Munich Nights Chapter 72: “Doctor Nagel Prepares To Examine The Ailing Countess”

Munich Nights Chapter 72: “Doctor Nagel Prepares To Examine The Ailing Countess”

The darkened bedroom door was silently opened when a confident, slightly accented voice announced: “Good afternoon, Doctor Nagel. I’m Carin Goering, and I’m so pleased you are able to join us today.” She paused and looked over to her husband, saying, “And also to help us, we hope, by solving this medical mystery that seems to have arrived here today for you to hopefully find a solution to?”

She then remained standing in the doorway. A rather tall woman with deep-set eyes that seemed to overlook nothing, being blessed with fine Nordic facial bones—a past legacy, perhaps, from a forgotten northern Viking tribe of long ago.

For a minute, Doctor Nagel was not sure how to greet Carin Goering. Feeling as though she had been granted a private audience with the Queen of Sweden, she arose and walked over to her. Meanwhile, Carin Goering had offered her right hand in a formal greeting to the approaching woman. The doctor was uncertain about the expected etiquette. Should she bow her head, perform a difficult curtsey, or just give a polite handshake? She decided the latter would have to suffice.

“It is indeed a great honour to meet you at last, Countess,” was all she managed to say as Carin accepted her offered hand with a gracious smile.

“Oh no, the honour is certainly all mine, dear doctor,” Carin replied, shaking her head gently while holding the doctor’s outstretched hand in a firm grip. Then she said wistfully, looking at her husband with surprise, “They tell me that Doctor Bernstein has been called away suddenly on important hospital business somewhere. But for some strange reason, the doctor departed the town minus his medical bag. Can you believe it? Don’t you find it all rather unexpected? Well, I do!” she stated. “As most doctors, I have had to consult, and there have been very many, old and young. I have also waited in far too many tired, cold, depressing waiting rooms and been examined and prodded.”

She winced as she recalled this. “By too many doctors, usually with cold hands and dirty fingernails. But I always noticed the medical bag shielded by his desk. Why, it’s a most necessary accoutrement of his calling. Is it not rather akin to a bishop with his foolish mitre?”

“I’ve even heard that some nervous doctors take the bag home with them at night. And some, sadly, place it by their bedside just in case. Or even in their bed under the quilted eiderdown—can you believe?” she laughed at her rather feeble joke.

Everyone in the room just smiled politely.

If the doctor was supposed to react to this strange, sarcastic observation, probably directed at her and her profession, she did not comment but simply inquired matter-of-factly, “So how can I be of any assistance to you professionally, Countess?”

Apart from looking at and deciphering Doctor Bernstein’s important notes, why else was she here? She smiled, raising her eyebrows in mock question. As she looked up, several dead flies were trapped in the glass ceiling light globe—something the maids had obviously missed or simply didn’t care about. They usually did, she recalled from past occasions when she herself had stayed at other city hotels.

Karen, now sensing this conversation was drifting away and becoming uncomfortable, suggested everybody take a seat. Then she said with a smile, “Perhaps, Doctor Nagel, you could give the Countess a perfunctory examination. Doctor Bernstein, I believe, usually would have performed this morning ritual if he had been here, of course.” She added tentatively.

“What do you think, darling?” Hermann asked hopefully of his wife.

“Well, why not?” Carin replied firmly but with little interest in this obvious suggestion from Karen.

Some vacuous talk was then exchanged concerning the approaching inclement weather and the price of cigars. Then Hermann informed the doctor that the requested medical bag had been delivered safely to the hotel that day and that they actually had it here in the bedroom. He deliberately did not mention the leather wallet. This he would hold back for his own personal inspection and whether it would be of any use to the Party apparatus as well.

Karen then stood up, carefully straightened her dress, and walked over to her still-ailing friend. She whispered a few soft words into Carin’s ear. Whatever their meaning, Carin nodded with a smile of acceptance and agreed to what she had just heard. She then slowly stood up without Karen’s aid, said some soft words to the doctor, and they both walked toward the vacant bedroom.

With the doctor speaking over her shoulder and carrying her medical bag, she informed Hermann and the others, “Please give me five minutes with my patient for an examination. Thank you. Oh, and nurse, I might need you later,” she insisted. They both retired to the bedroom, and the doctor closed the door quietly behind them.

To be continued…..

© G. Patrick Battell

All Rights Reserved

June 2024