The Count Steps Over The Line
From: Doctor Jones' Picnic
The Silver Cloud's crew, if we may so term it, had busied themselves in
various ways, according to their several dispositions and bents of mind.
Dr. Jones was occupied more or less of the time with the invalids, who
came to him from far and wide. The most inveterate cases of chronic
diseases constituted the bulk of his practice, and the cures that he
made were truly marvelous. The patience and interest of the Count never
flagged a moment. He continued at his post and interpreted for the
Doctor with surprising fidelity. Dr. Jones was so pleased with him that
he explained to his noble student every case for which he proscribed,
told him the name of the drug and precisely why he gave it. Surely here
was a model teacher and an ideal student.
Let it not be inferred that our Doctor was infallible, nor that he
"There are many cases that are incurable, Sir Count, and we must learn
to know them almost by intuition. The causes of failure are numerous,
but you will notice that they are always to be found in the physician or
patient; never in the law of cure. If I be not able to apprehend and
duly estimate the symptoms of a given case, I must, of necessity, fail
to cure. Or if the patient be unruly, stupid, or willful, he must pay
the penalty. Frequently, the case has been rendered incurable by massive
dosage or surgery. My system cures all that is curable when
intelligently applied. And you will notice that in some instances there
is an absolute dearth of symptoms. You also observe that I give them a
dose and tell them to return in a week or ten days. When they return
they often exhibit a splendid crop of symptoms, and I experience no
trouble then in finding the remedy. These cases usually have a history
of suppressed eruption. At some time in their lives the itch, or eczema,
or some other skin trouble has been driven into their system by
external medicaments in the form of ointments, washes, etc. Lifelong
ailments, over which the old school have no control, are the result. A
large percentage of chronic diseases are due to this cause alone."
And so, during their leisure hours, sitting in the Count's office, or
peripatetically as they walked together in the park, the enthusiastic
Doctor taught his willing and attentive pupil.
"Just see those two inseparables!" cried Feodora to Mrs. Jones and
Mattie, as they sat by the front reception-room window, looking out upon
the park. The Doctor and Count were promenading before the great
building, the former with head erect, hands extended before him,
lecturing upon his favorite theme. The towering figure of the Count
strode along beside him, hands clasped behind and head bent well
forward, listening attentively to every word.
"I do believe that my father will be so enthusiastic a convert to the
Doctor's system, that he will get books and medicines and practice upon
our poor people when you are gone," said Feodora.
"And he could not do a better thing," answered Mrs. Jones. "I have known
laymen who made very fine prescribers. The Count could do a vast amount
of good with a set of books and medicines."
"Then you can rest assured that he will do so," returned Feodora. "My
father is a very benevolent man naturally, but was fast becoming a
misanthrope when you came among us. I shall never cease thanking God for
the northern gale that blew you here."
"Nor shall I, dear Feodora," said Mrs. Jones, kissing her with great
affection. "And I really dread the time when we must leave you. But you
are improving so rapidly that we must go before many weeks."
"I am glad to get well, but I do feel sorry to think of your going. But
I do not give up ever seeing you again. You will go to the North Pole in
a short time, and then return home. You will write me from there, both
you and Mattie, and then my father and I will visit you and bring you
home with us. You must spend a winter with us in our capital city. It is
the most beautiful and gayest city in Europe in its season."
"And you shall spend a winter in Washington," returned Mrs. Jones.
"I have never seen anything so beautiful as Washington," said Mattie.
And so the friends chatted and cemented their acquaintance and
friendship day by day, planning for future enjoyment of each other's
The Count and Feodora were greatly interested in their account of their
visit with the Barton family in Labrador.
"By the way," said Mattie, "let's go up to Will's studio and see his
painting of Jennie Barton."
Feodora readily assented. "I have been longing for some time to see the
interior of your beautiful cabin," she said.
They slowly walked to the cage and mounted to the cabin, a distance of
but fifty feet. They found Will at work upon a local landscape. He was
delighted to receive the ladies, especially Feodora. "This augurs well
for our sailing soon, Miss Feodora. And I cannot tell you how glad we
all are to see you recovering so rapidly."
