"Go on, Sir Charles," said Harley. He pushed forward a box of cigars. "Will you smoke?"
"Thanks, no," was the answer.
Slr Charles evidently was oppressed by some secret trouble, thus Harley mused silently, as, taking out a tin of tobacco from a cabinet beside him, he began in leisurely manner to load a briar. In this he desired to convey that he treated the visit as that of a friend, and also, since business was over, that Sir Charles might without scruple speak at length and at leisure of whatever matters had brought him there.
"Very well, then," began the surgeon; "I am painfully conscious that the facts which I am in a position to lay before you are very scanty and unsatisfactory."
Paul Harley nodded encouragingly.
"If this were not so," he explained, "you would have no occasion to apply to me, Sir Charles. It is