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I may as well begin this record—writes Pelicanby saying that I hate water. I have against it an antipathy so strong that I think it must be constitutional. I can heartily say “ Amen” to every sentence written by St. Francis of Assisi in his hymn of praise, except that one in which he speaks with fraternal affection of “our sister the water, which is pure and serviceable and clean.” I dislike it in its relation both to the sense of taste and the sense of touch ; and can appreciate it only in a landscape, where its absence is as unendurable as its presence anywhere else. I have so often expressed my feelings on this matter that I believe many of my friends consider me the victim of a harmless monomania on the subject of the pure element; and I am continually compelled to listen to the very smallest of small jokes, whose point-if they have any—lies in some absurd manner of accounting for what is considered my extraordinary peculiarity. The latest theory was propounded the other evening by a would-be facetious acquaintance, who declared that I was a living proof of the doctrine of the transmigration of souls, for it was evident that in some other life I had been a mad dog, whose madness was so virulent that even a passage from one state of being into another could not wholly eradicate its predominant symptom.
But we never know what is in store for us; and just as poverty gives us strange bedfellows, so illness
makes us acquainted with terrible remedies. There came a time when for months I felt increasingly out of sorts. I tried first one specific and then another without success. Draughts and dieting seemed alike useless : physicians were in vain. I was beginning to despair, when one of my friends, who was of course acquainted with my pet aversion, maliciously suggested a visit to a water-cure establishment as really the one thing needful for me. I need not say that I rejected the idea with unqualified contempt; but it soon became evident that I was the victim of a well-organized conspiracy, the end and aim of which was to force me to carry out this inhuman suggestion. Whenever I met a friend in the street I was compelled to stand and listen to his praises of hydropathy; my evening visitors, who became very numerous indeed, had all amazing stories to tell of its wonderful triumphs; and every morning the postman brought me some book or pamphlet which described in eloquent and glowing language the delights of the aquatic curative process.
I cannot wish to linger over my animated but ineffectual resistance. The subject is naturally painful and humiliating. We have proverbial authority for the statement that the continual falling of very small quantities of water will wear away a stone; and my resolution must have been composed of moral granite, or it could not have resisted for so long a time the constant dropping to which it was subjected. At last, however, it was worn away; and the only matter to be decided was in which chamber of the watery inquisition I should undergo my martyrdom. This, I soon found, was a question not to be settled without an amount of worry and trouble to which I look back with 'horror. My friends, hitherto so united, split up into noisy factions. Some recommended Malvern, the metropolis of the water cure; others advised Matlock as at once more picturesque and progressive. A ponderously scientific acquaintance said that Dr. A was the only hydropathist in England in whom he had the slightest confidence; another acquaintance, even more ponderously scientific, made precisely the same remark concerning Dr. B-; a maiden aunt of evangelical sentiments implored me to go to Dr. C's, where, she assured me, my body and soul would be equally cared for ; while three or four strongminded ladies, and one not very strong-minded gentleman warned me with grave severity that I must never expect another day of health if I declined to put myself at once under the care of Mr. and Mrs. D
Here was a pleasant state of things for any one in my prostrate condition. I knew that in pleasing one friend, I must mortally offend twenty others; for I had learned from sad experience that, as a rule, the grossest insult you can offer to a man is the rejection of his unsolicited advice. When, however, I was in the deepest depth of my absurd, and yet most miserable, perplexity, I received a note from a friend who resided in the once fashionable city of St. Austin's, informing me that a new establishment had been opened in a beautiful spot about six miles from his home, and as it did not profess to accommodate more than five-andtwenty patients, he thought it might suit me better than
any of the larger and more celebrated institutions. The information was most welcome, as it supplied me with a pretext for immediate decision. The preliminary arrangements were soon made, and after a long railway journey, I found myself one evening after dark at the door of the Avondale Hydropathic Establishment.
Glennie, my friend from St. Austin's, accompanied me, and I was introduced to Mr. Filey, the manager, a tall, gaunt, ungainly, and decidedly unprepossessing individual, who said, “How do you do, sir?” in a sepulchral tone of voice which gave me an unpleasant feeling for fully half an hour. I was provided with something to eat and, fortunately, a cup of tea-instead of the glass of water I had expected—to drink. The tea refreshed me, and I began to look upon things in general more cheerily, and to think that this den of water demons might not be a bad place after all. I was just finishing my repast when the attendant physician, who lived about half a mile away, paid his usual evening visit and looked in upon me.
I do not think I ever met a more genial jolly Scotchman (and I have met many of them) than Dr. Graham. We took to each other at once; and he became confidential enough to drop some hints in the course of our conversation which modified very considerably the ardour of my desire to make the acquaintance of my fellow-patients. When he rose to go home I requested that I might be shown to my room, and that I might be allowed to sleep until half an hour before breakfast.
At eight o'clock, accordingly, I was aroused by a loud knocking, and a hoarse voice at my door. I sprang out of bed at once, dressed hastily, drew up the blind, and looked out of the window to see what kind of place I had been transported to in the dark. The scene was certainly a pleasant one. Immediately below my window was a garden with broad terraces, which formed a winding walk leading down to the bank of one of the stately rivers of the south-a river which for miles of its course flowed slowly and peacefully along, without a turbulent wave or an audible murmur, but just opposite the house danced and glittered in the morning sunlight as it leaped in wild gladness over a roaring and foaming weir; and then, with unsubdued spirit, rushed in whirlpools and eddies through the gothic arches of an ancient bridge that spanned its banks. Beyond and above the river rose a thickly wooded hill, like most of our English hills, of no great magnitude, but having, nothwithstanding, a certain majesty of its own; hard to climb, as I afterwards discovered, but very pleasant to gaze upon, with its