At a Physician’s Touch Helena pushed the door and held it open for her friend to enter. Miss Justina had taken the dresses and hats they bought at the market to her room a few minutes ago. Helena watched as Lady Lavinia struggled to carry her luggage and still walk with a graceful gait. It was a comedic and impossible task. Lady Lavinia pushed the door to a close with the back of her feet and sauntered to the collection of cushions in the middle of the parlour. Helena couldn’t hold back the laughter. Lady Lavinia looked at her friend with mock anger in her eyes. “What’s so funny?” “Nothing is. I just don’t understand why you refused to leave the clothes in your coach,” Helena replied. “I told you before. I want to test them on me,” Lady Lavinia said. Helena shook her head. “You could have tested them at home too. I don’t know why you are always so eager to try on new clothes,” Helena said. Lady Lavinia turned up her nose at her friend’s soft chastisement.
“Say what you like. I dare say this brooch really fits that pink dress I bought the other day,” Lady Lavinia said, throwing the brooch to her friend. Helena caught the brooch which sparkled as light bounced off the minute stones embedded in its tough outer skin. It was red and white. Helena nodded her head. It will fit really well with that pink dress. It would fit well with my white rayon dress too. “How about I give you something for this brooch?” Helena asked. Lady Lavinia raised one eyebrow. A smile slowly spread through her face, and her teeth gleamed through her open lips as she shook her head.
“No, no way,” she said. “Please, I’ll give you that hat with small dragon images you love so much,” Helena said. Lady Lavinia walked quickly to her and snatched the brooch out of Helena’s left hand. “No. Thank you very much.” Helena was about to speak when she heard footsteps behind her. Those are Justina’s steps. The passage was behind the chair Helena was sitting on, so she couldn’t see who it was. She looked to her side just as Miss Justina got to her. “Did you hang them in my wardrobe?” Helena asked her maid.
“Yes, I did that,” Miss Justina replied. “Did you see any of my sisters?” Helena asked. “I couldn’t find Lady Melanie anywhere. She might have gone off with her friends again. Miss Jacqueline was in her room. She’s been attended to by a physician,” Miss Justina said. Helena looked up to Miss Justina’s face. The dark tone of her skin did not look so striking in the subdued lighting of the parlour. Miss Justina was what Helen always described as a dark beauty. “Is she being treated right now?” Helena asked.
“Yes ma. I saw him convincing her to drink a small cup of a particular draught. He told the Baroness that Miss Jacqueline would be fine in a couple of days.” That’s good. I don’t like it when she falls sick, when any of my siblings fall ill. “Justina, what do you think of this brooch?” Lady Lavinia asked, taking the focus away from the visiting physician. Miss Justina stared at the brooch which Lady Lavinia had pinned to the breast region of her gown. Her eyes squinted as they always did when she was thinking. “I think it would look nice on white.” “I told you, didn’t I? Give me this thing,” Helena blurted.
“And any pink, red, orange, or yellow dress,” Miss Justina continued. Lady Lavinia said nothing, her eyes goaded enough. Helena scowled and looked at Miss Justina. “You could have just stopped at white,” she said. “Did I say something wrong?” Miss Justina said. Helena was about to answer, but the sound of incoming feet made her turn around. Her mother was in front, leaning back to talk to a young man in a white shirt and grey breeches. The man was young and tall. He spoke with a firmness that signaled authority and assuredness. He cleaned his hand with a napkin and put it into a small, black box an even younger man carried behind him.
That has to be the doctor and his dresser. He’s so young. The doctor was so focused on his discussion with Helena’s mother that he didn’t notice he was being stared at. Helena saw the dark telltale sign of a moustache on his upper lip as his mouth opened to spew words. He had dark hair, so dark it almost rhymed with the shadows of the passage. When he finally looked up and caught Helena’s gaze, his eyes turned out to be blue absorbing globes. Doctors aren’t meant to look so good. Immediately his eyes caught Helena’s, his face broke into an engaging smile. The seriousness of his discussion with her mother was diffused by the ease of his smiling eyes. Helena felt like his eyes were connected directly to hers, pouring in warmth and strength, and another strong emotion she couldn’t describe.
His eyes browsed away from hers to look at her friend and maid for only fleeting moments before flying back to her. Helena felt her skin flush. She couldn’t see herself, but she knew her cheeks were red with blushing. She felt an intense sweet feeling, overshadowed by embarrassment. She dropped her gaze. “And this must be the beautiful Miss Helena everyone is raving about,” said the doctor. Helena raised her eyes to see the doctor bow stiffly. She composed herself and waited for the doctor to walk across the room before offering him her hand. The doctor held it gently. His hand was soft, moist, and as reassuring as she expected it to be.
