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was habitually a mental valetudinarian, and in perpetual apprehension of at length becoming the victim of some optical illusion.
“Dear uncle,” said Diana, in a soothing tone, “perhaps such intense study has a little deranged your nervous system; give yourself a holiday to-morrow evening, and spend it amongst your friends. If the same illusion attends you abroad, we must consider how to treat your case; but perhaps
“ No, Diana,” replied Pendennis, in a desponding tone, “ that is what I cannot do; I am much hurried in preparing these sheets for the press, and would not, on any account, by delay, disappoint the
bookseller and the public.” Now this Diana was well aware of already, or she never would have hazarded the above-mentioned kind and considerate proposal. Accordingly, on the following evening, Pendennis once more sat down to his work, with which he had not been
engaged many minutes, when Diana came in, and, with an affectionate smile, hoped her uncle was not disturbed to-night with any of those spectral appearances which, on the preceding evening, had so much annoyed him. Great indeed was the surprise the young lady assumed-great, as if it had not been the very answer she expected—when Pendennis, with a melancholy shake of the head, replied" The appearance indeed is altered, but the disorder remains the same. To-night all the candles look to me of a rose colour."
At this account Diana seemed highly amused.--"Well, now I have some hopes of you,” she said; “ to change from blue devils to idées couleur de rose is already a great step gained.”
Peņdennis gave her a rueful look, but contrived, by means of turning his eyes from the offensive objects, and fixing his thoughts intently on the employment he was engaged in, to get tolerably through his business that evening.
The next night it was worse and worse. Our visionary tourist saw. candles blue, green, red, purple, orange, and yellow; and it would have been very extraordi." nary if he had done otherwise, as such were the colours with which his dutiful niece had, previous to his entrance into the apartment, tricked out the candlesticks and bronzes.--" Dear uncle," said she, with an air of tender solicitude, “ thisi must not be suffered to go on; you must -indeed you must have some advice.”
“ Advice! I will none of it!" exclaim. ed Pendennis, who, among many other ri. diculous prejudices, harboured a most ex. travagant one against the faculty;:“ unless) indeed,” he added, softening down a little -"unless I could have the opinion of one who was at once a medical adviser and a friend-such a one as good little Mar, par exemple.?
“ Sir Ulysses Mar," said Diana, correct. ing her uncle. “ Have you not heard of the lucky cure
he performed in the country—of his com. ing up to town of Mr. and Mrs. Gore's violent commendations of him, and of his being knighted by the lord-lieutenant ?”
Now our tourist had not heard a syllable of this, but he was equally glad to find his friend within reach; and heaving a gentle sigh that he was not also sir Peter Pendennis, he sent, on the following morning, for sir Thady Ulysses Mar.
Whether the wise Ulysses had received some hints from the wily niece of Pendennis, it is impossible for us to determine; but certain it is, that when the tourist had described his symptoms, sir Ulysses, after talking a little about spectral deceptions and optical illusions, acknowledged it was not in the power of medicine to do much in this case, and suggested change of air, of scene, and a return to regular and stated, but less anxious and laborious employments, as the best chance of working a speedy cure. This Pendennis affirmed to be impos
sible, alleging he should disappoint innumerable persons of fashion, if he did not present them, in the course of a month, with a play, and a series of most instructive and entertaining lectures.
After a little more conversation, sir Ulysses shook his friend by the hand, wished him better, and withdrew.
But while Diana was thus vainly endeavouring to drive out one absurdity by the assistance of another, Fortune-not the thoughtless and beautiful nymph, with a green ribbon over her eyes, and mounted on a rolling wheel—but rather arrayed with “sable stole of cypress lawn," was preparing to serve her a better turn than she either deserved or expected.