"I know you did, sir," I replied. "But what was a poor traveling portrait-painter like my husband, who lives by taking likenesses first in one place and then in another, to do? Our bread depended on his using his eyes, at the very time when you warned him to let them have a rest."
"Have you no other resources? No money but the money Mr. Kerby can get by portrait-painting?" asked the doctor.
"None," I answered, with a sinking at my heart as I thought of his bill for medical attendance.
"Will you pardon me?" he said, coloring and looking a little uneasy, "or, rather, will you ascribe it to the friendly interest I feel in you, if I ask whether Mr. Kerby realizes a comfortable income by the practice of his profession? Don't," he went on anxiously, before I could reply--"pray don't think I make this inquiry from a motive of impertinent curiosity!"
I felt quite satisfied that he could have no improper motive for asking the question, and so answered it at once plainly and
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Collins is something of a bug about "brain fever," a malady we would probably describe as deep depression, and he uses it here. Wish he'd never thought of it.
Each story is well told and thoughtful. Like many other authors of the period, he tries to capture the humanity of his charactors, and in Collin's case, wrap those charactors in an exciting venue.