The whole contempt for earthly suffering and human will, in relation to a higher will, had lain in this look. And yet she was beautiful – statuesque beautiful – what a shame for such a woman!
Could the blooming, friendly girl whom he had admired yesterday at the Bremers’ house be capable of feeling real human pity? Perhaps winning the love of this fresh girl would have a whole new charm of its own for his over-saturated senses. Now he was always a welcome guest at the Bremers’ house, and he could now and then devote himself to the interesting study of this pure, virgin soul.
This thought calmed him down a little, the tension in his nerves eased, the physical exhaustion overcame the terrible excitement. When the morning dawned, a gentle, pleasant rest took the place of the nervous overstimulation.
He was now pondering the fateful step he had taken when he secretly gave morphine to the wife of the privy councilor, whom he held in high regard. Wouldn’t this woman turn to him again and again with requests for morphine? It could cause him inconvenience, he regretted having taken on this obligation.
How deeply this pleasure-seeking woman stood beneath the gentle, selfless nun, beneath the cheerful, faithful companion of her own children! And this woman was his like-minded woman, his girlfriend. He knew that all he had to do was hold out his hand to pick it up; therefore she seemed contemptible and pathetic to him. She was beautiful, but he would never love her because of it, it was his firm conviction that he could not love anyone at all.
But the thought of having a woman’s devotion aroused him a weariness that touched disgust. Lydia Bremer wanted nothing but enjoyment – enjoyment in love, enjoyment in morphine; She did not know duties. She had a husband and children, but when she received morphine from him, when her looks showed him love in thanks, she could forget it.
But he, who fought for a good cause in the interests of suffering humanity, had given himself up to give pleasure to this ardent, ardent woman!
After all, it was only with this course of action that he had drawn the consequences of his attitude. If only there was no further obligation for him, if only she didn’t see a personal connection between himself and him in it! He dreaded it. – And then, then he had to smile. How strange that one sleepless night he brooded over the nature of three women who were indifferent to him!
Since when did he start estimating women at all their loyalty to their duty, according to their morals? What did he care about the virtues and faults of Privy Councilor Bremer, sister Clarissa and the graceful nanny!
Yes, this lady, it was a pleasure to think of her, to see her – –
It was five in the morning. At first Turnau believed in a nervous hallucination, but soon convinced himself that the knocking he heard was real – Professor Schrödter was ruthless in waking one of his assistants at five o’clock in the morning!
Such a case had seldom occurred to the young doctor in the three years of his clinical activity. He was furious about it and resolved to get rid of this personal dependency at any cost that same day.
He had barely finished his toilet when the professor came in unannounced. He had never done that at Turnau because he hated the stiff, formal demeanor of his rich assistant inwardly. From a very simple background he had risen to scientific importance through his own strength, without at the same time submitting outwardly to the rules of finer social forms.
“Am I still bothering you? – It’s almost half past five, a lot of people have already slept in, «began he with ruthless irony. He knew perfectly well that Turnau would normally get up for the polyclinic at ten o’clock at the earliest.
The young man faced his superior in an impeccable manner. “Of course I am at your disposal, Professor.”
“The patient you amputated last night has died. If you’d checked that night, I wouldn’t have to come here to tell you. ”
Turnau deliberately ignored the accusation.
“Did I make a mistake during the amputation?”
“Yes, the biggest you could do. You have amputated one of two crushed stumps and left the other lying quietly. When I checked last night, it was already too late. Not even all of the bone fragments from the fractured skull were properly removed. ”
“A very long period of anesthesia would have been necessary to do all that this case required. But that was not opportune because of a cardiac insufficiency in the patient, which is also recorded in the medical report. ”
“Do you think I don’t know?” Shouted the professor roughly. “But you could have asked for assistance so that as much as possible could happen in a short time.”
“It would have been your business to make this arrangement, Professor. You saw the victim in front of me. As good as I am with an assignment was honored in this regard, one of the gentlemen’s colleagues could also be placed at my side. ”
“Oh no, the story happened on your ward. You should have got yourself the help you needed. We’re not soldiers where everyone just waits for an order from above before acting. But you did not have any of the other gentlemen notified. Did you think the case was hopeless from the start? ”
“In any case, so complicated that I did not dare make any changes to the arrangements you made at my own discretion.” Turnau still spoke impeccably politely and with the utmost self-control, while the professor lost his calm with every word.
“So – you are sticking to your opinion that it is my sole fault?” He asked furiously.
“Why does anyone have to be to blame? It was just an accident with fatal outcome. It would have been downright horrific if we had gotten through the maimed man. ”
“Really? Well I have to say that, Herr Doctor, for a doctor that’s a very peculiar way of looking at things. Can there even be a case in which the doctor is not obliged to use all the resources of science to prolong and preserve the endangered human life? ”
“I dont know. This is a philosophical one if you want a religious, but not a medical question. «- – –
“So you dare to dismiss this question, my lord College, don’t you?” The irritated man sneered. “In our case, however, the question is entirely in the field of medicine, the question is purely factual, and so is the answer. But this answer is that you, Herr Doctor Turnau, by no means did everything you could to hold back an escaping human life. You say that as the boss I could have made more precise arrangements. I might have done that if I had known that one of my assistants imagines that one cannot be a good psychiatric without at the same time committing the most disastrous mistakes as a surgeon. ”
With Turnau’s rest it was now over. He was unable to give a rough answer to the rough attack. That was too much contrary to his fine, sensitive nature. He went deathly pale, leaned against a cupboard next to which he stood and was silent.
