In this excerpt from The Citadel, Andrew Manson, newly out of medical school, has just begun his medical practice as an assistant to Dr Edward Page in the small Welsh mining town of Blaenelly. As he is returning from a disappointing evening with Christine, the girl he loves, he is met by Joe Morgan. Joe and his wife, who have been married nearly twenty years, are expecting their first child.
THOUGH it was nearly midnight when Andrew reached Bryngower, he found Joe Morgan waiting for him, walking upand down with short steps between the closed surgery and the entrance to the house. At the sight of him the burly driller’s face expressed relief.
“Eh, Doctor, I’m glad to see you. I been back and forward here this last hour. The missus wants ye—before time, too.” Andrew, abruptly recalled from the contemplation of his own affairs, told Morgan to wait. He went into the house for his bag, then together they set out for Number 12 Blaina Terrace. The night air was cool and deep with quiet mystery. Usually so perceptive, Andrew now felt dull and listless. He had no premonition that this night call would prove unusual, still less that it would influence his whole future in Blaenelly. The two men walked in silence until they reached the door of Number 12, then Joe drew up short.
“I’ll not come in,” he said, and his voice showed signs of strain. “But, man, I know ye’ll do well for us.” Inside, a narrow stair led up to a small bedroom, clean but poorly furnished, and lit only by an oil lamp. Here Mrs Morgan’s mother, a tall, grey-haired woman of nearly seventy, and the stout, elderly midwife waited beside the patient, watching Andrew’s expression as he moved about the room. “Let me make you a cup of tea, Doctor, bach,” said the former quickly, after a few moments.
Andrew smiled faintly. He saw that the old woman, wise in experience, realised there must be a period of waiting that, she was afraid he would leave the case, saying he would return later. “Don’t fret, mother, I’ll not run away.”
Down in the kitchen he drank the tea which she gave him. Overwrought as he was, he knew he could not snatch even an hour’s sleep if he went home. He knew, too, that the case here would demand all his attention. A queer lethargy of spirit came upon him. He decided to remain until everything was over. An hour later he went upstairs again, noted the progress made, came down once more, sat by the kitchen fire. It was still, except for the rustle of a cinder in the grate and the slow tick-tock of the wall clock. No, there was another sound—the beat of Morgan’s footsteps as he paced in the street outside. The old woman opposite him sat in her black dress, quite motionless, her eyes strangely alive and wise, probing, never leaving his face.
His thoughts were heavy, muddled. The episode he had witnessed at Cardiff station still obsessed him morbidly. He thought of Bramwell, foolishly devoted to a woman who deceived him sordidly, of Edward Page, bound to the shrewish Blodwen, of Denny, living unhappily, apart from his wife. His reason told him that all these marriages were dismal failures. It was a conclusion which, in his present state, made him wince. He wished to consider marriage as an idyllic state; yes, he could not otherwise consider it with the image of Christine before him.
Her eyes, shining towards him, admitted no other conclusion. It was the conflict between his level, doubting mind and his overflowing heart which left him resentful and confused. He let his chin sink upon his chest, stretched out his legs, stared broodingly into the fire. He remained like this so long, and his thoughts were so filled with Christine, that he started when the old woman opposite suddenly addressed him. Her meditationhad pursued a different course.
1. “I have done something; oh, God! I’ve done something real at last.” Why does Andrew say this? What does it mean?
2. There lies a great difference between textbook medicine and the world of a practising physician. Discuss.
3. Do you know of any incident when someone has been brought back to life from the brink of death through medical help. Discuss medical procedures such as organ transplant and organ regeneration that are used to save human life.
Please refer to attached file for NCERT Class 11 English Birth