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79. CHAPTER LXXIX (continued)
"Then, you know, to prevent monotony I should send him, say, to morning service at the Abbey before he goes. He need not stay longer than the Te Deum. I don't know why, but Jubilates are seldom satisfactory. Just let him look in at the Abbey, and sit quietly in Poets' Corner till the main part of the music is over. Let him do this two or three times, not more, before he goes to the Zoo.
"Then next day send him down to Gravesend by boat. By all means let him go to the theatres in the evenings--and then let him come to me again in a fortnight."
Had the doctor been less eminent in his profession I should have doubted whether he was in earnest, but I knew him to be a man of business who would neither waste his own time nor that of his patients. As soon as we were out of the house we took a cab to Regent's Park, and spent a couple of hours in sauntering round the different houses. Perhaps it was on account of what the doctor had told me, but I certainly became aware of a feeling I had never experienced before. I mean that I was receiving an influx of new life, or deriving new ways of looking at life--which is the same thing--by the process. I found the doctor quite right in his estimate of the larger mammals as the ones which on the whole were most beneficial, and observed that Ernest, who had heard nothing of what the doctor had said to me, lingered instinctively in front of them. As for the elephants, especially the baby elephant, he seemed to be drinking in large draughts of their lives to the re-creation and regeneration of his own.
We dined in the gardens, and I noticed with pleasure that Ernest's appetite was already improved. Since this time, whenever I have been a little out of sorts myself I have at once gone up to Regent's Park, and have invariably been benefited. I mention this here in the hope that some one or other of my readers may find the hint a useful one.
At the end of his fortnight my hero was much better, more so even than our friend the doctor had expected. "Now," he said, "Mr Pontifex may go abroad, and the sooner the better. Let him stay a couple of months."
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