Then the doctor is an idiot, and Ill tell him so to his face. I know whats the matter with you. Youve been walking around the back yard barefoot, or doing some other foolish thing. I expected it, however. No woman is happy unless shes flat down about half the time. How on earth any of your sex manage to live to be twenty years old is a mystery to me. The average woman has no more sense than a rag baby.
I know better! Of course you have! If you hadnt been you wouldnt be where you are. Grip be hanged! Well, its only right that you should suffer for it. Call it what you wish, but dont expect any sympathy from me. While I use every precaution to preserve my health, you go sloshing around in your bare feet, or sit on a cake of ice to read a dime novel, or do some other tomfool thing to flatten you out. I refuse to sympathize with you, Mrs. Bowserabsolutely and teetotally refuse to utter one word of pity.
Mrs. Bowser had nothing to say in reply. Mr. Bowser ate his dinner alone, took advantage of the occasion to drive a few nails and make a great noise, and by and by went off to his club and was gone until midnight. Next morning Mrs. Bowser felt a bit better and made a heroic attempt to be about until he started for the office.
Mrs. Bowser was all right at the end of three or four days, and nothing more was said. Then one afternoon at three oclock a carriage drove up and a stranger assisted Mr. Bowser into the house. He was looking pale and ghastly, and his chin quivered and his knees wobbled.
Mrs. Bowser got him to bed and examined him for bullet holes or knife wounds. There were none. He had no broken limbs. He hadnt fallen off a horse or been half drowned. When she had satisfied herself on these points, she asked:
Emotion overcame Mr. Bowser, and he could say no more. The doctor came and pronounced it a second attack of grip, but a very mild one. When he had departed, Mrs. Bowser didnt accuse Mr. Bowser with putting on his summer flannels a month too soon; with forgetting his umbrella and getting soaked through; with leaving his rubbers at home and having damp feet all day. She didnt express her wonder that he hadnt died years ago, nor predict that when he reached the age of Methuselah he would know better than to roll in snow-banks or stand around in mud-puddles. She didnt kick over chairs or slam doors or leave him alone. When Mr. Bowser shed tears, she wiped them away. When he moaned, she held his hand. When he said he felt that the grim specter was near, and wanted to kiss the baby good-by, she cheered him with the prediction that he would be a great deal better next day.
Mr. Bowser didnt get up next day, though the doctor said he could. He lay in bed and sighed, and uttered sorrowful moans and groans. He wanted toast and preserves; he had to have help to turn over; he worried about a relapse; he had to have a damp cloth on his forehead; he wanted to have a council of doctors, and he read the copy of his last will and testament over three times.
How do I feel? Why, as right as a trivet, of course. When a man takes the care of himself that I dowhen he has the nerve and will power I havehe can throw off most anything. You would have died, Mrs. Bowser; but I was scarcely affected. It was just a play spell. Id like to be real sick once just to see how it would seem. Cholera, I suppose it was; but outside of feeling a little tired, I wasnt at all affected.