Page:Artabanzanus (Ferrar, 1896).djvu/102

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94
THE DEMON OF THE GREAT LAKE

attend to his duties, leaving me to my heart-breaking meditations.

The week passed by—slowly and painfully if I lay awake rapidly and lightly if I slept. Indeed, I could not say that I slept at all, for what passed over me for sleep was only a half-dreamy state of semi-existence; a mentally frenzied, outrageous, idiotic description of obscure insect life, very slightly removed from oblivion itself. I asked myself, while more sensible than usual, 'Have I been drinking with the shepherds of the Great Lake, and am I suffering from delirium tremens?' That could not be, for I am one of the most temperate of men. No; it was a different kind of thing, something mysterious and inexplicable. It was not insanity; I felt quite certain of that. Now I fancied myself groping like a baboon on all fours among sharp rocks at the bottom of the sea; now I was hovering in mid-air over a vast ocean of milk, changing into a wilderness where there were nothing but icebergs and burning mountains. There was no end to my extraordinary visions. While I lay awake my thoughts were not such a chaos of confusion. But now and then the agony of my mind was intense; the pain of my wounds afflicted me terribly. The Doctor came and examined me several times a day—at least, so I judged; he and his assistants unwound my bandages, and rubbed my body with aromatic ointment, while they observed the strictest silence. He smoothed my pillow, administered medicine, and fed me with his own hands. He was kindness and tenderness of heart personified, and my heart bounded with gratitude whenever he came near me.

On the eighth day, according to his computation of time, which I did not understand, he redeemed his word by bringing in three or four of his attendants, who, under his directions, lifted me out of bed, washed and dressed me with gentleness, carried me into the adjoining apartment, whence