"Well, you may speak out, as far as I am concerned," said Mr. Hardie, with consummate indifference.
"Oh, yes!" said Jane, in a fever of anxiety; "pray conceal nothing from us."
"Well, then, sir, I have not as yet had the advantage of examining your son personally, but, from the diagnostics, I have no doubt whatever he is labouring under the first fore-shadowings of cerebro-psychical perturbation. To speak plainly, the symptoms are characteristic of the initiatory stage of the germination of a morbid state of the phenomena of intelligence.
His unprofessional hearers only stared.
"In one word, then," said Dr. Wycherley, waxing impatient at their abominable obtuseness, "it is the premonitory stage of the precursory condition of an organic affection of the brain."
"Oh!" said Mr. Hardie, "the brain!* I see; the boy is going mad."
* What a blessing there are a few English words left in all our dialects.
The doctors stared in their turn at the prodigious coolness of a tender parent. "Not exactly," said Dr. Wycherley; "I am habitually averse to exaggeration of symptoms. Your son's suggest to me 'the Incubation of Insanity,' nothing more."