Chapter 28: Doctor Donovan
Copyright© 2005 by Argon
Historical Sex Story: Chapter 28: Doctor Donovan - This is set twenty years after the events of "In the Navy". The lives of Anthony Carter and his family are turned topsy-turvy by the arrival of Ellen, a young shepherdess. Follow the lives of the Carters and their friends and relatives during the late regency era and explore foreign countries and cultures with them. History is not necessarily dry!
Caution: This Historical Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa mt/ft Fa/ft Teenagers Consensual Romantic Rape Lesbian Heterosexual Historical Tear Jerker First Oral Sex Masturbation Petting
The springs and axles of the coach groaned and squeaked as the driver urged the horses on with his whip. Sleeping dogs jumped up and out of their way and the native people looked after them with displeasure, since they endangered humans and animals with their par force drive. In less than ten minutes the coach screeched to a halt in front of the tall mansion and Richard had to restrain Ellen from rushing ahead. As it was they made a fast enough entrance. Yet nobody was at the door to check their rush and they followed the sound of excited babble from the servant’s quarters.
When they entered Mabel’s room, Ellen immediately saw that Mabel was beyond help. Her face was swollen and contorted with pain, and her body thrashed on the bed in painful spasms. The matronly nurse, Noga, was holding burning opium under the young woman’s nose, obviously in an attempt to lessen her pain. When Ellen and Richard entered, the woman looked up and shook her head sadly, the gesture confirming Ellen’s first assessment. Ellen bent over the poor girl and touched her forehead, almost jerking her hand away when she felt the heat.
She sighed heavily. But then the thought of Millicent electrified her. Once more, she let her hand caress the doomed girl’s face before she stood again and left the room for Millicent’s chamber.
Millicent was awake, and she did not look half as bad as poor Mabel. Sadie was already at her side again, as was the younger of the nurses, Neeta. In a flash, Ellen sat on the side of Millicent’s bed and took her hand.
“Millicent, can you hear me?” she asked tentatively.
The girl nodded, but her pretty features were contorted with pain.
“What happened, please?” Ellen continued.
“We were in our common room, M’lady, having supper. Master Carter had already been fed and cleaned, and Mabel was feeding Sally. When she was finished, she let her run around in the common room. May I have some water?”
“Of course,” Ellen answered pouring her a glass.
When she had taken a few sips, Millicent continued.
“I don’t rightly know what happened. One minute we were talking and being merry, and the next moment Mabel was running around the room and looking for Sally. The door must have been unlocked and she was gone.
“Of course, we all went to search for her and then we saw that the door to the garden was open too. Mabel and I ran into the garden, afraid what might happen to Sally. I think, Sadie ran to fetch Mr. Gafur. Mabel and I split up. We were stupid, M’lady; we did not have torches and we had search in the dark. Then I heard Mabel. She shouted that she had found Sally.
“I started walking back to the house when I heard Mabel’s scream. I ran to her following her screams, and then I saw her lying on the grass, covering Sally with her body. When I came near to her, something struck my ankle, and then I saw the snake. It was a hooded one, like we saw at the market with the snake charmer. Then I realised it had bitten me, too.
“Poor Mabel was whimpering in pain, she could not get up. She begged me to bring Sally to safety. I took the little girl and ran to the house for help. Just then, Sadie came with Neeta and Mr. Gafur. I told them about Mabel, and Mr. Gafur had this huge blunderbuss, and he shot the snake dead. Then they brought Mabel in, and she was in pain and could not breathe. So I told Sadie to run and fetch you.”
“You did well, Millicent,” Ellen assured the scared girl, but the thought of Mabel caused an obstruction in her throat. Compared with Millicent, Mabel looked horrible. The young nurse, Neeta, tapped Ellen’s hand.
“It was King Cobra, Memsahib, very big. People die from bite. But Mill’cent here was lucky, snake bite shoe, leather, tooth not go deep. Not much bite. Will live.”
“Are you sure?” Ellen asked.
The girl made a face and Ellen saw that her question was unfair. Just then, Harriet Carter entered and her grave face showed that she had been with Mabel. She shook her head sadly and Ellen realised that Harriet too feared the worst for the young woman. She was relieved to see that Millicent was conscious and had no swelling at all. When there was a bustle from the entrance hall both women turned their faces to the door. Richard entered with a young man in a black coat.
“This is Doctor Donovan. The governor sent him.”
