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Doctor Therne
written by "Haggard, H. Rider (Henry Rider), 1856-1925"
...nd large bald head. "Hullo, doctor," he said in his harsh but not unkindly voice, "having a nip and a nap, eh? What's your tipple? Hollands it looks, but it smells more like peach brandy. May I taste it? I'm a judge of hollands," and he lifted the glass of prussic acid and water from the table. In an instant my dazed faculties were awake, and with a swift motion I had knocked the glass from his hand, so that it fell upon the floor and was shattered. "Ah!" he said, "I thought so. And now, young man, perhaps you will tell me why you were playing a trick like that?" "Why?" I answered bitterly. "Because my wife is dead; because my name is disgraced; because my career is ruined; because they have commenced a new action against me, and, if I live, I must become a bankrupt——" "And you thought that you could make all these things better by killing yourself. Doctor, I didn't believe that you were such a fool. You say you have done nothing to be ashamed of, and I believe you. Well, then, what does it matter what these folk think? For the rest, when a man finds himself in a tight place, he shouldn't knock under, he should fight his way through. You're in a tight place, I know, but I was once in a tighter, yes, I did what you have nearly done—I went to jail on a false charge and false evidence. But I didn't commit suicide. I served my time, and I think it crazed me a bit though it was only a month; at any rate, I was what they call a crank when I came out, which I wasn't when I went in. Then I set to work and showed up those for whom I had done time—living or dead they'll never forget Stephen Strong, I'll warrant—and after that I turned to and became the head of the Radical party and one of the richest men in Dunchester; why, I might have been in Parliament half a dozen times over if I had chosen, although I am only a draper. Now, if I have done all this, why can't you, who have twice my brains and e...

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