Danielle Steel: Granny Dan

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Danielle Steel Granny Dan
  • Название:
    Granny Dan
  • Автор:
  • Издательство:
    Random House, Inc.
  • Жанр:
    Старинная литература / на английском языке
  • Год:
    2000
  • Язык:
    Английский
  • ISBN:
    9780440224822
  • Рейтинг книги:
    4 / 5
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Granny Dan: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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The doctor who came confirmed Madame Markova's earlier fears, and did little to allay her terror for Danina. It was indeed influenza, and he admitted honestly to the mistress of the ballet that there was nothing he could do about it. People had been dying in Moscow by the hundreds. And Madame Markova cried as she listened. She tried to urge Danina to be strong, but Danina had begun to sense that she would not win the battle, which terrified her mentor even further.

“Is it like Mama … do I have typhoid?” she whispered, too weak to speak aloud, or even to reach out and touch Madame Markova standing near her.

“Of course not, my child. It's nothing,” she lied. “You have been working too hard. That's all. You must rest for a few days, and you'll be fine.” But Madame Markova's words fooled no one, least of all the patient, who even in her groggy state was well aware of how ill she was, how hopeless the situation.

“I'm dying,” she said quietly later that night, and she said it with such calm conviction that the teacher sitting with her ran to get Madame Mar-kova. Both women were crying when they returned, but Madame Markova dried her eyes before coming to sit next to Danina again. She held a glass of water to the girl's lips, but was unable to convince her to take it. Danina had neither the desire, nor the strength, to drink. Her fever was still blazing, her eyes looked ill and wild. “I'm dying, aren't I?” she whispered to her old friend.

“I won't let you do that,” Madame Markova said quietly. “You have not danced Raimonda yet, and I was planning to let you do that this year. It would be a shame to die without having at least tried that.” Danina tried to smile but failed. She felt much too ill to answer.

“I can't miss rehearsal tomorrow,” Danina croaked at her a little while later, as Madame Markova sat with her through the night. It was as though Danina felt that if she didn't dance, she might well die. The ballet was her life-force.

The doctor returned to see her again that morning, he applied several poultices, and gave her several drops of a bitter tasting liquid to drink, but to no avail. By late that afternoon, she was much worse. She was completely delirious that night, shouting unintelligibly and muttering darkly, and then laughing at people she imagined she saw, or things she heard but no one else did. It was an endless night for everyone, and in the morning Danina looked ravaged. The fever was so high that it was hard to imagine she had survived it this far, impossible to believe it would not kill her.

“We must do something,” Madame Markova said, looking distracted. The doctor had insisted there was nothing more he could do, and she believed him, but perhaps another doctor would think of something else he hadn't. With a sense of desperation, Madame Markova jotted off a note in haste that afternoon to the Czarina, explaining the situation to her, and daring to ask if she had any suggestions, or knew someone they could call for Danina. Madame Markova knew, as everyone did, that there was a hospital set up in part of the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoe Selo, where the Czarina and Grand Duchesses nursed the soldiers. Perhaps there was someone there who would have some idea how to help Danina. Madame Markova was desperate by then, and willing to try anything to save her. Some people had survived the rampaging influenza in Moscow, but it seemed to be more a matter of luck, rather than anything more scientific.

The Czarina did not waste time writing a response and immediately sent the younger of the Czarevitch's two doctors to Danina. The elder, the venerable Dr. Botkin, was himself felled at the time with a bout of mild influenza. But Dr. Nikolai Obrajensky, whom Danina had met that summer in Livadia, was at the ballet school, asking for Madame Markova long before dinner. And she was greatly relieved to see him, and murmured anxiously about the kindness of the Czarina when she met him. She was still so upset over Danina's condition at the time that she scarcely noticed how much he resembled the Czar, though in a somewhat younger version.

“How is she?” the doctor asked gently. He could see from the state of Madame Markova's distress that the young ballerina must be no better. But even he, having seen severe cases of influenza at the hospital, had not expected to find the young dancer so ill, or so worn by the illness that seemed to have ravaged her nearly totally in the two days she'd had it. She was dehydrated, delirious, and when he took her temperature, he checked it again, unable to believe it was as high as the thermometer said. He had little hope for her survival after he read it again, and examined her carefully, and he finally turned to Madame Markova with a dismal expression. “I'm afraid you already know what I am going to say … don't you?” he said, looking deeply sympathetic. He could see, from the woman's eyes, how much she loved Danina. She was like a daughter to her.

“Please … I can't bear it …” she said, dropping her face into her hands, too exhausted and strained herself to tolerate the blow he was about to deal her. “She's so young … so talented … she's only nineteen … she must not die. You must not let her,” she said fiercely, looking up at him again, wanting something from him he could not give her. Hope, if not assurance.

“I cannot help her,” he said honestly. “She would not even survive the trip to the hospital. Perhaps if she is still with us in a few days, we can move her.” But he thought it less than likely, and Madame Markova knew that. “All you can do is try to keep her cool to bring the fever down, bathe her with cool cloths, and force her to drink as much as you can. The rest is in God's hands, Madame. Perhaps He needs her more than we do.” His tone was kind, but he could not lie to her. He was only amazed that she had survived this long. He knew that some had died on the day the dreaded influenza felled them. And she had had it for two days now. “Do what you can for her, but know that you cannot work miracles, Madame. We can only pray now, and hope that He listens,” Dr. Obrajensky said somberly. He had no hope for Danina.

“I understand,” she said bleakly.

He sat with them for a while, and took her temperature again. It had risen slightly, and Madame Markova was already applying the cool cloths he had recommended. The students were bringing them to her, and keeping them damp and cool, but she would not let them in the room with her, for fear that they would get it. The five girls who normally occupied the room with her had been sent to the main dormitory to sleep on cots or on mattresses with the others. Their room was completely off-limits to them.

“How is she now?” Madame Markova asked him anxiously after she had been bathing Danina's chest and arms and face with cool cloths for an hour. The patient was completely unaware of their presence or attention, as she lay deathly pale and trembling, her face as white as the sheets she lay on.

“She is about the same,” he answered when he checked her again. He didn't want to tell Madame Markova that he thought she was even a trifle warmer. “She will not improve so quickly.” If ever, which he doubted. But even he was struck by how lovely Danina was as she lay lifelessly before them. She was a striking beauty, her features exquisitely delicate, her body minute and incredibly graceful. Her long dark brown hair was fanned out behind her on the pillow. But she had the look of someone near death, he knew only too well, and he was sure by then that she would not live till morning.

“Is there nothing more we can do?” Madame Markova asked, looking desperate.

“Pray,” he said, and meant it. “Have you called her parents?”

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