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[. Frontispiece . 








First Edition . 

• 1931 

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Introduction ....... xiii 


I. Early Years ....... i 

Pedigree—Early cricket in Australia—Covenanter ancestor 
—Cripplegate and Aldgate—Not a doctor, a gentleman— 
Pugilists—Places of amusement—Doctor’s wife’s dress— 

Riots—My old nurse—Calvinism—Styles of beauty—Lord 
Mayor’s majesty—Patti’s reappearance—A gambling sculptor 
—Garrotting—Bullet practice in Kensington Gardens—Prac¬ 
tical joke on maiden aunt—Rule by fits—The “ Jane affair ” 

—Garibaldi—Queen Victoria’s unpopularity— 1887 Jubilee 
—Do you sit comfortable ?—Extempore prayer—Thames 
punt fishing—The Isle of Thanet—Tubercle—Westgate 
currents—Rural Hampstead—Turnpikes. 

II. School Days.22 

My first school—Street adventures and fights—My athletic 
grandfather—The lad of Richmond Hill—An indignant park- 
keeper—Old omnibuses—Cricket by the Royal Oak—Test of 
gentility—A Russian palmist—Candover Park—To the tune 
of the cane—The order of the bath—Ordeal by combat—An 
escape—Cock of the school—“Are you dead, Tommy?”— 
Drunkard’s luck—A stone duel—School and village boys— 
Marlow Place—Bisham complains—Old Boys—Whipping’em 
School—The future Bishop—The Schoolmaster of the period 
—The old governor of a gaol—Ear-boxing defied—Its 
dangers—Disgraceful sanitation—Coercion of Joe—Feminine 
interference—I see red—“ Lay ter ” and myself—A lucky 
hour’s work—Second only to Arthur Hassall—Luck in ex¬ 
aminations—A really great Headmaster, but with defects— 

The allure of the Star Chamber —Another father, another 
treatment—An embarrassing position—Saving grace of 
humour —•* Arcades ambo ”—Physical defects—Boy rule— 

Food at school—A long fast—The bread row—Punished 
for nothing—Flogging three days running—Nervous boys and 
the Head—Was flogging a deterrent ?—A rope story—The 
French master—“ A caning teeket ”—Flower-bed story— 
Rouge and cricket—An axe story—Cribbing—Alva as a 
Lutheran—Uppingham cricket—A Final House Match— 
Football—Upstanding forwards—“ Funking ” hereditary— 

A medical hero—Athletics—Confirmation—Prof. D’Orsay— 

Dr. Wilson—Reference to myself in Thring's letters—Various 
compliments—My respect and affection for Mr. Thring. 





III. Student Days ...... 

Leave school—Lectures at St. George’s—Hospital jealousies— 
Birth and skill—The story of Dr. Brydon—Surgeons and 
rings—The speckled shirt—Shots with hot irons—Secondary 
haemorrhage—This style 14/9 —God and ignorance—Lan¬ 
guage and the deaf—Carter’s defects—Dr. Barclay—Alcohol 
and exercise—Dr. Dickinson-—Thinking aloud—My counter 
proposition—Contrexeville and stone—Physician and house 
physician—Visiting and resident staff—Loss of self- 
confidence—Ward consultations—Royalty—Clinical lectures 
-—“ At last he came to me ”—The lost Oxford School—Great 
Cambridge School—Tall hats—Characters—Nurses—Back 
washing—Comedy and Tragedy—Porters—Librarian. 

IV. St. George’s Hospital ..... 

Lord Z—King's Fund injures St. George's—Election of 
hospital staff—Sir Benjamin Brodie—Evils of a too marked 
character—McHardy, Nelson's signal—The dancer and the 
governor—The Treasurers—Col. Haygarth, his wounds— 
Removal of St.George’s—Needs of Hyde Park Corner—Power 
in hands of a small clique—Septic surgery of old—Lister’s 
difficulties—The ignorant seniors—Lister's modesty—His 
first cheer in London—His claims on humanity—The Crimean 
sergeant—Dues of operation—Prayer to help a bungler— 
Grace after artificial feeding. 

V. St. George’s Hospital— continued 

Strenuous work as a student—My successes at St. George's 
and at R.C.S. and R.C.P.—Contrast with Uppingham career 
—A young teacher—House-surgeon—Surgical registrar— 
A physician anaesthetist—Elected to the Seamen’s Hospital 
—The school for tropical medicine—Secret dealings—Re¬ 
signation of the Dreadnought staff—Advance of surgery by 
leaps and bounds—Pioneers—Young surgeons and sepsis 
—Consulting surgeon—Member of Committee for fifty years 
—Cases for examination purposes—“ No cutting ”—The 
Cottage—Evening milk robbery—Successful ignoramuses— 
Guided surgeons—Wicked bravery—Suicidal intentions— 
The surgeon bears all the blame—The Medical Society— 
Freyer's big fee—How to keep young—Sir J. Crichton- 
Browne—Punching the ball—Dancing—Dangerous banting. 

VI. Athletics and Law ..... 

After leaving school—Running grounds—Country round 
Earl's Court—Professional running—No triers—Deerfoot— 
Peeress before her time—Training diets—A celebrated oars¬ 
man's pickles — Tichborne Case—The Penge Case—No 
rank in the medical profession—Expert perjurer—Spinal 
concussion — Anchylosis — Insurance work — Adhesions — 
Bone-setters — Quack medicines — Goutiness — The cable 
maker- — Law and Insurance, not an advocate—Lord Haldane 
— Lady St. Helier. 




VII. Sherborne ....... 107 

Dickens at Sherborne—Guppy and Pecksniff—Coming out 
of the Pickwick Papers —Sherborne Riots—Mr. Drax, M.P. 

—Officers’ whiskers — Barbers’ restrictions — Old George 
Digby—Sir R. Glynn—Festivities in the ’40’s—Clergyman 
in mufti—Early polo in London. 

VIII. Lunatics and Others ..... 112 

Certifying lunatics—Sir F. Hewitt —My Chiswick experi¬ 
ences—Dr. Forbes Winslow—Criminal lunatics—Dr. Orange— 
Sitting up all night—General paralysis of insane—Dances at 
asylums— Status epilepticus —Travelling with a lunatic— 

Mr. Serjeant Ballantine and whist—The doctor “ who did 
decease his wife ”—A little Jew—Where were they all ?— 

The Jew squire—The duration of an apology—Intervals 
between the coups. 

IX. Travel. 

Drummond Castle—Benedetti—de la Valette—Lord Har¬ 
rington—The lake—Donald and my tip—Lord Strathnairn— 
A call—Fireplaces and fish eating—Lunacy in Scotland— 
Alopecia, a changed husband—Egypt, before the English 
occupation—Palestine—Syria, the old Damascus—A night 
in a native khan—Poor Arab horses—Sunsets at Rhodes— 
Smyrna and a “ picnic "—Mahomet sheds his plumes— 
“ Not a red cent ”—George Payne—Constantinople in 1880 
—Bucharest—Beauty of Islanders—An English hakim 
— Burton’s detection when on pilgrimage to Mecca — 
My foolish joke—Good qualities of the Turks—Aix-les- 
Bains — Dr. Brachet — Baccarat — Opera Theatre — Bi¬ 
cycling— King Leopold of Belgium — Mr. Lushington— 
Hospitals are medical charities—Consolations of retirement 
—King George of Greece—Lady Doneraile—Grande Char¬ 
treuse—Clyde Fitch—Miss Forestier-Walker—Aix golf- 
course—Mrs. Balfour—Clairvoyance, warning to King 
Alexander and Queen Draga of Serbia—Bicycle ride to Col 
de Chat—May and December—Lady Burdett-Coutts on her 
marriage—The cook and her leg—Lady Augustus Fitz- 
Clarence—My seats for the Jubilee—Love me, love my dog— 
Allsopp foot and hand—Mr. and Mrs. John Thynne—Jokes 
in French—Misfortune — The Rubens Tercentenary— The 
10,000 virgins — Paris in 18 79- —Spain — Italy. 

X. Illustrious Men . J 4 2 

Celebrities—Lord Kelvin, F.R.S.—Herbert Spencer, F.R.S. 

—Sir J. Burdon Sanderson, F.R.S.—Lord Lister, F.R.S.— 
Darwin, F.R.S.—George Eliot—G. J. Romanes, F.R.S.— 
Henry Irving—Romanes—An astronomer and matrimony— 

Sense of direction in animals—Lord Digby—Frog story 
Mr. Miller—Poison gas—Romanes's prescience—Professor 
Hugo Muller, celebrated chemist—Oscar Wilde, a poseur— 

Mr. Cotter Morrison, origin of conscience—Efficacy of prayer. 




proposed test — Sickness as a chastisement — Providence, 
ways of—Commotion amongst angels in heaven—Romanes’s 
hat trick—Untied shoe laces—Several minor apoplectic 
attacks before the final fatal one—Spiritualism at Geanies— 
Conscious and unconscious mind—Samson—Corney Grain— 
Bismarck — Young German Diplomat — Pigment and the 
Sun—R. H. Clarke—Claustrophobia—The canon and the 
scientist—Free breeding of the unfit—Sir Starr Jameson— 
Colonel Fred Burnaby—Charles Pollock—Sir Henry de 
Bathe—Buckstone—“Toole’s coming”—Jimmy McDonald— 
Honourables—The Daly Company—Skittles—Kennedy and 
hypnotism—Table-rapping—Romanes—Throwing back to 
ancestors—A medical humbug—Clever advertising—Well- 
known throat specialist—Avarice and callousness—Clever 
medical baronet—Sir W. Gull—Sir Andrew Clark—Abernethy 
and Wellington—Crimes “ Our Society ”—Arthur Lambton 
—Beck Case—Slater Case—Maybrick Case-—Lampson Case 

XI. Coincidences and Experiences . . . 168 

Extraordinary coincidence—Sexton story—Dr. Clarke's death 
—Miss Piggott's letter—T. C. Bush—Spiritualistic seance— 
Marshall Hall—Crippen defence—The Seddon Case—Poisons 
— Hanging — Finding lost things — Tweakey Boo the 
sparrow—Half a sheep—Blue ribbon—Taswell story—A fire 
—Cyril Parker—Special Constable—Practical joke—My 
grandfather—Boat-race row—Earl’s Court fortune-teller— 
Interests outside profession—Gladstone and the Woods— 

Peach story—Andrew Williamson—Mistaken salutation—“ I 
thought of Gordon ”—Lady F. Cavendish—Hissing Gladstone 
—Dante story — Chemin-de-fer story—Curate stories — 
Maltese and cab fares—My lesson to a cabman—Blackmail 
by newspapers and the tea taster—Disraeli—Lord Dufferin 
and Sir T. Gordon—Wild West story—Shooting extraordinary 
—“Jackie” Fisher—Staring match with Edward VII— 

A good old-fashioned death—An Australian—Sam Lewis 
—Pyjamas on a liner—Old-fashioned busmen—Trap for 
malingerers—The baby that ought not to be here—The 
offending portion of the tooth—Callousness of surgeon—A 
would-be pauper—A daughter’s sacrifice—Sanctimonious 
student—Admiralty and matrimony—Two consultants— 

A thief — Stealing my fee — Robbery — Tank accident at 
St. George’s—House-surgeon’s heroism—Diphtheria statistics 
—Sporting Times —Poodle dog—Skating—Awkward positions 
—Prominent St. George’s men—Big and small schools— 
Women and the medical profession—Holmes and incisions— 

Sir F. Wallis and Tylden—Brief notes—Old Bailey, late 
seventies-—Serjeant Poland—Douglas Straight—Montagu 
Williams—Sherry and biscuits — The wife kicker-—Lord 
Shaftesbury—Lord Lucan—Mr. Spedding—“ Pop off the ’ooks” 

—Labourer’s broken spine—Election to staff of hospitals 
—Professor Humphry—Mr. Keetley—House-surgeon and door¬ 
plate story—Nelson's chest of drawers and coat—Dress 
clothes—A novel kilt—Romanes’s shooting attire—Fads of 
house-surgeons—Dr. Wadham—Rainbow medicine—Doctor's 
orders—Too literal obedience —British Medical Journal, 




XII. A Mixed Bag.216 

Wood stories—Providence and the Don—Specialist spec¬ 
tacles—Gratitude, etc., in patients—Minor tragedies of sur¬ 
gery—Glass-eye story—Parental confidence —In vino veritas 
—House-surgeon’s trop de zele —Fire—Married lady’s suspicions 
of husband—Night fears—First operation—Period of pio¬ 
neers—Lister not appreciated or rewarded enough—Student 
who did not sit down—Jamaica riot story—Bride story— 
Nurses—Gull story and origin—Self-made men—Palais de 
danse story—Head injury, effects of—Crime—Gouty Judge— 

His brother nearly kills me—Vernon Boys—Concussion, loss of 
memory of the past—What to tell patients—Malingerers— 

Dues of operation—Maternal love—Beef extract remedy— 
Irving story—Trying a magistrate—Gerald Baldwin and 
myself—The wonderful woman—Unfit to operate—Sir Astley 
Cooper, Sir Prescott Hewett—Hutton the bone-setter— 
Inefficient operators—Shielding one—Necessity for specialism 
—Brudenell Carter stories—Examiners at R.C.S.—Sir W. 
Savory—Goodchild and chloroform—Chloroform death— 
Greenwich case—Coroner’s Jury’s disregard of medical 
evidence—Prussic acid—Callous lady—Operations with¬ 
out anaesthetic—" Yes, Doctor ”—Emperor Frederick—Sir 
Edward Pollock—Wife and mistress—Fractured forearm— 
Holmes not callous—Champneys and patient dear to him— 
Publican’s wife—Operation—My rudeness—“ Spides ”—A 
Jew’s revenge—Boys at St. George’s—Junker German officer 
prisoner—Bullets at base of brain—Sir James Dewar and 
liquid air—Mrs. Simmons—Jew’s bargaining—Peeress in 
Maida Vale—Nature's reparative power—Peninsular and 
Crimea—The male bird—Tailoring story—Nobility and 
gentry—Well-bred nonentities—Sir W. Howarth—Henry 
VIII—Edward VII—My ghost story—Edwardes' touching 
ghost—Gurney and Myers—The Scottish ghost—Mistake in 

XIII. Accidents. 264 

Runaway young thoroughbred in hansom cab — Shock 
beyond control of mind — Skidding car — Concussion of 
brain—Concussion—Fractured ribs both sides—Scalp 
wound—Saved by my wife—Motor bicycle——Chatham— 
Broken rib—Motor cycle—Escape on St. Albans road-— 
Broken ribs and cuts—Upset on Slough road—Naval days— 
Early days of motor cycling—Hansom cab accidents, various 
kinds—Cabman who lost his morale—A “ brave ” youth— 
Early tricycling—A hard bed and a hard nurse. 