Ellen rose and the good Doctor stared at her wistfully for a fraction of a second.
“Your servant, Milady,” he mumbled embarrassedly. “Is this the young lady who was bitten?”
“She is one of two, Doctor, and she is the one who is faring better.”
“Then, with your permission, I should see the other first.”
Ellen nodded and led the young doctor into Mabel’s room. She heard his sharp intake of breath when he saw the puffed-up face of the young woman and rushed to her side. He felt her temperature, pinched her skin, forced her eyes open, and finally looked at her leg where she had been bitten. Ellen had to avert her eyes at the sight of the discoloured flesh. The word gangrene, often discussed by her stepfather and -mother, came to her mind. The doctor then had a brief exchange in Bengali with the older nurse berfore he turned to speak to Ellen and Harriet who had followed them.
“Lady Lambert, Lady Carter, I fear there is nothing I can do for her. She is almost paralysed already and her breathing is shallow. There is also mortification at the site of the bite. Even if she survives the next hours the gangrene will prove fatal. I told the nurse to keep the opium burning to take away the worst pain, but that is all we can do.”
“There is no hope?” Ellen asked. Harriet was silent. She had seen death in her younger years and she had recognised the signs.
“There is always hope, Milady,” the young doctor answered. “But we need a miracle. May I see the other patient now?”
They returned to Millicent’s chamber and Doctor Donovan examined her much the same as he had probed poor Mabel. When he examined the bite on Millicent’s calf, he was beet red and flustered for Millicent had very pretty feet, and her legs were well-formed.
“Miss Err... ,” he started, and Millicent smiled weakly.
“Millicent, Doctor, Millicent Wade,” she said.
“Err, yes, Miss Millicent. I see no mortification at the bite, and the punctures are not deep at all. Nothing like any snake bite I’ve seen before. You had been wearing boots?”
“You may have been lucky. So far, I see no signs of swelling or weakness of breathing. Are you in pain?”
The girl nodded. “My ankle burns something terrible and my tummy hurts too.”
“Can you stand it? I could give you laudanum to suppress the pain, but it would weaken your breathing and that could be dangerous later. Right now I recommend a cold vinegar poultice on your leg. Somebody should keep a close watch and call me if there is any change. I am sorry to intrude on you, Milady, but is there a room where I can spend the night. I should hate to leave either of my patients tonight.”
“Of course, Doctor,” Ellen replied before she rang the bell.
Mr. Gafur appeared.
“Please, could you ready a room for the Doctor? He needs to stay overnight.”
“Yes, Memsahib, I will see to it myself.”
“And can you have somebody bring vinegar and a clean cloth?”
He bowed and turned to leave, but Ellen spoke up once more.
“I also wanted to thank you for rushing to help my servants.”
Under his dark skin, the old major domo blushed. He was not used to receiving such considerate treatment from the English. From this moment on, Ellen had a new and fervent admirer.
Doctor Donovan was surprised, too. The more he saw of Lady Lambert, the more impressed he became. She was honestly concerned about her servants and he had seen the tears in her eyes when he told her the truth about Mabel’s chances. Now she went out of her way, in spite of all the distress, to thank the old caretaker for his decisive action. Here was a true Lady he thought. At first sight he had almost dismissed her as a pretty thing who had married above her stand. Yet the short time had already convinced him that she was a woman to be reckoned with. He had business to attend though. He turned to the small nurse who knelt at Millicent’s bed.
“Neeta, isn’t it? Did you understand about what is needed? Mr. Gafur will bring vinegar. Mix one part vinegar and two parts water and soak a cloth in it. Then wrap it around her leg where she was bitten. Place another cloth on her tummy, where she hurts. Can you do that?”
The young woman nodded.
“Can you stay awake and come for me if something changes?”
Neeta nodded again but then she remembered something.
“Memsahib, Salih needs her milk. If I stay here and Noga with Mabel, who feed her?”
Ellen needed a second to understand Neeta’s way of saying Sally’s name, but then she shrugged.
“I shall do it,” she said. And while Doctor Donovan sat at Mabel’s bed, trying desperately to bring down the swelling and to lessen her pain, Ellen sat in a chair in her bedroom, feeding Mabel’s daughter.
When Richard joined her, he looked surprised, but whatever comment he had in mind died stillborn when Ellen looked up with her tear-streaked face. He tried to find the right words.
“I spoke with the Doctor. Poor Mabel is getting weaker.”
