"It's very kind of you, but I hope to get an appointment at the hospital in the autumn. It'll help me so much in getting other work later."
"I'm offering you a partnership," said Doctor South grumpily.
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