"Oh, Doctor John—I shudder at the thought of being liable to such an illusion! It seemed so real. Is there no cure?—no preventive?"
"Happiness is the cure—a cheerful mind the preventive—cultivate both".
No mockery in this world ever sounds to me so hollow as that of being told to cultivate happiness. What does such advice mean? Happiness is not a potato, to be planted in mold, and tilled with manure. Happiness is a glory shining far down upon us out of Heaven. She is a divine dew which the soul, on certain of its summer mornings, feels dropping upon it from the amaranth bloom and golden fruitage of Paradise.
"Cultivate happiness!" I said briefly to the doctor; "do you cultivate happiness? How do you manage?"
"I am a cheerful fellow by nature; and then ill-luck has never dogged me. Adversity gave me and my mother one passing scowl and brush, but we defied her, or rather laughed at her, and she went by".
"There is no cultivation in all this".
"I do not give way to melancholy".
"Yes: I have seen you subdued by that feeling".
"About Ginevra Fanshawe—eh?"
"Did she not sometimes make you miserable?"
"Pooh! stuff! nonsense! You see I am better now".
If a laughing eye with a lively light, and a face, bright with beaming and healthy energy, could attest that he was better, better he certainly was.
"You do not look much amiss, or greatly out of condition", I allowed.
"And why, Lucy, can't you look and feel as I do—buoyant, courageous, and fit to defy all the nuns and flirts in Christendom? I would give gold on the spot just to see you snap your fingers. Try the manœuvre".
"If I were to bring Miss Fanshawe into your presence just now?"
"I vow, Lucy, she should not move me; or, she should move me but by one thing—true, yes, and passionate love. I would accord forgiveness at no less a price".
"Indeed! a smile of hers would have been a fortune to you a while since".