“Ah!” said Bindon, respecting this manly grief. “Oh!” said Bindon quite suddenly, with his hand to his side.
Mwres looked up sharply out of the pit of his sorrows, startled. “What’s the matter?” he asked, visibly concerned.
“A most violent pain. Excuse me! You were telling me about Elizabeth.”
And Mwres, after a decent solicitude for Bindon’s pain, proceeded with his report. It was even unexpectedly hopeful. Elizabeth, in her first emotion at discovering that her father had not absolutely deserted her, had been frank with him about her sorrows and disgusts.
“Yes,” said Bindon, magnificently, “I shall have her yet.” And then that novel pain twitched him for the second time.
For these lower pains the priest was comparatively ineffectual, inclining rather to regard the body and them as mental illusions amenable to contemplation; so Bindon took it to a man of a class he loathed, a medical man of extraordinary repute and incivility. “We must go all over you,” said the medical man, and did so with the most disgusting frankness. “Did you ever bring any children into the world?” asked this gross materialist among other impertinent questions.
“Not that I know of,” said Bindon, too amazed to stand upon his dignity.
“Ah!” said the medical man, and proceeded with his punching and sounding. Medical science in those days was just reaching the beginnings of precision. “You’d better go right away,” said the medical man, “and make the Euthanasia. The sooner the better.”
Bindon gasped. He had been trying not to understand the technical explanations and anticipations in which the medical man had indulged.
“I say!” he said. “But do you mean to say … Your science … ”
“Nothing,” said the medical man. “A few opiates. The thing is your own doing, you know, to a certain extent.”
“I was sorely tempted in my youth.”
“It’s not that so much. But you come of a bad stock. Even if you’d have taken precautions you’d have had bad times to wind up with. The mistake was getting born. The indiscretions of the parents. And you’ve shirked exercise, and so forth.”
“I had no one to advise me.”
“Medical men are always willing.”
“I was a spirited young fellow.”