In March 1912, in the Neapolitan port, during the unloading of the ocean steamer, a strange accident occurs. A true explanation for this case is contained in a story told by one passenger of a steamer to another. The narration is from the first person.
I studied in Germany, became a good doctor, worked in the Leipzig clinic, put into practice a new injection, which was written about a lot in medical journals of the time. In the hospital I fell in love with one woman, imperious and defiant, who treated me coldly and arrogantly. Because of her, I squandered hospital money. Scandal was played out. My uncle compensated for the shortage, but my career was over.
At this time, the Dutch government recruited doctors for the colonies and proposed lifting. I signed a contract for ten
I left Europe without money and regrets. I was assigned to a blind post in an eight-hour drive from the nearest town, surrounded by plantations and swamps.
At first I was engaged in scientific observations, collected poisons and weapons of the natives. I alone without an assistant did the operation to the vice-president, who broke his leg in a car accident. Seven years later, because of the heat and fever, I almost lost my human face. I have a special kind of tropical disease, a feverless impotent homesickness.
One day a young beautiful stranger came to my house. For the transaction – a secret abortion and my immediate departure to Europe – she offered a large fee. I was amazed by her prudence. Absolutely confident in her power, she did not ask me, she appreciated and wanted to buy. I felt that she needed me, and so she hated me. I hated her for what she did not want to ask when it came to life and death.
I was confused in my head from the desire to humiliate her. I said that for the money I will not do it. She should address me not as a trader, but as a person, then I will help her. She looked at me in amazement, laughed contemptuously
In the tropics everyone knows each other. I learned that she is the wife of a large merchant, very rich, from a good English family and lives in the main district of the city. Her husband spent five months in America and in the coming days must come to take her to Europe. I was tormented by the thought: she is pregnant not more than two or three months. I was possessed by an obsession, a state of amok, “fit of senseless, bloodthirsty monomania, which can not be compared to any other kind of alcoholic intoxication.” The cause of this disease I could not find out,
How “the obsessed amokom rushes from the house into the street and runs, <…> until he is shot, like a mad dog, or he does not fall to the ground”, so I rushed after this woman, putting on the map all my future. There were only three days left to save her. I knew that I had to give her immediate help, and could not talk to her – my furious and absurd pursuit frightened her. I just wanted to help her, but she did not understand it.
I went to the vice-president and asked to immediately transfer me to the city. He said that we had to wait until they found a replacement for me, and invited me to a reception with the governor. At the reception, I met her. She was afraid of some of my awkward antics and hated me for my absurd fervor.
I went to the tavern and got drunk, like a man who wants to forget everything, but I could not befuddle myself. I knew that this proud woman would not survive her humiliation before her husband and society, so she wrote her a letter in which she begged her forgiveness, begged her to confide in me and promised to disappear at the same hour from the colony. I wrote that I would wait until seven o’clock, and if I did not get an answer, I would shoot myself.
I waited like an ambush – senseless, stupid, with insane, straightforward persistence. In the fourth hour I received a note: “It’s too late, but wait at home. Perhaps I’ll call you back.” Later her servant came to me, whose face and look spoke of unhappiness. We rushed to the Chinatown, to the dirty house. There, in the dark room there was a smell of vodka and coagulated blood, and on a dirty mat she lay writhing with pain and intense heat. I immediately realized that she had crippled herself to avoid publicity.
She was mutilated and bleeding, and I did not have any medicine or clean water. I said that I had to go to the hospital, but she jerked up convulsively and said: “No. No, it’s better to die, so that no one will know.” Home., Home! “.
I realized that she fought not for life, but only for her secret and honor, and obeyed. We with the servant laid it on a stretcher and carried it through the night darkness home. I knew I could not help her. By morning she had regained consciousness, made me swear that no one would know anything, and died.
It was very difficult for me to explain to people why a healthy, full-strength woman died who danced on the eve of a ball at the governor’s office. My reliable servant helped me very much, which washed off the blood from the floor and brought everything in order. The determination with which he acted restored my composure to me.
With great difficulty I managed to persuade the city doctor to give a false conclusion about the cause of death – “heart paralysis”. I promised him to leave this week. Passing it, I collapsed to the floor beside her bed, as amokom falls at the end of his mad run.
Soon the servant announced that they wanted to see her. In front of me stood a young, blond officer, very pale and embarrassed. It would be the father of her unborn child. Before the bed, he fell to his knees. I picked him up and put him in a chair. He burst into tears and asked who was to blame for her death. I replied that fate is to blame. Even to him I did not reveal secrets. He did not find out that she was pregnant with him and wanted me to kill this child.
The next four days I was hiding from this officer – I was looking for her husband who did not believe the official version. Then her lover bought for me under a strange name a place on the boat so that I could escape. On the ship I made my way through the night, unrecognized, and saw how her coffin was lifted aboard – the husband took her body to England. I stood and thought that in England they could conduct an autopsy, but I could keep her secret.
The Italian newspapers wrote about what happened in Naples. That night, at a late hour, so as not to disturb the sad spectacle of passengers, a coffin with the remains of a noble lady from the Dutch colonies was dropped from the ship’s side. The sailors descended the rope ladder, and the husband of the deceased helped them. At that moment, something heavy collapsed from the upper deck and dragged the coffin, husband, and sailors into the water.
According to one version, it was some kind of crazy, rushing down on the rope ladder. The sailors and the husband of the deceased rescued, but the leaden coffin went to the bottom, and it could not be found. At the same time, a short note appeared that a corpse of an unknown forty-year-old man had been nailed to the shore. The note did not attract attention.