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The Dream Doctor

5. The Phantom Circuit
Brixton had evidently been waiting impatiently for our arrival. "Mr. Kennedy?" he
inquired, adding quickly without waiting for an answer: "I am glad to see you. I suppose
you have noticed the precautions we are taking against intruders? Yet it seems to be all of
no avail. I can not be alone even here. If a telephone message comes to me over my
private wire, if I talk with my own office in the city, it seems that it is known. I don't
know what to make of it. It is terrible. I don't know what to expect next."
Brixton had been standing beside a huge mahogany desk as we entered. I had seen him
before at a distance as a somewhat pompous speaker at banquets and the cynosure of the
financial district. But there was something different about his looks now. He seemed to
have aged, to have grown yellower. Even the whites of his eyes were yellow.
I thought at first that perhaps it might be the effect of the light in the centre of the room, a
huge affair set in the ceiling in a sort of inverted hemisphere of glass, concealing and
softening the rays of a powerful incandescent bulb which it enclosed. It was not the light
that gave him the altered appearance, as I concluded from catching a casual confirmatory
glance of perplexity from Kennedy himself.
"My personal physician says I am suffering from jaundice," explained Brixton. Rather
than seeming to be offended at our notice of his condition he seemed to take it as a good
evidence of Kennedy's keenness that he had at once hit on one of the things that were
weighing on Brixton's own mind. "I feel pretty badly, too. Curse it," he added bitterly,
"coming at a time when it is absolutely necessary that I should have all my strength to
carry through a negotiation that is only a beginning, important not so much for myself as
for the whole world. It is one of the first times New York bankers have had a chance to
engage in big dealings in that part of the world. I suppose Yvonne has shown you one of
the letters I am receiving?"
He rustled a sheaf of them which he drew from a drawer of his desk, and continued, not
waiting for Kennedy even to nod:
"Here are a dozen or more of them. I get one or two every day, either here or at my town
house or at the office."
Kennedy had moved forward to see them.
"One moment more," Brixton interrupted, still holding them. "I shall come back to the
letters. That is not the worst. I've had threatening letters before. Have you noticed this
room?"
We had both seen and been impressed by it.
 
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