Text - "Jim Mortimer" Warren Bell

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People, unless they be star-gazers, do not walk along, as a rule, with
their faces turned towards the sky; hence it was that the slender
telephone wire communicating between Dr Mortimer's private residence,
"Pangora," and the doctor's private asylum, escaped the notice of all
but a few who fared along the eight miles of high road dividing
Threeways from Millingbourne, in the county of Eastfolkshire.

And yet this slender wire, which showed up against the blue sky much
like a substantial cobweb, was fraught with interest. It was barely 300
yards in length, its installation had been a comparatively cheap and
simple undertaking, and it had paid for itself scores of times over.
Messages of life and death passed across it constantly; instructions in
cases of emergency, tingling over the white line of road, saved the time
that would otherwise have been occupied in walking the 300 yards--for
doctors do not often run; reprimands were roared across it, bulletins
despatched by its agency, dietary altered, medicine prescribed.

The sunshine was coquetting with the little wire, and the great oaks and
elms were surveying the flirtation with affected indifference, one
bright September morning, when Mr James Mortimer, the Doctor's grandson,
who was known among his hospital intimates as the "Long 'Un," having
breakfasted in trousers, shirt, and dressing-gown, rose from the table
and ambled out into the surgery--for, in addition to an asylum, the
doctor had a lucrative practice in that part of Eastfolkshire. The
waiting-room adjoining the surgery was empty, save for one small, pale

Although James was on holiday, he occasionally acted as deputy when his
grandfather and the latter's assistant were not at hand. And James was
quite competent to do so, for he was a fully qualified surgeon.