There was no caress, just a solid grip that lingered for a bit too long. He bent and kissed her hand, sending shots of tension and pleasure to all parts of her body. Helena had never been so impacted on meeting a person for the first time. When he left her hand, she felt his imprint in her palm, the press of his lips into the layers of her skin. “Yes,” Lady Henrietta Sinclair replied. “She’s my first daughter. And the most stubborn of them all,” she added. The doctor smiled. “I was told that she was the smartest of them all, the ravings about her beauty I have confirmed,” the doctor said. “You flatter me too much with such words, Doctor,” Helena said.
The doctor shook his head. Free strands of his dark hair leapt to each side, taking Helena’s eyes away from his face. “It couldn’t be flattery if I only spoke truth. You are a fine specimen. I am not much of a fibber, am I?” the doctor said, looking back to the young dresser standing behind him. The dresser who Helena had completely forgotten spoke from behind the doctor. His voice was high pitched and sprightly. He sounds like someone who will make a lot of jokes. “No Doctor, you never lie.” “Let’s get back to the matter at hand, Dr Frederick.
I have another beautiful daughter that is still feeling under the weather,” the Baroness said. “Yes,” the doctor replied. “Please make her drink that draught, every morning and evening for the next five days. She will feel better from tomorrow onwards. Sometimes the change in season triggers this sort of illness in some people.” “That’s true. We are commencing summer,” Helena said. “We are. I’m looking forward to seeing you grace the balls I will attend,” Dr Frederick said. Helena blushed again and turned to face her friend.
Lady Lavinia had her eyes on the doctor. She didn’t see Helena turn to her. Helena turned back to the doctor. “Of course you will. I hope to attend as many events as I can. I hope to see you there too.” The doctor nodded his head and gestured to his dresser. “Good day, ladies.” He bowed stiffly again before walking out the door with his dresser. Helena sat down on the cushion and listened as his horse neighed and galloped out of the compound.
Its hooves pounded hard, causing a clattering sound against the stone floor. When Helena raised her head, she met her mother, Lady Lavinia and Miss Justina staring at her. “What is it?” she exclaimed. “You seem to have taken an immediate liking to the young physician,” her mother said. Helena opened her mouth to refute the statement, but she recognized the set of her mother’s eyes. She was pulling her leg. She closed her mouth. “It’s obvious she likes him. I’ve never seen Helena stare at a man so much,” Lady Lavinia said. I’m not letting that comment go.
“I only responded to his comments. I am not so rude such as not to respond to comments that demand answers,” Helena said. Her mother said nothing; there remained a wry smile on her face. “He is a very attractive doctor,” Lady Lavinia said. “Lavinia!” Helena shouted. Baroness Henrietta smiled widely and turned around. “I’ll take that as my signal to leave you young women to your gossip. I have a daughter to tend to,” she said before walking down the corridor. Helena watched her mother walk till out of eyesight before turning to her friend. “You really have to learn to bridle your mouth, Lavinia.
I wonder how you hope to bring any worthwhile man to scratch if you keep spewing out unrefined statements like that,” Helena said. Lavinia laughed. “I don’t intend to bring any man to scratch for the near future.” Miss Justina’s face became swollen with withheld laughter. Helena giggled at her friend’s bluntness. “You are the last daughter of the Earl of Albemarle. It’s not really an option,” Helena replied. “I know right. But I will push it for as long as I can. I still enjoy going to dances and having freedom to dance with any man I like.
And I wouldn’t be able to make statements such as the one I just made if I was married. I know you don’t fancy marriage so much, so don’t play the devil’s advocate,” Lady Lavinia said. Helena laughed. She wasn’t going to dive into her thoughts about marriage this afternoon. “What statement?” Helena asked. “Do you really want me to repeat it? It was you who shouted my name,” Lady Lavinia. Helena shook her head at her friend’s free mindset. “I do enjoy going to the balls without being permanently attached to someone. I don’t fancy being at a man’s beck and call so much,” Helena admitted. “Of course you do,” Lady Lavinia said.
“But I think it’s because I haven’t fallen in love yet. I have not met a man that will sweep me off my feet.” Dr Frederick did do something to my legs, even if I’m not of my feet yet. “You know behind that sturdy head and wise tongue, there was always an airhead,” Lady Lavinia said, pulling the brooch off her chest. Helena picked a small pillow beside her on the cushion and stoned her friend with it. The pillow hit her on the head and caused her to look up in surprise. “I’m smarter than you, Lavinia,” Helena said. Miss Justina picked up the pillow and offered it to Lady Lavinia. Helena was surprised to see her maid do that.