Bonnie sipped at her steaming tea, missing Aggie’s company, still, she was in good hands. She patted the cat once more, pulling on her bonnet and shawl and placing the fire-guard around the smouldering flames. With haste, she paced into the village, knocking on Mr Potter’s door.He answered, already dressed in his overcoat.
“My you are right on time Miss McGrath.Now, are you sure that this is a good idea?”
“And the royal family are aware of what is going on.”
“Yes.” Bonnie half lied, only Prince Theodore had any clue.
“Then, I am much obliged to help. I dare say that if there is little that his own Physician can do, then… well, we shall see.”
“Here, we shall take my horse and cart. We will get there much faster, it’s all ready. Just step into the stable.”
“Yes, of course.”
He assisted Bonnie up onto the seat and got in himself as they began the journey together to the palace.
Theodore lay in bed, a pounding headache compressing the sides of his head. He was quite alone, sensing the beating of his own heart in the quietness of the castle, an unsteady beat, too unsteady. Bonnie tapped on Theodore’s bedroom door, he jumped.
“Sorry your Grace.” She whispered. “Do not be alarmed, it is only Bonnie and my doctor, Mr Potter.”
“Thank goodness you are here.” He sighed.
“It is an honour that you should want me to be here. I have to admit to only being a poor man, but I have studied heard and want to try to do my very best to help you.”
“That brings me comfort, but alas, I think it is my heart.”
“Well, I shall have a listen to your chest if you don’t object.”
“You must do whatever you need to. Only, I would object if you were to bleed me.”
“I do not bleed any of my patients, it is the worst thing a doctor can do.”
“At last! A man of sense!”
Bonnie smiled, patting Theodore’s hand. “My dear, I shall wait outside the room.”
“No, I want you to also hear what Mr Potter has to say.”
“Then…. shall I sit in this chair facing with my back to you so I cannot see?”
“Yes, you may.”
“Now then your Grace, when was your last illness? ”
“Three months ago.”
“And, pardon me saying, but that is when you lost your sight too?”
“Forgive me, I am just trying to gather a little back ground history so that I might piece things together. When did the symptoms of the first illness start to show? It may be hard to remember.”
“I can remember. The first incident was… I hadn’t been feeling well and I did faint, before then I had had many dizzy spells and had fainted before.”
“How many times?”
“I don’t know, twice maybe three times. Th-then on the same day. Oh, it was so embarrassing, I fainted again at the party that my parents were holding and I lost my fiancée on that day also, I might as well tell you everything.”
“That is quite traumatic to have all happened on the same day.” Mr Potter sighed, sympathetically.
“I- After that, Oh, I do not know what I was thinking, but I went out on a horse ride. I needed to clear the thoughts from my head, but I am afraid that I was not well enough to do so. I can’t remember whether I fell from my horse or dismounted my horse and then passed out, but either way, I collapsed. That is the last thing I remember from that time, the next thing I knew, I had woken up, completely blind. Now, my health suffers, I am tired constantly, I fall asleep when poor Miss McGrath is trying to read to me and I do not know why.”
“Well your Grace, if I may listen to your chest I might be able to understand further.”
“Promise that you will tell me the full truth, no matter how bad it may be.”
“I promise, I do not lie to my patients.”
Theodore nodded as Mr Potter placed his stethoscope to his chest. He paused and said nothing, but raised an eyebrow, alarmed at what he heard. He listened for a little while longer, hoping that he had made a mistake.
“Please tell me exactly what you think and hear.”
“Your Grace, it is your heart.”
“I knew it! It- it’s serious isn’t it?”
“I am positive that your first illness must have been Scarlet Fever, which can occasionally result in blindness. Sometimes, after Scarlet Fever a second illness can occur if it has not been treated properly.”
“My Physician left me untreated?”
“Yes, I’m afraid so. It has been left untreated for months now. I fear that it has attacked your heart, it is very weak indeed. Forgive me, I am not a physician.”
Bonnie gasped. “Is there nothing that we can do to reverse the damage?”
Mr Potter shook his head. “No.” Her eyes filled with tears as Theodore lay back against his pillows.
“I am a dead man.” He whispered as Bonnie stroked his hair. “I was right.Thank you. For being honest and true, you are a good man sir.”
Mr Potter sighed. “I do not know what else to suggest. Some might say that complete bed rest would be better, but it depends how you feel. You will experience pain if you haven’t done already. For aches and pains I would suggest placing warm compresses on the area.”
Bonnie nodded. “I know how to make them.” She placed a hand upon Theodore’s shoulder, massaging it with her thumb.
“You- you can go now.”
“Yes of course your Grace, although I feel I have been of little assistance.” Mr Potter nodded, exiting the room with a heavy heart. Queen Evangeline entered the room from where she had been sitting, listening next door. Bonnie gasped, the colour draining from her face.
“You sly, deceitful little peasant!”
Theodore’s eyes widened. “Oh God! Mother it is my doing. You have to lis-”
“Don’t you dare lie for her Theodore!”
“It is true, I asked her to bring him. Please be calm.”
“Calm! I am burning up inside with rage! This little woman comes into our lives and goes behind our backs, bringing a common, uneducated doctor into our home! You little viper! It is finished!”
“Mother, please!” Theodore begged. “You are quite out of character, you do not mean the things you say. Miss McGrath is only helping, what harm is a little examination and a second opinion?”
“I-I meant no harm, I swear, I would swear upon the bible if I could.”
“Yes, I can imagine you would. A woman of poor class and no faith such as yourself, you are little higher than a beggar woman! Leave immediately, consider yourself to be no longer under our employment.”
Mr Howard intervened. “Madam, if I may say so, Miss McGrath has brought a great deal of comfort to his Grace. In her company, he is calmer and good tempered. She makes him smile and I am thankful. Please do not send her away, she is medicine for him.”
Bonnie paused, waiting for Queen Evangeline’s reply, her heart fluttering like a caged butterfly. ‘Please, she prayed. Make her see sense.’
“I stand by what I said, I am dismissing you, you may take one months wages due to short notice. You are never to see Prince Theodore, or speak to him again.”
“You and the king have turned your backs and given up on your own son!”
Queen Evangeline grabbed the closed book from the desk in a fury, hurling it with force at Bonnie. She let out a cry as the sharp edge caught her cheek. She placed a hand to her face, the droplets collecting on her fingers.
“Bon- Miss McGrath, what has happened? Are you alright?” Theodore cried.
Bonnie trembled in shock. “I-I shall be fine.” She reassured, dabbing her face with her handkerchief.
“You’re crying, she’s hurt you hasn’t she?”
“Mr Howard, for God’s sake, do not just stand there like a simple fool. Escort Miss McGrath from the room.”
“Mr Howard, please tell me what is going on.”
“Your Grace, I am sorry. I must obey your Mother.”
Bonnie wriggled free of Mr Howard’s arms and placed her arms around Theodore’s neck. “I must go away for a while, do not be afraid my dear. I shall be with you every moment of every day in spirit. I’ll write to you, I promise.”
©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014