“I shall not seek in any case to persuade you,” he said. “My offer remains open if you should change your mind. Think, too, over what I have said about our climate. At your time of life, Mr. Inspector Jacks, and particularly at this season of the year, one should be careful. A sea voyage now would, I am convinced, be the very thing for you. Good day, Mr. Jacks!”
The Prince turned towards Buckingham Palace, and the Inspector slowly retraced his steps.
“It is a bribe!” he muttered to himself slowly,—“a cleverly offered bribe! Thirty thousand pounds to forget the little I have learned! Thirty thousand pounds for silence!”
CHAPTER XXV. HOBSON’S CHOICE
There were some days when the absence of patients seemed to Dr. Spencer Whiles a thing almost insupportable. Too late he began to realize that he had set up in the wrong neighborhood. In years to come, he reflected gloomily, when the great building estate which was to have been developed more than a year ago was really opened up, there might be an opportunity where he was, a very excellent opportunity, too, for a young doctor of ability. Just now, however, the outlook was almost hopeless. He found himself even looking eagerly forward every day for another visit from Mr. Inspector Jacks. Another trip to town would mean a peep into the world of luxury, whose doors were so closely barred against him, and, what was more important still, it would mean a fee which would keep the wolf from the door for another week. It had come to that with Dr. Whiles. His little stock of savings was exhausted. Unless something turned up within the course of the next few weeks, he knew very well that there was nothing left for him to do but to slip away quietly into the embrace of the more shady parts of the great city, to find a situation somewhere, somehow, beyond the ken of the disappointed creditors whom he would leave behind.
Mr. Inspector Jacks, however, had apparently no further use, for the present at any rate, for his medical friend. On the other hand, Dr. Spencer Whiles was not left wholly to himself. On the fourth day after his visit to London a motor car drew up outside his modest surgery door, and with an excitement which he found it almost impossible to conceal, he saw a plainly dressed young man, evidently a foreigner and, he believed, a Japanese, descend and ring the patients’ bell. The doctor had dismissed his boy a week ago, from sheer inability to pay his modest wages, and he did not hesitate for a moment about opening the door himself. The man outside raised his hat and made him a sweeping bow.
“It is Dr. Spencer Whiles?” he asked.
The doctor admitted the fact and invited his visitor to enter.
“It is here, perhaps,” the latter continued, “that a gentleman who was riding a bicycle and was run into by a motor car, was brought after the accident and treated so skilfully?”