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“Why! Look! he’s dead, doctor!” I gasped, standing aghast. The sudden change in the thin sallow face, the lack of expression in the brilliant eyes, and the dropping of the jaw were sufficient to convince me that the stranger’s life had ebbed away. The doctor bent, placed his hand upon the prostrate man’s breast for a moment, and then, straightening himself, he turned to me and answered gravely:— “Yes, Godfrey; it is as I feared from the first. Nothing could save him. Remember what I told you this morning—it was simply a matter of hours.” “He appears to have been a rather strong, athletic man,” I remarked, looking down upon the wan, furrowed face. “Unusually so. The disease, however, has thoroughly wrecked his constitution. He was addicted to the morphia habit of late.” And pulling down the sheet he pointed to the marks of recent punctures upon the dead man’s forearm. We were standing together in the small shabby bedroom of the boarding-house wherein I lived in Granville Gardens, facing the recreation ground close to Shepherd’s Bush Railway Station. The stifling July day was at an end, and the narrow room was lit by the soft hazy glow of the fast-fading London sunset. Through the open window came the shouts of children at play upon the “green” opposite, mingled with the chatter of the passers-by and the ever-increasing whirr of the electric trams. Within that faded, smoke-grimed chamber of the dead was silence. Upon the bed between us lay the dead stranger—the man who was a mystery.

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