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Being an account of the newest experimental treatment for cerebral neuroses developed by Professor George E. Feversham at the Academy of Young Women’s Correctional Education
Copyright © 2018 Kelli Wolfe
Published by Pink Parts Press
All rights reserved. No part of this eBook may be reproduced in any form or by any means, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review, without permission in writing from the publisher.
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Names, characters, places, businesses, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
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“I assure you that your daughter is in the best of hands, my lord.”
Pauline Durant’s neurasthenia has stolen her life for the last two years, and the greatest doctors in Europe have been unable to cure her. Professor Feversham is her father’s last hope for returning her to normalcy. But hers is the most challenging case he has yet seen, and his initial efforts seem fruitless.
“It must be a matter of stimulation. She must have more to break down her barriers and get through to her, allowing her release.”
Will the Professor’s latest invention—the violet ray device—provide the extra stimulation Pauline requires? Will it cure her dreadful neurasthenia and finally grant her the release she so desperately needs?
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About the Author
PROFESSOR GEORGE EDWARD FEVERSHAM regarded the younger man sitting before his desk through narrowed, blued-steel eyes. A water doctor from Bath, his visitor had called to get a second opinion on a patient. Unfortunately for him, the Professor’s first opinion had been far from favorable.
“Neurasthenia can be difficult to treat,” he rumbled in assent, “but using my methods clinical diagnosis I have almost always found it rooted in deeply buried praefocatio matricis. You are only treating the symptoms, I am afraid, and not the underlying cause of the disorder.”
The younger man threw him a pained look as he held up a battered, leather-bound book. “But according to Psychopathia Sexualis—”
Feversham cut him off with an irritated snort. “Rubbish. Suitable only for fish wrapping.”
“Professor Feversham, this is regarded as the seminal work on—”
Feversham cut him off again. “Regarded by whom? A pack of mental midgets who solemnly wag their heads at every word, although they have never lifted a finger to do the slightest research of their own, or even to follow the publications by those who—like myself—have devoted their lives to the rigorous studies of female neuroses? Balderdash! The man wouldn’t know a clinical study from the minutes of a Women’s Temperance meeting.”
“But what about his views on neurasthenia?”
“Stuff and nonsense, my lad. I am a doctor and a scientist and I tell you I have studied these matters myself. I did not simply confine myself to reading what lesser minds wrote down before. I daresay my first-hand experience trumps your third-hand readings of such drivel.”
The young man shook his head. “I am afraid I cannot agree with you. There is too much that I have seen in my own patients to be so cavalier about it.”
“Then you are as much a waste of my time as that,” Feversham said, waving a dismissive hand towards the book in question, “and I bid you good day with my condolences to your patients. John will see you out.”
He rang the bell on his desk with no little impatience. The water doctor rose from his chair, fuming.
“I have never been talked to in such a manner before in my life.”
Feversham regarded him with a sardonic twinkle in his eyes. “That does surprise me.”
He glanced towards the door, where John still had not appeared.
“Devil take it, I will see you out myself,” he muttered, and rising from his desk he fastened one great hand on the back of the water doctor’s neck and forcefully urged him towards the door.
The younger man squawked in outrage, but there was no getting away from the Professor’s bear-like grip. Feversham practically flung him down the front stairs, then slammed the door behind him and stalked back to his office, muttering under his breath the whole while.
“Fraud. Mountebank. Social parasite. Moral delinquent.”
He threw himself into his chair, which creaked ominously under his weight, and continued grumbling until he realized that his assistant and chief nurse, Lettie Sheldon, had followed him in. Her green eyes sparkled with laughter.
“I take it that he did not care for your second opinion?”
Feversham’s lips puckered in distaste. “That man is a pestilence on the dignity of the medical profession.”
“I quite believe you. And apparently so does the client on whose behalf he wished to consult you.”
The Professor perked up at that. “Client?”
“The young woman and her father would like to see you.”
“Don’t I have enough to do without bothering with that lot?”
The nurse shrugged. “You said that you wished for more difficult cases. I took the liberty of discussing the young woman’s predicament and I believe you might find her a suitable challenge.”
Bushy eyebrows climbed up in interest. “Truly, Lettie? It has been so long since I had a case that was difficult enough to provide any real interest.”
“I would not bother you with them if I did not think so.”
The Professor settled back into his chair. “Send them in, then.”
A minute later she ushered in a dignified man in his mid-forties and a girl who appeared barely in her twenties.
“Lord Ashenhurst and Miss Durant,” she announced.
Feversham rose ponderously to his feet and gestured towards the empty chairs. “Do please be seated. Professor George Edward Feversham at your service. Miss Sheldon tells me that I may be of assistance to you.”
Ashenhurst ran a harried hand through his prematurely thinning hair. “I do hope so, Professor. I am afraid that you are our last hope.”
“I often am. Please tell me what ails the young woman.”