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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 185 pages of information about Red Pepper's Patients.

“I’m happy to-night,” he went on; “there’s no use denying it.  I’m not sorry, now it’s over, I’ve had this experience, for I’ve learned some things I’ve never known before and wouldn’t have found out any other way.  I know now what it means to be down where life doesn’t seem worth much, and how it feels to have the other fellow trying to pull you out.  I know how the whisper of a voice you love sounds to you in the middle of a black night, when you think you can’t bear another minute of pain.  Oh, I know a lot of things I can’t talk about, but they’ll make a difference in the future.  If I don’t have more patience with my patients it’ll be because memory is a treacherous thing, and I’ve forgotten what I have no business to forget—­because the good Lord means me to remember!”

CHAPTER XVI

WHITE LILACS AGAIN

It was the first day of May.  Burns and Ellen had not been at home two days after their return from the long, slow sea voyage which had done wonders for them both, when Burns received a long-distance message which sent him to his wife with his eyes sparkling in the old way.

“Great luck, Len!” he announced.  “I’m to get my first try-out in operating, after the late unpleasantness, on an out-of-town case.  Off in an hour with Amy for a place two hundred miles away in a spot I never heard of—­promises to be interesting.  Anyhow, I feel like a small boy with his first kite, likely to go straight off the ground hitched to the tail of it.”

“I’m glad for you, Red.  And I wish”—­she bit her lip and turned away—­“it may be a wonderful case.”

“That’s not what you started to say.”  He came close, laid a hand on either side of her face, and turned it up so that he could look into it, his lips smiling.  “Tell me.  I’ll wager I know what you wish.”

“No, you can’t.”

“That you could go with me—­to take Amy’s place and assist.”

A flood of colour poured over her face, such a telltale, significant colour as he had rarely seen there before.  She would have concealed it from him, but he was merciless.  A strange, happy look came into his own face.  “Len, don’t hide that from me.  It’s the one thing I’ve always wished you’d show, and you never have.  I’m such a jealous beggar myself I’ve wanted you to care—­that way, and I’ve never been able to discover a trace of it.”

“But I’m not really jealous in the way you think.  How could I be?—­with not the slightest cause.  It’s only—­envy of Amy because she is—­so necessary to you.  O Red, I never, never meant to say it!”

“I’d rather hear you say it than anything else on earth.  I’d like to hear you own that you were mad with jealousy, because I’ve been eaten up with it myself ever since I first laid eyes on you.  Not that you’ve ever given me a reason for it, but because it’s my red-headed nature.  Now I must go; but I’ll take your face with me, my Len, and if I do a good piece of work it’ll be for love of you.”

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