The Two Destinies
8. The Kindred Spirits
THE morning sunlight shining in at a badly curtained window; a clumsy wooden bed,
with big twisted posts that reached to the ceiling; on one side of the bed, my mother's
welcome face; on the other side, an elderly gentleman unremembered by me at that
moment--such were the objects that presented themselves to my view, when I first
consciously returned to the world that we live in.
"Look, doctor, look! He has come to his senses at last."
"Open your mouth, sir, and take a sup of this." My mother was rejoicing over me on one
side of the bed; and the unknown gentleman, addressed as "doctor," was offering me a
spoonful of whisky-and-water on the other. He called it the "elixir of life"; and he bid me
remark (speaking in a strong Scotch accent) that he tasted it himself to show he was in
The stimulant did its good work. My head felt less giddy, my mind became clearer. I
could speak collectedly to my mother; I could vaguely recall the more marked events of
the previous evening. A minute or two more, and the image of the person in whom those
events had all centered became a living image in my memory. I tried to raise myself in
the bed; I asked, impatiently, "Where is she?"
The doctor produced another spoonful of the elixir of life, and gravely repeated his first
address to me.
"Open your mouth, sir, and take a sup of this."
I persisted in repeating my question:
"Where is she?"
The doctor persisted in repeating his formula:
"Take a sup of this."
I was too weak to contest the matter; I obeyed. My medical attendant nodded across the
bed to my mother, and said, "Now, he'll do." My mother had some compassion on me.
She relieved my anxiety in these plain words:
"The lady has quite recovered, George, thanks to the doctor here."
I looked at my professional colleague with a new interest. He was the legitimate
fountainhead of the information that I was dying to have poured into my mind.
"How did you revive her?" I asked. "Where is she now?"