“My wife seems quite ill,” said Mr. Dexter, as he entered, “and, I think requires medical attention.”
Dr. G—went to the bedside and stood looking at the flushed face of Mrs. Dexter for some moments. Then he laid his hand against her cheek, and then took hold of her wrist. Mr. Dexter, whose eyes were on him, thought he saw him start and change countenance at the first stroke of the pulse that played against his fingers.
“How long has she been in this condition?” asked the doctor, turning with a serious aspect to Mr. Dexter.
“She has not seemed well since morning” was replied. “I noticed that she scarcely tasted food at breakfast, and she has kept her room for most of the day, lying down for a greater part of the time. I left her on the bed when I went to dinner. She did not complain of indisposition, but seemed listless and out of spirits. I ordered tea sent up, but, as you perceive, it has not been tasted. On my return, I found her in the condition in which she now lies—(sic)appparently in a heavy sleep.”
The physician did not seem to get any light from this statement. He turned his eyes again upon the face of Mr. Dexter, and stood in thought for almost a minute. Then he examined her pulse again. It had a strong, rapid, wiry beat. Stooping, he looked very closely at the condition of her skin; then shook his head, and said something in an under tone.
“Do you think her seriously ill?” inquired Mr. Dexter.
“Has there been any unusual exposure; or any strong mental disturbance?” asked the doctor, not seeming to have heard the question.
“There has been mental disturbance,” said Mr. Dexter.
“Of a violent character?”
“She was strongly agitated last night, at something that happened.”
“Was it of a nature to leave a permanent impression on her feelings?”
“Yes.” The answers were made with evident reluctance.
“Her condition is an unusual one,” said the doctor, musing; and he resumed his examination of the case.
“Dr. R—, from Boston, arrived to-day;” he looked up, and presented a very grave face to the now seriously alarmed husband. “I think he had better be consulted.”
“Oh, by all means,” said Mr. Dexter. “Shall I go in search of him?”
“Do you know (sic) kim?”
“I do not.”
“I will go then. It may save time, and that is important.”
The doctor went out hurriedly, and in less than five minutes returned with Doctor R—. The two physicians conferred for some time, speaking in under tones. Mr. Dexter heard the words “congestion of the brain” and “brain fever,” with increasing alarm.
“Well, doctors, how do you decide the case?” he inquired anxiously, as their conference terminated.
“There is a strong tendency to congestion of the brain,” was replied by Doctor G—, “but, it is our opinion that we can check this tendency. Your wife, Mr. Dexter, is seriously ill. An experienced nurse must be had without delay. And every possible attention given, so as to second at all points the treatment under which she will be placed. A favorable result will doubtless crown our efforts. I present the case as a serious one, because it is so in its requirement of skill and unfailing attention.”