In joyful anticipation, she left the villa and walked hurriedly there in the wonderful, moist, warm air of the summer evening. Even the busiest roads were dust-free and free from heat. Only in the great brightly lit station hall was nothing to be noticed of the wonderful temperature that prevailed outside; it was dull and hot under the great coal-dusted arch of this building.
The young girl stood expectantly in the midst of the thronging crowd, the life of the great traffic roaring and roaring around her. A suburban train pulled in, stopped, whistled and steamed on. Then a horrible scream rang through the air, it was returned in a thousand voices by the crowd and reverberated against the vault of the ceiling.
A man had slipped while boarding and got under the wheels of the train. The maimed man was pulled out and the train departed. At first a general misfortune was feared; but when it was seen that there was no danger, the crowd soon calmed down, the panic vanished quickly as it had come, the life-threatening crush that had followed the terrible scream stopped again immediately. – There was no real railway accident. Someone had only wanted to get on when the train was already in motion. The old misfortune, it happens so often, who should be particularly upset about it! Scarcely a minute had the horrible end of an individual stalled the flood of city life.
“A sick person from Professor Schrödter’s insane asylum is missing, here is the signal to prevent his departure,” said a policeman, approaching the station master.
The officer scanned the signal element. “Let us recognize the victim, the matter will be right.”
The two men quickly made their way through the crowd. The basket in which the victim lay was put down, it was found that the missing patient of the mental hospital was in front of them, so the porters were instructed to take the dying man there.
Fraulein Wagner greeted her friend, but her joy was spoiled by the misfortune that she had seen. –
The professor himself received the patient transport at the door of the clinic. He was about to go to a scientific association where he had to give a lecture on medical issues. In the victim he immediately recognized a pharmacist who had been referred to him by his relatives as a morphinist. He had already hoped to be able to discharge the patient soon as cured; now he saw him dying, with his legs gone and his head bleeding. The professor had agreed to give a lecture, he had to go.
He hastily ordered that the wounded man, who belonged to Turnau’s ward, should be handed over to the assistant doctor at once; with that he got into the cab waiting for him.
The head attendant directed the transport to the operating room, which was seldom used in this house; the nurse on duty was instructed to notify the ward doctor.
Sister Clarissa stepped silently into Turnau’s room. He was lying on a low, soft sofa and barely raised his head to look around for the person entering.
The young nun, who might still be from hers Such a formlessness was unpleasant in worldly life, reported in the most succinct, most necessary words of the accident and the dispositions that the professor had made about it. Without waiting for an answer, she left the doctor.
Turnau straightened up slowly and with difficulty, his face was covered with a pale pallor, his eyes were dull, the ice-cold hands trembled. The beautiful, regular features were marred by a deadly weakness that blurred any expression. The muscles lay limp under the withered skin.
Only the most concentrated morphine solutions were able to stimulate his dulled nerves. He combined his injections with ether and even with chloroform. Nevertheless, the effect sometimes failed after a very short time. A weakness that streaked unconsciousness followed. For a moment this state was reminiscent of sleep, but soon the unfortunate woke up. His pulses chased, he heard the blood roar and hammer in his head, visual disturbances tormented him, lights and sparks sprang up in front of him. The noises of the blood increased to mysterious, horrible tones; he believed he heard words ring out from them, words and cries that plunged him into despair and fear of death. Eventually this condition turned into a nervous excitement, To look at and stopping heartbeat again and again to reach for the morphine injection.
As dull as the nerves were in the end, they had to be stimulated, they had to be artificially stimulated because the state of disillusionment was simply unbearable.
One no longer sleeps when one has passed a certain stage of morphinism.
Day and night the broken nerves demand their medication, day and night the pathological excitement lasts. But if the hour comes when the nerves no longer react to it, when no remedy helps, then death also comes.
The poisoned body perishes in excruciating agony, which nothing can alleviate. As a rule, the mind is then overwhelmed by madness.
Turnau knew that he was not very far from this end. With great energy he sometimes tried to endure individual hours of disillusionment. The longer he had endured the painful weakness, the more enjoyable was the effect of the remedies used again afterwards.
At such an hour of great suffering, he was disturbed by the message from his boss.
The colored veil that covered the lamp had made the nurse overlook his condition. He hadn’t understood anything she’d said. All he knew was that she was calling him, that medical duties were required of him.
Never before had he found his position as an assistant so oppressive as a bondage. His means allowed him to live where and how he wanted without having a job. In the interests of his book, for the sake of the studies he was doing here, he had endured this dependency until now. But now he felt that it was time for him to break free. He was still committed to two months. Even if he now decided to call in sick and provide a substitute for his work, it could not help him at this moment. The nurse had called him – he had to come.
Several minutes passed before he was able to do this. His means were at hand, but their effect was not immediate. It was only after he had used several combined injections at very short intervals that he was ready to be able to think coherently again.
In the operating room he had the incident, which had already been reported to him, recounted before he went to the stretcher on which the victim was lying. No other doctor had come to the rescue. Nobody came to the arrogant and blasé Turnau without a request from his side. He did not, however, think of giving one of his colleagues a good word for it. Once and for all he stayed away from all confidentiality, from all informal intercourse. Now he was mentally perfectly clear, he was in control of his knowledge and his thoughts, he didn’t need anyone.
The sight which the wounded man presented was horrific. Both legs were bruised at the thighs. One was the bloody things that the waiting staff separated from the torn body. The other was still loosely connected to the body by flesh and muscles, the splintered bone was exposed.
Sister Clarissa tried to put a stop to the enormous loss of blood for the time being.
Turnau bent over these groaning, whimpering remains of a human body; he recognized at once that the wounded man was fully conscious.
“Chloroform,” the human groaned.
