Read Books Online, for Free
|Round The Red Lamp||Arthur Conan Doyle|
The Doctors Of Hoyland.
|Page 3 of 8||
"I am sorry to disappoint you," said the lady drily.
"You certainly have surprised me," he answered, picking up his hat.
"You are not among our champions, then?"
"I cannot say that the movement has my approval."
"I should much prefer not to discuss it."
"But I am sure you will answer a lady's question."
"Ladies are in danger of losing their privileges when they usurp the place of the other sex. They cannot claim both."
"Why should a woman not earn her bread by her brains?"
Dr. Ripley felt irritated by the quiet manner in which the lady cross-questioned him.
"I should much prefer not to be led into a discussion, Miss Smith."
"Dr. Smith," she interrupted.
"Well, Dr. Smith! But if you insist upon an answer, I must say that I do not think medicine a suitable profession for women and that I have a personal objection to masculine ladies."
It was an exceedingly rude speech, and he was ashamed of it the instant after he had made it. The lady, however, simply raised her eyebrows and smiled.
"It seems to me that you are begging the question," said she. "Of course, if it makes women masculine that WOULD be a considerable deterioration."
It was a neat little counter, and Dr. Ripley, like a pinked fencer, bowed his acknowledgment.
"I must go," said he.
"I am sorry that we cannot come to some more friendly conclusion since we are to be neighbours," she remarked.
He bowed again, and took a step towards the door.
"It was a singular coincidence," she continued, "that at the instant that you called I was reading your paper on `Locomotor Ataxia,' in the Lancet."
"Indeed," said he drily.
"I thought it was a very able monograph."
"You are very good."
"But the views which you attribute to Professor Pitres, of Bordeaux, have been repudiated by him."
"I have his pamphlet of 1890," said Dr. Ripley angrily.
"Here is his pamphlet of 1891." She picked it from among a litter of periodicals. "If you have time to glance your eye down this passage----"
Dr. Ripley took it from her and shot rapidly through the paragraph which she indicated. There was no denying that it completely knocked the bottom out of his own article. He threw it down, and with another frigid bow he made for the door. As he took the reins from the groom he glanced round and saw that the lady was standing at her window, and it seemed to him that she was laughing heartily.
All day the memory of this interview haunted him. He felt that he had come very badly out of it. She had showed herself to be his superior on his own pet subject. She had been courteous while he had been rude, self-possessed when he had been angry. And then, above all, there was her presence, her monstrous intrusion to rankle in his mind. A woman doctor had been an abstract thing before, repugnant but distant. Now she was there in actual practice, with a brass plate up just like his own, competing for the same patients. Not that he feared competition, but he objected to this lowering of his ideal of womanhood. She could not be more than thirty, and had a bright, mobile face, too. He thought of her humorous eyes, and of her strong, well-turned chin. It revolted him the more to recall the details of her education. A man, of course. could come through such an ordeal with all his purity, but it was nothing short of shameless in a woman.
|Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
|Round The Red Lamp
Arthur Conan Doyle
Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004