My Dulled Faculties Dragged Themselves Partly Back To Life
And Took A Receptive Attitude.
Now out of an immense,
a limitless distance, came a something which grew and grew,
and approached, and presently was recognizable as a sound
- it had rather seemed to be a feeling, before.
was a mile away, now - perhaps it was the murmur of a storm;
and now it was nearer - not a quarter of a mile away;
was it the muffled rasping and grinding of distant
machinery? No, it came still nearer; was it the measured
tramp of a marching troop? But it came nearer still,
and still nearer - and at last it was right in the room: it
was merely a mouse gnawing the woodwork. So I had held my
breath all that time for such a trifle.
Well, what was done could not be helped; I would go
to sleep at once and make up the lost time. That was
a thoughtless thought. Without intending it - hardly
knowing it - I fell to listening intently to that sound,
and even unconsciously counting the strokes of the mouse's
nutmeg-grater. Presently I was deriving exquisite suffering
from this employment, yet maybe I could have endured
it if the mouse had attended steadily to his work;
but he did not do that; he stopped every now and then,
and I suffered more while waiting and listening for
him to begin again than I did while he was gnawing.
Along at first I was mentally offering a reward
of five - six - seven - ten - dollars for that mouse;
but toward the last I was offering rewards which were
entirely beyond my means.
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