I was sitting at his house our judge`s, you know playing preference. Our judge is a good fellow, and fond of playing preference. Suddenly” (the doctor made frequent use of this word, suddenly) “they tell me, `There`s a servant asking for you.` I say, `What does he want?` They say, `He has brought a note it must be from a patient.` `Give me the note,` I say. So it is from a patient well and good you understand it`s our bread and butter…. But this is how it was: a lady, a widow, writes to me; she says, `My daughter is dying. Come, for God`s sake!` she says, `and the horses have been sent for you.`… Well, that`s all right. But she was twenty miles from the town, and it was midnight out of doors, and the roads in such a state, my word!
Sack of Oatmeal
And as she was poor herself, one could not expect more than two silver rubles, and even that problematic; and perhaps it might only be a matter of a roll of linen and a sack of oatmeal in payment. However, duty, you know, before everything: a fellow-creature may be dying. I hand over my cards at once to Kalliopin, the member of the provincial commission, and return home.
I look; a wretched little trap was standing at the steps, with peasant`s horses, fat too fat and their coat as shaggy as felt; and the coachman sitting with his cap off out of respect. `Well,` I think to myself, `it`s clear, my friend, these patients aren`t rolling in riches.` … You smile; but I tell you, a poor man like me has to take everything into consideration. …If the coachman sits like a prince, and doesn`t touch his cap, and even sneers at you behind his beard, and flicks his whip then you may bet on six rubles. But this case, I saw, had a very different air.
`However,` I think, `there`s no help for it; duty before everything.` I snatch up the most necessary drugs, and set off. Will you believe it? I only just managed to get there at all. The road was infernal: streams, snow, watercourses, and the dyke had suddenly burst there that was the worst of it! However, I arrived at last. It was a little thatched house. There was a light in the windows; that meant they expected me. I was met by an old lady, very venerable, in a cap. `Save her!` she says; `she is dying.` I say, `Pray don`t distress yourself where is the invalid?` `Come this way.`
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