vineri, 18 octombrie 2013

Too stubborn to admit it

“There are two circumstances that lead to arrogance: one is when you're wrong and you can't face it; the other is when you're right and nobody else can face it.”

"I still can't believe you want to leave! It's too soon. At least take someone with you!"
"Teacher can't come with me today, because she has to assist someone from another village and she is almost sure it will last a day or so. And I already told you I feel fine!"
"Damn Alleken! You've only given birth less than 6 weeks ago! You should still be in childbed!"
"Please don't pretend to be a doctor and try to put yourself in my shoes! How would that be? How would you feel knowing that because you refuse to do something, a child is suffering?"
"What about our children?!"
"They are healthy. You know very well that I wouldn't leave if I wouldn't be certain that they are going to be fine!"

Of course Gregory wouldn't understand. And how can he dare to accuse me of not caring about my own children?!
Earlier that morning, a woman from the castle arrived and implored me to come with her and save her master's children. I knew she was talking about the marquess' children.
A few years ago, the sad story of this young nobleman became something close to a tale among the people around his castle.
Everyone knew that the young Marquess of Lancaster was banished from his family's mansion by his older brother after a complicated incident and that he took refuge in a castle somewhere not so far from our town. There, he married a beautiful elven princess, that died in childbrith. She was only 19 and she died giving birth to quadruplets, leaving her heart broken husband to take care of five children by himself (they also had another one year old baby). For the sake of his children and beloved wife, the young widower managed not to go off the edge, even if one of the babies died shortly after. That happened almost four years ago and since that time everyone knew that the Marquess chose to withdraw into his shell and spent most of his time with his children or hunting by himself on his domains.
I was aware that that fall young children from all around the realm became ill with various respiratory diseases and that many of them evolved into lethal cases of pneumonia so, if there was something that I could do to save those children and spare their father from burying another one of them, then I was ready to try my hardest.
Even so, the five hours journey to the Castle proved to be more fatiguing that I anticipated and by the time I arrived, I had to stop for a couple of minutes, because I was already gasping for breath and I couldn't let anyone to see me like that. Maybe next time someone called me, I could persuade Gregory to pay me a carriage or even consider taking someone into service.
I had to cut short my break, because the master was already expecting me.

A servant then guided me to the children's apartments, where the Marquess took charge of presenting me his children's condition.

After examining them, I concluded that the two girls suffered of acute fever, serrated pulse, pleuritic pain in the side and cough, all of those indicating cases of Pneumonia, while the two remaining boys both suffered of an infection of the upper respiratory tract, most probably Influenza, that could also evolve into Bronchitis or Pneumonia. Before I started their treatment, I had to first stabilize their condition, because all four of them had dangerously high temperatures. I knew that I wouldn't return home that evening, so I asked one of the maids from the Castle to send word back to my husband not to expect me for a day or so.

I spent most of the night keeping an eye on the children and by the sunrise I was relieved to discover that all of them were already feeling a little better. The next day I prepared a herbal decoction and instructed the wet nurse how to convince the children to drink it. I also prepared myself a hot cup of tea, because I felt exhausted after a night spent attending to the children.

Later that morning, the Marquess thanked me and even offered to lend me one of his horses for my journey back home. I was most thankful for his pleasantness, because at that moment I felt like I was going to fall somewhere on the way and sleep for a whole week.

When I arrived home I discovered that Gregory had left earlier the same morning to attend some urgent affair with the farm. I couldn't care less. I got off into a dead faint and slept for two days. When I woke up, I discovered that Lynnete also fell ill with the flu. Fortunately for all of us, she was sick only for a couple of days and she recovered her health in no time.
Also, on my nightstand, I was surprised to find a beautifully decorated wooden box, patterned with intricate designs. I let a discreet giggle escape, thinking that that must have been Gregory's way of saying he was sorry for our dispute and his sudden absence. The moment I openened the wooden box, I realized I have never been so wrong in my entire life. In front of my eyes, on elegant, black silk, lied the most beautiful pair of earrings that I had ever seen. Adorned with white pearls and precious gems, I was almost certain they weren't meant for someone like me. Still, I couldn't help but stare at them for almost half an hour, until the chambermaid suddenly barged into my bedchamber to help me prepare for the day.
"Oh, the box? Came here yesterday in the evening. A man riding an elegand horse stopped by and asked us to hand it to our mistress. I figured in must have been the payment for treating the marquess' children."
And what a payment, dear Lord in Heaven.

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