The professor, who despite his rumbling tone, had not intended to offend the young man, was startled when he saw the effect of his words. Turnau’s apparent calm had irritated him, and in his anger he had said more than he wanted to say.
“I frightened you, Turnau,” he directed good-naturedly on. “Far be it from me to blame you for someone else’s death. But you can well imagine that I don’t care if something like this happens in my institution. After all, it’s a private company and not a royal clinic. I represent to the world everything that happens here under my leadership. – We want to do the autopsy afterwards, then we can discuss the case in more detail and calmly than is now possible. ”
Turnau bowed silently and deeply to his superior.
“For God’s sake, don’t be so petrified, I’ll have to scold you if the operation isn’t done in my favor. It happens to the younger gentlemen everywhere, you don’t have to take it so hard, “began the professor again.
The silence of the haughty young man was terribly embarrassing to him. He had the feeling that in his external behavior he had forgiven himself something again. It happened to him more often than not in Turnau, which is why he was so uncomfortable with the immaculately elegantly trained assistant.
“Oh please, Herr Professor, if I deserve a rebuke, I have to accept it.” Turnau said this so calmly and indifferently, as if he did not feel offended at all.
As a result, the superior lost the last of his security. “At the autopsy you can give the lecture, ”he said, almost embarrassed, as if to come up with something else.
“I ask you to be kind enough to dispense with the autopsy. For some time now I have intended to call in sick and ask for permission to hire a colleague to represent me for the rest of the quarter. ”
So he was sensitive after all! “Well, stay away from the Section on my account. You are probably looking for me in my apartment because of the representation. ”
“As you wish, Professor.”
Another very saloon-like bow, which the professor returned rather clumsily. He was used to greeting his assistants with a handshake or a superficial nod of the head. Of course, that didn’t work with Turnau. Fatal man, should have been an officer or diplomat, just not a doctor, thought the professor as the heavy, soft doorman of Turnau’s room closed behind him. Well, maybe one day he’ll be a fashion doctor for nervous women – specialty migraine; – In the bottom of his heart he was glad that he got rid of him.
But Turnau felt seriously and physically ill after this renewed attack on his artificially overexcited nerves.
In deep exhaustion he stretched out on his soft sleeping sofa to at least rest physically. The steps necessary for his replacement of the post which he was no longer able to fill, he resolved to do it at a later hour of the day.
He was at times in a kind of half-sleep or numb; he didn’t know how long he had lain, but the sun was shining quite hot through the heavy, lowered curtains when an unusual noise startled him.
The door to his room was hastily thrown open and with immeasurable astonishment he saw Lydia Bremer come in unannounced. –
First and foremost, Turnau demanded an elegant, careful toilet from a lady, negligently dressed women were downright repulsive to him. Up until now he had enjoyed intercourse with Frau Bremer, because she was an elegant, distinguished woman in appearance and demeanor; he now noticed with horror at her impetuous entry how unfavorable and changed she looked. The otherwise carefully styled hair was not burned, you could see individual thin spots that barely covered the skin. The facial features were distorted by excessive excitement, disfigured by traces of tears, the most necessary tricks of the toilet had been neglected. A loose evening gown covered a dressing-gown, the crushed tips of which showed the clear traces of lying in Sopha pillows or even on the bed.
Embarrassed, the doctor rose. His cool greeting with a very short bow did not seem to see the excited, perhaps desperate woman.
“Everything is betrayed, I am lost, my husband has suspected, Professor Schrödter was with us. My morphine, my whole supply “- –
She couldn’t speak any more, her voice broke.
“Has your supply of morphine been found and confiscated?” He asked.
“Yes, yes – it’s terrible, I can’t live without morphine. Have mercy, help me, I only have you, all the others persecute me, hate and torment me, they drive me to my death. Oh God, don’t be so merciless – have mercy. ”
“That wouldn’t help much. If I give you morphine again today, it will be found again tomorrow. ”
“No, give me a fatal dose, I promise you, the rest of your gift will only be found on my corpse.”
“I am sorry, madam, that such a wish, expressed in a moment of extreme nervous excitement, I am not fulfilling.”
“I’m throwing myself in front of the train.”
“If you tell me this beforehand, it is my duty to prevent this intention from being carried out.”
“So – are you my guardian?”
“No – I’m a psychiatrist.”
A short scream, then a convulsive one angry crying followed this refusal. Turnau stood calmly across from her. He was indignant and disgusted by this scene.
If she really wanted to die, she had no reason to come here first and impose on him a trust that he absolutely did not want. But he was convinced that she wasn’t seriously thinking about dying. If she was so clumsy as to let her secret be discovered, he felt in no way called to assist her. He waited impatiently for her to calm down enough to be induced in a good manner to leave him.
She collected herself with difficulty. “Do you know what my husband and the professor have decided?”
“I can imagine it. You are supposed to go to an institution to undergo rehab. ”
“Yes” – she smiled. “I will also be quite docile and go.”
“That pleases me.”
“You understand what I mean?”
“Send me what I need by poste restante every week. You know. ”
“That doesn’t work, the controls are too strict in such institutions, one would detect every stitch on your body. I would risk that my medical license would be withdrawn. ”
“So advise me, help me!”
“I can not help you.”
“Give me morphine, I want to leave, I’ll hide somewhere where no one can find me.”
“Are you provided with everything that would belong to such an escape?”
“Not at the moment, but by the evening I can create money and everything else I need.”
“By evening, your husband, together with the doctors, will have taken the necessary steps to prevent such an escape.”
“So I am lost.”
“I dont know.”