Page:Path of Vision; pocket essays of East and West.djvu/79

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THE MOTHER OF COMMON SENSE

these birds is irritating, exasperating, maddening. What brought you here? On a hike? I wish I could go with you. But my legs can't carry me anywhere beyond my own hell. The solitude of the hills is a hollow mockery—the healing influence of the forest, a fake, a sham—worse than a doctor's prescription.... And this damned stream is not deep enough anywhere.

He got up coughing, a deep, dry, racking cough, which brought the livid glow to his cheeks; and turning his back to me, he waved his hand—a silent farewell. I was, indeed, sorry, but there was nothing to be done. He was beyond the reach of any human solace. I was certain, however, that he had not the courage, even if the stream was deep enough anywhere. But the spark of genius was not extinguished in him. It scintellated in his eyes, and seemed to feed on the tuberculosis germs in his lungs. I wondered which will survive the other, or whether he himself would survive both.

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