OF THE BEST HELLEBORE; AND AN EXPERIMENT IN THE ENTERTAINMENT OF TWINS.
For three days Mr. Fogo continued to propose. On the evening of the third day the little Doctor shook his head. After this, for about a week, Mr. Fogo proposed and the Doctor shook his head at intervals. Finally, and in the middle of a sentence, the patient fell into a deep slumber.
When he awoke, it was to the conviction that he, Mr. Fogo, being a bolster, had been robbed of his rightful stuffing by some person or persons unknown. He had lain for some time pondering this situation with a growing resentment, when he was aware of some one sitting between him and the sunshine.
“Who are you?” he asked.
“I am Tamsin Dearlove.”
The remark made by Diogenes under somewhat like circumstances would have been ungallant. In the process of searching for a better the sick man fell asleep again.
What happened on his next return to consciousness shall be given in his own words. He told me the story last autumn:—
“You see,” he explained shyly, “I have not, my dear young friend, that ingenuity of phrase which I so admire in you” (I protest I have not the heart to suppress this tribute), “but seeing that, in such a case, experience counts for something—and naturally, at your age, you have yet to learn what it is to propose to a woman—I think I had better tell you exactly what happened, the more so as it is a matter which, if, as you assure me, necessary to your chronicle, I desire to be related with accuracy. I am not, you understand, in the least reflecting on your love of truth, but, after all, I did, as the obnoxious phrase has it, ‘propose’ to Tamsin, whereas you—ahem—did not.”
I am convinced my friend meant to say “would not have had the infernal impudence,” but softened the expression, being habitually careful of the feelings of others.
“When I awoke again,” he went on, “she was seated in the window, knitting. I lay for a long while watching her—indeed, this is my first impression—before I made any sign. The sunshine—it was morning—fell on her head as she bent over her needles, and emphasised that peculiar bloom of gold which (you may have noticed) her brown locks possess. Her lashes, too, as they drooped upon a cheek pale (as I could perceive) beyond its wont, had a glimmer of the same golden tint. Altogether I thought her more beautiful than I ever imagined; and to this day,” he added in an outburst of confidence, “I frequently decoy her to a seat in the sunlight, that I may taste a renewal of the sensations I enjoyed that morning. Some day, perhaps, you will be better able to sympathise with this caprice.