“Old witch Rebek,” he said. “She lives two doors away from the Gals.”
The Doctor handed her two silver florins.
“I am in love with a woman, and I’d like something that would make her love me,” he said.
“Oh, that can’t be, my boy. You look like a scarecrow, and they don’t usually fall in love with men like you.”
“True, mother, but I could give her all the silks she wants and all the money she could spend. …”
“And who be the woman?”
“Mrs. John Gal.”
“You can pluck every rose, excepting those that are plucked.” That was just what the Doctor wanted to know.
“And who may the other man be?” he asked.
“Paul Nagy, the hired man. She must be in love with him, because she comes here often for potions. I gave her the last year’s dust of three- year-old creepers to pour into his wine.”
“And does John Gal suspect anything?”
“Smart as he may be, feminine wit beats him every time.”
The Doctor returned to the Gal house and found the lovers still chatting, while the hired man wiped with a rag the backs of the horses that were now ready to take the Doctor to the station. She beckoned to him to approach. She dug her hand, into her bosom as the city man approached, and drew out three hundred florins in bills.
“For your trouble, Doctor,” she said, offering him the money. “Right,” said the Doctor, “but it will rest on your conscience, you pretty woman, that I did not deserve it more.”
“My soul will bear it all right. Don’t you worry.”
“Very well. Just have my bag put into the carriage, while I say good-bye to your husband.”
John Gal was lying exactly where he had been left. His pipe was unlit, and his eyes were closed as if he were taking a nap.
He looked up and cocked one eye as the door opened.
“I just came to say good-bye, Mr-: Gal,” said the Doctor.
“Are you going?” he asked with indifference.
“I have nothing to do here.”
“Did the woman give you the money?”
“Yes. You’ve got a pretty wife, Mr. Gal. My, she’s beautiful!”
The patient opened his other eye, and as he offered his good hand to the Doctor, he only said:
“Her lovely lips are like cherries.”
“So they are.” There was almost a happy smile on his face.
“That loafer Paul will have a fine time with her, I daresay.”
The old peasant began to tremble, and looked up.
“What was it you said, Doctor?”