LEGACY: The Life of Nikola Tesla (Chapter 4, page 1 of 4)

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Chapter 4

During the 1800's there were no antibiotics or medical facilities like we have today. Childhood illnesses were common, and Nikola got very sick with Cholera while he was visiting at his Aunt Stanka's house. He was due to return home and his aunt felt he should stay with her a little longer. There was an epidemic of Cholera in the area.

Nikola replies, "They're waiting for me at home and a good dose of Mark Twain always makes me feel better."

He did go home and he is very ill. A Mark Twain book is on his bed stand.

His father says, "This cholera is consuming you. I've lost one son, I don't want to lose another."

Nikola responds drowsily, "I understand."

"You must get well, and you can follow my footsteps in the Ministry." His father puts his hand on Nikola's head and feels his fever. Nikola sinks into an almost unconscious state. He is undernourished and very lean.

A few days later his father and a doctor are in the bedroom. He is very weak. The doctor examines him and his mother is with them. "I don't know what more I can do for him. He appears to be giving up the fight", says the doctor.

His father replies sadly, "He has so much to live for. His imagination, his brilliant mind".

"Medically, I've done all I can. The rest is up to him," says the doctor.

Nikola is lying there weak with his eyes half closed and barely speaking. His father tries desperately to rouse him and to stir him into a more cheerful mood. In a commanding voice, his father says, "Nikola, you cannot go."

Djourka was holding Nilola's hand, "This is going on much too long."

There is hardly enough energy in Nikola for an audible whisper, "I could get well… if you let me study - engineering."

His father bends over intently, seizes him and says, "You will be an engineer. Do you hear me? You will go to the best technical institute I can find and you will be a great engineer." He pauses, "You must get well, you will be a great engineer if that is what you want."

A faint smile occurs and a shine comes into Nikola's eyes.

"Thank God! You heard me, Nikola. You will go to an engineering school and become a great engineer. Do you understand me?"

There isn't enough energy for Nikola to speak, but the smile becomes a little more definite. His mother looks at Nikola and her husband and sees the faint smile that appears. She puts her hand on Rev. Tesla's shoulder and looks at both of them very longingly.

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