“…And, that’s right, folks, you can have all of these benefits, guaranteed by Franklin Gooseberry himself, for just the low, low price — and this is a special offer, valid only for today, and only while supplies last, so buy now, and buy as much as you can carry — of…”
St-Patrick-Hartbrooke has heard quite enough of this street-corner huckster, and pulls the window shut. He had wanted to let in a bit of fresh air to soothe his throat, but there’s nothing fresh about that line of patter. Or, if there is, it’s the fresh smell of a lagoderm stable in sore need of mucking.
The Space Griffon takes a deep breath of a perfume-scented handkerchief in order to clear the imaginary smell brought by that train of thought from his head, and by so doing dislodges something from within his throat. He spends a rather unpleasant minute coughing, and when that is done, something gooey and yellow is sitting on his handkerchief. He folds the kerchief over and passes it to his manservant, who rinses it out and tosses it into the hamper, pulls a fresh one out of the drawer and perfumes it, and then passes it back to his master, who folds it stylishly and stows it in his pocket.
This blasted cough. It’s been with him almost a full season now, and St-Patrick-Hartbrooke has spent the past few weeks trying to seek out a competent doctor. Unfortunately, it appears that a particular quirk of the colony system is that not many people really want to be a doctor: the lower class do not receive the right kind of education for it, and the upper class can make much more money by simply existing. Certainly, St-Patrick-Hartbrooke has exceeded most of his peers in funds and social standing, not through any rigorous higher education, but through courtesy, manners, etiquette, and simply his preternatural talent for timing things well.
There will, of course, be people who feel a calling to serve their fellow men (although such a thing is shamefully rare among the aristocracy), but the Taaa’keee has found none of those in his searches; all of the medical doctors he’s found have seemed to be either play-acting the role, or to be confidence artists of one sort or another.
And then there’s the complicating nature of his biology, of which the less said the better; he’d tried to convince some doctors from the homeworld to immigrate, but none were willing to take the chance of being reduced to Citizen-Pretender status. Reportedly, there were many more doctors and scientists on Britannia Prime than on the frontier colonies; perhaps they would start appearing here as the colony matured. Not that that did St-Patrick-Hartbrooke any good now.
It was almost enough to tempt a bird to buy one of that huckster’s miracle panaceas. Not quite, though: it was more likely to be spiced alcohol than any actual curative, and the likelihood that a pusher might add a contaminant that might be harmful was far too great for any prudent sentient to take.
No, he’d just trust his own strength, and trust God, and surely his health will improve shortly. After all, there is a party to attend, and a debt to settle (the price to be repaid rising with every day and every stained handkerchief).