"There, you see," said Osmond, "Dr. Wycherley agrees with me: yet I assure you I have only detailed the symptoms, and not the conclusion I had formed from them."
Jane inquired timidly what that conclusion was.
"Miss Hardie, we think it one of those obscure tendencies which are very curable if taken in time----" Dr. Wycherley ended the sentence: "But no longer remediable if the fleeting opportunity is allowed to escape, and diseased action to pass into diseased organisation."
Jane looked awestruck at their solemnity; but Mr. Hardie, who was taking advice against the grain, turned satirical. "Gentleman," said he, "be pleased to begin by moderating your own obscurity; and then perhaps I shall see better how to cure my son's disorder. What the deuce are you driving at?"
The two doctors looked at one another inquiringly, and so settled how to proceed. Dr. Wycherley explained to Mr. Hardie that there was a sort of general unreasonable and superstitious feeling abroad, a kind of terror of the complaint with which his son was threatened; _"and which,_ instead of the most remediable of disorders, is looked at as the most incurable of maladies:" it was on this account he had learned to approach the subject with singular caution, and even with a timidity which was kinder in appearance than in reality; that he must admit.
"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.