XIV. Recreations. 273 

Motoring in early days—R.A.C.—Col. Crompton, C.B.— 
Electric lighting—First employment at St. George’s—Loss of 
nerve at operations—Killing a pig in France—Nine tyres— 
Meeting of two cars abroad—Chauffeur in the Boer War— 

Dick Turpin’s room and sword—The real ride to York—• 
Billiards—“ No nerve "—Billiard handicaps—Elder Roberts 
—W. Cook—The championship—Bennett—Useful umbrella 



The Author as a Rear-Admiral, 1917. Frontispiece 

From a Photograph by A. P. Steer, Plymouth. 

The Author’s Mother . 




The Author as a Young Man 





Sherborne ..... 







Professor Romanes 



. 144 

The Last English Twenty, 1876 . 

From a Photograph by Hills and Saunders, Eton. 

. 172 

Hyde Park Corner and St. George’s Hospital 

before removal of the Arch and before the Statue 

of the Duke of Wellington, now at Aldershot, was 

put upon it.210 

From a Picture at St. George’s Hospital, kindly loaned 
by Sir Crisp English, K.C.M.G. 

Lady Turner.280 

From a Photograh by Devereux, Hove. 



I have ventured to call these reminiscences un¬ 
orthodox, as I have dared to live my life without 
an over-regard for what people have thought and 
said of me. 

Doctors were formerly supposed to take a semi¬ 
clerical view of life—to be or to pretend to be so busy 
that they were unable to participate in the sports and 
pastimes that other professional men affected ; to 
assume the virtue, though they had it not, of a good 
practice ; to be solemn and serious in demeanour ; 
cautious of tongue ; and in the country to have a 
becoming humility in the presence of local magnates 
and even of the teachers of religion. If in the 
Services—to be the handmaidens of the combatant 
branch thereof. To treat and succour the poor 
without fee or reward. And when the hospitals 
were built and became many—to be the only unpaid 
officers of such institutions ; and to be ruled and 
regulated by the laity in a manner that no other 
profession would tolerate for a moment. 

In the Services the Law and the Church, the 
professionals have taken care to be supreme ; or at 
least only under the heads of Government Depart¬ 
ments. The “ plums ” enjoyed by Archbishops, 
Bishops, Law Officials, distinguished Admirals and 
Generals are many. There are practically no such 
“ plums n in the medical profession. The work is 
never done. There is no limit to the day or night ; 
any eight-hour day would be a very empty dream. 
Doctors work, and combine to work, at preventive 



medicine, which of necessity limits their own pro¬ 
fessional activities and pecuniary rewards. The 
personal risks he runs are by no means negligible. 

Before the introduction of india-rubber gloves 
and during the prevalence of sepsis the operating 
surgeon literally took his life in his hands. Any 
little scratch might be infected. Cellulitis, abscesses, 
septicaemia or even pyoemia might result. I have had 
erysipelas myself three times. A “ dirty ” appendix 
case was indirectly the cause of disease of my anteum 
—this led to a blocking of the tear duct and some 
necrosis (death of bone) at the inner side of my eye 
from which in all probability I shall always suffer. It 
is too close to the brain to admit of safe removal—all 
these troubles from the gratuitous service of the poor. 

My brother lost an eye from infection by a hospital 
case of diphtheria. My father died comparatively 
early from infection from a private patient. Now¬ 
adays the risks are comparatively little compared 
with what they used to be—and that this is so is due 
to Lister. He has saved many a doctor as well as 
millions of patients. I have a movable finger that I 
owe to his treatment; but for his work my career as an 
operating surgeon would have been a very short one. 

The doctor depends on the “ bubble reputation ” far 
more than the soldier ; and woe betide him if, however 
innocent, he is not (like Caesar’s wife) above suspicion. 

But it is not to sing the grievances of my pro¬ 
fession that I have been writing this book. It is in 
the hope that some account of the now distant 
latter half of the nineteenth century—as to school life 
of the boy sixty years ago ; as to medical and sur¬ 
gical advances and progress, rendered possible by 
the genius of Lister, Pasteur, and other scientists— 
may not be uninteresting to the young of the present 
day ; and, without being altogether a laudator 
temporis acti , to talk of the concomitants of my own 


youth so as to compare and contrast them with the 
present times. 

Young men in my time had to learn ; but were 
not taught as they are now. They were left to them¬ 
selves more—even as boys at school—to find out 
things for themselves. There was very little of the 
“ feeding spoon ” in my early days. To-day is the 
day of the young. Formerly the young had to 
“ also serve ” by standing and waiting. The young 
surgeon of to-day makes money and is trusted by 
the public—it was age and experience that took 
what cream there might be going when good Queen 
Victoria ruled the land. 

An apology is needed for what my granddaughter 
Elfrida has called an “ I ” book. One cannot help 
using the personal pronoun when beginning to re¬ 
member and relate the events of a lifetime. 

Being endowed with the gentle art of making 
enemies, I suppose that some of them may possibly 
read and hate me more than ever for my egotism. I 
once remarked to a lady that I hated myself. “ Well, 
you know best/’ she said. So I can sympathise 
with those who have wished or done me ill. As 
one passes through life it is possible to enjoy both 
enmities and friendships. I am proud of some of 
the former and have wondered at some of the latter. 

It has been my intention and desire to put down 
naught in malice. If any such has crept in, it is due 
to the infirmity of my very human nature, and I must 
pray my readers to pardon me. 

No doubt there are indiscretions, but in this 
matter I wonder at my moderation. If it were 
possible to write posthumously, and one could give 
names freely, what a lot more could legitimately and 
amusingly be added ! 


February 1931. 



My ancestors lived in Devonshire. The first of whom 
I have any record, in the reign of James I, spelt his 
name Turnor. Our crest and motto is the same as 
that of Lord Winterton, and the Lord Winterton 
of the sixties of last century, in a correspondence with 
an uncle of mine, the Rev. A. G. Shirley, expressed 
the opinion that we were a branch of his family. 

The Turners were Devonshire people, Lords of 
the Manor of Shobroke and owned property there and 
at Endacott. The entail was cut off in 1702. After 
that date the property descended from father to 
eldest son by will, until about 1780, when my great¬ 
grandfather gambled away his estates by horse¬ 
racing and by dicing at Doncaster. He died shortly 
afterwards, leaving a widow with but £200 a year, 
and two sons, the elder of whom, my grandfather, 
eventually became a doctor, and set up at Sherborne 
in Dorsetshire. He was so indignant with his father 
that he never mentioned his name or his family to 
his children—except when his cousin, the first Lord 
Churston, was elected a member of Parliament for 
Devonshire. The younger brother was a sailor and 
fought in the time of Nelson, and on one occasion 
took part in a " cutting out ” expedition against a 
French frigate. He died young. 

After the entail was cut off, one of my ancestors, 
in his will, asked his elder son to build a house for his 
brother George. This house was built, and an entry 



made in a family Bible states, “ It stands to this day, 
a monument to his meanness.” We are descended 
from this same George, who survived his elder brother. 

The Turners are very conservative, and of my 
grandfather’s four sons, three became doctors. The 
other emigrated to Australia, lived at Adelaide for 
many years and became Attorney-General of South 
Australia. This uncle, Frederick F. Turner, had a 
great deal to do with the introduction of cricket into 
Australia. He wrote home to my father, in 1854, 
asking him to send out cricket bats, balls and stumps. 
He said that “ the blacks ” had a very good idea 
of throwing. He taught them bowling and cricket. 

On my mother’s side I am descended from the 
Buchanans of Lenny. One of my Scotch fore¬ 
fathers was a Covenanter and fought at the Battle 
of Bothwell Brig against Claverhouse. He escaped the 
ensuing slaughter by being hidden in a cupboard by a 
lady whom he subsequently married. I always think 
that he is accountable for the strong puritanical strain 
in my own character, and that some of my father’s 
ancestors (possibly the Bullers) may be accountable 
for the very opposite characteristics that are some- 
times unfortunately predominant. There has been 
often a mental tug-of-war between the Bullers and 
the Buchanans, the Jekylls and Hydes of my nature. 

My mother had an aunt who was a bit of a cripple, 
and consequently had been left by her father sufficient 
money to keep her, in case she did not marry. This, 
however, she did, became a rich widow, and when she 
was fairly advanced in age (and her son had died), 
a parson came buzzing around. He was also a can¬ 
didate for a City living. The old aunt was very 
excited and used to ask my mother, “ Do you think 
he will propose ? ” My mother told this to my 
father, who said to her, “ Well, do you think he will ? ” 
to which my mother replied, “ I think that if he does 



not get Aldgate he will take Cripplegate.” This 
aunt quarrelled with her brother, my grandfather, 
a solicitor, who asked if he could help her in any way 
on her marriage ; she refused to see him when he was 
dying. At her funeral her grave was too small, so that 
the coffin could not be lowered into it. She left all her 
money, a considerable sum, to the cleric and failing 
him to charities of the Church of England, failing them 
to Roman Catholic ones, so determined was she that no 
money should come back to the family. A good hater ! 

Details of one’s family are not of much, if any, 
public interest, but the fact that one has had a few 
ancestors has before now helped me to “ bear my 
burden ” when I have had to deal with either the 
nouveanx-riches or snobs among the well-born them¬ 
selves, those who imagine that no doctor can be born 
a gentleman. That such people did exist was art¬ 
lessly shown by a little child who, when her mother 
said she must see a doctor (my father), said, “ Oh, 
but Mr. Turner is a gentleman, not a doctor.” 

My paternal grandfather must have been a fairly 
rich man, and at his death a very large sum was 
owing to him from his patients. He had, however, 
given directions that none of this money was to be 
collected. I can’t believe that the family legend 
that it was £10,000 is correct, but it was a substantial 
sum—and if patients through long years are never 
pressed in any way to pay the doctor—his unpaid 
fees accumulate with great facility. The medical 
profession now, through the hospitals, does an enor¬ 
mous amount of gratuitous work—and in my grand¬ 
father’s time it did an enormous amount without the 
hospitals. The poor man never paid—and those 
near the poor line hardly ever. The sick poor were 
given stimulants, food, blankets, and clothing, not 
only by the squire and parson but also by the doctor. 
I remember this was the case in the seventies. 



My earliest recollection is the birth of my second 
sister, 1857, when I was two years and two months 
old, more than seventy-three years ago. I remember 
distinctly going into my mother's bedroom to see 
her, and seeing the baby being washed by the nurse. 
Memories after this are indistinct till i860. Winters 
were very different then from what they are now. 
There was a very hard one in that year, and I can 
remember sliding on the Serpentine. I fell repeatedly, 
but repeatedly tried again, to the amusement of a 
large crowd that was there assembled. 

I can remember in the sixties the coming of 
Princess Alexandra, “ Sea King’s daughter from over 
the sea," and I saw her in her progress to the Great 
Western Railway Station when she was going to 
Windsor. I also saw her the last Rose day she drove 
in London. 

I can also remember seeing Tom Sayers, the 
prize-fighter, driving in his own trap. My grand¬ 
father pointed him out to me. He is best remembered 
as the hero of the fight with Heenan. His arm was 
not broken in the fight, but it was disabled and he 
could not use it. I have had details of the fight 
related to me by one who was present, and he described 
to me how Heenan got Sayers down on the ropes, 
and how Sayers’ neck was so pressed upon that he 
would have been strangled had they not been cut. 
My father used to relate a story showing the universal 
interest that was taken even by the godly in this 
affair. A Calvinistic lady of rigid morality and 
abhorring prize-fighting was so carried away by the 
description of the fight in the Times that she said to 
my father, “ Our little David, Mr. Turner, was a 
match for their Goliath." Heenan afterwards went 
to Oxford, but was not allowed by the University 
authorities within the town, so he pitched a tent just 
outside. Amongst the undergraduates deemed 


worthy to spar with him was my half-cousin, the Rev. 
Egerton Tapp, who died about a year ago over ninety. 
I also saw another celebrated prize-fighter, Jem Mace, 
on a race-course. He had the typical face of his 
fraternity. Much later in life, I was walking in the 
paddock at Doncaster with a sporting friend of mine, 
himself a great bruiser, when I saw the notorious 
Charlie Mitchell approaching us. “ Hullo /’ said my 
friend, “ I wonder what Charlie will do. The last 
time I saw him I had to keep him off with a champagne 
bottle, and he threatened that the next time we met 
he would do me in.” The meeting at Doncaster, 
however, passed off without incident, neither noticing 
the other. 

In my young days there was shown at the Poly¬ 
technic “ The Wheel of Life,” a revolving cardboard 
cylinder with vertical slits in it through which one 
saw different stages of the act of a man walking, so 
that the modern cinema was fairly closely anticipated, 
and the black silhouette did apparently progress. 
Descents in a diving-bell were another attraction of 
the Polytechnic. 

At the Coliseum one could see the earthquake of 
Lisbon. In those days it was generally regarded as 
a punishment by the Deity of the sinful Portuguese. 
About this time I saw Blondin on the tight-rope at 
the Crystal Palace. I remember him with a wheel¬ 
barrow, and the thrill he gave us all when he pre¬ 
tended to fall. Of course there was nothing under¬ 
neath him in the shape of a net. There were no 
laws about the safety of acrobats in those days. 
I also saw Zazel fired out of a large wooden cannon 
at the Aquarium. Modern raiment, which leaves 
nothing to the imagination of the female form 
divine, not being then in vogue, there was so much 
mystery about the natural curves of femininity that 
it was seriously argued that Zazel was a man. She 



was, however, quite typically feminine, and had 
a slight but good figure. 

Hatchments were common objects in the fashion¬ 
able squares after the death of the owner of the house. 
Undertakers’ men and guests at funerals were 
adorned with yards of the best black silk. One 
doctor’s wife had a dress made from the “ weepers 
her husband gathered at funerals of his patients. 
There was more pomp and circumstance and gloves 
than there is now, and few, if any, flowers. 

Oysters were a shilling a dozen in the sixties, and, 

“ Pickled salmon is nice 
At tenpence a slice,” 

was a nursery rhyme. Alas ! there are no such 
prices now. 

There was an annual stag-hunt in Epping Forest. 
My father once took me down to see the stag turned 
out of the cart. How different was the country of 
Essex then from what it is now ! Epping Forest 
swarmed with gipsies, many of whom my father used 
to look after for nothing when he lived at Chigwell. 
Later on in life I saw the Queen of the Gipsies, Lee 
by name, in St. George’s Hospital. She was a 
patient of mine. 

I remember well the Hyde Park riots, when the 
mob broke its way into the Park by tearing up the 
iron palings. My cousin Frank Shirley was there 
and has given me these details. A thin line of police 
had been put inside the Park by the palings. The 
pressure of the enormous crowd against these was 
such that down they came, and the crowd tumbled 
into the Park, many of them unwillingly, from the 
mere pressure of the numbers behind them. In 
spite of cavalry they were not dislodged. The day 
after this, when I was inspecting the scene of the 
riot, I found in the ditch separating Hyde Park from 


Kensington Gardens a number of sharpened palings 
which would have made very formidable weapons 
in the hands of the rioters. 

