“I have made a bad enemy,” I thought to myself; “well, I am in the right; one must take risks in life, and it is better to be hated than despised.”
Major Selby was a well-known and popular man, whose sudden death had excited much sympathy and local interest, which were intensified when the circumstances connected with it became public property.
On the following day the leading city paper published a report of the results of the post-mortem, which doubtless had been furnished by the relatives, and with it an editorial note.
In this paragraph I was spoken of in very complimentary terms; my medical distinctions were alluded to, and the confident belief was expressed that Dunchester would not be slow to avail itself of my skill and talent. Sir John Bell was not so lightly handled. His gross error of treatment in the case of the deceased was, it is true, slurred over, but some sarcastic and disparaging remarks were aimed at him under cover of comparison between the old and the new school of medical practitioners.
STEPHEN STRONG GOES BAIL
Great are the uses of advertisement! When I went into my consulting-room after breakfast that day I found three patients waiting to see me, one of them a member of a leading family in the city.
Here was the beginning of my success. Whatever time may remain to me, to-day in a sense my life is finished. I am a broken-hearted and discomfited man, with little more to fear and nothing to hope. Therefore I may be believed when I say that in these pages I set down the truth and nothing but the truth, not attempting to palliate my conduct where it has been wrong, nor to praise myself even when praise may have been due. Perhaps, then, it will not be counted conceit when I write that in my best days I was really a master of my trade. To my faculty for diagnosis I have, I think, alluded; it amounted to a gift—a touch or two of my fingers would often tell me what other doctors could not discover by prolonged examination. To this I added a considerable mastery of the details of my profession, and a sympathetic insight into character, which enabled me to apply my knowledge to the best advantage.
When a patient came to me and told me that his symptoms were this or that or the other, I began by studying the man and forming my own conclusions as to his temperament, character, and probable past. It was this method of mine of studying the individual as a whole and his ailment as something springing from and natural to his physical and spiritual entity that, so far as general principles can be applied to particular instances, often gave me a grip of the evil, and enabled me, by dealing with the generating cause, to strike at its immediate manifestation. My axiom was that in the human subject mind is king; the mind commands, the body obeys. From this follows the corollary that the really great doctor, however trivial the complaint, should always begin by trying to understand the mind of his patient, to follow the course of its workings, and estimate their results upon his physical nature.