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The Mysteries of Montreal Being Recollections of a Female Physician   By:

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Truth is Stranger than Fiction



During a long practice of over thirty years I have seen many things enacted here in this city of Montreal which, if told with the skill of a Dumas or a Collins, might not only astonish but startle the sedate residents of this Church going community. I have often, while waiting for the advent of a little midnight visitor, beguiled the weary hours with a narrative of some of my experiences, and have been amused at the expression on the faces of my fair patients when told that my memory, and not my imagination, had been drawn upon for materials. Enquiry having frequently been made as to whether my recollections were published, I have been induced to print this volume, changing only names of persons and localities, so as to avoid identification. Many persons will find it hard to believe some of the occurrences which are herein mentioned, but those who have been concerned (directly or indirectly) with any of the parties to my narratives, will recognize, under the disguise of a false name, some person with whose history they are familiar. Should any discover his own actions here narrated, let him not think that I have wantonly endeavored to open old sores, but rather to warn others from taking that first false step which so often leads to future misery and bitter remorse.

MONTREAL, May, 1881


Early Life and Professional Struggles.

My father, an officer in the Hanoverian Army, having died while I was almost a child, I found myself, at the age of 17, governess in the family of the Baron Grovestein in Hamburg, Germany, where I met my present husband, Gustav Schroeder, at that time one of the most "eligible" young gentlemen in that city.

Though not particularly handsome, Gustav was all that could be desired in other respects. He was young, well educated, and the son of wealthy parents, and of an amiable disposition. Soon after my engagement at the Baron's, young Schroeder's visits (ostensibly to the family) became so frequent, that his friends, who had divined the cause, forbade his having anything to say to me, more than cold civility demanded; and insisted that his visits to the Grovestein mansion should be discontinued. This, it may well be supposed, had quite the opposite effect, and in a short time we were engaged to be married, with the formal, if not the hearty approval of Gustav's relations, and in course of time the marriage ceremony took place, with all the paraphernalia of an Alt Deutsch Hochzeitsfest .

Now, however, came the question: How are we to live! for my husband had no settled profession, and his parents, though wealthy, could not deprive their more obedient children of their rights to benefit the perverse Gustav. They gave him sufficient to start him in business, with the understanding that he would emigrate to America, their idea being that a German gentleman with a little capital could not fail to make a fortune among the comparatively illiterate Columbians. To New York accordingly we came, and Gustav labored assiduously to establish a business as importer of German manufactures; he soon found, however, that men who did not know Horace from Euripides could drive closer bargains, and make quicker sales than he could, and, as he was too proud to compound with his correspondents in the old country, and insisted on conscientiously paying a hundred cents for a dollar, we found ourselves in less than three years, with diminished capital in specie, and an increased one as regards future candidates for the Presidency, on our way back to our common Fatherland. Through the influence of his friends, Gustav procured a good situation in a merchant's office, but he was altogether unsuited both by temperament and education for such a position, and I soon made up my mind that I must either prepare to enter the world's great battlefield in person, or live in helpless dependence on my husband's relations... Continue reading book >>

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