The District Doctor part 3


I see a clean little room, a lamp in the corner; on the bed a girl of twenty, unconscious. She was in a burning heat, and breathing heavily it was fever. There were two other girls, her sisters, scared and in tears.
`Yesterday,` they tell me, `she was perfectly well and had a good appetite; this morning she complained of her head, and this evening, suddenly, you see, like this.` I say again: `Pray don`t be uneasy.`

It`s a doctor`s duty, you know and I went up to her and bled her, told them to put on a mustard-plaster, and prescribed a mixture. Meantime I looked at her; I looked at her, you know there, by God! I had never seen such a face! she was a beauty, in a word! I felt quite shaken with pity. Such lovely features; such eyes!… But, thank God! she became easier; she fell into a perspiration, seemed to come to her senses, looked round, smiled, and passed her hand over her face. Her sisters bent over her.

They ask, `How are you?` `All right,` she says, and turns away. I looked at her; she had fallen asleep. `Well,` I say, `now the patient should be left alone.` So we all went out on tiptoe; only a maid remained in case she was wanted. In the parlor there was a samovar standing on the table, and a bottle of rum; in our profession one can`t get on without it.

Worry yourself

They gave me tea; asked me to stop the night. I consented: where could I go, indeed, at that time of night? The old lady kept groaning. ‘What is it?` Isay. `She will live; don`t worry yourself; you had better take a little rest yourself; it is about two o`clock.` `But will you send to wake me if anything happens?` `Yes, yes.` The old lady went away, and the girls too went to their own room; they made up a bed for me in the parlor. Well, I went to bed but I could not get to sleep, for a wonder ! for in reality I was very tired.

I could not get my patient out of my head. At last I could not put up with it any longer; I got up suddenly; I think to myself, `I will go and see how the patient is’getting on.` Her bedroom was next to the parlor. Well, I got upland gently opened the door how my heart beat! I looked in: the servant was asleep, her mouth wide open, and even snoring, the wretch! but the patient lay with her face towards me, and her arms flung wide apart, poor girl!

I went up to her… when suddenly she opened her eyes and stared at me! `Who is it? who is it?` I was in confusion. `Don`t be alarmed, madam,` I say; `I am the doctor; I have come to see how you feel.` ‘You the doctor?` `Yes, the doctor, your mother sent for me from the town; we have bled you, madam; now pray go to sleep, and in a day If or two, please God! we will set you on your feet again.` `Ah, yes, yes, doctor,`don`t let me die… please, please.` `Why do you talk like that? God bless you!` She is in a fever again, I think to myself; I felt her pulse; yes, she was feverish.

Read More about War with the Scyths part 2