Later, at the time of the Bradlaugh Riots, it was 
my duty to look after the injured who were brought 
to St. George’s Hospital. I was house-surgeon, and 
my views in those days were such that I regarded 
Bradlaugh as an offender, and so I attended to his 
enemies’ cuts and bruises before I turned my atten¬ 
tion to the Bradlaughites. My opinion now is that 
Bradlaugh was right, and that in fighting for affirma¬ 
tion instead of oath he was doing the right thing. 
I heard Bradlaugh speak in Hyde Park. Someone 
in the surrounding crowd jeered at him, and he at 
once drew a truncheon, jumped down from the 
platform and “ went for ” the offender. 

Many of my early memories are connected with 
my old nurse, who was a great character and lived 
to the age of ninety-four or so. She was a rigid 
Calvinist, and believed thoroughly in the rigours of 
eternal punishment with which she used to threaten 
us frequently. She was a bit of a disciplinarian, 
and at tea in the nursery always had a cane on the 
tea tray, ready for my brother or myself. In after 
years, when I used to twit her with these repeated 
canings, she said, “ Oh no, Master George, all that is 
past and gone.” She used to lock us in one of the 
upper rooms as a punishment. We found that by 
opening the window and creeping along the parapet 
we could get back into the house through another 
window, and so in that way used to circumvent the 
old lady, much to her astonishment and fear, so that, 
not believing in the safety of our acrobatic perform¬ 
ances, she discontinued this method of punishment. 
In her softer moments she used to tell us of the 
passion that she had inspired in the breasts of various 
gentlemen of her acquaintance, one of whom “ had 



it so badly ” that, though he eventually married 
another woman, Nurse said he always had a pain 
in his “ lift ” side whenever he saw her. She re¬ 
mained a spinster until she was more than sixty, when 
an aged gardener who lived at Cookham proposed 
matrimony to her, which she accepted. When I 
asked her whether she liked him or me most, she 
replied, “ Oh, of course I have known you much 
longer, Master George/’ and when we very rudely 
suggested to her that her husband was not an Apollo, 
she said, “ Well, he is not so bad when you come to 
look into him.” In that remark she differentiated 
between two styles of beauty, that of mere features 
only and that of expression and colouring. She 
never told her husband of her little savings, which 
she expended on tea and other small luxuries during 
the course of many years. Her birthday was on 
Lord Mayor’s day, and she had almost a foreign 
estimate of the grandeur of the chief magistrate of 
London, and of Lord Mayors’ shows, so much so, 
that when, many years after her marriage, she was 
staying with us and we were bidden to a reception 
at the Mansion House, she said, “ Oh no, Master 
George, you won’t make me believe that,” and it was 
not till the following morning, when we showed her 
the menu card, that she realised that we had been 
deemed worthy of that honour. When some years 
ago I was asked to speak at the Mansion House on 
behalf of that excellent institution, The Surgical 
Aid Society, I could not help thinking of the dear 
old lady, and how proud she would have been. 

She was a great stickler for absolute truth, and 
when I put to her the problem as to whether she 
would tell a lie to save my life, she was hardly of the 
opinion of the bishop who to-day has be^en giving his 
views on this matter. 

She took the greatest delight in funerals, and as 



we saw them passing from the nursery window, she 
would say to me, “ Ah, Master George, we shall all be 
equal then.” She would describe to us how, when 
she was a child, she was sent one morning on an 
errand near Newgate, and, becoming entangled in 
a crowd, saw a public execution. She told us how the 
executioner pulled a white cap over the head of the 

Nothing used to surprise her, and when I told 
her as a joke, long before the war, that the Prussians 
had landed in Hampshire, she was quite unmoved, 
but when I suggested that she should go for a flying 
trip from the upper window of my house in Half 
Moon Street, she demurred very strongly. I ex¬ 
plained to her about the X-rays and showed her some 
sciagrams of bones. “ But, Nurse,” I said, “ these 
rays are nothing to the Y-rays. By means of the 
Y-rays you can see right through a person’s clothes.” 
I knew the old lady used to wear red flannel round 
her knees and I pretended by means of these Y-rays 
(a magnif3ung glass) to see it. This shocked her 
sense of modesty very much. This sense of modesty 
was such that when she went with us to a pantomime, 
she always used to look right away from the stage 
while the ladies of the corps de ballet were per¬ 
forming. What she would have said to modern 
skirts and dances, I do not know. 

She used to wear a quaint cap, made by herself 
and such as is seen in an engraving entitled ” Family 
Prayer.” She wore a bunch of curls on each side 
of her face. Eventually she lost all her teeth, and 
her chin and nose became approximate. Her diet 
was what nature, I believe, means for old people, 
fluids such as milk and soup with a little of the 
crumb of bread mashed in them. She was a strict 
teetotaller, and I believe her ultimate advanced age 
was due to these facts. False teeth so often allow 


an old person to masticate food that a senile stomach 
cannot digest. 

As a boy I was taken by an uncle to Evans’s, an 
old-fashioned music-hall where a chairman announced 
who was going to “ oblige,” and one sat at little 
tables and ate chops and steaks and had potatoes 
cooked in their jackets. I went also once to Cre- 
morne, but it was an off night and I remember how 
dreary and dismal it looked. It was soon afterwards 
pulled down. 

Theatres were not nearly so numerous as they are 
now, and to go to the theatre was a great event. 
I have seen Charles Matthews, Phelps, Fechter, 
Buckstone, Sothern, creator of Lord Dundreary, and 
all the contemporary actors of those days. 

Opera was an entertainment that in my young 
days I seldom affected, but I was present on the first 
night that Patti reappeared in the opera Dinorah 
after she had run away from her husband with 
Nicolini. I never saw such an enthusiastic reception 
as she got. The house rose at her. I think it was 
universally felt that she had been very badly and 
harshly treated, and that although she had put 
convention and custom aside, she was almost morally 
justified in doing so. Her extraordinary charm, 
both as a singer and actress, no doubt was an added 
bias in her favour. 

When the Albert Hall was built some friends of 
ours took one of the boxes. They were very kind 
in lending us this box, so that I repeatedly used to 
hear Titiens, Nielsen, Trabelli Bettini, Santley, Foli, 
Edward Lloyd and all the other great singers of that 
time. Trabelli Bettini, as a contralto, I liked best 
of all. I used to meet Foli in after life both in London 
and in Aix-les-Bains. He had a magnificent voice 
and was an extremely nice Irishman, very fond of 
cards and an expert picquet player. The artistic 


temperament is always charming, especially so, I 
think, because of its irregularities. I knew a sculptor 
who was very talented and clever. He might have 
gone very far, but he used to turn night into day 
and was a great gambler. On one occasion, he told 
me, when he had a commission in America and went 
over to the unveiling of his statue, he lost all his 
fee in one night at poker. On another occasion when 
playing poker, he opened a £15° jackpot, and went 
to sleep as the others were coming in. When he was 
in pecuniary distress in London a friend of his, and 
he had many friends, offered him an appointment 
worth some £800 a year. Regular hours being 
attached to this appointment, the sculptor would 
have none of it. He said he was not going to be 
any one’s slave. 

In my boyhood there were many celebrations 
which have now all but, if not entirely, passed away. 
Valentine’s Day was a great day. Every one used 
to send Valentines, and sometimes exceedingly rude 
ones would be received by an unpopular person. 
I think servants very often used to get even with an 
unpopular mistress in this way. The feast of St. 
Valentine is now practically neglected. The first 
of May was celebrated by the appearance in the 
streets of Jacks-in-the-Green, columbines, clowns and 
harlequins. This is a better way than the modern 
Labour and Communist demonstrations. On Novem¬ 
ber 5th there were numbers of guys, and not only 
that, there was a strong “ No-Popery ” sentiment. 
I can see now the words “ no popery ” chalked up 
in big letters on many a wall. I think this outburst 
of Protestant feeling was due to the sending over to 
England of the Roman Catholic Cardinal, Wiseman. 
The masses in those days were certainly very anti¬ 
papist. Ritualism in the Church of England was 
also to a great many people an unpardonable crime. 



The “ goings-on ” of the High Church and ritualistic 
party was the theme of discussion wherever old 
maids were gathered together. I do not know what 
they would have thought of the proposed changes 
in the Book of Common Prayer. Cardinal Manning 
attempted to “ convert ” my mother, but she re¬ 
mained a firm Protestant. 

My father used to tell a story of how he thought 
he saw a ghost in a country churchyard in Essex. 
Anyhow, he was riding home one moonlight night 
and saw a white body that flitted to and fro amongst 
the tombstones. He thought he was the subject 
of a practical joke and so got off his horse and for 
some time pursued the ghost without success. 
Eventually, however, he found it was a white cow, 
and that its presence in the churchyard was accidental, 
and not the result of some innocent merriment on 
the part of his young friends. 

History repeats itself. Just recently a white 
cow, I read in yesterday's paper, has been up to the 
same tricks. 

In the sixties there was an epidemic of garrotting. 
My father, whilst walking in London in a fog, was 
assaulted from behind. He thought he had to deal 
with a garrotter, seized his man, and gave him into 
custody. The penalty for garrotting was the lash, 
and it was by its use that Mr. Justice Day struck 
such terror into garrotters that the practice was soon 
discontinued. I wonder whether this remedy would 
stop the activities of the American gun-men ? When 
my father’s “ garrotter ” was charged, things looked 
black against him, but he said to my father, “ Why 
did you touch my dog ? ” and then my father re¬ 
membered that in the fog he had stumbled against 
a dog, and realized, as did the law, that it was no case 
of garrotting, but excess of zeal about a dog. 

At this time there were great limitations to 


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[To face page 12 


smoking. A gentleman might smoke a cigar in the 
street, but never a pipe or a cigarette. I can re¬ 
member when the latter “ came in ” and the instru¬ 
ment my father had for rolling them. He used to 
smoke in one room only, the smoking-room, in a 
smoking-cap, and after the act of smoking he would 
consume various little pink sweets that were supposed 
to disguise and take away the smell of tobacco. 

It was a great time for caps. All married ladies 
wore them, and I can remember also seeing my father, 
mother and old nurse in their night-caps. 

Hyde Park keepers were dressed in dark green, 
brass buttons, and a tall silk hat with gold “ ribbon ” 
round it. There was no mistaking them. My brother 
and I one day went out to fire with a villainous long- 
barrelled pistol, loaded with bullets of our own cast¬ 
ing, at trees by the Broad Walk near Kensington 
Palace. Children in the neighbourhood were plenti¬ 
ful. It was only after I had discharged the pistol, 
aiming at a tree some ten yards off, that I realised 
the enormity of my act. The park-keepers gave 
chase and ran us to the end of Kensington Gardens 
by the Bayswater Road, where we escaped by getting 
into the deep ditch or moat that then separated the 
Park from the Gardens. We met our nurse with our 
two sisters, but did not gratify her curiosity as to 
our flushed and heated appearances. My father 
luckily eventually found this pistol and very properly 
confiscated it before we killed any one or hurt 

Ladies then used to walk arm-in-arm with their 
husbands or brothers. Those of the privileged 
classes were practically never alone. No lady ever 
drove alone in a hansom cab. The hansom cabs 
of those days used constantly to have red plush 
cushions, very often soiled and dirty, and on 
the floor of the cab was straw and often a 


central hole in the wood through which any dirt or 
mud could be swept away. The “ crawlers ” or 
four-wheeled cabs were much the same. I heard 
of one case in which the floor of a four-wheeler was 
not sufficiently strong to support the weight of a 
heavy and elderly lady. It gave way entirely and 
her feet came to the ground : the horse started and 
the poor lady had to run as fast as she could for some 
twenty yards or so before the cab was stopped. 

The ladies in those days used to wear black boots, 
white stockings, and long, white inexpressibles like 
pyjama trousers nearly to the ankles. My brother 
and I played a most inexcusable joke on a dear old 
maiden aunt of ours. The landing-stage at Cookham- 
on-Thames was then surrounded by about three feet 
of water. We were going to take our aunt out for 
a row. As she was stepping into the boat—I can 
see now the black boot and the white stocking coming 
out from under the crinoline apparatus—some devil, 
when she was one foot on shore and one at sea, 
prompted us gradually to shove the boat farther 
and farther away, so that after having done the 
“ splits ” the poor lady subsided into the Thames. 
It is very remarkable that she ever forgave us this, 
but she did. I am afraid I was rather a tease when 
a young man. A cousin of mine, Phyllis Shirley, was 
extremely good-tempered, but sometimes she rebelled. 
“ If you don’t do as I want,” said I, “ I will have a 
fit.” She came from Dorsetshire and was well known 
by all the people in the neighbourhood. She could 
not realise that nobody knew anything about her 
in the streets of London. I once pretended to have 
a fit in front of the organ at the Crystal Palace, a 
horrid shame, but I cannot help laughing even now 
at poor Phyllis’s consternation. “ Don’t, George, 
you make me feel so queer,” was all she said. 

In crinoline days my mother’s standing by itself 


in her bedroom used to make an admirable tent for 
us children to play in. How women can ever allow 
fashion to dictate to them such abominations I 
cannot understand. The bustle in the early seventies 
was another atrocity. 

The American Civil War is full of thrilling 
memories. We little boys used to gloat over the 
pictures in the Illustrated London News, and the 
American songs of the period were very familiar to 
all of us —“ Tramp, tramp, tramp, the boys are 
marching ”—“ His soul goes marching on ”—“ John 
Brown’s Body ”—■“ Just before the battle, Mother,” 
etc. All these were known and sung by the school¬ 
boys of the period. 

I remember an uncle of mine coming to say good¬ 
bye and being given a sword by my father, before 
his regiment, the Scots Fusilier Guards, sailed for 
Canada. This was in connection with the Trent 
affair which so nearly caused war with America. 
This same uncle was in the Crimea and suffered from 
so-called Crimean fever, of which he eventually died 
in 1870. He lived and died a bachelor. At one time 
he had been paying a great deal of attention to a 
beautiful young lady in London, and then went off 
to join his regiment in Dublin. His attentions to this 
lady had been so marked that her mother called on 
my father to ask what his brother’s intentions were. 
My father, who was very anxious not to quarrel in 
any way with the family, wrote to his brother in 
Dublin and urged him to write an appropriate letter 
that he could show to the young lady’s relations. 
All the reply he had was a telegram, a very rare thing 
in those days, which was worded, “ Knock the Jane 
affair on the head.” My father was coward enough 
to get my mother, armed only with this terse tele¬ 
gram, to go round and see the parents of the damsel. 
She told me that after she had rung the bell, and before 


the footman opened the door of the house, she spent 
some of the worst moments of her life. 

