Looking Backward From 2000 to 1887 HTML version
Next morning I rose somewhat before the breakfast hour. As I descended the stairs, Edith
stepped into the hall from the room which had been the scene of the morning interview
between us described some chapters back.
"Ah!" she exclaimed, with a charmingly arch expression, "you thought to slip out
unbeknown for another of those solitary morning rambles which have such nice effects
on you. But you see I am up too early for you this time. You are fairly caught."
"You discredit the efficacy of your own cure," I said, "by supposing that such a ramble
would now be attended with bad consequences."
"I am very glad to hear that," she said. "I was in here arranging some flowers for the
breakfast table when I heard you come down, and fancied I detected something
surreptitious in your step on the stairs."
"You did me injustice," I replied. "I had no idea of going out at all."
Despite her effort to convey an impression that my interception was purely accidental, I
had at the time a dim suspicion of what I afterwards learned to be the fact, namely, that
this sweet creature, in pursuance of her self-assumed guardianship over me, had risen for
the last two or three mornings at an unheard-of hour, to insure against the possibility of
my wandering off alone in case I should be affected as on the former occasion. Receiving
permission to assist her in making up the breakfast bouquet, I followed her into the room
from which she had emerged.
"Are you sure," she asked, "that you are quite done with those terrible sensations you had
"I can't say that I do not have times of feeling decidedly queer," I replied, "moments
when my personal identity seems an open question. It would be too much to expect after
my experience that I should not have such sensations occasionally, but as for being
carried entirely off my feet, as I was on the point of being that morning, I think the
danger is past."
"I shall never forget how you looked that morning," she said.
"If you had merely saved my life," I continued, "I might, perhaps, find words to express
my gratitude, but it was my reason you saved, and there are no words that would not
belittle my debt to you." I spoke with emotion, and her eyes grew suddenly moist.
"It is too much to believe all this," she said, "but it is very delightful to hear you say it.
What I did was very little. I was very much distressed for you, I know. Father never
thinks anything ought to astonish us when it can be explained scientifically, as I suppose