The Small House at Allington Ch. 19–21 [7/20]
Medical Practitioners, Status, Gender, Class, Breeding
Reflects that the 'profession of a medical man in a small provincial town is not often one which gives its owner in early life a large income. Perhaps in no career has a man to work harder for what he earns, or to do more work without earning anything. It has sometimes seemed to me as though the young doctors and the old doctors had agreed to divide between them the different results of their profession,—the young doctors doing all the work and the old doctors taking all the money' (357). Indeed, the young Dr. Crofts had 'succeeded in obtaining the medical care of all the paupers in the union', and was also 'assistant-surgeon at a small hospital which was maintained in that town, and held two or three other similar public positions, all of which attested his respectability and general proficiency' but which 'did not enable him to regard himself as a successful professional man. Whereas old Dr. Gruffen, of whom but few people spoke well, had made a fortune in Guestwick, and even still drew from the ailments of the town a considerable and hardly yet decreasing income'. Questions whether 'Young unmarried doctors ought perhaps to be excluded from houses in which there are young ladies. I know, at any rate, that many sage matrons hold very strongly to that opinion'. (358). Lord De Guest replaces Dr. Gruffen, who has 'poked his fun at him, just as though he was nobody' (360), with Dr. Crofts, whose medical advice is 'given in such a way that the earl said he would be glad to see him again' (361). In discussing the prospects of Bell Dale marrying her cousin Bernard, Dr. Crofts, who is secretly in love with Bell, tells Lord De Guest, 'I'm not quite sure that it's a good thing for cousins to marry' (362).
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