I can remember seeing Garibaldi when he came to 
London in the sixties. Very few Englishmen, I 
imagine, have seen both Garibaldi and Mussolini. 
Garibaldi was laid up for months by a bullet in one 
of the foot bones. It was eventually discovered 
and localised by a Nelaton’s probe which had a bit 
of china at the end on which the lead made an im¬ 
pression. My old chief George Pollock had an 
aphorism, “ the finger is the best probe.” So it is, 
but the finger of a surgeon in those days was a very 
dirty finger and septic. I myself can remember 
a German surgeon being laughed at because in his 
description of an operation he had said, “ First have 
a good wash.” “ Those dirty Germans of course want 
it,” said the more dirty English. An X-ray examina¬ 
tion would have had Garibaldi right in no time. 

I constantly saw Queen Victoria and the Prince 
Consort, as when they came up from Windsor and 
went to Buckingham Palace, they used always to 
drive in front of my father’s house. The death of 
the Prince Consort and seeing all the papers edged 
with black made a great impression on me, and was 
the first occasion on which I meditated on death 
and its mysteries. In about 1865 or 1866 the late 
Queen Victoria was very unpopular because, after 
the death of the Prince Consort, she went about so 
little and was seen so little in public. One day as 
she was driving from the Great Western Railway 
station to Buckingham Palace not a man was taking 
off his hat to her. She was leaning back rather 
listlessly in the carriage as she came near to where 
I was standing alone. I, of course, took off my hat, 
and the Queen did me the honour to sit up and give 
me a bow all to myself. I was in the Abbey at the 
Jubilee of 1887, and although the Queen was small 



in stature, I never saw anything more dignified than 
the way she walked up the aisle, bowing left and right 
to the assembled company. An American, who was 
next to me, was very much impressed and said, “ I 
guess we couldn’t do this in America. It needs a 
monarchy for a show like this.” I got out of the 
Abbey early and saw the procession from St. George’s 

At the time of which I am writing, an un¬ 
married lady became an “ old maid ” at about the 
age of twenty-eight. Sir Walter Scott speaks of 
“ the reflecting age of twenty-eight.” How different 
from the present times ! Matrons, married ladies, 
took to caps at a very early age. Sometimes, too, 
they were called by the title or rank of their husband. 
I remember a Mrs. General Smith, who saw me, 
when about the age of eight, smoking one of my 
father’s cigars as I walked up Gloucester Terrace 
to my first school. The fact was duly reported 
to my father by the old lady. “ The subsequent 
proceedings ” have always made me remember 
Mrs. General Smith. Another lady inseparably 
blended with my childhood was a certain Mrs. V. 
She had the typical Victorian curls on each side of 
her face, and always used to give us children cake or 
sweets when we accompanied our mother in her calls 
on her. Mrs. V. used to give two dinner parties 
annually. The number of her friends was limited 
and most of them had anatomical names. There 
were Mr. and Mrs. Hand, Mr. and Mrs. Foote, and, 
I think, Mr. and Mrs. Bone. At these dinner parties, 
when the company were seated and grace had been 
said, Mrs. V., the hostess, went all round the table with 
her inquiry, “ Do you sit comfortable, Mrs. Turner ? 
Do you sit comfortable, Mr. Bone ? Do you sit 
comfortable, Mrs. Hand ? ” and so on. To this day 
we speak about “ sitting comfortable.” 




Grace before meals was de rigueur both at home and 
at school. As a rule it was “ For what we are about 
to receive, etc.” On one occasion at school I had 
to say grace and created a veritable sensation amongst 
the boys by branching off into “ Bless, O Lord, these 
Thy creatures to our use and us to Thy service.” 
This grace had the charm of newness and the boys 
did not know what was coming. On these grounds 
I personally always enjoyed extemporary prayer. 
I remember once staying at Montacute with a friend 
whose father was a clergyman. Both morning and 
evening prayer were extemporary. On a certain 
Saturday afternoon there had been a picnic to which 
I had been bidden. Being an inexperienced youth 
of about eighteen, when it came to scattering in the 
adjacent woods after luncheon, I was so unfortunate 
as to find myself left with two maiden ladies, either 
of whom was old enough to be my mother. That 
evening at prayers the dear old clergyman prayed 
for the “ stranger who was sojourning in his house ” 
and expressed a hope that “ his heart had not been 
turned at the picnic.” While the father expressed 
these pious sentiments, his progeny, male and female, 
were slyly kicking me with their feet! 

We had prayers at home. My father nearly 
every Saturday night used to make good resolutions 
for the coming week ; vigorously read prayers on 
Sunday, and perhaps on the Monday, and then the 
matter used to drift into my mother reading about 
a couple of days, and perhaps on Friday and Satur¬ 
day there were no prayers at all. My father was a 
very broad-minded, sensible man ; for instance, so 
long as we attended church on Sunday morning, he 
would not object to us skating in the afternoon. 
An enormous majority of people regarded any 
pleasurable exercise, or indeed any pleasure, on Sun¬ 
days as likely to lead to perdition. Sunday, con- 


sequently, was a day universally hated by young 
people. It was too much connected with catechism 
and church. To make other people pray when they 
are not inclined to pray and do not want to pray seems 
to give a good deal of pleasure to a certain class of 
mind. There was no worshipping of God in the open, 
it had to be done in church, and not to go to church 
was an unpardonable sin. We boys sometimes used 
to compromise matters by looking in just before the 
sermon, getting the text, and doing our meditations 
upon it, outside church, elsewhere. If he was not 
present himself, my father was a great stickler as to 
what the text had been at church. In this way we 
were able to satisfy his legitimate curiosity, and not 
overdo our own piety. The Athanasian Creed and the 
Commination Service were always a little disquieting 
and used to fill me with spiritual despair, so that at 
an early age I used to look at the brute beasts that 
perish and wish that I was one of them. My sister 
Catherine died in 1871. I well remember how, some 
half an hour before her death, when we were all 
assembled round her bed, she looked up and said, 
“ There is something wrong, I am going to die/' 
and later, “ Perhaps in an hour's time I shall be in 
hell paying for all my sins." What a terrible thing 
that a young, innocent, spotless child of fourteen 
should have such an awful thought as this, owing to 
that damnable and infernal doctrine of eternal hell- 
fire that was so rigorously preached, and so often 
believed in, in the days of my childhood. I remember 
that I believed eternal fire to be a fact, but, thank 
Heaven, children now are not taught such cursed 
doctrines. How any one can believe in eternal damna¬ 
tion and ever have a happy moment of life here, is 
more than I can comprehend. If you are “ saved ” 
yourself, what must be your feelings about the 
prospects of the hundreds and thousands of your 



acquaintances who are not saved ! When I called 
one of my own daughters Catherine, my mother said 
to me, “ I hope she will be as good as my Catherine 

Holidays in my young days, for professional men, 
were not at all as they are now. My father, for 
instance, worked thirteen years without leaving 
London or getting a real holiday except for an 
occasional day’s fishing on the Thames, which meant 
an early start and return by six or seven o’clock 
in the evening. He used to fish from a punt, and his 
chief delight was to attempt to catch pike with a 
minnow or small gudgeon. He went many a long 
hour without doing anything except placidly smoking 
a pipe. Occasionally, however, a pike of some two or 
three pounds would give him a few minutes of real 
good sport. At my first boarding-school, the father 
of one of the boys there, a one-armed man, had also 
this hobby of fishing for pike. When he caught 
the pike he used to give it to the master of the school, 
and we had Thames pike for dinner next day instead 
of roast mutton. How we used to pray that when 
Tanqueray’s father came down he would catch no 
fish! To the angler the joys of fishing are greater 
than those of shooting to the man with the gun. At 
least so an expert at both, a keeper at Drummond 
Castle, told me. “ When I am near a bird I know 
that I have got it, but I am never certain about a 
salmon,” said he. 

As children we sampled Margate, Ramsgate, 
Broadstairs and Herne Bay. They were very dif¬ 
ferent from what they are now, no overcrowding, 
beautiful sands and air. My brother and I once 
undressed and buried ourselves in the sand at Mar¬ 
gate, when it was quite deserted. We remained until 
the fashionable crowd arrived, lost by our nurse, 
and were eventually dug out by this horrified lady. 



whose modesty was excessive. A friend of mine who 
suffered from tubercle tried almost everywhere for 
a suitable place to live. He found it eventually in 
the Isle of Thanet and was cured. I do not believe 
that there is any place like this Isle for children. 
Later in life, but when Westgate was in its infancy 
with one hotel only, I nearly drowned myself by 
swimming out about half a mile to sea. The tide 
and currents were so strong that I barely got back. 
I have heard that several people have lost their lives 
in this way at Westgate. 

Hampstead in my youth was quite country. My 
grandfather was sent to convalesce there after an 
illness, and we children got well there after our 
infantile disorders. There were charming places 
where we used to dig sand. 

I remember the Kennington Pike and having to 
pay for crossing Battersea Bridge. Turnpikes were 
in full swing all round Sherborne in Dorset. The 
people who used the roads paid for them, and any 
scorching had to be done in laps. My uncle at 
Sherborne was well known to the pike keepers and 
used to have a running account with them, settled 
up quarterly, with additions. When his trap was 
seen, the gates were opened and there was no delay— 
an important thing for a doctor. 

My Sherborne grandfather had as his gardener 
an old Peninsular veteran who often talked about 
his experiences there. “ We always knew it was all 
right when told to fix ‘ bajonettes,’ Master Garge,” 
he used to say. The Duke of Wellington was “Old 
Nosey/’ and the troops knew all would be well when 
they saw him. 



The first school I went to was a dame school in 
Westbourne Park, kept by a Miss Ward, reputed to be 
the daughter of “ Horatia,” and so the granddaughter 
of Lord Nelson. About the truth of this I know 
nothing, but I have a prize for Divinity and Good 
Conduct, signed by Horatio J. Ward, M.A., Examiner. 
Any proficiency I may have had in divinity was due 
to a most conscientious and religious mother, who 
every Sunday used to hear us our Catechism and cut 
our nails. My nurse too, as I have said, was a rigid 
Calvinist, who liked her hell-fire hot, and early taught 
us to regard the glowing coals of a winter fire as our 
eventual destination. I used to believe her as to 
my brother and myself, but hoped for the best for 
the rest of the family. Divinity thus may be 
accounted for, but I am entirely at a loss to under¬ 
stand how the “ good conduct ” ever came about. 

The walk from my father’s house in Sussex Gardens 
to Westbourne Park was not without an element of 
danger to any decently dressed boys. There was no 
School Board in those days, and our fights with the 
ragamuffins of the streets were constant. Tradesmen’s 
boys, too, were our natural enemies. I remember 
having a bout with a fishmonger’s boy near home. I 
paid due attention to business, but saw that we were 
being watched by a gentleman, who was smoking a 
cigar. When the fight was over, I found that it 

was my father who had been the spectator. Those 



were days when summonses for assault were not as 
common as they are now. My grandfather was an 
athlete who, when a young man, could jump over 
what he could walk under. He was about five feet 
eight inches, and there were no spiked shoes in those 
days. I once accompanied him to Richmond. As 
he was looking at the magnificent and well-known view 
from the Hill, I saw a youth of about eighteen walk 
backwards into my grandfather’s back. Without a 
moment’s hesitation my grandfather turned round 
and took him by the scruff of the neck and belaboured 
him for all he was worth with his stout walking- 
stick. Explanations occurred after the event. On 
another occasion I remember a park-keeper offering 
battle to my father when he and I passed from 
Kensington Gardens over a wall and deep ditch that 
then separated them from Hyde Park. My father 
was not averse to the trial by combat, but the park- 
keeper’s ardour cooled on finding this, and that was 
the end of the matter. I have myself twice risked 
summons for assault. The first occasion was during 
the war, when, in Rear-Admiral’s uniform, I was 
deliberately impeded by a man at the Tube station 
of Oxford Circus, when I wished to get into the 
train that took me to Paddington. This man, with 
his back turned to me, held out both his arms at a 
right angle to his body to prevent me passing him. 
I forgot that I was an Admiral and remembered only 
that I had once been a football player in the days 
when charging was permitted. I “ charged ” him 
as hard as I could. He bounded away for about five 
yards before he fell flat. His supine attitude then 
was such that when he looked up he saw that he had 
been assaulted by a British Admiral, and he had the 
delicacy not to resent this attack on him by the Navy. 
I only just caught my train to Plymouth, with two 
minutes to spare. Had he protested at all, I certainly 



should have missed it. Again, quite recently, I was 
about to enter a carriage on the Tube, and was 
waiting with my hands at my sides when I found 
myself burnt by the lighted cigarette of a man who 
was getting out of the carriage. I said to him, 
“ Look out ! You are burning my hand.” He 

said to me, “ Then why don't you keep your d-d 

hand out of the way ? ” I felt like an indignant 
schoolboy and, forgetting my self-control, gave him 
a “ left,” not hard enough to do him any damage, 
but sufficient to make the bystanders laugh as I got 
into the train. Punching the ball in the morning 
rather rouses one’s latent pugnacity. 

When we were small boys walking alone to school, 
the dangers of the street from traffic were nothing 
like what they are now. Omnibuses were few and 
only went along the more frequented thoroughfares, 
attended by a running accompaniment of little street- 
arabs turning catherine-wheels and somersaults for 
pennies thrown them by those on the top. Leech’s 
pictures in Punch of this procedure are most excellent. 
In those days one might stand at the Marble Arch 
and gaze up the Edgware Road to see perhaps two 
or three omnibuses and no more. 

When at Miss Ward’s, I played cricket within a 
hundred yards or so of the Royal Oak public-house. 
There was a field there near a church. The boys 
at the school were of all sorts. My gentility was 
tested on Derby Day by a question as to whether my 
father had gone to Epsom. If he had gone, he was 
not a gentleman. I only came across two of these 
boys in after life. One was a sneak at school, for 
which he was duly kicked ; in fact, on one occasion 
my brother and I pursued him even to his own door¬ 
step to get even with him. Some thirty years after¬ 
wards he somehow or other found me out and came 
to borrow money in an ignoble and whining way. 



I gave him a trifle, and he asked me “ not to inform 
the police ” ! When I first made pot-hooks and 
hangers at this dame-school, this boy cried out, 
“ Don’t paint, Turner! ” not with any desire of 
improving my pot-hooks and hangers, but to tell the 
mistress that I was not making the necessary bold 
strokes. The child is father to the man ! One other 
boy, who was a bit bullied and used to weep and tell 
us he would give us all he had in his pockets if we 
would desist, became a doctor. I hope he took things 
out of other people’s pockets then. 

