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|Round The Red Lamp||Arthur Conan Doyle|
The Doctors Of Hoyland.
|Page 6 of 8||
"Ah, at last!" said she. "I kept you under all the way home, for I knew how painful the jolting would be. It is in good position now with a strong side splint. I have ordered a morphia draught for you. Shall I tell your groom to ride for Dr. Horton in the morning?"
"I should prefer that you should continue the case," said Dr. Ripley feebly, and then, with a half hysterical laugh,--"You have all the rest of the parish as patients, you know, so you may as well make the thing complete by having me also."
It was not a very gracious speech, but it was a look of pity and not of anger which shone in her eyes as she turned away from his bedside.
Dr. Ripley had a brother, William, who was assistant surgeon at a London hospital, and who was down in Hampshire within a few hours of his hearing of the accident. He raised his brows when he heard the details.
"What! You are pestered with one of those!" he cried.
"I don't know what I should have done without her."
I've no doubt she's an excellent nurse."
"She knows her work as well as you or I."
"Speak for yourself, James," said the London man with a sniff. "But apart from that, you know that the principle of the thing is all wrong."
"You think there is nothing to be said on the other side?"
"Good heavens! do you?"
"Well, I don't know. It struck me during the night that we may have been a little narrow in our views."
"Nonsense, James. It's all very fine for women to win prizes in the lecture room, but you know as well as I do that they are no use in an emergency. Now I warrant that this woman was all nerves when she was setting your leg. That reminds me that I had better just take a look at it and see that it is all right."
"I would rather that you did not undo it," said the patient. "I have her assurance that it is all right."
Brother William was deeply shocked.
"Of course, if a woman's assurance is of more value than the opinion of the assistant surgeon of a London hospital, there is nothing more to be said," he remarked.
"I should prefer that you did not touch it," said the patient firmly, and Dr. William went back to London that evening in a huff.
The lady, who had heard of his coming, was much surprised on learning his departure.
"We had a difference upon a point of professional etiquette," said Dr. James, and it was all the explanation he would vouchsafe.
For two long months Dr. Ripley was brought in contact with his rival every day, and he learned many things which he had not known before. She was a charming companion, as well as a most assiduous doctor. Her short presence during the long, weary day was like a flower in a sand waste. What interested him was precisely what interested her, and she could meet him at every point upon equal terms. And yet under all her learning and her firmness ran a sweet, womanly nature, peeping out in her talk, shining in her greenish eyes, showing itself in a thousand subtle ways which the dullest of men could read. And he, though a bit of a prig and a pedant, was by no means dull, and had honesty enough to confess when he was in the wrong.
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|Round The Red Lamp
Arthur Conan Doyle
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