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

"What will you do?" "I shall warn the nurse. I shall inform her exactly, completely-something which you have not done, I feel sure." "What?" cried Madame Dupont, wildly. "You, a doctor, called into a family which gives you its entire confidence, which hands over to you its most terrible secrets, its most horrible miseries--you would betray them?" "It is not a betrayal," replied the man, sternly. "It is something which the law commands; and even if the law were silent, I would not permit a family of worthy people to go astray so far as to commit a crime. Either I give up the case, or you have the nursing of the child stopped." "You threaten! You threaten!" cried the woman, almost frantic. "You abuse the power which your knowledge gives you! You know that it is you whose attention we need by that little cradle; you know that we believe in you, and you threaten to abandon us! Your abandonment means the death of the child, perhaps! And if I listen to you, if we stop the nursing of the child--that also means her death!" She flung up her hands like a mad creature. "And yet there is no other means! Ah, my God! Why do you not let it be possible for me to sacrifice myself? I would wish nothing more than to be able to do it--if only you might take my old body, my old flesh, my old bones--if only I might serve for something! How quickly would I consent that it should infect me--this atrocious malady! How I would offer myself to it--with what joys, with what delights--however disgusting, however frightful it might be, however much to be dreaded! Yes, I would take it without fear, without regret, if my poor old empty breasts might still give to the child the milk which would preserve its life!" She stopped; and George sprang suddenly from his seat, and fled to her and flung himself down upon his knees before her, mingling his sobs and tears with hers. The doctor rose and moved about the room, unable any longer to control his distress. "Oh, the poor people!" he murmured to himself. "The poor, poor people!" The storm passed, and Madame Dupont, who was a woman of strong character, got herself together. Facing the doctor again, she said, "Come, 63


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

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