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[230] need most to be forgotten-symptoms and medicines. They discuss the varieties of medicine as topers debate the merit of different wines; and is dear Amelia quite sure that it would not be best to change her physician? Worst of all, they tell the distressing symptoms of others; the mournful cases, the bereavements, the approaching funerals. Strange to say, professional nurses themselves are very much given to this sort of talk, and would be much more beneficial companions were they dumb. Perhaps the visitor chimes in, and joins with the nurse in a melancholy duct. It is, I take it, almost impossible for any one in health to appreciate the hold that these things take upon an invalid. The visitor goes away into the outer air, and the very breeze soon carries away all memory of the misplaced conversation; but the invalid remains anchored to one spot, and broods, and broods, and broods. She is fortunate if her sleep is not broken that night by the odious phantoms for which her dear friend has, with studious care, furnished the materials.

There are other ways in which a visitor may hurt while intending only to help. There are the cross-questioners, who make the invalid do all the talking; the fingerers, who displace her cushions, drop her orange, and leave her glass of water just beyond her reach ; the gazers, who fix their eyes scrutinizingly on her, and never take them off. But enough

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