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CHAPTER IV DR. OPPENSHAW—continued
Oppenshaw whistled.

"A bundle of notes amounting to ten thousand pounds," said Simon; "exactly the same amount."

Oppenshaw looked at his nails carefully without speaking. Simon watched him.

"Tell me," said Simon, "is this confounded disease, or whatever it is, recurrent?"

"You mean is there any fear that your old self—or, rather, your young self—is preparing for another outbreak?"

"Precisely."

"That this drawing of another ten thousand, unknown to yourself, is only the first act in a similar drama, or shall we say comedy?"

"Yes."

"Well, I can't say for certain, for the disease, or the ailment, if you like the term better, has not been long enough before the eyes of science to make quite definite statements. But, as far as I can judge, I'm afraid it is."

Simon swallowed.

"Leaving aside the fact of the similarity of the action and the amount of money drawn, we have the similarity in time. It is true that last year it was in May you started the business."

"The third of May, a month's difference," said Simon.

"True, but it is less a question of a month more or less than of season. Last early May and April end were abnormally fine. I remember that, for I had to go to Switzerland. This May has been wretched. Then during the last week we have had this burst of splendid weather—weather that makes me feel young again."

"It doesn't me," said Simon.

"No, but it has evidently—at least probably—had that effect on your other 'me.' The something that urges the return of the swallow has acted in your subconsciousness with the coming of springlike weather just as last year."

"Damn swallows!" cried Simon, rising up and pacing the floor. "Suppose this thing lets me in for another five thousand, and Lord knows what else? Oppenshaw," wheeling suddenly, "is nothing to be done? How can I stop it?"

"Well," said Oppenshaw, "quite frankly, I think that the best means is the exercise of your[Pg 32] own will-power. You might, of course, take the notes back to the bank and instruct them not to allow you to draw any more money for, say, a month—but that would be unpleasant."

"Impossible!"

"You might, again, put yourself under restraint. I could do that for you."

"Put myself in a mad-house?"

"No, no—a nursing home."

"Never!"

"You might, again, instruct your butler to follow you and, as a matter of fact, keep his eye on you for the next month."

"Mudd!"

"Yes."

"Sooner die. Never could look him in the face again."

"Have you any near and trustworthy relatives?"

"Only a nephew, utterly wild and untrustworthy; a chap I've cut out of my will and had to stop his allowance."

"And you are not married—that's a pity. A wife——"

"Hang wives!" cried Simon. "What's the good of talking of the impracticable?"

"Well, there we are," continued Oppenshaw, perfectly unruffled. "I have suggested [Pg 33]everything; there is only will left. The greatest friend of a man is his will. Determine in your own mind that this change will not take place. I believe that will be your safest plan. The others I have suggested are all impossible to your sense of amour propre, and, besides that, there is the grave objection that they savour of force. It might have bad consequences to use force to what would be practically the subconscious mind. Your will is quite different. Will can never unbalance mind. In fact, as a famous English neurologist has put it, 'Most cases of mental disturbances are due to an inflated ego—a deflated will.'"

"Oh, my will's all right," said Simon.

"Well, then, use it and don't trouble. Say to yourself definitely—'This shall not be.'"

"And that money in the safe?"

"Leave it there; dare your other self to take it. To remove it and place it in other keeping would be a weakness."

"Thanks," said Simon. "I grasp what you mean." He took out his purse and laid five guineas on the desk. Oppenshaw did not seem to see the money. He accompanied his patient to the door. It was half-past one.
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