Page 35

Damaged Goods, The Great Play "Les Avaries" of Eugene Brieux Novelized

seemed to George to pierce his very soul. "Twenty cases identical with your own have been patiently observed, from the beginning to the end. Nineteen times the woman was infected by her husband; you hear me, sir, nineteen times out of twenty! You believe that the disease is without danger, and you take to yourself the right to expose your wife to what you call the chance of your being one of those exceptions, for whom our remedies are without effect. Very well; it is necessary that you should know the disease which your wife, without being consulted, will run a chance of contracting. Take that book, sir; it is the work of my teacher. Read it yourself. Here, I have marked the passage." He held out the open book; but George could not lift a hand to take it. "You do not wish to read it?" the other continued. "Listen to me." And in a voice trembling with passion, he read: "'I have watched the spectacle of an unfortunate young woman, turned into a veritable monster by means of a syphilitic infection. Her face, or rather let me say what was left of her face, was nothing but a flat surface seamed with scars.'" George covered his face, exclaiming, "Enough, sir! Have mercy!" But the other cried, "No, no! I will go to the very end. I have a duty to perform, and I will not be stopped by the sensibility of your nerves." He went on reading: "'Of the upper lip not a trace was left; the ridge of the upper gums appeared perfectly bare.'" But then at the young man's protests, his resolution failed him. "Come," he said, "I will stop. I am sorry for you--you who accept for another person, for the woman you say you love, the chance of a disease which you cannot even endure to hear described. Now, from whom did that woman get syphilis? It is not I who am speaking, it is the book. 'From a miserable scoundrel who was not afraid to enter into matrimony when he had a secondary eruption.' All that was established later on--'and who, moreover, had thought it best not to let his wife be treated for fear of awakening her suspicions!'" The doctor closed the book with a bang. "What that man has done, sir, is what you want to do." George was edging toward the door; he could no longer look the doctor in the eye. "I should deserve all those epithets and still more 35


by Upton Sinclair Damaged Goods, The Great Play "Les Avaries" of Eugene Brieux Novelized 1 Damaged Goods, The Great Play "Les Avaries" of Eu...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you