"I told Feodora that you had made a fine painting of Jennie Barton. We
have told her all about our visit in Labrador, and she wishes to see
your painting of Jennie," said Mattie.
"I am only too proud to show it her," answered Will, and he removed a
cloth from the painting that rested upon an easel.
"What a sweet, lovely face!" exclaimed Feodora. "I have never seen
anything sweeter in my life."
Will hastened to assure her, though he flushed with pride, that it
lacked very much of doing the fair Jennie justice.
"There is something so good and pure in that face, that it rests one to
look at it," said the fair Russian.
"Would you accept it from me as a present?" asked Will.
"O Mr. Marsh! would you really part with it?"
"I shall feel greatly honored if you will accept it from me. I intend
painting another immediately. Whether I shall ever reach my ideal, I do
"I fear that you never will until you return to Constance House," said
"Now Mattie, that is very unkind of you," cried Will with a well-assumed
Feodora thanked Will sincerely for his present, and declared that it
should be hung in her room where she might see it the first thing in the
morning and the last thing at night. "Surely nothing could be sweeter
and more interesting than the romance connected with this lovely
painting," said she.
Professor Gray, meantime, had not been idle all these weeks. He and
Denison had developed an affinity for each other, and spent many hours
together, the former teaching the latter much of the geology, botany,
etc., of the country round about. And with rod and gun they kept the
Count's table well supplied with game. They also did much riding, and
for many miles they became familiar objects to the inhabitants. The
Professor made copious notes of all he saw of interest, intending it as
subject matter for a future scientific work.
And Fred busied himself with his music. He had discovered among the
visitors at the castle a young Russian who spoke English tolerably well,
and who was more than an ordinary violinist. They immediately formed a
friendship, and daily sought each other's society. Fred became a great
favorite among the local talent, and many were the concerts they held in
Surely, for prisoners in a foreign land, restrained from going about
their legitimate business, our friends were enjoying themselves
wonderfully. The Count and Feodora were never so happy as when doing
something calculated to enhance the comfort and pleasure of their
guests. The days flew so swiftly by that the time for their departure
was near at hand before they were aware of it. Feodora's recovery was
uninterrupted, and she had gained many pounds of flesh. All
apprehensions concerning her health had about disappeared. The Count
continued his medical studies and investigations with unabated zeal and
interest. The action of the infinitesimal dose was a knotty question. He
could not deny the fact that they exhibited marvelous power over
disease, but their immateriality staggered his faith at times, in spite
of all that he had seen and experienced. But there came a time when he
stepped over the line forever. He was "Born into the Kingdom," as the
Doctor expressed it.
There came a messenger at midnight one dark, stormy night, from a castle
several miles distant. A letter to the Count from a certain Russian
Prince, implored him to bring the American Doctor immediately to see his
wife. The Count awoke the Doctor and told him that he would accompany
him, if he would go; and he would esteem it a personal favor if he would
attend the call.
"Certainly, I will go," said Dr. Jones heartily, and he hastily prepared
himself for the journey.
The rain poured in torrents, and the heavy covered carriage in which
they rode lumbered uncomfortably over the rough country roads.
"You should introduce the horseless carriage into your country," said
the Doctor as he bounced about upon his seat. "You would then agitate
the subject of good roads."
At last they reached their destination, and were hurried to the bedside
of the suffering Princess. She was a woman of fifty-five, large and
fleshy, sitting bolt upright in the middle of the bed. Her distress was
terrible. The Doctor took the symptoms hurriedly as possible. They were:
Violent palpitation of the heart. The bed fairly shook with the action
of that organ.
Expectorating large quantities of frothy blood.
Breathing exceedingly labored; could not lie back in the least degree.
Stomach and bowels enormously distended with gas; so much so that she
could not lean forward at all.
Eructations of gas in large quantities, which gave no relief; the least
particle of food or drink excited these eructations.
A very profuse cold sweat that saturated her clothing and bed.
Great thirst, drinks little and often.
Lower extremities restless, could not keep them quiet.
Very nervous and despairing.
