A couple of years ago, on the very verge of the illness that subsequently overwhelmed me, I took a small furnished house in Pineland. I made no inspection of the place, but signed the agreement at the instance of the local house-agent, who proved little less inventive than the majority of his confreres.§Three months of neuritis, only kept within bounds by drugs, had made me comparatively indifferent to my surroundings. It was necessary for me to move because I had become intolerant of the friends who exclaimed at my ill looks, and the acquaintances who failed to notice any alteration in me. One sister whom I really loved, and who really loved me, exasperated me by constant visits and ill-concealed anxiety. Another irritated me little less by making light of my ailment and speaking of neuritis in an easy familiar manner as one might of toothache or a corn. I had no natural sleep, and if I were not on the borderland of insanity, I was at least within sight of the home park of inconsequence. Reasoned behaviour was no longer possible, and I knew it was necessary for me to be alone. [...]§§This historic book is the reprint of the original novel published in 1916.