On one occasion the form on which I was sitting 
fell backwards and I cut the back of my head on an 
iron fender. There was a fair amount of bleeding, 
which scared the boys and my mother, who had come 
to fetch me from school. About thirty years after 
this I was one of a party at Aix-les-Bains which, for 
the fun of the thing, went to a Svengali-looking 
person, a Russian and a palmist. In speaking of 
my past he mentioned this cut at the back of my 
head which I had entirely forgotten. This same man 
told the fortune of an unfortunate lady who had set 
her affections on an Englishman with whom she had 
never spoken. She was companion to another lady, 
and they both went to have their fortunes told. 
The palmist told the lady that her companion would 
very soon die. Two days later she threw herself 
over the bannisters of the hotel in which she was 
staying and so was killed. Before this, my own sister, 
on having her hand read at a Charity Fair, was told 
that she would soon die. She laughed and said, 
“ Well, if I do, there is my nurse Hillyer to look 
after the baby.” She did die very shortly after¬ 
wards. In spite of these coincidences I have no 
belief whatever in palmistry. 

After leaving the dame-school I went to a private 
school at Candover Park in Hampshire, some ten 


mil$s from Basingstoke. I well remember my mother 
leaving me there and being turned out to make the 
acquaintance of other boys, and being put to a game 
of impromptu cricket, in which one of the small 
trees was the wicket. I can see my mother now being 
driven along the drive to the gate and waving her 
hand to me. I repressed my feelings and waved 
back at her as joyously as I could. She reported at 
home that I was all right and happy. A more 
miserable, homesick, unhappy little boy never existed 
than I was on that day. The scholastic year was then 
divided into “ halves,” with Midsummer and Christ¬ 
mas holidays, no others. The master of this school, 
a clergyman of the name of Gwynne, was a good 
fellow and was called “ Old Tom ” by the boys 
His wife was a sister of Bishop Stubbs, and beloved 
of all of us. I can hear her now, at dinner, saying, 
Who loves me best ? ” I can see her smiling in 
response to my smile, and giving me a third helping 
of treacle pudding. The discipline at this school 
was hard and we did everything to the tune of the 
cane. If one made a false quantity on reading a 
piece of Latin for the first time, the error was im¬ 
mediately corrected by two stripes on the palm of 
the hand, a barbarous method of punishment that 
may do permanent injury to the fingers. I some¬ 
times think that any swelling of my finger joints is 
due to this cause. Inflammation of a joint caused in 
this way might easily lead to a deposit of tubercle 
in a suitable subject. We all had a hot bath on Satur¬ 
day night, one out, another in. We were a lot of 
naked little boys, in a hot, steamy room, and Old Tom 
in his dressing-gown used to say, “Now George,” 
and give me a friendly but painful stroke with the 
cane, and I popped into the bath. When it was time 
to come out, there was another, “ Now George,” 
and out I popped, eluding if possible the concomi- 


tant cane. We used to get in and out very expe¬ 

Every boy had to take his place in the school 
by ordeal of battle. The fights had some semblance 
of order and good management. The ring was made 
by the spectators ; there were seconds and rounds. 
No notice was taken of black eyes, swollen faces or 
cut lips by the authorities. I remember Mrs. 
Gwynne once said, “ Well, Bethell, you have hit 
your face against a door, I suppose? ” Dick Bethell, 
one of the pluckiest boys I ever saw, had for more 
than an hour been a chopping-block for a boy a head 
and shoulders taller and with a reach more than five 
inches longer than himself. He would not give in 
and had been dreadfully punished. You had to 
take “ a coward's blow ” or else to fight the boy who 
gave it. I had a good many fights, three or four 
with one boy who in after life became a trainer of 
race-horses. I remember him at school in brown 
corduroy trousers. I unfortunately mentioned this 
to mjr mother, who thought corduroy would be an 
excellent material for a pair of mine. In those days 
railway porters used to wear dark green corduroys, 
which had a most evil, penetrating and permanent 
smell. I had almost written “ stink." My mother 
had selected this material for me, but my pride was 
such that when I arrived at school I never put them 
on. Had I done so, I am sure that I should have 
been well kicked by the other boys. 

We used to play cricket, football, marbles, spin 
peg-tops, fight with horse-chestnuts, keep dormice, 
indulge secretly in catapults, build “ houses ” in 
bushes and toast cheese on biscuit tins over a fire 
made in a fireplace of bricks. “ Spitting devils ” 
made of gunpowder and iron filings were luxuries. 
On one occasion when a “ spitting devil ” had nearly 
spat itself out, its maker sought to replenish it by 



a stream of powder from an old-fashioned powder 
flask. He was lucky to escape without the loss of 
his thumb. The flask itself obligingly missed my 
head by about a couple of inches. 

The “ cock of the school ” was the boy who was 
best at games. I was never that, but before I left 
I was head of the school in work. The cock of the 
school thought it would be well to do his work with 
me. This was not allowed, but of course I could not 
say no to this high honour. He was a stupid boy 
about two years my senior, and I had to make sure 
of a certain percentage of error in his (?) work. I 
used to manage it in this sort of way. When we came 
to “ ego qui amabam,” I would say, “ or should it 
be amabat ? ” I had “ amabam ” and he took a 
sporting chance with “ amabat.” On one occasion 
my own errors added to those I gave him led to a 
severe flogging for him. I hope I did not overdo 
my sympathy, but he looked at me out of the corner 
of his eye and afterwards “ worked ” with somebody 
else. History repeats itself. Later on, at Upping¬ 
ham, I did a copy of prose for a good cricketer in 
the eleven, but a bad scholar. Here again I overdid 
the badness and the copy was torn up, to the surprise 
of the boy who had been helped. 

I shall never forget one boy whom we will call 
Tommy Pink ; big, fat, pale and flabby, with a taste 
for birds’-nesting. There was a rookery at Candover 
Park. Rooks, of course, build high, and one day 
Tommy had pursued them to the very top of a tall 
tree. It was windy, Tommy was short-sighted, and 
as he stretched from one fork at the top of the tree 
to another, the wind carried the latter away from 
his foot and down Tommy came. His fall was 
luckily broken by the branches as he descended, 
and he finally came to rest astride a large bough close 
to the trunk, some fifteen feet from the ground. 


I had seen him fall, and ran up and said, “ Tommy, 
are you dead ? " He replied, “ Not dead, I think, 
only stunned." It was a fortunate escape for him. 
One to beat it, however, I saw in the nineties in 
Pall Mall. A drunken man endeavouring to step 
off a ladder on to the top storey of a house, missed 
his footing and fell on to the pavement. Being 
drunk he made no effort to save himself and fell 
on to the tips of his toes. His legs then doubled up 
and he came on to his buttocks. I was some twenty 
yards off and ran up expecting to find his legs broken. 
He was livid, pale and collapsed. I hastily examined 
his legs and arms and found no bone broken or joint 
dislocated. I had him put in a cab and taken to 
Charing Cross Hospital. I went in and saw the 
house-surgeon and then the patient on the couch in 
the surgery, pale, sweating and collapsed, but with 
no bones broken. The next day I left London for 
my annual holiday in Scotland, and I do not know the 
ultimate issue of the case. 

To come back to Tommy Pink. Being short¬ 
sighted and therefore bereft of the unconscious 
education that normal sight gives a growing boy, 
Tommy was always doing awkward things, and was 
as much caned as any one. He and I, however, out 
of bravado and to show what fine fellows we were, 
arranged to have a contest as to who would last the 
longer in getting each of us an extra caning in addition 
to those that came to us involuntarily. We ran level 
for some days when it occurred to me that if I made 
a paper dart and threw it at the master's head I 
should get my caning all right. It came to pass 
as I anticipated, but Tommy, who was devoid of 
originality and imagination, had the lack of tact 
to do the same thing after I had been caned for it. 
The master, Mr. Bates, had taken my effort with his 
usual geniality, but of course I was punished. 


Tommy’s venture, however, was looked at in a far 
different light, and after a very painful sequence of 
events, Tommy gave in and confessed himself van¬ 
quished. This same boy gave me one of the frights 
of my life. He and I had arranged in a friendly 
spirit to have a duel with stones. Each was to 
maintain a rigid attitude and military bearing with¬ 
out movement, while the other at a distance of about 
twenty yards had his shot with the stone. Tommy 
had his go and missed me. I took up a piece of slate 
as my missile, and threw it, without taking much aim, 
at Tommy. It swerved to the right, and then to 
my horror turned in, hit him close to one of his eyes, 
and his face became one mass of blood. It must have 
cut some blood-vessel. I was never so frightened 
in my life. Blood then to me was terrifying, and I 
thought I had blinded him. I had hardly proceeded 
two or three paces to his help when I heard the voice 
of Old Tom, who had been standing at the top of 
the flight of stone steps outside the house and had 
witnessed the whole proceeding, calling to us both 
to come in and be caned. I forget whether Tommy’s 
haemorrhage was staunched before or after this 
distressing event, but I remember that the punish¬ 
ment was most expeditiously, equally and skilfully 
performed. I am glad to say Tommy took no harm 
from his wound. 

At Candover we used to have the same fights with 
“ cads ” or village boys as I had experienced with the 
Londoners. On one occasion we received a challenge 
for four of us, armed with ash sticks, to meet four 
village boys. The challenge I know was accepted, 
but as I was not one of the four, I have forgotten the 
result. I rather think that the villagers did not con¬ 
fine their numbers to four and the affair was a fiasco. 

During my time there, the school was moved 
from Candover Park to Marlow Place, Great Marlow. 



This latter place a hundred years ago was a sort of 
Woolwich or training school for military cadets, 
and I believe that Sir John Moore of Corunna fame 
had a good deal to do with its institution. There 
was at one time a mutiny of the cadets there, and the 
mutineers were punished by dismissal after their 
swords had been broken over their heads, a somewhat 
painful proceeding, I should imagine. 

Near Marlow on the Thames, is the little village 
of Bisham. On one Sunday afternoon, when, as 
was the Victorian custom, all the good villagers were 
sleeping after their midday meal, another boy and 
I knocked at the doors of the cottagers as we went 
through the village and so disturbed their slumbers. 
When the main body of our boys out for their Sunday 
walk with a master came through the village, the 
villagers complained of their conduct. When we 
got back to the school, I, as head boy, had to read 
the roll-call and each boy was asked whether he was 
the culprit. My friend and colleague had to own up, 
and he was promised by the master “ the best flog¬ 
ging he had ever had ” on the following day. In 
fact the flogging was to be so severe that it was 
obviously thought it would desecrate the Sabbath, 
though we were not in any way free from the usual 
canings on the “ Seventh Day ” of the week. I, 
who read the roll-call, was not asked if I had par¬ 
ticipated in the crime. I can see now the face of 
the unfortunate victim, my fellow sinner, when he 
thought that he had to bear alone the full brunt of 
the righteous anger of the master. I teased him for 
a time, but eventually thought it only right that I 
should own up too, and so I participated in the 
preliminary apprehensions and the actual infliction 
of the punishment. 

I have come across some of the boys at this school 
in after life. Meeting one of them in a railway 



carriage more than fifty years afterwards, I recog¬ 
nised his face and found that he was Mr. Hammond 
Chambers, K.C. He had made an indelible impres¬ 
sion on us boys because he was said to have “ only 
one lung,” and we looked on him much as we did on 
the “ Living Skeleton ” at the fair. There was 
another “ old boy ” who was afterwards a captain 
in the Senior Service. He reappeared as a “ dug- 
out ” when war commenced in 1914, and gave his 
life for his country. Captain Blackburn, R.N. 

The vicar at Great Marlow was appointed to the 
bishopric of Calcutta. He preached an impressive 
farewell sermon and started on his travels. The 
following Sunday we vigorously and earnestly sang 
the hymn, “ For those in peril on the sea,” whilst, 
as we learned later, the worthy Bishop, travelling 
overland, was on the safe soil of Paris. 

Having left the private school, I proceeded to 
Uppingham. This school, some time before, had 
achieved notoriety from the flogging of the boys 
who came back late after the holidays. Two boys, 
owing, it was said, to some accident to their con¬ 
veyances (of course all traps and carriages were then 
drawn by horses), arrived late and were duly flogged. 
Their father regarded the matter from a different 
point of view to the school authorities, and there was 
an outcry in the daily and other newspapers. I 
think it was Punch that said the school ought to be 
called “ Whipping'em School.” I do not know more 
of the details of this story, but the name would 
not have been inappropriate. Unfortunately or for¬ 
tunately for myself, I was placed in the middle fourth 
form and so never was a fag. My elder brother, 
who was at the school before me, when he heard of 
the place that I had taken, said to me, “Now you 
need not work,” and I did not. The master of the 
form, the Reverend C. E. Cornish, who afterwards 


became a Bishop in South Africa, had the reputation 
of being nice, quiet, and not a great disciplinarian. 
All the same, I had not been at the school a fortnight 
when, during an evening preparation, I was told 
for some trifling fault to stand out in the middle of 
the room. Being engaged in an attempt to translate 
Hecuba , a Liddell and Scott’s lexicon was a 
necessity. This was a heavy book ; Hecuba was a 
small, blue, paper-covered volume. I could not look 
up the words in the lexicon in a standing position, so, 
thinking work was more important than attitude, 
I sat on the floor and worked vigorously. When I 
was discovered, I was told to go up for a flogging 
the next day. To this day I do not see how I could 
possibly have gone on with my translation except 
by having something to rest my books upon. 

I must admit that whilst I was at Uppingham 
i was a lazy, naughty boy, with a hatred of discipline 
or of being driven or forced to work. My sins were 
many, but they were chiefly sins that a man of the 
world, such as my father, would have been able to 
laugh at. Schoolmasters in those days were built 
in a very different way. Unfortunately my first 
house-master, who had a good deal of the milk of 
human kindness in him, and who was eventually 
made a colonial Bishop, was translated to another 
and a larger house. He was succeeded by a gentle¬ 
man who had previously been Governor of a gaol 
in South Africa and who, whatever his other virtues 
may have been, most certainly ought never to have 
been a schoolmaster. He was very unpopular with 
the boys, apparently took no pleasure in their sports, 
and did not show any sympathy with them. He 
had little or no control of his temper. On one 
occasion he started to box my ears fairly vigorously. 
I was unconscious of evil-doing and thought it was 
a sort of rag, so put up my hands to ward off the 


blows, saying, “ Oh, sir, oh, sir,” but when I looked 
at his face and saw it was livid with passion, I folded 
my arms in a Napoleonic attitude across my chest 
and said, “ Hit on, you brute.” I might here men¬ 
tion that the boxing of a schoolboy's ears is a dan¬ 
gerous proceeding, and before now boys have been 
made deaf by it. In the case of the son of a friend of 
mine the offending master found it no laughing 
matter. The father brought an action against him, 
as he had not been dismissed after complaint had 
been made. The authorities of the school supported 
him ! but he had to pay fifty pounds into court. 
Luckily, although he had broken the drum of the boy’s 
ear, no permanent injury was said to have resulted. 
I believe the boy died some six months afterwards 
of middle ear disease. 