“Certainly, in a moment, but it could take your mind too soon, I want to give you something else first, which will also calm the pain; You may still have something to say, “answered Turnau.
“No, not now, it’s too late, now I don’t want any more morphine. Now I’ll let myself be healed, hurry, hurry, heal me, I’ll keep quiet, I don’t do it secretly any more, “came the blue-gray lips, barely audible.
The young doctor put on the flannel mask. “Are you a suicide?” He asked.
“No, no, it was just an attempt to escape – a misfortune. They wanted to heal me, against my will – I don’t want to be healed – ”
“Yes, I understand you. They wanted you to be one Forcing other professions because as a pharmacist you would have become addicted to morphine again, you didn’t want to do that. ”
“I don’t want – I don’t want to. – – – «
Consciousness faded, Turnau carried out the necessary amputation, Sister Clarissa worked wonderfully into his hand. Apparently, when the legs were torn from under him, the body was thrown with terrible force over the back onto the stone slabs of the station, for a complex skull fracture was also found.
After the bandages had been put on, the nurse asked if Turnau would not also like to remove the stump of the other leg, which was in the emergency bandage.
“Not at all, without the professor’s express instructions,” replied the young man, eagerly washing his hands.
“Chloroform,” groaned the patient, who was already regaining his senses because, as a morphinist, he was very insensitive to the effects of narcotics.
Turnau approached the table. “I can only give you morphine now,” he declared. “The operation is over, long-term anesthesia could at most have the effect of shortening your life, perhaps ending it very quickly.”
“What does it matter?” Muttered the unfortunate man. Turnau turned to the serving sister. “Give At least give him chloroform, “he said softly,” the poor fellow is fed up with life, it may not be a pleasure in his situation either. ”
“You are not a surgeon, Doctor, are you sure you mean to say that the patient is lost?”
“No, I am by no means a surgeon,” confirmed the young psychiatrician, who had learned from surgery only as much as the state examination required. “I definitely don’t want to condemn people to death, but I want to answer for chloroform anesthesia.”
“Please, do it yourself,” replied the nun with calm dignity.
He looked into the beautiful girl’s face, cold as marble. What a riddle was this ruthless harshness in the face of the most terrible pains in a sister whose whole life was devoted to serving love.
The sick man screamed and groaned heartbreakingly.
“Can’t you see how he’s suffering?” Asked Turnau.
“I see it, but I cannot and must not change what God’s will is. If it were not the will of the saints that this man should enter into life through pain, he would not suffer so. ”
“But the saints also allow people to be killed on the spot in such accidents,” remarked Turnau.
“It is also written,” Death is the wages of sin. ”
The terrible cries of the operated man tormented the nerves of the sick man; he saw that with the pious Sister was nothing to do with; so he left her at her job of tidying up. Determined, he grabbed the chloroform mask himself and stepped back to the operating bed.
He poured out the water, took the patient’s pulse in his hand and involuntarily looked around.
The whole bloody picture of the room, the smell of the mask, the iodoform and the carbole aroused such disgust after a few moments that he felt completely unable to finish the love work he had once accepted.
How was he supposed to have a quarrel with the professor shortly before his departure for the sake of this strange, indifferent person!
Of course, this patient was also a morphinist – they wanted to cure him against his will – the result of the attempt was this escape, perhaps it was nevertheless an escape from life.
What did the sister say? “Death is the wages of sin.” Wilhelm Turnau had learned this saying a long time ago in school. Should he see the importance of the old teaching now?
But at least this patient was not a victim of the sales restrictions, but only a victim of kinship prejudices. As far as his dear relatives had brought him, now the merciful love of the nun for his agony also failed.
Should the insight of the eccentric, so lonely with his views, stand alone here?
Again the patient’s consciousness disappeared. The pulse stopped.
If I pour it again, he’ll be dead, the doctor told himself.
Hesitantly, his hand reached for the black bottle.
“What does it matter?” Muttered the patient again in his stupor.
“What do I care?” Turnau added inside. Then he tore off the patient’s mask. “Sister Clarissa!”
“Wish you a doctor?”
“Arrange for the reburial, and when the professor comes, ask if you can give morphine. I’ll go to my room, call me in an emergency. ”
“Yes, Herr Doctor.”
He went, and she did her duty to the sick man as quietly and calmly as to all of her other entrusted people. She was really indifferent to the individual personality, she saw in every poor and wretched only the brother sent to her by God, in whose person she served the Lord. Turnau, on the other hand, was morbidly excited and nervously attacked by the sight of the terrible wounds, the smell of the blood, and all the unaccustomed surgical work which had come upon him.
He came back to his room exhausted and exhausted, and in the process extremely overwrought. He went to rest; but the night he was on it was such that he told himself that several such nights would quickly lead him to death. The conviction that work, excitement, and forcible self-conquest must ruin him so excited him that he was on the verge of despair. If his physical ailments were now causing his dissolution more quickly than he had thought, it was thanks to the ruthlessness of his superior.
The whole egoism of his character revolted at this realization. He got into a feverish excitement. How often had he toyed with the thought of the end, how often had he thought he longed for death. Now he had looked death in the eye, he felt the nearness of eternity, and he was seized by a nameless horrific fear.
“Death is the wages of sin.”
Again and again he thought of the nun who had pointed out this cold word so calmly and firmly. He racked his brain over what the next name of the line she had shouted out to him was. After pondering for a long time, it occurred to him. –
He, the elegant, noble man whom women had always met, could undoubtedly have wriggled at Sister Clarissa’s feet in the same agony as the wretched man who was now in her care – she would feel nothing in his sufferings, she would do nothing to relieve him of what, in her opinion, he was destined to suffer. She would be indifferent to him, indifferent to anyone else.