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"YES," said the doctor, pressing the tips of
his fingers with a tremulous firmness on
my pulse, and looking straight forward into
the pupils of my eyes, " yes, I see: the
symptoms all point unmistakably towards
one conclusionBrain. My dear sir, you have
been working too hard; you have been
following the dangerous example of the rest of
the world in this age of business and bustle.
Your brain is over-taxedthat is your
complaint. You must let it restthere is your

"You mean," I said, " that I must keep
quiet, and do Nothing?"

"Precisely so," replied the doctor. " You
must not read or write; you must abstain
from allowing yourself to be excited by
society; you must have no annoyances; you
must feel no anxieties; you must not think;
you must be neither elated nor depressed;
you must keep early hours and take an
occasional tonic, with moderate exercise, and a
nourishing but not too full a dietabove all,
as perfect repose is essential to your
restoration, you must go away into the country,
taking any direction you please, and living
just as you like, so long as you are quiet and
so long as you do Nothing."

"I presume he is not to go away into the
country without me? " said my wife, who
was present at the interview.

"Certainly not," rejoined the doctor with
a gallant bow. "I look to your influence, my
dear madam, to encourage our patient to
follow my directions. It is unnecessary to
repeat them, they are so extremely simple
and easy to carry out. I will answer for your
husband's recovery if he will but remember
that he has now only two objects in life
to keep quiet, and to do Nothing."

My wife is a woman of business habits.
As soon as the doctor had taken his leave,
she produced her pocket-book, and made
a brief abstract of his directions for
our future guidance. I looked over her
shoulder and observed that the entry ran

"Rules for dear William's restoration
to health. No reading; no writing; no
excitement; no annoyance; no anxiety; no
thinking. Tonic. No elation of spirits.
Nice dinners. No depression of spirits.
Dear William to take little walks (with me).
To go to bed early. To get up, ditto. N.B.—
Keep him quiet. Mem: Mind he does

Mind I do Nothing? No need to mind
about that. I have not had a holiday since I
was a boy. Oh, blessed Idleness, after the
years and years of industry that have
separated us, are you and I to be brought
together again at last ? Oh, my weary right
hand, are you really to ache no longer with
driving the ceaseless pen? May I, indeed,
put you in my pocket, and let you rest there,
indolently, for hours together? Yes! For I
am now at last to begindoing Nothing.
Delightful task that performs itself. Welcome
responsibility that carries its weight away
smoothly on its own shoulders. Doing
Nothing? What an ease there is in the mere
sound of the words! What a luxurious
conviction I feel that in this one object of my
life at least, I am certain, before-hand, of
achieving the completest success.

These thoughts shine in pleasantly on my
mind after the doctor has taken his departure,
and diffuse an easy gaiety over my spirits
when my wife and I set forth, the next day,
for the country. We are not going the round
of the noisy watering-places, nor is it our
intention to accept any invitations to join the
gay circles assembled by festive country
friends. My wife, guided solely by the
abstract of the doctor's directions in her
pocket-book, has decided that the only way
to keep me absolutely quiet, and to
make sure of my doing Nothing, is to take me
to some pretty retired village and to put me
up at a little primitive, unsophisticated
country-inn. I offer no objection to this project
not because I have no will of my own and am
not master of all my movements, but only
because I happen to agree with my wife.
Considering what a very independent man I
am, naturally, it has sometimes struck me,
as a rather remarkable circumstance, that I
always do agree with her.

We find the pretty, retired village. A
charming place, full of thatched cottages with
creepers at the doors, like the first easy lessons
in drawing-masters' copy-books. We find the