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|Round The Red Lamp||Arthur Conan Doyle|
A Question Of Diplomacy.
|Page 7 of 10||
"Well, I think really that a patient should be allowed some latitude. I must not exact too rigid discipline. There is room for individual choice--the Engadine, Central Europe, Egypt, Algiers, which you like."
"I hear that Tangier is also recommended."
"Oh, yes, certainly; it is very dry."
"You hear, Ida? Sir William says that you are to go to Tangier."
"No, no, Sir William! We feel safest when we are most obedient. You have said Tangier, and we shall certainly try Tangier."
"Really, Lady Clara, your implicit faith is most flattering. It is not everyone who would sacrifice their own plans and inclinations so readily."
"We know your skill and your experience, Sir William. Ida shall try Tangier. I am convinced that she will be benefited."
"I have no doubt of it."
"But you know Lord Charles. He is just a little inclined to decide medical matters as he would an affair of State. I hope that you will be firm with him."
"As long as Lord Charles honours me so far as to ask my advice I am sure that he would not place me in the false position of having that advice disregarded."
The medical baronet whirled round the cord of his pince-nez and pushed out a protesting hand.
"No, no, but you must be firm on the point of Tangier."
"Having deliberately formed the opinion that Tangier is the best place for our young patient, I do not think that I shall readily change my conviction."
"Of course not."
"I shall speak to Lord Charles upon the subject now when I go upstairs."
"And meanwhile she will continue her present course of treatment. I trust that the warm African air may send her back in a few months with all her energy restored."
He bowed in the courteous, sweeping, old-world fashion which had done so much to build up his ten thousand a year, and, with the stealthy gait of a man whose life is spent in sick-rooms, he followed the footman upstairs.
As the red velvet curtains swept back into position, the Lady Ida threw her arms round her mother's neck and sank her face on to her bosom.
"Oh! mamma, you ARE a diplomatist!" she cried.
But her mother's expression was rather that of the general who looked upon the first smoke of the guns than of one who had won the victory.
"All will be right, dear," said she, glancing down at the fluffy yellow curls and tiny ear. "There is still much to be done, but I think we may venture to order the trousseau."
"Oh I how brave you are!"
"Of course, it will in any case be a very quiet affair. Arthur must get the license. I do not approve of hole-and-corner marriages, but where the gentleman has to take up an official position some allowance must be made. We can have Lady Hilda Edgecombe, and the Trevors, and the Grevilles, and I am sure that the Prime Minister would run down if he could."
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|Round The Red Lamp
Arthur Conan Doyle
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