`Seeing is a mode of touching, touching is a mode of feeding, feeding is a mode of assimilation, assimilation is a mode of recreation and reproduction, and this is crossing-shaking yourself into something else and something else into you.'

He spoke laughingly, but it was plain he was serious. He continued:

`People are always coming to me who want crossing, or change, if you prefer it, and who I know have not money enough to let them get away from London. This has set me thinking how I can best cross them even if they cannot leave home, and I have made a list of cheap London amusements which I recommend to my patients; none of them cost more than a few shillings or take more than half a day or a day.'

I explained that there was no occasion to consider money in this case.

`I am glad of it,' he said, still laughing. `The homoepathists use aurum as a medicine, but they do not give it in large doses enough; if you can dose your young friend with this pretty freely you will soon bring him round. However, Mr Pontifex is not well enough to stand so great a change as going abroad yet; from what you tell me I should think he had had as much change lately as is good for him. If he were to go abroad now he would probably be taken seriously ill within a week. We must wait till he has recovered tone a little more. I will begin by ringing my London changes on him.'

He thought a little and then said:

`I have found the Zoological Gardens of service to many of my patients. I should prescribe for Mr Pontifex a course of the larger mammals. Don't let him think he is taking them medicinally, but let him go to their house twice a week for a fortnight, and stay with the hippopotamus, the rhinoceros, and the elephants, till they begin to bore him. I find these beasts do my patients more good than any others. The monkeys are not a wide enough cross; they do not stimulate sufficiently. The larger carnivora are unsympathetic. The reptiles are worse than useless, and the marsupials are not much better. Birds again, except parrots, are not very beneficial; he may look at them now and again, but with the elephants and the pig tribe generally he should mix just now as freely as possible.

`Then, you know, to prevent monotony I should send him, say, to morning service at the Abbey before he goes. He need not stay longer than the Te Deum. I don't know why, but Fubilates are seldom satisfactory. Just let him look in at the Abbey, and sit quietly in Poets' Corner till the main part of the music is over. Let him do this two or three times, not more, before he goes to the Zoo.

`Then next day send him down to Gravesend by boat. By all means let him go to the theatres in the evenings - and then let him come to me again in a fortnight.'

Had the doctor been less eminent in his profession I should have doubted whether he was in earnest, but I knew him to be a man of business who would neither waste his own time nor that of his patients. As soon as we were out of the house we took a cab to Regent's Park, and spent a couple of hours in sauntering round the different houses. Perhaps it was on account of what the doctor had told me, but I certainly became aware of a feeling I had never experienced before. I mean that I was receiving an influx of new life, or deriving new ways of looking at life - which is the same thing - by the process. I found the doctor quite right in his estimate of the larger mammals as the ones which on the whole were most beneficial, and observed that Ernest, who had heard nothing of what the doctor had said to me, lingered instinctively in front of them. As for the elephants, especially the baby elephant, he seemed to be drinking in large draughts of their lives to the re-creation and regeneration of his own.

We dined in the gardens, and I noticed with pleasure that Ernest's appetite was already improved. Since this time, whenever I have been a little out of sorts myself I have at once gone up to Regent's Park, and have invariably been benefited. I mention this here in the hope that some one or other of my readers may find the hint a useful one.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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