Carmilla HTML version

9. The Doctor
As Carmilla would not hear of an attendant sleeping in her room, my father
arranged that a servant should sleep outside her door, so that she would not
attempt to make another such excursion without being arrested at her own door.
That night passed quietly; and next morning early, the doctor, whom my father
had sent for without telling me a word about it, arrived to see me.
Madame accompanied me to the library; and there the grave little doctor, with
white hair and spectacles, whom I mentioned before, was waiting to receive me.
I told him my story, and as I proceeded he grew graver and graver.
We were standing, he and I, in the recess of one of the windows, facing one
another. When my statement was over, he leaned with his shoulders against the
wall, and with his eyes fixed on me earnestly, with an interest in which was a
dash of horror.
After a minute’s reflection, he asked Madame if he could see my father.
He was sent for accordingly, and as he entered, smiling, he said:
“I dare say, doctor, you are going to tell me that I am an old fool for having
brought you here; I hope I am.”
But his smile faded into shadow as the doctor, with a very grave face, beckoned
him to him.
He and the doctor talked for some time in the same recess where I had just
conferred with the physician. It seemed an earnest and argumentative
conversation. The room is very large, and I and Madame stood together, burning
with curiosity, at the farther end. Not a word could we hear, however, for they
spoke in a very low tone, and the deep recess of the window quite concealed the
doctor from view, and very nearly my father, whose foot, arm, and shoulder only
could we see; and the voices were, I suppose, all the less audible for the sort of
closet which the thick wall and window formed.
After a time my father’s face looked into the room; it was pale, thoughtful, and, I
fancied, agitated.
“Laura, dear, come here for a moment. Madame, we shan’t trouble you, the
doctor says, at present.”
Accordingly I approached, for the first time a little alarmed; for, although I felt very
weak, I did not feel ill; and strength, one always fancies, is a thing that may be
picked up when we please.
My father held out his hand to me, as I drew near, but he was looking at the
doctor, and he said:
“It certainly is very odd; I don’t understand it quite. Laura, come here, dear; now
attend to Doctor Spielsberg, and recollect yourself.”
“You mentioned a sensation like that of two needles piercing the skin,
somewhere about your neck, on the night when you experienced your first
horrible dream. Is there still any soreness?”
“None at all,” I answered.
“Can you indicate with your finger about the point at which you think this
“Very little below my throat—here,” I answered.