ed, I am disposed to believe that my enforced physical inactivity, and the small number of objects presented to my sight--I never leave this room--tend to exalt and stimulate my intellectual powers. You recall the legend of the ancient philosopher who plucked out his eyes, that, undisturbed by the vision of irrelevant objects, he might attain to greater concentration of thought. Disease, in limiting my activities, has gone far to confer upon me the boon which the philosopher in question strove, rather violently, to bestow upon himself. I have ever been a student. I propose to continue so to the last. My interest is unabated. My passion for knowledge--the sole passion of my life--remains in full force."
Laurence sat listening, nursing his knee. The speaker's attitude was impressive, in a way admirable. His detachment, his calm, his acumen, commanded his hearer's respect.
"Yes, yes. I see--that's fine," Laurence said under his breath.
A slightly ironical expression passed across the elder m