Gail, Frances - 02 The appointment and her knowledge of his future travels
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Dr George Sava - A Surgeon remembers
The appointment was kept with scrupulous punctuality. My receptionist had a curious expression on her face when she announced the patient.
'What's the matter?' I asked. 'You look as though something had shaken -you.'
'She's arrived in an ambulance. doctor.' the girl replied. 'The attendants are standing by waiting to carry her in.'
'The deuce she has!' I exclaimed, now as much astonished as the girl. 'It's a rare experience to see an ambulance case here. You'd better have her brought in at once.'
Truly, I thought, she must have her own very pressing private reasons for wishing to consult me if she was prepared to hire an ambulance to bring her all that way.
In this case, surprise followed surprise. The whole business was already beginning to acquire a dreamlike quality as though it stood outside the reality of day-to-day routine.
Yet the greatest surprise was still to come -the patient herself.
I do not know what I expected to see-perhaps some eccentric, perhaps some obvious hypochondriac for whom the ambulance and the stretcher were, so to speak, part of the stage properties. What I do know is that on very first casting eyes on Frances Gail I experienced shame, humiliation, and regret, for all that I had thought about her. Rarely have I seen a face so serene and resigned; yet she was, as I could see at a glance, in very great distress. Her eyes told me that; they held the mirror to intense torment. And her voice when she spoke completed the picture of one who, compared with most human beings, had the forbearance and fortitude of a saint.
'Good afternoon, Mr. Sava,' she said, raising her hand weakly but not attempting to sit up on the stretcher.
'It is a very great pleasure to see you at last in the flesh. Yet I feel I am on familiar ground.' She glanced about her.
'Yes, it is exactly as I have seen it on many occasions. Does that surprise you? And it's so good of you to give me an appointment. I know you must be specially busy just now. You're going abroad soon, aren't you?'
As well as I could, I tried to hide my utter astonishment at this extraordinary greeting. Her letter might have prepared me for the strange reference to having seen my consulting-room before; but few people knew of my impending visit to South America on a combined holiday and lecture tour. I let the odd experience pass without comment, but I do not feel justified in attempting to pass any judgement on it. The sceptical could find a hundred different ways of explaining it away-; the believers would ascribe it to her wonderful powers of second sight. For myself, in these matters I prefer to sit firmly on the fence.