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Let Me Feel Your Pulse
by [?]

My doctor called loudly to a waitress to bring some phosphoglycerate of lime hash, dog-bread, bromo-seltzer pancakes, and nux vomica tea for my repast. Then a sound arose like a sudden wind storm among pine trees. It was produced by every guest in the room whispering loudly, “Neurasthenia!” — except one man with a nose, whom I distinctly heard say, “Chronic alcoholism.” I hope to meet him again. The physician in charge turned and walked away.

An hour or so after luncheon he conducted us to the workshop — say fifty yards from the house. Thither the guests had been conducted by the physician in charge’s understudy and sponge-holder — a man with feet and a blue sweater. He was so tall that I was not sure he had a face; hut the Armour Packing Company would have been delighted with his hands.

“Here,” said the physician in charge, “our guests find relaxation from past mental worries by devoting themselves to physical labour — recreation, in reality.”

There were turning-lathes, carpenters’ outfits, clay-modelling tools, spinning-wheels, weaving-frames, treadmills, bass drums, enlarged-crayon-portrait apparatuses, blacksmith forges, and everything, seemingly, that could interest the paying lunatic guests of a first-rate sanitarium.

“The lady making mud pies in the corner,” whispered the physician in charge, “is no other than — Lula Lulington, the authoress of the novel entitled ‘Why Love Loves.’ What she is doing now is simply to rest her mind after performing that piece of work.”

I had seen the book. “Why doesn’t she do it by writing another one instead?” I asked.

As you see, I wasn’t as far gone as they thought I was.

“The gentleman pouring water through the funnel,” continued the physician in charge, “is a Wall Street broker broken down from overwork.”

I buttoned my coat.

Others he pointed out were architects playing with Noah’s arks, ministers reading Darwin’s “Theory of Evolution,” lawyers sawing wood, tired-out society ladies talking Ibsen to the blue-sweatered sponge-holder, a neurotic millionaire lying asleep on the floor, and a prominent artist drawing a little red wagon around the room.

“You look pretty strong,” said the physician in charge to me. “I think the best mental relaxation for you would be throwing small boulders over the mountainside and then bringing them up again.”

I was a hundred yards away before my doctor overtook me.

“What’s the matter?” he asked.

“The matter is,” said I, “that there are no aeroplanes handy. So I am going to merrily and hastily jog the foot-pathway to yon station and catch the first unlimited-soft-coal express back to town.”

“Well,” said the doctor, “perhaps you are right. This seems hardly the suitable place for you. But what you need is rest — absolute rest and exercise.”

That night I went to a hotel in the city, and said to the clerk: “What I need is absolute rest and exercise. Can you give me a room with one of those tall folding beds in it, and a relay of bellboys to work it up and down while I rest?”

The clerk rubbed a speck off one of his finger nails and glanced sidewise at a tall man in a white hat sitting in the lobby. That man came over and asked me politely if I had seen the shrubbery at the west entrance. I had not, so he showed it to me and then looked me over.

“I thought you had ’em,” he said, not unkindly, “but I guess you’re all right. You’d better go see a doctor, old man.”

A week afterward my doctor tested my blood pressure again without the preliminary stimulant. He looked to me a little less like Napoleon. And his socks were of a shade, of tan that did not appeal to me.

“What you need,” he decided, “is sea air and companionship.”

“Would a mermaid –” I began; but he slipped on his professional manner.

“I myself,” he said, “will take you to the Hotel Bonair off the coast of Long Island and see that you get in good shape. It is a quiet, comfortable resort where you will soon recuperate.”