Page:Twilight.djvu/20

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12
TWILIGHT

I dined in bed and treated myself to an extra dose of nepenthe on the excuse of the fatigue of my journey. The prescription had been given to me by one of those eminent London physicians of whom I hope one day to make a pen-and-ink drawing. It is an insidious drug with varying effects. That night I remember the pain was soon under weigh and the strange half-wakeful dreams began early. It was good to be out of pain even if one knew it to be only a temporary deliverance. The happiness of a recovered amiability soon became mine, after which conscience began to worry me because I had been ungrateful to my sister and had run away from her, and been rude to her doctor, that strange doctor. I smiled in my drowsiness when I thought of him and his beloved Margaret Capel, a strange devotee at a forgotten shrine, in his cutaway checked coat and the baggy trousers. But the boots might have come from Lobb. His hands were smooth, of the right texture. Evidently the romance of his life had been this Margaret Capel.

So this place had been a nursing-home, and when she knew it she heard groans and smelt ether. Her books were like that: fanciful, frothy. She had never a straightforward story to tell. It was years since I had heard her name, and I had forgotten what little I knew, except that I had once been resentful of the fuss the critics had made over her. I believed she was dead, but could not be sure.