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A Hero of the Pen by E. Werner

Care worn face of Frederic was visible


door opened, and softly as this had happened, the professor trembled with that susceptibility peculiar to very nervous persons; Doctor Stephen appeared on the threshold, and behind him the anxious, care-worn face of Frederic was visible.

"Good evening," said the doctor entering the room. "I have come to give you another lecture. You are not so well to-day, are you?"

The professor glanced at him in surprise, "You are mistaken, doctor! I find myself quite well. There must be a misunderstanding, I did not send for you?"

"I know that," said the doctor, coolly. "You would not send for me unless it were a matter of life or death, but this Frederic here has declared to me that all is not quite right with you."

"And indeed it is not," said Frederic, who, as he saw the displeased glance of his master, had taken refuge behind the doctor, and placed himself under that gentleman's valiant protection. "He has not been well for a long time, and I know now just when it began; it was that day when the Herr Professor went out in the rain without his umbrella and came back with that American Miss and without his shawl"--

"Silence, Frederic!" interrupted the professor suddenly, and with such a vehemence, that Frederic started back affrighted before that unwonted tone. "You would do better to attend to your own affairs, than

to meddle with things you know nothing about. Go now, and leave us alone!"

Confounded at the unwonted severity of his usually indulgent master, Frederic obeyed reluctantly, but the doctor, without paying the least attention to the professor's glance, which plainly enough betrayed a wish for his withdrawal, drew up a chair and sat down in it.

"You have been at your studies again? Of course! This magnificent summer's-day, when all the world hastens out into the open air, you sit here from morning to night, or rather until far into the night, at your writing desk. Tell me, for God's sake, how long do you think this can go on, and you bear up under it?"

The professor, although not without evident reluctance, had resumed his former seat, and appeared not yet to have become master of his excitement. "I must have taken cold," he said, evasively.

"No, it is not cold," interrupted the doctor, "it all comes from so much study, which has now become a mania with you, and will bring you to your grave if you do not allow yourself some recreation. How often I have preached this to you! But what can one do with a patient who always listens gently and patiently, always says 'yes,' and always does just the contrary to what he is ordered to do!"

The professor had indeed listened with great patience. "I have always followed your directions," he affirmed in a low voice.

"Oh yes, literally! If, for example, I sent you to bed, you lay down obediently, but had lamp and books brought to the bedside, and studied until four o'clock in the morning instead of until two. You must possess a good constitution to enable you to do all this; until now it was only your nerves that were ruined. If you go on in this way a year longer, you will have the consumption; I give you my word for that!"

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