Parthagica Directory 01
Presently my own blind finger-ends fished up the conclusion, that as I had neither time nor money to spend on perfecting the chain that would put me in full spiritual contact with Mr. Sweeting's turtles, I had better leave them to complete their education at some one else's expense rather than mine, so I walked on towards the Bank. As I did so it struck me how continually we are met by this melting of one existence into another. The limits of the body seem well defined enough as definitions go, but definitions seldom go far. What, for example, can seem more distinct from a man than his banker or his solicitor? Yet these are commonly so much parts of him that he can no more cut them off and grow new ones, than he can grow new legs or arms; neither must he wound his solicitor; a wound in the solicitor is a very serious thing. As for his bank--failure of his bank's action may be as fatal to a man as failure of his heart. I have said nothing about the medical or spiritual adviser, but most men grow into the society that surrounds them by the help of these four main tap-roots, and not only into the world of humanity, but into the universe at large. We can, indeed, grow butchers, bakers, and greengrocers, almost ad libitum, but these are low developments, and correspond to skin, hair, or finger-nails. Those of us again who are not highly enough organised to have grown a solicitor or banker can generally repair the loss of whatever social organisation they may possess as freely as lizards are said to grow new tails; but this with the higher social, as well as organic, developments is only possible to a very limited extent.
Of course, the great palace of Whitehall, where the royal patient was lying, was all in confusion. Attendants were hurrying to and fro. Councils of physicians were deliberating in solemn assemblies on the case, and ordaining prescriptions with the formality which royal etiquette required. The courtiers were thunderstruck and confounded at the prospect of the total revolution which was about to ensue, and in which all their hopes and prospects might be totally ruined. James, the Duke of York, seeing himself about to be suddenly summoned to the throne, was full of eager interest in the preliminary arrangements to secure his safe and ready accession. He was engaged night and day in selecting officers, signing documents, and stationing guards. Catharine mourned in her own sick chamber the approaching blow, which was to separate her forever from her husband, deprive her of her consequence and her rank, and consign her, for the rest of her days to the pains and sorrows, and the dreadful solitude of heart which pertains to widowhood. The king's other female intimates, too, of whom there were three still remaining in his court and in his palace, were distracted with real grief. They may have loved him sincerely; they certainly gave every indication of true affection for him in this his hour of extremity. They could not appear at his bedside except at sudden and stolen interviews, which were quickly terminated by their being required to withdraw; but they hovered near with anxious inquiries, or else mourned in their apartments with bitter grief. Without the palace the effects were scarcely less decisive. The tidings spread every where throughout the kingdom, arresting universal attention, and awakening an anxiety so widely diffused and so intense as almost to amount to a terror. A Catholic monarch was about to ascend the throne, and no one knew what national calamities were impending.