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HOME > Short Stories > The Disagreeable Woman > CHAPTER XVI. SITS THE WIND IN THAT QUARTER.
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Of course I attended the Patti concert. The seat given me was in the best part of the house, and I felt somewhat bashful when I found that all my neighbors wore dress suits. My own suit—the best I had—was beginning to show the marks of wear, but I did not dare go to the expense of another.

My next neighbor was an elderly gentleman, bordering upon sixty. In the twenty minutes that elapsed before the rise of the curtain we fell into a pleasant conversation. It was pleasant to find that he was becoming interested in me.

"You enjoy Patti?" he said. "But[Pg 140] then I hardly need ask that. Your presence here is sufficient evidence."

"I have no doubt I shall enjoy Patti," I answered. "I have never heard her."

"Indeed? How does that happen?"

"Because I have been only three months in New York. I came here from the country, and of course I had no chance to hear her there."

"Excuse my curiosity, but you do not look like a business man."

"I am not. I am a practising physician."

"Indeed!" he replied, with interest. "I wish you could cure my rheumatism."

"I should like a chance to try."

This was a little audacious, as probably he had his own family physician, but it came naturally upon his remark.

"You shall try," he said, impulsively. "My family physician has failed to benefit me."

"It may be so with me."

"At any rate I will try you. Can you[Pg 141] call at my house to-morrow at eleven o'clock?"

"I will do so with pleasure."

He gave me his card. I found that his name was Gregory Vincent, and that he lived in one of the finest parts of Madison Avenue. It occurred to me that he was perhaps imprudent in trusting an unknown young physician, but I was not foolish enough to tell him so.

"I will call," I said with professional gravity, and I entered the name and engagement in my medical note-book.

Here the curtain rose, and our thoughts were soon occupied by the stage.

When the concert was over, my new friend as he shook my hand, said, "I can rely upon your calling to-morrow, Dr. Fenwick?"

"I will not fail you."

"I don't know how it is," he said, "but though we are strangers I have a prophetic instinct that you can help me."

"I will do my best, Mr. Vincent."

[Pg 142]

Congratulating myself on my new and promising patient, I made my way into the lobby. There presently I met Mrs. Wyman and Count Penelli. I learned later that she had purchased two cheap seats and invited the Count to accompany her. They had not distinguished me in the audience, I was so far away from them.

"Dr. Fenwick!" exclaimed Mrs. Wyman, in surprise. "I thought you said you were not coming."

"I changed my mind," I answered, smiling. "Of course, you enjoyed the concert?"

"Did I not? But where were you sitting?"

"In the orchestra."

"What! Among the millionaires?"

"I don't know if they were millionaires. I was ashamed of my appearance. All wore dress suits except myself and the ladies."

[Pg 143]

"It seems to me, doctor, you were extravagant."

"It does seem so."

I did not propose to enlighten Mrs. Wyman as to the small expense I was at for a ticket. I could see with secret amusement that her respect for me was increased by my supposed liberal outlay. In this respect I showed to advantage beside her escort who had availed himself of a ticket purchased by her. She had represented that the tickets were sent her by the management.

"The Count had an advantage over us," said the widow. "He could understand the language."

"Si, Signora," said the Count, with a smile.

"It wasn't the words I cared for," said I. "I should enjoy Patti if she sang in Arabic."

"Well, perhaps so. Were you ever in Italy, doctor?"

[Pg 144]

"No, the only foreign country I ever visited was New Jersey."

"Is New Jersey then a foreign country?" asked the Count, puzzled.

"It is only a joke, Count," said the widow.

"And a poor one, I admit."

"The Count had been telling me of his ancestral home, of the vine-clad hills, and the olive trees, and the orange groves. Oh, I am wild to visit that charming Italy."

"Perhaps you may do so some day, my dear Mrs. Wyman," said the Count, in a soft tone.

The widow cast down her eyes.
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