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Man and Wife

Touching It
As soon as the general stupefaction was allayed, the general incredulity asserted itself as
a matter of course.
The man who first declared that "seeing" was "believing" laid his finger (whether he
knew it himself or not) on one of the fundamental follies of humanity. The easiest of all
evidence to receive is the evidence that requires no other judgment to decide on it than
the judgment of the eye--and it will be, on that account, the evidence which humanity is
most ready to credit, as long as humanity lasts. The eyes of every body looked at
Geoffrey; and the judgment of every body decided, on the evidence there visible, that the
surgeon must be wrong. Lady Lundie herself (disturbed over her dinner invitations) led
the general protest. "Mr. Delamayn in broken health!" she exclaimed, appealing to the
better sense of her eminent medical guest. "Really, now, you can't expect us to believe
that!"
Stung into action for the second time by the startling assertion of which he had been
made the subject, Geoffrey rose, and looked the surgeon, steadily and insolently, straight
in the face.
"Do you mean what you say?" he asked.
"Yes."
"You point me out before all these people--"
"One moment, Mr. Delamayn. I admit that I may have been wrong in directing the
general attention to you. You have a right to complain of my having answered too
publicly the public challenge offered to me by your friends. I apologize for having done
that. But I don't retract a single word of what I have said on the subject of your health."
"You stick to it that I'm a broken-down man?"
"I do."
"I wish you were twenty years younger, Sir!"
"Why?"
"I'd ask you to step out on the lawn there and I'd show you whether I'm a broken-down
man or not."
Lady Lundie looked at her brother-in-law. Sir Patrick instantly interfered.
"Mr. Delamayn," he said, "you were invited here in the character of a gentleman, and you
are a guest in a lady's house."
"No! no!" said the surgeon, good humoredly. "Mr. Delamayn is using a strong argument,
Sir Patrick--and that is all. If I were twenty years younger," he went on, addressing
himself to Geoffrey, "and if I did step out on the lawn with you, the result wouldn't affect
the question between us in the least. I don't say that the violent bodily exercises in which
you are famous have damaged your muscular power. I assert that they have damaged
 
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