Chapter Fourteen

THE SCOTS -- I still stoutly maintain -- are an emotional people, and Dr. Cameron was, fundamentally, a sentimental man. But with this difference, shared by most of the northern race -- he was not demonstrative. Any display of feeling he regarded as a sign of weakness, and one gruff word from him meant more than a score of impassioned speeches. Thus, he gave me no warning of what was in his mind until, one Sunday morning, some weeks after the incident I have just related, he looked across the Britannia-metal coffeepot as we sat at breakfast and remarked dryly:

"I find that I no longer need you as an assistant."

There was a dead silence. I had, true enough, considered the possibility of leaving Cameron, but only in my own interest. This dismissal was a different matter, and I turned pale with mortification and surprise. Then, before I had recovered from the shock, his stern expression merged into a twisted smile.

"But I could very well do with you as a partner. How about going halves with me in the practice, lad? I'll make the terms as easy as you please."

The blood rushed back into my cheeks with such violence that my head swain. He went on:

"Take a few weeks to think about it. Talk it over with your friends and" -- his eyes twinkled as he got up from the table and went to the door -- "with that young lady who is brave enough to be interested in you."

It was a tremendous, if unmerited, tribute he had paid me, and to

-123-

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