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AT MAIDENHEAD

research into the explorer’s country. “You are afraid of women?” he said, with a smile to mitigate the impertinence.

“I respect them.”

“An element of fear.”

“Well, I am afraid of them then. Put it that way if you like. Anyhow I do not let myself go with them. I have never let myself go.”

“You lose something. You lose a reality of insight.”

There was a thoughtful interval.

“Having found so excellent a friend,” said the doctor, “why did you ever part from her?”

Sir Richmond seemed indisposed to answer, but Dr. Martineau’s face remained slantingly interrogative. He had found the effective counterattack and he meant to press it.

“I was jealous of her,” Sir Richmond admitted. “I couldn’t stand that side of it.”


§ 5

After a meditative silence the doctor became briskly professional again.

“You care for your wife,” he said. “You care very much for your wife. She is, as you say, your great obligation and you are a man to respect obligations. I grasp that. Then you tell me of these women who have come and gone.... About