"By 'last time,' you mean you were attendant here then too?"
"Yes, just next door. I was caring for your neighbor at that time. You may not have known it."
This neighbor was the man in the room adjoining my own to the east, the source of that curious sound. I looked at the nurse. It was she who, when called to in the middle of the night, responded in that gentle voice and woke to attend her patient. I never would have guessed it. Though that sound had piqued my interest to no end at the time, I was not inclined now to ask after its nature. "I see." I replied simply and wiped the outside of my pot. As I was doing so, she suddenly broached a new subject, shifting her tone a bit.
"During those days, on occasion, we heard a peculiar sound from your room ..."
Feeling suddenly blindsided, I turned her way. She elaborated further.
"It was early mornings. Around six, I believe."
"Ah, that," I replied heartily, realizing now what she meant. "That was my Auto-Strop. I shave each morning. I have a safety razor, and I strop the blade to keep it sharp. I'm doing it even still. You're welcome to come and see for yourself."
The nurse simply voiced her surprise. As it turned out, the patient next door had taken great interest in the sound of that strop. He'd asked his nurse, on numerous occasions, what it could be. When she'd said she didn't know, he'd surmised that his neighbor, in better physical health than himself, was exercising each morning. He'd decided it was some sort of fitness contraption, and more than once had expressed his envy.