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Chapter 3. A Peculiar Imprisonment
From a slumber as deep as death, as refreshing as that of a healthy child, I slowly
It was like rising up, up, up through a deep warm ocean, nearer and nearer to full light
and stirring air. Or like the return to consciousness after concussion of the brain. I was
once thrown from a horse while on a visit to a wild mountainous country quite new to
me, and I can clearly remember the mental experience of coming back to life, through
lifting veils of dream. When I first dimly heard the voices of those about me, and saw the
shining snowpeaks of that mighty range, I assumed that this too would pass, and I should
presently find myself in my own home.
That was precisely the experience of this awakening: receding waves of half-caught
swirling vision, memories of home, the steamer, the boat, the airship, the forest--at last all
sinking away one after another, till my eyes were wide open, my brain clear, and I
realized what had happened.
The most prominent sensation was of absolute physical comfort. I was lying in a
perfect bed: long, broad, smooth; firmly soft and level; with the finest linen, some warm
light quilt of blanket, and a counterpane that was a joy to the eye. The sheet turned down
some fifteen inches, yet I could stretch my feet at the foot of the bed free but warmly
I felt as light and clean as a white feather. It took me some time to conscientiously
locate my arms and legs, to feel the vivid sense of life radiate from the wakening center
to the extremities.
A big room, high and wide, with many lofty windows whose closed blinds let through
soft green-lit air; a beautiful room, in proportion, in color, in smooth simplicity; a scent of
blossoming gardens outside.
I lay perfectly still, quite happy, quite conscious, and yet not actively realizing what
had happened till I heard Terry.
"Gosh!" was what he said.
I turned my head. There were three beds in this chamber, and plenty of room for them.
Terry was sitting up, looking about him, alert as ever. His remark, though not loud,
roused Jeff also. We all sat up.
Terry swung his legs out of bed, stood up, stretched himself mightily. He was in a
long nightrobe, a sort of seamless garment, undoubtedly comfortable--we all found