THE SKIN GAME
JAMES TADD ADCOX
What do you mean by objective symptoms?
Who touches pitch shall be defiled. Cads are cads, Jill, even in these days. A struggle between people at different stages of development, in different positions, with different amounts of social influence and property—but do you know their Christian names? The only thing is to have rules and keep them. Suppose his standards are low—I assume, of course, that he’s brought in the modern cutthroat spirit, the cut-our-throat spirit. I want fellows. Ring that bell.
What do you understand by subjective symptoms?
A fierce sort of way: “What do you want?” “I’m awfully sorry, but I thought you might like it.” “Well?”
What do you mean by systemic symptoms?
Shall I tell you my definition of a gentleman? He may call on the devil himself if he likes. You know what a nice boy is, don’t you? In the first place, he’s not amorous. Just a jolly good companion. To whom? To anyone—me. I’m naturally rangey, Father. In the second place, he doesn’t like discipline. In the third place, he thinks old people run the show too much. “There’ll be no world fit to live in till we get rid of the old. We must make them climb a tall tree, and shake them off it. Do you realise that I’ve got gout? Since Elizabeth, anyway. It has its drawbacks.”
All the same, he’s got the cloven hoof. Those potteries of his are demoralizing.
Into what two classes of lesions are the objective symptoms commonly divided?
The sulking room. The furnace.
What are primary lesions?
I told him some lie, and he took me to her room—boudoir, they call it. She was sitting like this. She looked at me hard, and said: “I’ve done him such a wrong. He keeps on asking—he knows there’s something. I’ve been on hot bricks all this month. Being fond of him, I’m afraid—he's clever, and he’s jealous; and he’s coming here.”
Enumerate the primary lesions.
He puts his hand on her arm. Staring at her: “Is my wife here?” As he goes out, Jill runs to the window, but has no time to do more than adjust the curtains and spring over to stand by her father, before a little moaning sound flutters again, magpie-like, up and down, hesitatingly, then still; when it rises again, the room is empty and dark.
What are secondary lesions?
It’s all unspeakably sad. Of course we know that.
Enumerate the secondary lesions.
You don’t understand human nature. I told you it was only necessary to use the threat. I’m at sea here. My enemies put their heels upon my head! A secret between us, the skin game of it!
What are excoriations (excoriationes)?
Take those men away. Let’s have this impudent story torn to rags. You know that misconduct is required. When cases are arranged the man who is to be divorced often visits a hotel with a strange woman. Jill, before her marriage, was in the habit of being employed as such a woman.
What are scars (cicatrices)?
If you’re not satisfied, we can get other evidence; plenty. Your memory is bad: you knew me yesterday well enough. Will you make yourselves comfortable? Our friends might go in here, and we can use ’em as we want ’em.
When are lesions said to be aggregated?
Voices are heard, Left. They have turned up the electric light, and sit down in front of the fireplace. “Are you damtouchy, darling?” “Well?”
When are lesions disseminated?
When she saw our witnesses. When you give them an inch. When it’s put to him, if he’s got any decent feeling. What did you call it, a skin game?
What is the etiology?
A country gentleman. His wife. His daughter. His agent. A man newly-rich. His elder son. The son’s wife. His younger son. A man and wife. An auctioneer. A solicitor. Two strangers.
What is the prognosis?
Be quiet. There’s no mystery.
[words stolen from:
Essentials of Diseases of the Skin, Including the Syphilodermata Arranged in the Form of Questions and Answers Prepared Especially for Students of Medicine, Henry Weightman Stelwagon
The Skin Game, John Galsworthy]