The doctor listened respectfully to the long list of her symptoms and to her own diagnosis of them. No, he did not think it was the rheumatism driven inside her.... He asked her a great many questions, some of which she thought indelicate.
“You’re thoroughly run down,” he said at last—“been doing too much—you’ve done a lot, you know.”
“Reckon I have,” said Joanna—“but I’m a young woman yet”—there was a slight touch of defiance in her last words.
“Oh, age has nothing to do with it. We’re liable to overwork ourselves at all ages. Overwork and worry.... What you need is a thorough rest of mind and body. I recommend a change.”
“You mean I should ought to go away?”
“But I haven’t been away for twenty year.”
“That’s just it. You’ve let yourself get into a groove. You want a thorough change of air, scene and society. I recommend that you go away to some cheerful gay watering-place, where there’s plenty going on and you’ll meet new people.”
“But what’ll become of Ansdore?”
“Surely it can get on without you for a few weeks?”
“I can’t go till the lambing’s finished.”
“When will that be?”
“Not till after Easter.”
“Well, Easter is a very good time to go away. Do take my advice about this, Miss Godden. You’ll never be really well and happy if you keep in a groove ...”
“Groove!” snorted Joanna.
She was so much annoyed with him for having twice referred to Ansdore as a “groove” that at first she felt inclined not to take his advice. But even to Joanna this was unsatisfactory as a revenge—“If I stay at home, maybe I’ll get worse, and then he’ll be coming over to see me in my ‘groove’ and getting eight-and-six each time for it.” It would certainly be better to go away and punish the doctor by a complete return to health. Besides, she was awed by the magnitude of the prescription. It was a great thing on the Marsh to be sent away for change of air, instead of just getting a bottle of stuff to take three times daily after meals.... She’d go, and make a splash of it.
Then the question arose—where should she go? She could go to her cousins in the Isle of Wight, but they were a poor lot. She could go to Chichester, where Martha Relf, the girl who had been with her when she first took over Ansdore and had behaved so wickedly with the looker at Honeychild, now kept furnished rooms as a respectable widow. Martha, who was still grateful to Joanna, had written and asked her to come and try her accommodation.... But by no kind of process could Chichester be thought of as a “cheerful watering-place,” and Joanna was resolved to carry out her prescription to the letter.
“Why don’t you go to a really good place?” suggested Ellen—“Bath or Matlock or Leamington. You could stay at a hydro, if you liked.”