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HOME > Short Stories > The Disagreeable Woman > CHAPTER XXI. AFTER THREE MONTHS.
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The curtain falls and rises again after an interval of three months.

There have been some changes in our boarding-house. Prof. Poppendorf still occupies his accustomed place, and so does Miss Blagden. The young reporter still sits at my left, and entertains me with interesting gossip and information about public affairs and public men with whom he has come in contact.

But the young woman from Macy's has left us. She has returned to her country home and is now the wife of her rustic admirer, Stephen Higgins. I think she has done wisely. Life in the great stores is a species of slavery, and she[Pg 175] could save nothing from her salary. When Prof. Poppendorf heard of her marriage, he looked depressed, but I noticed that his appetite was not affected. A true Teuton seldom allows anything to interfere with that.

Mrs. Gray has received two or three notes from the Countess di Penelli. They treated of business matters solely. Whether she has discovered that her husband's title is spurious I cannot tell. I hear, however, from a drummer who is with us at intervals, that she is keeping a boarding-house on Spring Garden street, and that her title has been the magnet that has drawn to her house many persons who are glad in this way to obtain a titled acquaintance.

As for myself I am on the high road to a comfortable income. I was fortunate enough to give my rich patient so much relief that I have received the large check he promised me, and have been recommended by him to several of his[Pg 176] friends. I have thought seriously of removing to a more fashionable neighborhood, but have refrained—will it be believed?—from my reluctance to leave the Disagreeable Woman. I am beginning to understand her better. Under a brusque exterior she certainly possesses a kind heart, and consideration for others. Upon everything in the shape of humbug or pretension she is severe, but she can appreciate worth and true nobility. In more than one instance I have applied to her in behalf of a poor patient, and never in vain.

Yet I am as much in the dark as ever as to her circumstances and residence. Upon these subjects I have ceased, not perhaps to feel, but to show any curiosity. The time was coming, however, when I should learn more of her.

One day a young girl came to my office. Her mother kept a modest lodging house on West Eleventh street, and she had been my patient.

[Pg 177]

"Any one sick at home, Sarah?" I asked.

"No, doctor, but we have a lodger who is very low with a fever. I think he is very poor. I am afraid he cannot pay a doctor, but mother thought you would be willing to call."

"To be sure," I said, cheerfully, "I will be at your house in an hour."

An hour found me ringing at the door of Mrs. Graham's plain lodging house.

"I thought ............
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