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4. WHEN DOCTORS DISAGREE
It is possible that, at about the time at which this story opens, you may have gone into the Hotel Belvoir for a hair-cut. Many people did; for the young man behind the scissors, though of a singularly gloomy countenance, was undoubtedly an artist in his line. He clipped judiciously. He left no ridges. He never talked about the weather. And he allowed you to go away unburdened by any bottle of hair-food.
It is possible, too, that, being there, you decided that you might as well go the whole hog and be manicured at the same time.
It is not unlikely, moreover, that when you had got over the first shock of finding your hands so unexpectedly large and red, you felt disposed to chat with the young lady who looked after that branch of the business. In your genial way you may have permitted a note of gay (but gentlemanly) badinage to creep into your end of the dialogue.
In which case, if you had raised your eyes to the mirror, you would certainly have observed a marked increase of gloom in the demeanour of the young man attending to your apex. He took no official notice of the matter. A quick frown. A tightening of the lips. Nothing more. Jealous as Arthur Welsh was of all who inflicted gay badinage, however gentlemanly, on Maud Peters, he never forgot that he was an artist. Never, even in his blackest moments, had he yielded to the temptation to dig the point of the scissors the merest fraction of an inch into a client's skull.
But Maud, who saw, would understand. And, if the customer was an observant man, he would notice that her replies at that juncture became somewhat absent, her smile a little mechanical.
* * * * *
Jealousy, according to an eminent authority, is the 'hydra of calamities, the sevenfold death'. Arthur Welsh's was all that and a bit over. It was a constant shadow on Maud's happiness. No fair-minded girl objects to a certain tinge of jealousy. Kept within proper bounds, it is a compliment; it makes for piquancy; it is the gin in the ginger-beer of devotion. But it should be a condiment, not a fluid.
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