“They are all reducible to one—exhaustion of the will, the prime element of personality. The patient ceases to care. It is too much trouble to work; then too much trouble to read; then too much trouble to exert even those all but mechanical powers of thought which are necessary to any kind of social intercourse—to give an order, to answer a question, to recognise a name or a face: then even the passions die out, till the patient cannot be provoked to rate a stupid amba or a negligent wife; finally, there is not energy to dress or undress, to rise up or sit down. Then the patient is allowed to die: if kept alive perforce, he would finally lack the energy to eat or even to breathe. And yet, all this time, the man is alive, the self is there; and I have prolonged life, or rather renewed it, for a time, by some chance stimulus that has reached the inner sight through the thickening veil, and shocked the essential man into willing and thinking once more as he thought and willed when he was younger than his grandchildren are now.... It is well that some of us who know best how long the flesh may be kept in life, are, in right of that very knowledge, proof against the wish to keep the life in the flesh for ever.”
CHAPTER VII — ESCORT DUTY.
Immediately after breakfast the next morning my host invited me to the gate of his garden, where stood one of the carriages I had seen before in the distance, but never had an opportunity of examining. It rested on three wheels, the two hind ones by far larger than that in front, which merely served to sustain the equilibrium of the body and to steer. The material was the silver-like metal of which most Martial vessels and furniture are formed, every spar, pole, and cross-piece being a hollow cylinder; a construction which, with the extreme lightness of the metal itself, made the carriage far lighter than any I had seen on Earth. The body consisted of a seat with sides, back, and footboard, wide enough to accommodate two persons with ease. It was attached by strong elastic fastenings to a frame consisting of four light poles rising from the framework in which the axles turned; completely dispensing with the trouble of springs, while affording a more complete protection from anything like jolting. The steering gear consisted of a helm attached to the front wheel and coming up within easy reach of the driver’s hand. The electric motive power and machinery were concealed in a box beneath the seat, which was indeed but the top of this most important and largest portion of the carriage. The poles sustained a light framework supporting a canopy, which could be drawn over the top and around three sides of the carriage, leaving only the front open. This canopy, in the present instance, consisted of a sort of very fine silken material, thickly embroidered within and without with feathers of various colours and sizes, combined in patterns of exquisite beauty. My host