She Comes First Ebook 11 Doctor Infiltrados J
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BUT to return to my work and my mission. After receiving myinstructions I returned to my boarding-house, and when eveningcame I began to practice the role in which I was to makemy debut on the morrow. What a difficult task, I thought, toappear before a crowd of people and convince them that I wasinsane. I had never been near insane persons before in my life,and had not the faintest idea of what their actions were like.And then to be examined by a number of learned physicians whomake insanity a specialty, and who daily come in contactwith insane people! How could I hope to pass these doctorsand convince them that I was crazy? I feared that they could notbe deceived. I began to think my task a hopeless one; but it hadto be done. So I flew to the mirror and examined my face. Iremembered all I had read of the doings of crazy people, how firstof all they have staring eyes, and so I opened mine as wide aspossible and stared unblinkingly at my own reflection. I assureyou the sight was not reassuring, even to myself, especially inthe dead of night. I tried to turn the gas up higher in hopesthat it would raise my courage. I succeeded only partially, but Iconsoled myself with the thought that in a few nights more Iwould not be there, but locked up in a cell with a lot oflunatics.
"I believe she has been using belladonna," said the doctor, and forthe first time I was thankful that I was a little near-sighted, which ofcourse answers for the enlargement of the pupils. I thought I might aswell be truthful when I could without injuring my case, so I told him Iwas near-sighted, that I was not in the least ill, had never been sick,and that no one had a right to detain me when I wanted to find my trunks.I wanted to go home. He wrote a lot of things in a long, slender book,and then said he was going to take me home. The judge told him to takeme and to be kind to me, and to tell the people at the hospital to be kindto me, and to do all they could for me. If we only had more such men asJudge Duffy, the poor unfortunates would not find life all darkness.
"This young girl is to wait here for the boat," said the surgeon, andthen he started to leave me. I begged him not to go, or to take me withhim, but he said he wanted to get his dinner first, and that I should waitthere for him. When I insisted on accompanying him he claimed that he hadto assist at an amputation, and it would not look well for me to be present.It was evident that he believed he was dealing with an insane person. Justthen the most horrible insane cries came from a yard in the rear. Withall my bravery I felt a chill at the prospect of being shut up with a fellow-creaturewho was really insane. The doctor evidently noticed my nervousness, forhe said to the attendant;
An old Irishwoman was maid-of-all-work. I heard her called Mary, andI am glad to know that there is such a good-hearted woman in that place.I experienced only kindness and the utmost consideration from her. Therewere only three patients, as they are called. I made the fourth. I thoughtI might as well begin work at once, for I still expected that the veryfirst doctor might declare me sane and send me out again into the wide,wide world. So I went down to the rear of the room and introduced myselfto one of the women, and asked her all about herself. Her name, she said,was Miss Anne Neville, and she had been sick from overwork. She had beenworking as a chambermaid, and when her health gave way she was sent tosome Sisters' Home to be treated. Her nephew, who was a waiter, was outof work, and, being unable to pay her expenses at the Home, had had her transferredto Bellevue.
So I put the moth-eaten shawl, with all its musty smell, around me,and sat down on a wicker chair, wondering what would come next, whetherI should freeze to death or survive. My nose was very cold, so I coveredup my head and was in a half doze, when the shawl was suddenly jerked frommy face and a strange man and Miss Scott stood before me. The man provedto be a doctor, and his first greetings were:
I had hoped to get some rest on this my first night in an insane asylum.But I was doomed to disappointment. When the night nurses came in theywere curious to see me and to find out what I was like. No sooner had theyleft than I heard some one at my door inquiring for Nellie Brown, and Ibegan to tremble, fearing always that my sanity would be discovered. Bylistening to the conversation I found it was a reporter in search of me,and I heard him ask for my clothing so that he might examine it. I listenedquite anxiously to the talk about me, and was relieved to learn that Iwas considered hopelessly insane. That was encouraging. After the reporterleft I heard new arrivals, and I learned that a doctor was there and intendedto see me. For what purpose I knew not, and I imagined all sorts of horriblethings, such as examinations and the rest of it, and when they got to myroom I was shaking with more than fear.
About 9.30 the new patients, of which I was one, were told to go outto see the doctor. I was taken in and my lungs and my heart were examinedby the flirty young doctor who was the first to see us the day we entered.The one who made out the report, if I mistake not, was the assistant superintendent,Ingram. A few questions and I was allowed to return to the sitting-room.
I have described my first day in the asylum, and as my other nine wereexactly the same in the general run of things it would be tiresome to tellabout each. In giving this story I expect to be contradicted by many whoare exposed. I merely tell in common words, without exaggeration, of mylife in a mad-house for ten days. The eating was one of the most horriblethings. Excepting the first two days after I entered the asylum, therewas no salt for the food. The hungry and even famishing women made an attemptto eat the horrible messes. Mustard and vinegar were put on meat and insoup to give it a taste, but it only helped to make it worse. Even thatwas all consumed after two days, and the patients had to try to choke downfresh fish, just boiled in water, without salt, pepper or butter; mutton,beef and potatoes without the faintest seasoning. The most insane refusedto swallow the food and were threatened with punishment. In our short walkswe passed the kitchen were food was prepared for the nurses and doctors.There we got glimpses of melons and grapes and all kinds of fruits, beautifulwhite bread and nice meats, and the hungry feeling would be increased tenfold.I spoke to some of the physicians, but it had no effect, and when I wastaken away the food was yet unsalted.
At first I could not sleep and did not want to so long as I could hear anything new. The night nurses may have complained of the fact. At any rate one night they came in and tried to make me take a dose of some mixture out of a glass "to make me sleep," they said. I told them I would do nothing of the sort and they left me, I hoped, for the night. My hopes were vain, for in a few minutes they returned with a doctor, the same that received us on our arrival. He insisted that I take it, but I was determined not to lose my wits even for a few hours. When he saw that I was not to be coaxed he grew rather rough, and said he had wasted too much time with me already. That if I did not take it he would put it into my arm with a needle. It occurred to me that if he put it into my arm I could not get rid of it, but if I swallowed it there was one hope, so I said I would take it. I smelt it and it smelt like laudanum, and it was a horrible dose. No sooner had they left the room and locked me in than I tried so see how far down my throat my finger would go, and the chloral was allowed to try its effect elsewhere.
"Everything. I get the pasteboard cut in squares the same as you did.I first 'set up' the lids, then I 'mold in' the bottoms.This forms a box. Next I do the 'trimming,' which is putting the gilt edgearound the box lid. 'Cover striping' (covering the edge of the lid) is next,and then comes the 'top label,' which finishes the lid entire.Then I paper the box, do the 'bottom labeling,' and then put in two or four laces(lace paper) on the inside as ordered. Thus you see one box passes through my hands eight times before it is finished. I have to work very hard and without ceasing to be able to make two hundred boxes a day, which earns me $1. It is not enough pay. You see I handle two hundred boxes sixteen hundred times for $1.Cheap labor, isn't it?" 2b1af7f3a8