The District Doctor part 5

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But God Almighty did not make me a fool; I don`t take black for white; I know a thing or two; I could see very clearly, for instance, that Aleksandra Andreyevna that was her name did not feel love for me, but had a friendly, so to say, inclination a respect or something for me. Though she herself perhaps mistook this sentiment, anyway this was her attitude; you may form your own judgment of it. But,” added the doctor, who had brought out all these disconnected sentences without taking breath, and with obvious embarrassment, “I seem to be wandering rather you won`t understand anything like this…. There, with your leave, I will relate it all in order.”

He drank off a glass of tea, and began in a calmer voice.

Belief in himself

“Well, then. My patient kept getting worse and worse. You are not a doctor, my good sir; you cannot understand what passes in a poor fellow`s heart, especially at first, when he begins to suspect that the disease is getting the upper hand of him. What becomes of his belief in himself? You suddenly grow so timid; it`s indescribable. You fancy then that you have forgotten everything you knew, and that the patient has no faith in you, and that other people begin to notice how distracted you are, and tell you the symptoms with reluctance; that they are looking at you suspiciously, whispering.

Ah! it`s .horrid! There must be a remedy, you think, for this disease, if one could find it. Isn`t this it? You try no, that`s not it! You don`t allow the medicine the necessary time to do good. … You clutch at one thing, then at another. Sometimes you take up a book of medical prescriptions here it is, you think!

Sometimes, by Jove, you pick one out by chance, thinking to leave it to fate But meantime a fellow-creature`s dying, and another doctor would have saved him. `We must have a consultation,` you say; `I will not take the responsibility on myself.` And what a fool you look at such times! Well, in time you learn to bear it; it`s nothing to you. A man has died but it`s not your fault; you treated him by the rules. But what`s still more torture to you is to see blind faith in you, and to feel yourself that you are not able to be of use. Well, it was just this blind faith that the whole of Aleksandra Andre- ycvna`s family had in me; they had forgotten to think that their daughter was in danger.

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