Round the Red Lamp - Arthur Conan Doyle - Страница 1 из 249


ROUND THE RED LAMP
BEING FACTS AND FANCIES OF MEDICAL LIFE
By SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE
THE PREFACE.
[Being an extract from a long and animated correspondence with a friend
in America.]
I quite recognise the force of your objection that an invalid or a
woman in weak health would get no good from stories which attempt to
treat some features of medical life with a certain amount of realism.
If you deal with this life at all, however, and if you are anxious to
make your doctors something more than marionettes, it is quite
essential that you should paint the darker side, since it is that which
is principally presented to the surgeon or physician. He sees many
beautiful things, it is true, fortitude and heroism, love and
self-sacrifice; but they are all called forth (as our nobler qualities
are always called forth) by bitter sorrow and trial. One cannot write
of medical life and be merry over it.
Then why write of it, you may ask? If a subject is painful why treat
it at all? I answer that it is the province of fiction to treat
painful things as well as cheerful ones. The story which wiles away a
weary hour fulfils an obviously good purpose, but not more so, I hold,
than that which helps to emphasise the graver side of life. A tale
which may startle the reader out of his usual grooves of thought, and
shocks him into seriousness, plays the part of the alterative and tonic
in medicine, bitter to the taste but bracing in the result. There are
a few stories in this little collection which might have such an


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