Whitney, brother of the late Elias Whitney, D.D., Principal of the Theological
College of St. George's, was much addicted to opium. The habit grew upon him,
as I understand, from some foolish freak when he was at college; for having read
De Quincey's description of his dreams and sensations, he had drenched his tobacco
with laudanum in an attempt to produce the same effects. He found, as so many
more have done, that the practice is easier to attain than to get rid of, and
for many years he continued to be a slave to the drug, an object of mingled horror
and pity to his friends and relatives. I can see him now, with yellow, pasty face,
drooping lids, and pin-point pupils, all huddled in a chair, the wreck and ruin
of a noble man.|
One night -- it was in June, '89 -- there came a ring
to my bell, about the hour when a man gives his first yawn and glances at the
clock. I sat up in my chair, and my wife laid her needle-work down in her lap
and made a little face of disappointment.
"A patient!" said
she. "You'll have to go out."
I groaned, for I was newly come
back from a weary day. We heard the door open, a few hurried words, and then quick
steps upon the linoleum. Our own door flew open, and a lady,
clad in some dark-coloured
stuff, with a black veil, entered the room.
will excuse my calling so late," she began, and then, suddenly losing her
self-control, she ran forward, threw her arms about my wife's neck, and sobbed
upon her shoulder. "Oh, I'm in such trouble!" she cried; "I do
so want a little help."
"Why," said my wife, pulling up
her veil, "it is Kate Whitney. How you startled me, Kate! I had not an idea
who you were when you came in."
didn't know what to do, so l came straight to you." That was always the way.
Folk who were in grief came to my wife like birds to a light-house.