I think my house-master felt for me as much as 
I did for him. He told me that I was the bane of 
his existence ; I told him that he thought that he 
was still the Governor of a gaol. On another occasion 
I told him that he was hen-pecked. It came about 
thus. The sanitary arrangements in our house were 
disgusting, even for those days, when to my know¬ 
ledge from the best possible authority, the old story 
of the seaside landlady’s reply to an inquiry as to 
the state of the drains in her house, “ Sir, there ain’t 
none,” might have referred easily to the palace of 
a Continental king in his capital. At our house the 
lavatories were supposed to be looked after by a great 
lout of a boy. When I was captain of the house 
a small boy came to me to complain of the want of 
cleanliness and said that this boy would do nothing 
to remedy this. He at first refused to do anything 
for me, so I “ kicked ” him and made him do his duty. 
He went blubbering to the master. The latter and 
his wife came rushing in, and he told me to go up to 
Mr. Thring for a flogging. He had no right whatever 


to give this order as I was in the sixth form and there¬ 
fore exempt. After dinner that day, when his wife 
had left the room, he proceeded to harangue the 
house and attacked me in a violent manner. I was 
fair wild/' and told him before all the house that if 
he had not been hen-pecked and could have kept his 
wife away, he would have heard the explanation 
that I could not give in a lady’s presence. I was 
determined to go to Mr. Thring, though nothing 
would have made me submit to punishment. I 
do not think the master had dared to tell Mr. Thring 
anything, as he seemed rather astonished, and said, 
“ Well, Turner, you admit you kicked the boy.” 
“ Of course I did, sir, and would do it again,” said I. 
I rather think this abomination of a master had a 
mauvais quart d’heure afterwards. I was not punished 
either for the episode or for my reference to the gaol, 
because what I said was true and he did not dare to 
appeal to Caesar, the headmaster. He was of a very 
suspicious nature. When after a chequered career I 
eventually did work, and worked hard for some six 
weeks, in order to get into the sixth form, I did some 
of this work at night when we were supposed to be 
in bed. He found me in my study at about 10.30 
p.m. working at Homer, and suspected me of having 
come down after his female servants, and told me of 
his suspicion ! The result of the subsequent exami¬ 
nation should have shown him that I really had 
been working. I was second in the form, beaten 
only by a youthful prodigy, H. J. Tylden, who after¬ 
wards took, I think, a double first at Oxford. Mv 


usual position in form was about sixth or seventh from 
the bottom. I was beaten again and again by boys 
to whom I could have given stones because I had 
been incurably lazy. The boy who was next to me 
when we were moved up into the sixth form was a 
“ scholar,” but rather casual. One day the form 


master said to him, “ Lay ter, of all the boys in this 
form there is none who will go to the devil in such a 
quiet, gentlemanly way as you will, not even Turner.’’ 
Some thirty-five years afterwards we had a garden 
party at Hertfordshire. Amongst the young men 
who came was a Captain Layter, a gunner. I asked 
him if by chance his father had been at Uppingham, 
and found out that my old schoolfellow was a Canon 
of the Church of England. So much for that master’s 
prediction. When I returned to Uppingham at the 
tercentenary, I found a good many of the good boys 
merely clergymen, and a good many more of the 
naughty boys making their marks in other walks 
of life. Some people of course are blessed with a 
continuously good temperament, and are good boys 
at school and great and good men afterwards, and 
are especially fitted for Holy Orders. 

The first term I was at Uppingham I was lucky 
enough to get the prize in my mathematical form 
and to get second in an English scholarship. The 
latter was entirely due to my mother, who had brought 
us all up on the classical works of Shakespeare, 
Dickens, Thackeray, and Sir Walter Scott. I never 
got any other prizes, although twice I ran second 
and should have had a prize but for the fact that 
I was an idle, naughty boy. One of these occasions 
was very lucky for me. My general school affairs 
were critical, and amongst other things I had not 
looked at the history that we were examined in at 
the end of each term. The reign of King John was 
our theme. The examination took place at io a.m. 
At nine o’clock I had never thought of John except 
as represented in Shakespeare’s play. I read in an 
abbreviated history about half a page of print about 
John’s reign and committed the bare facts and dates 
to memory. In the examination we had to write 
an essay on John, and I contrasted and compared 


the real John and John’s reign with the John of 
Shakespeare. I think the examining master, Mr. 
Thring, must have been surprised at a naughty boy 
doing so comparatively well and have marked me 
very indulgently, for I was second in the form, only 
beaten by a boy, Hassall by name, noted for his 
historical prowess and who later was for many years 
a professor of history at Oxford. This was Arthur 
Hassall, the Christ Church don who only died last 
week, December 1930. 

I once had another lucky brain-wave when I 
turned “ Men of Harlech ” into Latin verse. I did 
the whole in about an hour, and the copy would have 
been “ selected ” had it been done by any other boy. 
In my case it relieved the tension of affairs, and I 
was given a little more rope. Apropos of luck in 
examination, I do not think I ever heard of anything 
to equal the luck of a London medical man who came 
up to Edinburgh to take the Scotch degrees. He 
met me and asked me if I would mind going over with 
him a few things in surgery, before he presented him¬ 
self for examination. I took him over Myxoedema, 
which was then the subject of much interest because 
of the work of Victor Horsley and Dr. Ord. After 
this I talked to him about the way in which fractures 
of the neck of the thigh-bone were to be distinguished 
from dislocations of the hip joint. One more thing 
I touched upon, and that was the differential diag¬ 
nosis of aneurism. Three days later I saw him, and he 
said to me, 11 Well, what do you think I was ploughed 
in ? ” He knew no surgery, and so I said, “ Surgery.” 
He said, “ No, I have passed in everything. As far 
as surgery was concerned, they took me over 
Myxoedema, fracture of the neck of the thigh-bone 
and dislocation of the hip, and the differential 
diagnosis of aneurism.” In fact, the very three 
and the only three things that I had selected. 


Another case of luck; my brother went up for an 
entrance scholarship to Winchester. For the unseen 
Greek translation he had a passage set that he had 
done before. His sense of honour was such that he 
went to the invigilator and told him of this fact, 
and so received, I believe, fewer marks than he 
otherwise would have got. He got on the roll but 
just failed to be elected to the school, and con¬ 
sequently did not go to Winchester, but came to 
Uppingham. I think he might very well have 
accepted this bit of luck, if only for the benefit of his 

The headmaster of Uppingham, Mr. Thring, was 
very justly celebrated, and is still said to have been 
the greatest headmaster since Arnold. He was 
undoubtedly a leader of men and boys ; inspired 
enthusiasm and is still venerated by those who were 
at the school when he was head. His ideals were 
very high; almost, I think, too high for the ordinary 
boy. If I may be allowed to say so, he had the defects 
of his qualities. Discipline had to be maintained ; 
the master was always right, the boy always wrong. 
He was sometimes an executioner rather than a 
judge. A master would tell the boy who was sent 
to be flogged, “You tell that to Mr. Thring.” With 
Mr. Thring it was, “ Take off your coat and kneel 
down.” There was no “ telling ” of any kind. As 
a result there was sometimes a miscarriage of justice. 
It is one of the advantages of school life that a boy 
should learn there, rather perhaps than in the world 
subsequently, that there is such a thing as injustice, 
gross injustice. Thring was very thorough in his 
likes and dislikes, beliefs and disbeliefs. Darwin 
was anathema. He used to teach that Methuselah 
actually lived his nine hundred odd years, so that 
essential facts should be handed down by oral tradition 
during the centuries. His views on medicine must 



have been peculiar. There was an outbreak of 
scarlet fever at Uppingham while I was there. It 
spread, and Mr. Thring eventually and very tardily 
gave permission for those “ who were sneaks ” to go 
home, but we were exhorted to remain and face the 
trouble. There was a boy in our house, a poor little 
fellow, who was very much afraid of catching the 
disease. He remained, caught it and died. It is 
only fair to Mr. Thring to remember that sanita¬ 
tion, hygiene, and science were in his time far from 
being the more or less understood things they are 

The boys on the whole liked Thring, but they 
feared him ; so too did the masters. When I was 
in the sixth form, I once wrote a letter to another boy 
asking him to come round the next morning and give 
me a construe. I said I was in the middle of Harrison 
Ainsworth’s Star Chamber and could not possibly 
work myself that night. My letter was intercepted 
by the master and the affair was thought so serious 
that it was reported to my father at home. I was 
turned out of the sixth form, though I still had to do 
the work, and was put bottom of the class. I was 
lectured and reprimanded too by the headmaster. 
Towards the end of the term that headmaster’s elder 
son was detected doing almost the same thing. He 
was not turned out of the sixth form, his father was 
not told of his iniquity and he went unpunished. 
Being nothing if not impudent, I bearded the master 
who had condemned me and looked over the fault 
of the headmaster’s son. I told him that I did not 
want Gale Thring to be punished, but I should like 
an explanation from him of his conduct. His answer 
was, “ Well, Turner, there is a great deal in what 
you say, but you see Mr. Thring is Mr. Thring.” 
That put the matter in a nutshell. I met this master 
some six years afterwards when I had become house- 



surgeon at St. George’s Hospital, a post that in those 
days could only be obtained after extreme com¬ 
petition ; the students were many, the house-surgeons 
but two. The master asked me what I was doing 
and how I was getting on, and he was obviously 
surprised at the various successes I had obtained. 
He forgot that many a boy cannot be driven to learn 
unpalatable and more or less useless things, but that 
that boy may work extremely hard when faced by 
toil and trouble, to overcome which will be of great 
use to him in his profession in after life. School¬ 
masters, too, did not sufficiently realise that boys 
develop at very varying periods of their life. Some 
are precocious at school and do extremely well there, 
but afterwards there comes reaction and they may 
tire of work when it is most vital to them ; and 
often the naughty boys at school when they leave it 
become men of action and of affairs, and the high 
spirits and devilry, which are drawbacks at school, 
are of great use to them when guided into the proper 
channels that lead to success in life. 

Immediately following this trouble about the 
“ Star Chamber,” after my ejection from the sixth 
form, when the school was assembled in the big 
schoolroom, I most innocently took my usual place. 
Sitting next to the boy whom I had asked for the 
construe, I saw the headmaster talking and ges¬ 
ticulating, and I said with a smile to the boy, “ What 
is exciting the old gentleman ? ” It appeared that 
he had been asking me why I was not sitting at the 
bottom of the form. When this repeated query 
eventually reached my ears I duly placed myself 
in the correct position, but Mr. Thring had obviously 
thought that I had been laughing at him, and as we 
in our turn filed out of the schoolroom, down he came 
from his throne shouting, “ Out of the sixth form 
now, and I hope soon out of the school.” Masters 



and boys hurried away as fast as they could and the 
retreat of both of them was not an orderly one. You 
never saw such a scurry. It was always my unfor¬ 
tunate fate to aggravate rather than to tone down my 

Later, just before I left, the school had done some 
good work in the East End of London, and leave was 
given to those who wished to be present at the 
consecration of the new church by the Bishop of 
Rochester. After the ceremony and outside the 
church the reverend Bishop said he would like to 
say something to the Uppingham boys, and as he 
could not speak to all of them he would select one 
as a typical Uppinghamian and would address his 
remarks to him. To my unspeakable horror he 
selected me, perhaps the most a-typical of the lot, 
and I had to wear an appropriate expression and 
look at Mr. Thring, who was facing me, while my 
virtues were extolled. I wonder if Thring saw the 
humour in this ? I did, painfully. 

I had considerable experience of all the masters 
of Uppingham, as I was so often taking round 
“ gating papers ”or others that said that “ Turner 
minor is not trustworthy.” On one occasion a master 
asked me if I was the brother of Turner major. 
“ Arcades ambo,” said he, both Arcadians, i.e. f 
scoundrels. My brother has been anything but a 
failure in life, quite the contrary. This same master 
laughed at me one day in form when I could not 
pronounce some jaw-breaking word ; laughed at me 
because he said my tongue was too big for my mouth. 
This is not true, but a boy’s physical peculiarities or 
deformities ought not to be laughed at by a master 
in public. If a boy is sensitive much harm may be 
done by such senseless and heartless conduct. A 
schoolfellow of mine used to be mercilessly punished 
for nocturnal eneuresis by both masters and boys. 


The poor fellow, of course, was not to blame and had 
no control over the distressing complaint. 

One of the dearest of masters, a kindly, well-bred 
gentleman who never hit a boy when he was down, 
was “ Daddy ” Witts. He prepared me for con¬ 
firmation, and it was only his amiability that allowed 
me to go up for it, as I was shaky on some of the more 
difficult parts of the catechism and was always over- 
frivolous. It was through his generosity that the 
school chapel became an accomplished fact. When 
he left, after a great many years’ service, it is said that 
he had a sly and friendly dig at his friend the head¬ 
master by saying that he had been “ long enough at 

The second master, William Earle, was a little 
feared by the boys, but his heart was in the right 
place, and I remember that mine went out to him 
when he made a speech at one of the Uppingham 
dinners and appealed to those with whom he had 
done the verbs in /u. 

One of my form masters was a gentleman who 
used to spend a great deal of time in early school 
expounding the Psalms to us. Had it been possible 
for the author to have heard the many cryptic mean¬ 
ings and interpretations of his words, I am sure that 
nobody would have been more astonished than David. 
One often thinks the same of Shakespeare, Browning, 
or indeed of any poet on whose work there is much 
commentary and criticism. We all loved this hobby 
of Psalm exposition. The master talked ; we sat 
quiet ; time passed, and early school was over without 

Uppingham was ruled not only by the masters 
but by the prepostors, the upper sixth form, who had 
a straw hat of their own. The prefect or prepostor 
system no doubt has many advantages, but I cannot 
help thinking that the wisdom and knowledge of the 


world of these young people of sixteen to nineteen 
is not sufficient for them to decide questions in 
which another boy’s whole future may be involved. 
Every boy had the right to appeal to the headmaster 
from any decision of the prepostors, but every one 
preferred to abide by their judgment rather than 
possibly be expelled by the headmaster. Thank 
Heaven I never went before them ! Expulsion from 
a public school carries with it a stigma throughout 
life, but in my humble judgment this should entirely 
depend on the reason for expulsion ; say a boy is 
expelled for such a thing as smoking or drinking a 
glass of beer. Ought this to damn him through all 
his adolescence and career as a young man ? 

The rule of boys by boys, both in sports and games 
and in house matters, no doubt gave us during the 
last terrible war a class of young trained material 
from which officers were easily and readily made. 
Let the public school system have all honour for this, 
and for the training that it gives a boy when it teaches 
him that he is not to sneak, that he is to keep a firm 
upper lip, that he is not to have a swelled head, that 
he is to play the game and play for the community 
rather than his individual self. It would be well if 
young democrats were trained more often as those 
more luckily born are in public schools. How many 
loud, unlicked cubs one meets nowadays ! 

