Love and Cough cannot be hid.
~ George Herbert, Outlandish Proverbs
Tubercular cough is visible on an X-ray. Love is more subtle, or else unsubtle enough to confound subtle means of detection. Dr Krokowski lectures in The Magic Mountain on the sympathetic relation between love and sickness. Maybe we can see them as cousinish forms of a more comprehensive malady – call it ‘Human Swooning.’ For weeks now my poor wife has suffered coughing fits that leave her useless ten minutes at a time. After a specially bad fit this past weekend she looked at me with tears in her eyes, flushed and wheezing, and I thought: ‘See how much she loves me.’