Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/716

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696

THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

shrank from the wound—only there was nowhere to shrink. A little before, I had merely felt the cruel element in helpless passivity; now, a still more crushing probe came; for an instant it forced all my atoms into one solid steel-mass of intense agony—then, when things couldn't go much farther, and all must be over, a sense of reaction emerged; there was a loosening, and I was urged into relief by uttering from my very depths what seemed not so much (at first) a piteous remonstrance as a piteous 'expression' (like an imitation) of the pain: in fact, the sense of woe had got also outside, and I heard it, a very low, infinitely genuine, moan. . . . The next second there was a change: hitherto it had been pain partout—now there came a quick concentration, the pain all ran together (like quicksilver), and I suddenly was aware that it was (localized) up on the right; while, simultaneously with this recognition of locality, a feeling of incipient resistance began to be in other parts (not that I felt them except just as other parts) of me from which the pain had receded. The pain itself was no less intense, rather more vivid, only I seemed to take it in a more lively manner: my uttering of a moan was no longer a mere faithful representation out into the air of what was inside me, but I had a slight sense of making an appeal for sympathy: to whom or to what I did not know, for there was no one or anything there. I was just going to utter a yet louder moan—as a fresh, fearful imposition of force plunged into me—when, there in front of me, to the left of my pain, was that girl, with those lovely ankles, and the graceful, Zingari brown stockings. . . . I felt, as distinctly as if some one had told me aloud, that I would not make any cry, that it was not the thing.

"Now came an agonizing, cold wrench, and two or three more successively, in such a hideously rough fashion, that the girl went, and everything was tortured out of me but the darkness and the gigantic racking, swaying torture which was excruciating my right side. An iron force, like a million-horse power, had hold of me, and I was being pulled upward and out of where I was, while I myself seemed another million-horse power which would not be pulled: the pain was something to be remembered. But up I came, the darkness got denser (I went so fast); it was vibrating, the dense agony vibrated faster; I was quivering, struggling, kicking out; everything was a convulsion of torture, my head seemed to come to the surface, a glimpse of light and air broke on the darkness, voices came through to me, and words; I recognized that a 'tooth' was being slowly twisted out of my jaw, then I groaned imploringly, in true earthly style, as if this was too much, and I ought to be let alone now I was getting my head out; then I swallowed in air, made an exertion with my 'chest,' found my 'arms' were pressing something hard, grasped the 'chair,' and pushed myself up out in bewildered light, just as the dentist threw away the second right molar from the upper jaw."

Concerning this account it may be remarked, on the one hand, that