The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 1 (April 1, 1937)
page 60 much. Probably the family was away and Mary was staying with Helen in the meantime.
The tram slowed for Helen's stop.
“Come and see me, stranger. Saturday afternoon?” said Helen, as she pushed past.
I thought quickly and nodded. Helen stepped off.
Helen opened the door as I walked up the path on Saturday afternoon.
“Your border plants are doing well.”
“Yes. Peter's proud of them. We'll sit on the porch, shall we?”
We brought chairs and stretched ourselves lazily in the sun.
“Peter and Mary are out. He had to see a client, so Mary went, too, for the spin.”
“How is Mary? I've not seen her for a long time.”
“Oh, fairly well.”
“I suppose you don't see much of her. Always out and about, isn't she?”
“Well,” said Helen slowly. “Not now. That's why I induced her to come and stay with me for a while. She's not nearly so bright as she was. The boys at home were worrying her. You know what they are—‘Aw, Sis! Come on, don't be a dumb-bell.’ And Mary would go. The child's tired out.”
I didn't press the question of Mary. Later, when Peter and Mary returned, we went inside and had tea. Mary was certainly different—quiet, with a little faint smile, and thinner. Directly after tea she excused herself and went to her room.
Peter became very businesslike with the dishes. “Clear out you girls. I can manage the washing-up business.” We cleared.
I was worried about Mary, and said so to Helen. “She seems so depressed,” I summed it up. In that queer way women have, I was prepared for a little confidential talk when between us we would decide Mary's immediate and distant future. To my surprise, Helen laughed at me.
“You funny person. There's no need to worry. She's depressed, but then everyone becomes depressed at times. It's not like a trade depression, you know, when economists and politicians squabble about what is the right thing to do. Human depression, most kinds of it, is easily explained and easily cured. Why, even Mary, though she's feeling pretty miserable, knows what's wrong with her. She's simply overtired and she's adopting the best way to overcome it. As soon as she's feeling physically well again all sign of depression will vanish.
She's had a worrying time at the office—big adjustments in the plant owing to new legislation. She missed her summer holiday owing to mother's illness, and she has been trying to keep up the social side, too. I told her she'd have to rest, so she's doing it. She saw a doctor, who prescribed a tonic and special attention to the bowels. Constipation is one of the worst of modern ills, isn't it? She's staying with me to be away from the crowd. At home the boys wouldn't realize she needed rest. Things are easier at the office now, and she's getting her holidays in another fortnight. She has only been with me five days and she is less weary already. Come to see her after her holiday and Mary will be herself again.
She was. Five weeks later, back in the old home, with her brothers alternately imposing on and spoiling her, she was the bright, happy Mary of old —but I notice that she has dropped the Qrchestral Society for the winter and she isn't producing for her little drama group.
A wise girl, Mary. When she felt so depressed and miserable, dragging on from day to day with habitual tasks which were becoming obnoxious to her, she knew that her loss of spirits was due to a reduction in physical vigour. She could not, by an effort of will, overcome the “miseries,” but she did what she could to tackle the problem from the physical side. She adopted a sensible regimen of diet and rest and took her doctor's advice as regards medicines. Taking no pleasure in the company of her friends, she went to her sister Helen where she could be solitary if she wished. She was not ill enough to stay away from the office, but, getting her holidays when she did, she was able to recuperate more quickly.