you or a theorbo to cheer you would ransack the markets 
of London and procure them somehow, wrapped in paper, 
before the end of the day; the frivolous K. T., dressed in 
silks and feathers, painted and powdered (which takes time 
too) as if for a banquet of Kings and Queens, who spends 
her whole brightness in the gloom of the sick room, and 
makes the medicine bottles ring and the flames shoot up 
with her gossip and her mimicry. But such follies have 
had their day; civilisation points to a different goal; if the 
cities of the Middle West are to blaze with electric light, 
Mr. Insull ‘must keep twenty or thirty engagements
every day of his working months’—and then, what place 
is there be for the tortoise and the theorbo?

There is, let us confess it (and illness is the great con-
fessional) a childish outspokenness in illness; things are 
said, truths blurted out, which the cautious respectability 
of health conceals. About sympathy for example; we can 
do without it. That illusion of a world so shaped 
that it echoes every groan, of human beings so tied 
together by common needs and fears that a twitch at one 
wrist jerks another, where however strange your experience 
other people have had it too, where however far you 
travel in your own mind someone has been there before 
you—is all an illusion. We do not know our own souls, 
let alone the souls of others. Human beings do not go hand 
in hand the whole stretch of the way. There is a virgin 
forest, tangled, pathless, in each; a snow field where even 
the print of birds' feet is unknown. Here we go alone, and 
like it better so. Always to have sympathy, always to be 
accompanied, always to be understood would be intolerable. 
But in health the genial pretence must be kept up and the 
effort renewed—to communicate, to civilise, to share, to 
cultivate the desert, educate the native, to work by day 
together and by night to sport. In illness this make-believe 
ceases. Directly the bed is called for, or, sunk deep among 
pillows in one chair, we raise our feet even an inch above