In my time the food at Uppingham at breakfast 
and tea was distinctly bad. There was only bread 
and butter. The former thick, the latter extremely 
thin. The midday meal, dinner, was good. One 
could have two helpings of meat and two of pudding. 
The master and his wife had to be present at this 
meal, and this ensured that the food was satisfactory. 
It also helped, no doubt, to the learning of small talk 
by the boys who sat in the vicinity of the lady and 
had to talk to her. Occasionally, however, such boys 



were more or less stricken dumb. Their nervousness 
and dumbness were not much aided by the whispered 
messages that used to be passed up from the head 
boy, u Tell Smith that if he doesn’t talk to Mrs. 
Tomkins, I will give him a good licking after dinner.” 
At one time we growing boys, using our muscles and 
our brains, had nothing between 5.30 p.m. and 
breakfast at 8.30 a.m. Most doctors would be 
agreed that this fast of practically fifteen hours was 
too long, considering that there were two periods of 
school, one at night and the other an early school in the 
morning, during those fifteen hours. Could anything 
be more absurd than the recent suggestion to feed 
growing minds and bodies entirely on a vegetarian 
diet ? In consequence of this long interval between 
meals some of us in our house petitioned for a supper 
of dry bread. This was eventually given to us, 
grudgingly and of necessity. One evening this bread 
was not sent in, so five of the head boys of the house 
formed a deputation and went into the master’s 
part of the house to ask for it. I was one of the five. 
The master was not there and nothing happened. 
We came back again. The next morning these five 
boys were told to go up to Mr. Thring to be flogged. 
Their half-holidays were knocked off to the end of 
the term ; they were gated to a road, that is to say 
deprived of all games ; they were to be sent to the 
bottom of the house. In this way they lost all their 
privileges as seniors, and had to take round a gating- 
paper to be signed by all the masters. Our indigna¬ 
tion and surprise were unbounded, and we each drew 
up a gating-paper on the following lines. Mine ran, 
“ Turner minor to be flogged by Mr. Thring; to be gated 
to the Leicester Road; to have all his half-holidays 
knocked off ; and to be put bottom of the house ; for 
asking for DR Y bread. ” “ Dry ’’ was underlined three 
times. At noon we went to be flogged. No word of 


explanation came either from the house-master or the 
headmaster as to what we were supposed to have 
done. When I was flogged with anyone else I always 
got flogged first so that I could see the others executed 
afterwards. On this occasion I made a rush for 
Mr. Thring, but was luckily beaten a short head by 
a boy whom we will call Floodgate. Thring snatched 
the paper from his hand, read it, exclaimed, Another 
piece of impertinence, kneel down,” and proceeded 
to flog him unmercifully. We were not allowed 
pockets in our trousers at Uppingham, but my piece 
of paper was successfully concealed about another 
part of my person, and I waited until two more boys 
had had their turn before I brought myself to face 
the offended dignity and weakened arm of the head¬ 
master. I honestly do not know to this day what we 
were supposed to have done, or what lies the servants 
may have told of us. The indignation of the whole 
house was so extreme that we put the master and his 
wife into Coventry, and eventually, although the 
house was said to be (< in a state of rebellion, all 
our penalties and punishments were done away with 
at the end of about ten days. To this day I boil 
with indignation at the memory of this gross injustice. 
The punishments were taken off, but we none of us 
had any explanation and none of us was given any 


Whether a boy was flogged often or seldom was 
a very little matter to the authorities. On one 
occasion this same Floodgate was flogged on two days 
running. He presented himself on a third occasion, 
one or at the most two days afterwards. The master 
was about to flog him again and said to him, “ Well, 
Floodgate, we shall see who gets tired of this first, 
you or I.” I knew that Floodgate, who was a stal¬ 
wart youth, had made up his mind not to take a 
licking.” There was an unseemly scuffle of short 


duration between the master and the boy. The 
latter had pointed out to the master that he was 
physically unfit for a third flogging, and he was easily 
first in a trial of strength. I may mention here, 
as a surgeon, that had he been flogged it is quite 
possible that he would have had gangrene of the skin, 
and the boy was undoubtedly right in refusing to 
submit. Threats of expulsion were held over him, 
but it must have occurred to the master that he was 
wrong, as some four or five days afterwards Floodgate 
made a nominal submission and received two gentle 
taps from the cane, and so the matter ended. I may 
say that when the boys bathed in summer those who 
had been flogged were very much like the zebra. 

The headmaster used from time to time to take 
every form himself, and dire was the trepidation of 
the nervous boys. On one occasion a boy of nervous 
temperament in my form did badly in construing 
some Latin. His efforts were pronounced to be 
“ disgraceful,” and he was told that he ” deserved 
to be flogged.” “ Is there any boy here,” asked the 
master, looking round the class, “ who does not 
think so ? ” We all downcasted our eyes, and I was 
wise enough to say nothing, although my views were 
very decided that a flogging was not deserved, and 
that nervous boys were not able to do themselves 
justice because of the dignity and dread that 
“ hedged ” the throne of the headmaster. It is 
only fair to say that there was no flogging on this 
occasion. On a similar occasion a boy was asked how 
long he had been learning Latin. ” Eight years, sir.” 
“ And how long was it before you were speaking 
English ? ” “ Two or three years, sir.” “ Are you 

not ashamed of yourself, then, to have taken eight 
years over Latin, and then to know nothing about it ? ” 
Could any argument be more absurd than this ? 

Flogging acts very differently on different boys 


I do not think that any one of us was ever deterred 
by a flogging from again committing the same offence, 
but it was a very different thing to a nervous, sen¬ 
sitive boy than it was to a hardened sinner like myself. 
The schoolmaster of that period took no notice 
whatever of the constitution, mind or body of the 
boy whom he sent up for corporal punishment. 
Boys often used to pad and take the risk of detection. 
One day another boy and I were to be flogged at 
twelve o'clock. He had ingeniously twined rope 
all round those parts of his body open to the cane, 
and things would have gone quite happily, but just 
as we were going into the classroom his rope became 
undone and peeped, like a snake, very obviously 
out of his trousers. He exhorted me to go in and 
save time by being flogged while he put himself right 
again. He was not a boy I liked at all. He had once 
treated me badly and we had had a fight, and I am 
glad to say that I had given him “ two jolly black 
eyes," but of course I did not mean to let him down 
although I delayed till the last possible moment, and 
Mr. Thring had almost got to the door of the room 
before I presented myself for punishment and gave 
the boy time to do what he wanted. 

I remember another time when we gave a cocky, 
bragging little boy a lesson. The first time a boy 
went up he was let off on pleading that it was the 
first time. This had happened to this bumptious 
youth. The second time he was bragging and saying 
he did not care and that he was not going to pad. 
We let him have his talk, but just before going into 
school two or three boys examined him and found 
him in armour suitable to have prevented any possible 
pain. I do not know how many articles were taken 
away from him, but he eventually had his thrashing 
with only a light pair of summer trousers between 
him and the cane. He never bragged again. * 



My French master, M. Parrot, was the cause of 
most of my floggings. We used to rag him un¬ 
mercifully. The only way in which he could get even 
with us was to give us what he called a “ Caning 
Teeket.” These he gave freely, often without a real 
cause. On one occasion some boys in his form 
agreed to get another boy, Tarsley by name, a “ caning 
teeket.” At the class they looked at Tarsley and 
looked under the table as if he were doing something 
that he ought not to be doing there. The master 
saw this and said, “ A hundred lines, Tarsley.’’ 
“ But, sir . . . ” said Tarsley. “ Two hundred lines,” 
said the French master, and shortly afterwards, when 
the other boys once more looked at Tarsley under the 
table, Tarsley was given the “ caning teeket ” all right. 
He tried to retaliate on his tormentors, but we, being 
naughty boys, already had been placed next to the 
master who could thus see for himself that nothing 
improper was going on under the table when Tarsley 
looked there. In fact it only made matters worse for 

The caning ticket was always in an envelope 
addressed to Mr. Thring. I used to drop it in the 
road—of course I could not present it dirty—so I 
put it in another envelope, and incidentally read it. 

There were some boys who had been mean enough 
to trample on the French master’s flower-beds. I 
was not one of these. I fought him often and long, 
but always fought fairly. On coming out of his room 
one day into the open, I suddenly found myself 
pushed by another boy on to the flower-beds. I 
tried to get off, was pushed again amongst the flowers 
and, I think, slipped and fell down. The school spy, 
a big, fat man, had been put to try to discover who it 
was that had ruined the flowers on the former occasion. 
I found myself gripped by this huge man and was 
taken back to the Frenchman’s room. He was 


dancing about with fury, and of course gave me a 
caning teeket.” I was less angry at being caned 
the next day than having to bear the odium of such 
an offence, for the boy who had pushed me on to the 
flower-beds was not gentleman enough to own up, 
and I was not cad enough to give him away. My 
indignation was such that I wrote home to my father 
and implored him to let me leave off learning French. 
The sun, however, had gone down on my wrath 
when I had his reply saying that he sympathised 
with me, but that if I gave up French I must take 
up some other extra, and he strongly advised me 
not to give up French. I am glad I did not do so, 
for though one learnt willingly very little, some of 
the mud of French with which we were being con¬ 
stantly pelted stuck to me, and later on in life I 
found that I could read a French paper. This led 
to a perusal of French books which now I can read 
almost as well as I can English. 

Poor M. Parrot was very badly treated by us. 
We used to sing songs to him, introducing the name 
of his fiancee. When he asked us the English for 
a French word, we always used to give him the slang, 
and he must subsequently have astonished his lady¬ 
love when he tried to say some of these words. He 
bore no malice, and when I met him at the tercen¬ 
tenary celebrations we were the best possible friends. 

An assistant French master, M. Rouge, tried to 
learn the noble game of cricket. As he played in the 
nets, we all used to go and throw cricket balls at him 
as hard as we could, and he would cry, “ Oh, not so 
strong. Oh, not so strong.” The headmaster used 
to give him and the German master their dinner 
every day in the School House, until, during the time 
of the Franco-Prussian War, they came to fisticuffs. 

One of the Germans at Uppingham, Herr Beiseigel, 
the gymnasium master, was a real good old sport. 



All the boys liked him, and there was great competition 
for the gymnasium prizes, which consisted chiefly 
of articles to eat, such, for instance, as a goose. He 
used also to take the duty of assistant music master, 
and held choir practices in the big schoolroom. 
These practices took place in what otherwise would 
have been playtime and were very irksome to me. 
One day it became so tiresome that I decided to make 
my way like a serpent underneath the forms to the 
door, and go off to cricket. I had gone some ten yards 
on my course, when my daring and apparent success 
proved too much for the envious choristers, and as 
they looked round and watched my progress, that 
progress was arrested by detection. I was duly 
flogged next day. When I saw dear old Beiseigel 
some fifteen years later, he at once recognised me and 
said, “ Oh, you were the boy who crawled under the 
forms.” We both laughed heartily at the recollection. 

Music at Uppingham, then as now, was very much 
cultivated, and well taught by Herr David. There 
was a special choir which used to give musical even¬ 
ings, and some of the boys sang remarkably well, 
the trebles and altos particularly. My knowledge 
of oratorios is largely derived from my school exper¬ 
iences. For boys whose voices had cracked, there 
was a dreadful alternative to choir practice. They 
had to learn by heart Keble’s Christian Year. 
How I hated Keble, and when I was told that the 
new Keble College was not considered one of the 
best at Oxford, I thought it only proper that this 
should be so. 

The amusements of schoolboys are peculiar. 
My brother, during our time at Uppingham, bought 
a small axe and had amused himself by chopping 
down some young trees in a spinney off the Seaton 
Road. I knew nothing of this, and one day when 
he asked me to go for a walk with him, it was not 


until we had put Uppingham behind us that he pro¬ 
duced the axe from his trousers. When we arrived 
at the spinney, he started his chopping, but we were 
almost immediately disturbed by the farmer, armed 
with a horse-whip, two other men and a bull-terrier. 
There was nothing for it but retreat ! My brother, 
a year older than myself at a time of life when every 
year tells as far as running is concerned, out-stripped 
me and my honourable position was to bring up the 
rear. The men were not so difficult to elude as the 
dog, though the farmer got so close to me when I was 
getting over a stile that he only just missed me with 
his horse-whip. In the field on the far side, the 
bull-terrier made a vicious attack at my legs and 
things looked awkward, but I picked up a stone 
about as big as a lemon, and when the dog came at 
me again, I went for his head with all the vigour 
I was capable of. I am glad to say I missed 
him, but so narrowly that he refused to attack me 
again, and we escaped. The farmer was evidently a 
sportsman, for he made no complaint to the school 
authorities. Had he done so we should have felt 
compelled to own up. 

I should like to say something about cribbing 
and the use of translations at school. If you want 
to learn a modern language, I know of no better way 
than to read a book helped by an English translation 
—a crib—but the masters at school thought this was 
quite the worst way to learn a dead one. We used 
to be put to learn some twenty lines of a Greek play, 
and we were supposed to hammer out the meaning 
by the use of lexicons and grammars. Some boys, to 
my knowledge, although in the odour of sanctity, 
used, habitually and deliberately, to use cribs. I did 
not use them, but then I did not always learn the 
allotted task. When told to construe a part that I 
had never seen before, I used, with a most unjust 


audacity, to get up and make an attempt to translate 
at sight. Sometimes I scraped through, but it is 
needless to say that much more often my want of 
preparation was apparent. Had I now to learn 
either Greek or Latin I should use cribs freely and 
read over the English translation before I tackled 
the original. Knowledge of the New Testament in 
English always helped one to understand and 
appreciate the New Testament in Greek. The sub¬ 
jects I used to crib were Euclid and sometimes 
repetition. The cribbing of Euclid was more or less 
confined to the actual examination at the end of the 
half. The bad boys in the upper mathematical 
forms used to have the various books of Euclid in 
various pockets. How glad we all were that some 
of these books had been lost ! I had a very lucky 
escape in one mathematical form. I cribbed enough 
Euclid to avoid punishment. Another boy, whom 
I will call Todson, was not so restrained. I think 
he cribbed the lot. Anyhow when the list of the 
form was read out, it ran Todson, Turner, Jones. 
Jones was closely connected with a prominent 
statesman, and was a worthy, high-minded boy who 
never cribbed. He ought to have had the prize. 
But Todson and I had beaten him both in algebra 
and arithmetic, and Todson’s Euclid cribbing had 
won the prize. I thanked my stars when Todson 
went up the schoolroom to receive it, that I had been 
moderate in my evil-doing, and said to myself, 
“ There but for the grace of God, go I, George Turner.” 
To take a prize in such circumstances was almost 
enough punishment for the crime. 

