And with this I went to the door, feeling, I must confess, a trifle ill. The steak and coffee were all right, but there was a suggestion of pain in my right side. I could not make up my mind if it were the six hundred melons or whether a nugget from the omelet had got caught in my vermiform appendix.
At any rate, I didn’t wish to eat again just then.
At the door the sedan-chair and the two little blackamoors were awaiting me.
“We have orders to take you to the Zoo, sah,” said Sambo.
“All right, Sambo,” said I. “I’m all ready. A little air will do me good.”
And we moved along.
I forgot to mention that, as he closed the chair door upon me, Memnon handed me back the silver dollar I had given him.
“What is this, Memnon?” said I.
“The dollar you wished me to keep for you, sir,” he replied.
“But I intended it for you,” said I.
His face flushed.
“I am just as much obliged, sir, but, really, I couldn’t, you know. We don’t take tips in Olympus, sir.”
“Indeed?” said I. “Well—I’m sorry to have offended you, Memnon. I meant it all right. Why didn’t you tell me when I gave it you?”
“I should have given you a check for it, sir. I supposed you didn’t wish to carry anything so heavy about with you.”
“Ah!” said I, replacing the dollar in my pocket. “Thank you for your care of it, Memnon. No offence, I hope?”
“None at all, sir,” he replied, again showing his wonderful ivory teeth. “I don’t take offence at anything so trifling. Had you handed me a billion dollars, I should have declined to wait on you.”
And he bowed me away in a fashion which made me feel keenly the narrowness of my escape.
We had not gone very far along when the pain in my side became poignant and I called out of the window to Sambo:
“Sammy, is there a doctor anywhere on the way out to the Zoo?” I asked.
“Yassir,” he replied, slowing down a trifle. “We gotter go right by de doh ob Dr. Skilapius.”
“Doctor who?” I asked—the name was new to me.
“’Tain’t Skill-apius,” growled the boy behind, who seemed rather jealous that I had taken no notice of him. “It’s Eee-skill-apius.”
“Oh,” said I, beginning to catch their drift. “Dr. AEsculapius. Is that what you are trying to say?”
“Yassir,” said both boys. “Dass de man.”
“Well, stop at his office a moment,” said I. “I’m feeling a trifle ill.”
In a few minutes we drew up before a large door to the right of the corridor before which there hung a shingle marked in large gilt letters:
+-----------------------------------+ | | | AESCULAPIUS, M.D. | | | | Office Hours: 10 to 12. | | | | Tuesdays. | | | +-----------------------------------+
I knocked at the door and was promptly admitted.