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I WENT straight to the nearest doctor's, and after some delay the surgeon— a rather eminent one— came into the consulting-room.

"Well," said he cheerily, "and what's the trouble?"

"This," I said, removing my hand which I had kept to my forehead for the sake of appearances. "This— it won't come off."

"I see," he smiled. "What is it— a green corn-plaster? Part of a fancy-dress ball costume, perhaps? . . . Seems tight," he went on, feeling it. "You've tried hot water, of course?"

I had to admit that I had not thought of that.

"People never do think of these simple things —'twould be a bad job for we doctors if they did, maybe. Ha! ha! We'll try the hot water."

He ordered some, and was soon sponging away at my forehead, trying presently to slide the plaster off.

"Hum— seems tight . . . Do you feel anything?"

The pain of the operation had wrung a yell from me— it was excruciating.

He persisted, however, till I refused to suffer any more, all the time pooh-poohing the idea that I could possibly be pained by it.

"A little skin irritation," he said. "Your nerves fancy the rest."

Some steel instrument of the knife order was next tried, but this was no more successful than the steaming; indeed the point of the blade was turned directly it came into contact with the adhesive substance.

The doctor paused. "What on earth have you stuck it on with?" he asked. " What is it?

"The Mark of the Beast," I answered. I was getting alarmed.

"You've been to a fancy-dress ball as Professor Mirzarbeau?" he said, interrogatively. "But I didn't mean that. I wanted to know what the green substance was made of?"

"I don't know," I returned; "it is the Mark of the Beast."

The doctor looked rather hard at me, then casually inquired where I lived, and who were my friends, noting my answers surreptitiously. He also tapped my head, asking whether I ever felt pain in various parts of it. Finally, he wrote a prescription, and told me to call again.

"But what about this ridiculous plaster?" I urged. "How long am I to be a guy like this?"

"Till you tell me what you used to stick it on with, I'm afraid; unless you'd like me to cut it out. Better not decide too hastily about that, though."

"But I didn't stick it on," said I, giving him a brief history of how I came to wear it.

"Then," said he, " I'd advise you to leave it alone for awhile, and perhaps it will come off by itself. I can do nothing till I know what it is stuck with. If you'll excuse me saying it, I would suggest that some practical joke has been played on you."

"A joke some one will have to pay for pretty heavily," I growled.

"That," said he, rising to bid me good-day, "is no affair of mine. But I wish you could find out what's the adhesive substance used."

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