Here was a terrible case, and the little Doctor studied it with the
greatest possible care. He learned that the Princess had been an invalid
for many years. She had taken vast quantities of crude drugs, and the
time had come when her stomach rebelled and would tolerate no more
drugging. The great physicians of Europe had been consulted, without
permanent benefit. Her regular medical attendant, with his assistant,
was now present. Dr. Jones was introduced to them, and such courtesies
as were possible under the circumstances were extended by each. They
gave such information as possible through the Count, and declared that
the Princess must die within a few hours. They now stood powerless by,
very curious and observant of everything the Doctor did.
He had carefully written out the above symptoms, and now retired for a
few moments with the Count to an adjoining room. The two Russian
physicians were asked to join them, as a matter of professional
"This is a desperate affair," said the Count, "and I fear that your
infinitesimals will do her very little good."
"Don't be so sure, Sir Count. You may see something to-night that will
remove your last remnant of unbelief," returned the Doctor, as he turned
over the leaves of a materia medica that he had brought with him.
"There is undoubtedly organic disease of the heart, and other
complications that I have not time now to investigate. I have the
totality of symptoms before us, and I have found the remedy that covers
them precisely." He read to the Count each symptom, and showed how
exactly they were covered by the drug. Some degree of explanation of
this was made the native physicians, but it was evidently something new
to them which they did not at all comprehend.
"And now let us hasten to administer a dose of this drug."
They returned to the sick chamber. Dr. Jones from a small case vial
dropped a single minim into a teaspoon and wiped it off upon her tongue.
It seemed so simple and wholly inadequate a thing to do in this very
urgent affair, that the Count and the two medical men could not repress
But the Doctor said, "Wait and you shall see the glory of God."
Not more than three minutes later, the royal patient, who was sitting
perfectly erect, eyes closed, suddenly threw up her hands and cried out
in the Russian tongue, "My God! What have you given me? I'm drunk!" and
fell back upon her pillow as if shot. She almost immediately began
snoring as if sound asleep. The Prince, Count, and two physicians sprang
forward in great alarm, and were about to raise her to her former
sitting posture. But Doctor Jones said commandingly, "Let her alone! Do
not touch her!"
"But she is dying!" cried Count Icanovich.
"No, my dear Count, she is sleeping beautifully. To awaken her now would
be fatal. I wish all to leave the room but her nurse."
Several moments later the Doctor followed them to the parlor. The Count
was greatly agitated, and stepped up to him immediately as he entered.
"How is she now, Doctor?"
"Sleeping as peacefully as a child."
"And is it a natural, healthful sleep?"
"Doctor, you have conquered my last prejudice. The modus operandi of the
action of your infinitesimals I shall never comprehend. But that they do
operate, immediately, powerfully, and beneficently, I can no longer
doubt. Now please let me see the vial from which you poured the
wonderful drop that you gave Her Highness."
The Doctor complied, and the Count held the tiny vial to the light and
read the label, "Cinchona Officinalis, 30x."
The Prince also took the vial into his hand, looked at it with
curiosity, and made a remark to the Count.
"His Highness suggests that this must be a poison of fearful power,"
said the Count to Dr. Jones.
"Please say to him that it is not a poison in any sense of the word. I
could swallow every drop of it with perfect impunity," replied Dr.
Nothing could exceed the interest and curiosity of the two physicians.
They looked at the vial and asked questions almost without number. The
old familiar look of incredulity crept into their eyes when they came to
an understanding of the immateriality of the dose. They were familiar
with the dogma of "Similia similibus curanter," or "Like cures like,"
and repudiated it at once. But they said nothing of it to the Prince or
Count at this time. The Count again addressed Dr. Jones.
"His Highness is lost in wonder at the magical effect of your medicine,
and desires me to express his heartfelt gratitude and thanks."
The Prince, with tears in his eyes, took the Doctor's hand, and said
something to him in his own language.
"He says that he can never repay you for what you have done to-night,
and that you may command him for anything in his power," interpreted the
"Say to him that I am more than repaid for anything that I have done.
Let him give all the glory to God."
After ascertaining that the Princess still slept quietly, the Doctor and
Count retired for the remaining hours of the night.
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