`But then, you know, there are always moral, spiritual causes at the back of these cases,' the family doctor permitted himself to interpolate with a subtle smile.

`Yes, that's to be taken for granted,' retorted the celebrated doctor, again glancing at his watch. `Beg pardon - but is the Iauzsky bridge finished yet, or must one still make a detour?' he asked. `Ah! It is finished. Well, in that case I can make it in twenty minutes. As we were saying, the question may be posited thus: the nutrition must be maintained and the nerves improved. The one is bound with the other; one must work upon both sides of this circle.'

`But what about the trip abroad?' asked the family doctor.

`I am a foe to trips abroad. And take notice: if there is any incipient tubercular process, which we cannot know, a trip abroad will not help. We must have a remedy that would improve nutrition, and do no harm.'

And the celebrated doctor expounded his plan of treatment with Soden waters, in designating which his main end was evidently their harmlessness.

The family doctor heard him out attentively and respectfully.

`But in favor of foreign travel I would urge the change of habits, the removal from conditions which evoke memories. And then - the mother wishes it,' he added.

`Ah! Well, in that case, one might go; well, let them go; but those German charlatans may do harm.... Our instructions ought to be followed.... Well, let them go then.'

He again glanced at his watch.

`Oh! it's time to go,' and he went to the door.

The celebrated doctor informed the Princess (prompted by a feeling of propriety) that he must see the patient once more.

`What! Another examination!' the mother exclaimed in horror.

`Oh, no - I merely need certain details, Princess.'

`Come this way.'

And the mother, followed by the doctor, went into the drawing room to Kitty. Wasted and blushing, with a peculiar glitter in her eyes - a consequence of the shame she had gone through, Kitty was standing in the middle of the room. When the doctor came in she turned crimson, and her eyes filled with tears. All her illness and its treatment seemed to her a thing so stupid - even funny! Treatment seemed to her as funny as reconstructing the pieces of a broken vase. It was her heart that was broken. Why, then, did they want to cure her with pills and powders? But she could not hurt her mother - all the more so since her mother considered herself to blame.

`May I trouble you to sit down, Princess?' the celebrated doctor said to her.

Smiling, he, sat down facing her, felt her pulse, and again started in with his tiresome questions. She answered him, and suddenly, becoming angry, got up.

`You must pardon me, doctor - but really, this will lead us nowhere. You ask me the same things, three times running.'

The celebrated doctor did not take umbrage.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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