Ellen looked down at the little girl in her arms.
“Poor darling,” she whispered. But then a look of determination replaced the sorrow in her features. “Richard, we must keep little Sally! She shared her mother’s milk with our son. I cannot leave her to the mercy of some orphanage here. We must at least bring her back to England.”
Richard nodded. He had expected nothing less from his wife. An orphan herself, she had to sympathise with the infant.
“Of course, Ellen. She can stay with us,” he answered with an encouraging smile.
“Thank you, Dear,” Ellen answered letting out the breath she had unwittingly held. She held the sated girl to her shoulder to let her burp and was rewarded with a sunny smile. Ellen felt the tears well up again, and she hastily stood to bring the girl into the nursery. Richard knew better than to comment and she was thankful for his tact.
In the nursery she was astonished to see the older nurse who was feeding Anthony. One look at the teary eyed woman told Ellen enough, and with a heavy sob, she put Sally into her crib. She waited for a few more minutes until the small girl was asleep before she walked over to kiss her feeding son and steeled herself.
The few feet to Mabel’s chamber were taxing her resolve, but at last she opened the door. Mabel was already covered with a white shroud and two native women whom she did not recognise were placing flowers around her. Doctor Donovan sat with his forehead on his arms, but he rose when he heard Ellen.
“She passed away a half hour ago, Milady. She had no chance. I am very sorry.”
Ellen breathed deeply. Again, death had struck close to her, and she was fighting for composure.
“How is Millicent?” she asked, suddenly remembering her.
Doctor Donovan blushed. “Forgive me, Milady, but I have not looked at her for over an hour.”
Ellen waved her hand to dismiss the unneeded apology and they went into Millicent’s chamber together.
Neeta sat at Millicent’s side wiping her face with a wet cloth. The leg with the bite was wrapped in another cloth, and the room was filled with the smell of vinegar. Neeta looked up when they entered and her eyes conveyed her question. Ellen’s sad shake of her head was answer enough obviously and to her surprise, Ellen saw that the young Bengali woman wiped tears from her eyes.
“How is Millicent?” Ellen asked softly.
“She is sleeping, Memsahib. Smelly cloth take away pain in leg. No pain. You want I feed son or little Salih?”
Ellen shook her head. “Anthony is still sleeping and Sally had her milk. You can go to bed now. I will take over for a while.”
Doctor Donovan looked up in surprise but then he conceded that this fit with his changed view of this young woman.
“May I stay, Memsahib?” Neeta asked apologetically. “Can not sleep.”
“Of course, Neeta, stay if you want,” Ellen answered.
In the meantime Doctor Donovan had had a look at the leg and he let out a breath.
“It is too early to commit myself, Milady, but the signs are good. I see no mortification around the bite, her breathing is strong, and if she sleeps it means that the pain is not as strong anymore.”
“Thank God,” Ellen breathed. “It is bad enough as it is, but to lose Millicent too would be unbearable.”
Doctor Donovan was watching Millicent’s face intently until he realised that he owed Ellen an answer.
“She is incredibly lucky, Milady. If it was really a King Cobra, it is unheard of to survive the bite. Her boot must have prevented the worst. That and the fact that it had bitten Mabel just before and expended its venom.”
“Is there anything we should do for her?”
“She should drink water or better yet tea when she wakes up. But you should go to sleep, Milady. I am sure that Neeta here will be able to take care of her.”
Neeta nodded vigourously. “I call Doctor when she wakes. No need for Memsahib to sit. Better sleep.”
“If you think so,” Ellen relented. She was not looking forward to spending a night on a wooden chair and she was thankful for Neeta’s willingness to continue her vigil. Ellen and Doctor Donovan left the room, but once outside, the good Doctor had yet another question.
“If you will excuse my curiosity, Milady, but how long have you known Miss, eh, Millicent.”
The ghost of a smile crept over Ellen’s lips. Millicent was a very pretty girl, and this explained the Doctor’s interest.
“Millicent Wade has been with our family for the past three years. She had fled from her previous position to escape the unwanted attention of the farmer, and we found her half-starved in a disused gatekeeper’s lodge on our grounds where she was hiding. She was quite uneducated, but she picked up on reading and writing and numbers since then. I completely rely on her with my household, except that she cannot cook to save her life. We brought along Sadie for that.”
“So she is an orphan?”
Ellen gave the young Doctor a friendly nod.