I said not exactly an idiot. Yet your strong disinclination toward marriage could certainly be traced to a shocked condition of the nerves. Certain fixed ideas—
“Fixed ideas!” said your Aunt. She has a particularly annoying habit of repeating one’s words. “Benis has always had fixed ideas—though when he was young,” she added with satisfaction, “I knew how to unfix them. If this absurd rest cure can do anything to cure chronic stubbornness, I’ve nothing to say. Why, even his father was easier to manage.”
“Benis,” I said, “considers himself very like his father.”
“Does he?” retorted your dear Aunt with withering scorn. “He is just as much like his father as a lemon is like a lobster.”
This ended our conversation. But the effect of it is still with me. Last night I dreamed of lemons and today I prescribed lobster for a man with acute dyspepsia. I tell you what, you old shirker, it’s up to you to come home and bear your own Aunt. I’m through. Bones.
P.S. The office nurse has been changed since you left. I have now Miss Watkins, returned from overseas. I think you knew her—name of Mary? Very good looking—almost her only fault.
P.P.S. What you say about your pleasant old gentle-man with the umbrella sounds very much like masked epilepsy. Ought to be under treatment. I should say dangerous.
S.O.S. Aunt Caroline has just ’phoned to know whether all letter-writing is barred or if not, wouldn’t it be helpful if you were to drop a line to a few of your young-friends? For herself she expects nothing, but she does think, etc., etc., etc.!
Come back! B.
Comprising a lengthy letter from, Benis Spence to John Rogers, M.D.
Dear and Venerable Bones: Your fatherly letter came too late. What was going to happen has happened. But I will be honest and admit that its earlier arrival would have made no difference. Calm yourself with the thought that our fates are written upon our foreheads. I have been able to read mine for some little time now. For there are some things which are impossible and leaving Desire here was one of them.
I call her “Desire” to you because it is what you will be calling her soon. Strange, how that small fact seems to place her’ Fancy my marrying someone whom you would naturally call “Mrs. Spence”? There are such people. All Aunt Caroline’s young friends are like that. You would say, “I have looked forward to meeting you, Mrs. Spence,” and she would giggle and say, “Oh, Dr. Rogers, I have heard my husband speak of you so often!” But Desire will say, “So this is John.” And then she will look at you with that detached yet interested look and you will find yourself saying “Desire” before you think of it. You see, she belongs.