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CHAPTER VI TIDD AND RENSHAW
Did he mind? Not a bit; he enjoyed it.

If Sir Ralph had kicked him out of the Athen?um for airing false science there he would have enjoyed it. He would have enjoyed anything casting odium and discredit on the theory of double personality in the form of Lethmann's disease.

For now his hunted soul, that had taken momentary refuge in the thought of nursing homes and restraint, had left that burrow and was taking refuge in doubt.

The whole thing was surely absurd. The affair of last year must have been a temporary aberration due to overwork, despite the fact that he had, indeed, drawn another ten thousand unconsciously from the bank; it was patently foolish to think that a man could be under the dominion of a story-book disease. He had read Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde—that wild fiction! Why, if this thing were true, it would be a fiction just as wild. Oceans of comfort suddenly came[Pg 43] to him. It gave him a new grip on the situation, pointing out that the whole of this business as suggested by Oppenshaw was on a level with a "silly sensational story," that is to say with the impossible—therefore impossible.

He made one grave mistake—the mistake of reckoning Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as a "silly sensational story."

Anyhow, he got comfort from what he considered fact, and at dinner that night he was so restored that he was able to grumble because the mutton "was done to rags."

He dined alone.

As he had not returned to the office in the afternoon, Brownlow had sent some papers relative to a law case then pending for his consideration. It often happened that Simon took business home with him, or, if he were not able to attend at the office, important papers would be sent to his house.

To-night, according to custom, he retired to his library, drank his coffee, spread open the documents, and, comfortably seated in a huge leathern armchair, plunged into work.

It was a difficult case, the case of Tidd v. Renshaw, complicated by all sorts of cross-issues and currents. In its dry legal jargon it involved the title to London house property, the credit[Pg 44] of a woman, the happiness of a family, and a few other things, all absolutely of no account to Simon, engaged on the law of the case, and to whom the human beings involved were simply as the chessmen in the hands of the player; and necessarily, for a lawyer who allowed human considerations to colour his view would be an untrustworthy lawyer.

At ten o'clock Simon, suddenly laying the documents on the floor beside him, rose up, rang the bell, and stood on the hearthrug with his hands linked behind him.

Mudd appeared.

"Mudd," said Simon, "I may be called away to-morrow and be absent some time. If I am not at the office when the brougham comes to fetch me for luncheon, you can notify the office that I have been called away. You needn't bother about packing things for me; I will buy anything I want where I am going."

"I could easily pack a bag for you," said Mudd, "and you could take it with you to the office."

"I want no bag. I have given you your directions," said Simon, and Mudd went off grumbling and snubbed.

Then the lawyer sat down and plunged into law again, folding up the documents at eleven[Pg 45] o'clock and putting them carefully in his bureau. Then he switched off the electric light, examined the hall door to see that it was properly bolted, and went up to bed carrying the case of Tidd v. Renshaw with him as a nightcap.

It hung about his intellect like a penumbra as he undressed, warding off, or partly warding off, thoughts about Oppenshaw and his own condition that were trying to get into his mind.

Then he popped into bed, and, still pursuing Tidd v. Renshaw through the labyrinths of the law, and holding tight on to their tails, fell asleep.
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