but a fool: I'm sure I can cure you in double-quick time and you prefer to suffer. It's stupid of you and worse—Come up now at once and think of me only as your doctor', and I half lifted, half helped her to the door: I supported her up the stairs and at the door of her room, she said:
'Give me ten minutes, Doctor, and I'll be ready. I promise you I won't lock the door again.'
"With that assurance I waited and in ten minutes knocked and went in.
"Mrs. Carlyle was lying on the bed with a woolly-white shawl round her head and face. I thought it absurd affectation in an old married woman, so I resolved on drastic measures: I turned the light full on, then I put my hand under her dress and with one toss threw it right over her head. I pulled her legs apart, dragged her to the edge of the bed and began inserting the speculum in her vulva: I met an obstacle: I looked—and immediately sprang up: 'Why, you're a virgo intacta' (an untouched virgin!) I exclaimed.
She pulled the shawl from her head and said: 'What did you expect?’
'Anything but that', I cried, 'in a woman married these five and twenty years!'
"I soon found the cause of her trouble and cured it or rather did away with it: that night she rested well and was her old gay, mutinous self when I called next day.
"A little later she told me her story.
"After the marriage", she said, "Carlyle was strange and out of sorts, very nervous, he seemed, and irritable. When we reached the house we had supper and about eleven o'clock I said I would go to bed, being rather tired: he nodded and grunted something. I put my hands on his shoulders as I passed him and said "Dear, do you know that you haven't