His attempts towards my cure commenced almost immediately, and for a week I never left his sight. Many a
time in the course of that week did I bless the good fortune which had thrown me in contact with Simla's best
and kindest doctor. Day by day my spirits grew lighter and more equable. Day by day, too, I became more and
more inclined to fall in with Heatherlegh's 'spectral illusion' theory, implicating eyes, brain, and stomach. I
wrote to Kitty, telling her that a slight sprain caused by a fall from my horse kept me indoors for a few days;
and that I should be recovered before she had time to regret my absence.
Heatherlegh's treatment was simple to a degree. It consisted of liver-pills, cold-water baths and strong
exercise, taken in the dusk or at early dawn--for, as he sagely observed: 'A man with a sprained ankle doesn't
walk a dozen miles a day, and your young woman might be wondering if she saw you.'
At the end of the week, after much examination of pupil and pulse and strict injunctions as to diet and
pedestrianism, Heatherlegh dismissed me as brusquely as he had taken charge of me. Here is his parting
benediction: 'Man, I certify to your mental cure, and that's as much as to say I've cured most of your bodily
ailments. Now, get your traps out of this as soon as you can; and be off to make love to Miss Kitty.'
I was endeavoring to express my thanks for his kindness. He cut me short:
'Don't think I did this because I like you. I gather that you've behaved like a blackguard all through. But, all
the same you're a phenomenon, and as queer a phenomenon as you are a blackguard. Now, go out and see if you can find the eyes-brain-and-stomach business again. I'll give you a lakh for each time you see it.'
Half an hour later I was in the Mannerings' drawing-room with Kitty--drunk with the intoxication of present
happiness and the foreknowledge that I should never more be troubled with It's hideous presence. Strong in
the sense of my new-found security, I proposed a ride at once; and, by preference, a canter round Jakko.
Never have I felt so well, so overladen with vitality and mere animal spirits as I did on the afternoon of the
30th of April. Kitty was delighted at the change in my appearance, and complimented me on it in her
delightfully frank and outspoken manner. We left the Mannerings' house together, laughing and talking, and
cantered along the Chota Simla road as of old.
I was in haste to reach the Sanjowlie Reservoir and there make my assurance doubly sure. The horses did their
best, but seemed all too slow to my impatient mind. Kitty was astonished at my boisterousness. 'Why, Jack!'
she cried at last, 'you are behaving like a child! What are you doing?'
We were just below the Convent, and from sheer wantonness I was making my Waler plunge and curvet
across the road as I tickled it with the loop of my riding-whip.
'Doing,' I answered, 'nothing, dear. That's just it. If you'd been doing nothing for a week except lie up, you'd
be as riotous as I.
'Singing and murmuring in your feastful mirth, Joying to feel yourself alive; Lord over nature, Lord of the
visible Earth, Lord of the senses five.''
My quotation was hardly out of my lips before we had rounded the corner above the Convent; and a few yards
further on could see across to Sanjowlie. In the center of the level road stood the black and white liveries, the
yellow-paneled 'rickshaw and Mrs. Keith-Wessington. I pulled up, looked, rubbed my eyes, and, I believe,
must have said something. The next thing I knew was that I was lying face downward on the road, with Kitty
kneeling above me in tears.
'Has it gone, child?' I gasped. Kitty only wept more bitterly.
'Has what gone? Jack dear: what does it all mean? There must be a mistake somewhere, Jack. A hideous
mistake.' Her last words brought me to my feet--mad--raving for the time being.
'Yes, there is a mistake somewhere.' I repeated, 'a hideous mistake. Come and look at It!'
I have an indistinct idea that I dragged Kitty by the wrist along the road up to where It stood, and implored her
for pity's sake to speak to it; to tell It that we were betrothed! that neither Death nor Hell could break the tie
between us; and Kitty only knows how much more to the same effect. Now and again I appealed passionately
to the Terror in the 'rickshaw to bear witness to all I had said, and to release me from a torture that was killing
me. As I talked I suppose I must have told Kitty of my old relations with Mrs. Wessington, for I saw her listen
intently with white face and blazing eyes.