Cribbing at repetition was variously managed. 
In one form the master used to sit at a desk and put 
his mortar-board on the top of it. The boys reciting 
the repetition stood quite close to the mortar-board. 
The first boy put the torn page of Ovid or Virgil into 


this concavity and the last boy used to take it out. 
Sometimes this master used to walk up and down the 
room like an animal pacing its cage in the Zoo, 
whilst the boys were murdering the ancient authors. 
It occurred to some genius that if a scrap of paper 
were pinned to the back of his gown it might facilitate 
the repetition of its contents. This was successfully 
done, but our consternation may be imagined when 
one day he left the schoolroom and went into his own 
part of the house, where the paper might easily have 
been seen by his wife or the servants. He came back 
all right with it on, and it was finally removed with 
a dexterity which would have done credit to a pupil 
of Fagin. In reality I am much indebted to the 
repetitions which we had to learn, as they undoubtedly 
developed one’s memory and made the subsequent 
acquisition of anatomy comparatively easy. Before 
a boy was promoted to the sixth form, he had to be 
able to repeat all the Odes of Horace. I have often 
been glad of this, although at the time it was a nuisance. 
It gave me a knowledge of that good-natured man of 
the world and philosopher which has enabled me 
often to bring out an apt quotation bearing on human 
nature or the affairs of modern life. Human nature 
has not changed, and to know Horace at all is to love 

Another task which I at the time thought an 
abomination has something to be said for it. I 
allude to holiday tasks. It is very tiresome for a 
schoolboy in his holidays to have to learn Spenser’s 
Faerie Queene , or even to commit to memory the 
beauties of Shakespeare or Wordsworth, and I gave 
my time to them grudgingly and of necessity. But 
here again in after life some slight knowledge of them 
and being able to repeat lines of good poetry has 
helped one enormously, and even in these days of 
uneducated Labour, when members in the House 


shout for a translation, an apt quotation from 
Horace is not wasted, or when one has to make a 
speech in public or indulge in after-dinner oratory. 
Cribbing sometimes leads to amusing situations. 
In one history examination the subject set had been 
“ The Rise and Fall of the Dutch Republic/’ and at 
the examination it happened that an Irish boy had 
not even looked at his Motley. One of the questions 
was, u Give a short life of Alva.” Paddy attracted 
my attention with, “ Whist ! who then was Alva ? ” 
“ A Lutheran priest who went about preaching the 
Gospel,” said I. Paddy had a fertile imagination 
and on this wrote about four pages of the life of this 
Lutheran Alva. All would have been well but for 
the fact that his right-hand neighbour was also 
entirely ignorant and took advantage of Paddy’s 
apparent knowledge to write a similar 11 life ” to his. 
When the papers were looked over, of course the fat 
was in the fire. 

Uppingham in my time was very justly famed 
for its cricket. We had an extraordinary school 
eleven in the days of A. P. Lucas. H. H. Stephenson 
was the first really good school coach. I was never 
a cricketer although I had a fair eye. I was kept 
in too much ever to learn to hit, but I could keep my 
end up occasionally. It was my privilege at one time 
to play in the same game as A. P. Lucas, before his 
talents became widely known. If you were on his 
side you had a pleasant day, if you were not—you 
spent your time in leather-hunting. Whilst still 
a schoolboy, he and another boy, Fleming I think, 
scored over 240 runs before the first wicket of the 
school fell, in a match against a M.C.C. team taken 
down by C. E. Green, an old Uppinghamian, which 
contained two of their very best bowlers. Green 
himself had been Captain of the Uppingham eleven, 
played for Cambridge, and the Gentlemen, and was 


President of the M.C.C. for many years. Uppingham 
cricket owes him a debt it can never repay, for he 
introduced H. H. Stephenson to the school as coach. 
I shall never forget the final of a house-match com¬ 
petition 1872, in which our side, who had scored 
some 150 runs in the first innings, was set to get 
28 to win. We had several good batsmen, any one 
of whom was quite capable of doing this. I went in 
first, and thinking our task was easy, forgot my 
usual caution, hit out at a nearly wide ball to leg, 
holding my bat loosely, skied the ball and was caught 
out. Wickets went down with an appalling rapidity, 
and matters were made worse and our defeat finally 
accomplished by one of the bowlers of the opposite 
side changing from end to end in a manner that was 
not according to rule, but which was not stopped by 
the umpires. I only heard of this rule afterwards, 
and am so little a cricketer that I do not know 
whether there was really any irregularity or not, but 
I am told that there was and is. 

The Uppingham football game was a mixture of 
Rugby and Association. We had scrummages and 
put our heads down, but we dribbled rather than ran 
with the ball. It was a first-rate game, and I rather 
imagine that Mr. Thring had something to do with 
the combination of what was good at Rugby with 
what was good at Eton. Anyhow it trained us to 
play both Rugby and Association. When I came to 
town and first played Rugby, all the forwards stood 
upright and most of them resented the putting down 
of our heads. “ Take up your head, sir, or Til hack 
you,” I heard many a time. “ Hack away ! ” said 
we. The upright gentlemen could not see where to 
hack, we could. Hacking did not stop us and soon 
ceased. In about two years all the Rugby teams were 
putting their heads down as they do now. The Rugby 
football itself in those days was not quite such a 



conical article as it is now, and it was possible, instead 
of running with it, to dribble it. A good forward 
constantly was “ on the ball/’ came through the 
scrummage and himself dribbled the ball in, and got 
his try. A Rugby game was very different in those 
days from the modern game; so, too, Soccer has altered 
a great deal. There was not the elaborate science 
that is now practised in both these forms of football. 
I started in London to play Association and took to 
Rugby because that game was played by St. George's 

I am afraid I have always been very outspoken 
and often rude. When I left school I joined an 
Association Football Club. A member some thirty- 
five years of age and rather stout, on one occasion 
did not distinguish himself by courage. I—a stripling 
of sixteen—went up to him and said, “ You beastly 

This funking is involuntary—almost a reflex— 
and sometimes hereditary. One of the most famous 
“ backs " of my time was on occasions plagued by it. 
Some thirty years afterwards I saw the same yellow 
streak in his son—displayed in almost the same way. 
I did not know his name, but said at once, “ That 
must be-'s son," and so it was. 

I got through my football life with but few 
injuries, but once I very nearly had my spine broken 
by a very heavy antagonist. It was in one of the 
Hospital Cup-ties. My opponent eventually entered 
the R.A.M.C., and at Majuba Hill was shot through 
the spine, had his legs paralysed, and knew that he 
had to die. In spite of this he crawled about on his 
hands looking after the other wounded and giving 
them morphia to ease their pain—until he himself 
died. At St. George's Hospital I had under my care 
a man who had been wounded at Majuba. He had 
nearly bled to death from a wound in the leg. I 


asked why he did not stop the bleeding by pressure. 
“ Oh, I knew all about that,” said he, “but the moment 
I sat up to do it the Boers fired at me and so I thought 
it safer to lie quiet and to take my chance.’’ The 
paralysed doctor was, I believe, repeatedly fired on 
when oblivious of self he crawled from man to man 
to relieve their sufferings. He surely was worthy of 
a posthumous V.C. I am ashamed to say I have 
forgotten his name, but I think it was Landon. 

School sports aroused considerable enthusiasm. 
Most of the races were run on the Leicester Road, 
hurdle races in the Middle Field, and steeplechases 
at Stockerston, where there was a natural brook 
requiring, as the American would say, some jumping. 
It was my fate to run second in the hundred yards 
under fifteen. We had a boy in our house who was 
able to run the following year under fifteen. I could 
only just beat him although I was six months older 
than he was. We thought, therefore, that it would 
be a good thing to back him for the under-fifteen 
races of the following year. We backed him at, I 
think, four to one. Our confidence was not mis¬ 
placed. He missed the steeplechase by falling in his 
impetuosity at the first hurdle, and he was outstayed 
in the half-mile, but he won the other under-fifteen 

The training for these races was very primitive. 
Even sprinters were taken out for long runs of two, 
three or even four miles. I can conceive nothing more 
likely to give a boy the “ slows,” but I still remember 
with gratitude old Thring’s grin of approbation at 
me when returning from one of these “ sweats ” or 
“ grinds ” as they were called. Another pleasant 
memory I have of him was when he came to see us 
at our house in London some years after we had left 
school. Both my brother and I had then played foot¬ 
ball (Rugby) for England, the two first Uppingham 


boys to do this. We had both carried off various 
events at the United Hospitals Athletic Sports, and 
we had both taken prizes for all sorts of work at St. 
George's Hospital. My father, I remember, greeted 
him in his usual genial way and said, “ Well, Mr. 
Thring, your floggings have done some good." 
Thring, however, did not quite look at the matter in 
this breezy way, but I remember that he was very 
good and kind to me as I walked with him away 
from our house, and he told me how he had come up 
to London to be at the funeral of Miss Montgomery, 
the authoress of Misunderstood and other charming 
works of fiction, chiefly for and about children. 

Whilst I was at Uppingham I was confirmed by 
the Bishop of Peterborough, Magee, who subsequently 
became the Archbishop of York. He it was who, 
in the House of Lords, so eloquently defended the 
Irish Church, and when speaking on another occasion 
against fanatical temperance legislation said, “ I 
would sooner see England free than sober." I am 
sure his hands must have imparted to me this same 
sentiment, for although practically teetotal myself, 
I think it is a wicked thing that alcohol should be 
run down as it is by the intemperate temperance 
people. At home we always drank claret or claret 
and water. Alcohol, like all good things, can be 
abused, but there is no doubt that used in moderation 
it will help a man after his day’s toil to resume the 
normal, to look upon life with an indulgent eye, and 
in very many cases to digest his food very much more 
efficiently than had water been his sole drink. I do 
not, however, think that the old custom at Uppingham 
and elsewhere of giving boys beer to drink with their 
meals was a good one. Personally I love beer, but 
I am very intolerant of it, and under its influence I 
developed lumbago in my early days at Uppingham. 
The first time it attacked me I was long-stopping at 



cricket and fell to the ground as if shot. Knowing 
nothing of beer and its evils, nothing of gout and 
rheumatism, my first thought was that the end of 
the world had arrived, and I gazed anxiously at the 
sky to mark future developments. I thought I had 
been struck with something, and I was about to hear 
the reading of all my sins from the “ Great Book,” 
which my nurse had told me to expect to hear read 
when the end of the world came. 

At Uppingham we were all taught by Professor 
D’Orsay to read before the whole school assembled 
in the big schoolroom. Every boy had to select 
something of prose or verse and to read it so that 
people at the end of the huge room could hear him. 
I attribute the fact that I personally have always 
been able to make people hear me when lecturing or 
speaking in public to this early training. D’Orsay 
used to teach us to pronounce our final consonants, 
and he also used to show us how stuttering could be 
temporarily cured by the stutterer beating time with 
his finger. The stutterer can always sing a song 
without stuttering. 

Some of the boys used to choose odd subjects for 
reading. Thring could never bear anything about 
Eugene Aram, and so the new boy was often counselled 
to read : 

“ And four and twenty happy boys 
Came bounding out of school.” 

“ Three o’clock,” shouted Mr. Thring, which meant 
that the boy had to come in and have special instruc¬ 
tion instead of having his half-holiday. 

It is a great thing to learn early to face an audience 
and not to think of your enemies in it, to be uncon¬ 
scious of their personal disapprobation and to speak 
well and clearly. I think the best way is, as it were, 
to address one person in the audience. When you 
talk naturally, you are never at a loss for an accusative 



to follow a verb, or even for an appropriate adjective, 
because you are speaking to one person and your 
sub-conscious mind automatically manages grammar 
and other necessary things for you. People blush, 
stammer and become self-conscious because they do 
not do this. One of the most painful instances of 
this that I ever remember occurred to a great friend 
of mine, Dr. Wilson, who was lost with Captain 
Scott in his last Antarctic expedition. He attended 
our St. George’s Hospital dinner and sat next to me, 
after his first Antarctic experience. A year pre¬ 
viously, knowing that he was in the Antarctic, we of 
the dinner had sent him a message of greeting. The 
next year he had to respond to the toast of his health. 
He rose, was vehemently cheered by every one, and 
could not speak one single word. I whispered to him, 
“ Tell them how glad you were to receive their mes¬ 
sage last year when you were in the Antarctic.” 
There was “ nothing doing ” and he had to sit down. 
Had he thought that he had to speak to but one 
person, there would have been no dumbness, and 
any emotion that he might have felt could have been 
controlled. It was the sea of faces, the universal 
cheering, the horrible thought that he had to say 
something to please and, if possible, amuse these two 
hundred people that made him, for the time being, 
incapable of effort. Had he been taught at school 
by a D’Orsay to speak before over four hundred boys 
and thirty masters, that experience would have 
pulled him through when he had to speak later in 
life to two hundred men. I have in my possession 
two of Wilson’s wonderful water-colour paintings ; 
one, showing the Great Ice Barrier, I bought when he 
exhibited them in Bruton Street. When he heard 
I had bought this, he very kindly gave me the other 
one of Mount Longstaffe, which was then the land 
“ farthest south.” On one occasion I asked Wilson, 



“ Did you not get very tired of the ice and snow in 
the Antarctic? What did you think about? ” He 
replied, “ I saw enough to keep me thinking all the 
rest of my life.” 

It is only recently that, on reading Mr. Thring’s 
“ Life,” I found that, in certain letters to one of his 
masters, he spoke of two boys, T. and W. He was 
telling the master that if W. would not conform to 
the rules of the school, he ought to be punished rather 
than expelled, because expulsion might be taken to 
mean that the masters were unable to control him. 
He goes on to say, “ . . . as to what you say about 
his pernicious influence on other boys, I do not think 
he is to be compared with T. and he is quite beyond 
reach.” I know who W. was—the boy who refused 
to be flogged three days running, and I am sure I 
was T. who refused to be bullied by my housemaster, 
the late head of the gaol. I was “ beyond reach ” 
because, unfortunately for the masters, I was right 
and could not be punished without scandal. I take 
this “ quite beyond reach ” rather as a compliment. 
Another compliment was paid me by a Jew book¬ 
maker, a horrible-looking person who showed his 
canine teeth. He tried to lay me a short price, and 
I said, “ I shan’t bet with you unless you lay proper 
prices.” “ It ain’t no catch a-betting with you,” 
said he—a very high compliment as to my judgment. 
I have always been very fond of children, and they 
luckily usually take to me. I once went to see the 
little child of a Dorsetshire labourer, and when I came 
away the mother said to me, “ Well, you are a well- 
mannered one, you are.” I was and am very proud 
of that compliment. A most delightful compliment 
paid to me by a child was his remark to his mother, 
“ What a nice toy Mr. Turner is.” 

I don’t want it to be thought that I do not in 
any way respect and venerate Mr. Thring’s memory. 



He was really a great man. If he was occasionally 
unjust—it was not his injustice—and it was his 
loyalty and belief in his colleagues and subordinates 
that led him astray. He was “ thorough ” in every¬ 
thing he did, and there were no half measures for 
him. There is a good deal in the saying that he was 
“ the last Christian .’* In his own words he always 
tried 11 to walk with Christ.” 

He had a far-reaching influence for good on all 
Uppingham boys. 

I am afraid I come of obstinate stock ; just as my 
ancestor Bishop Trelawney resisted James II. when 
he thought he was right—so I as a boy dared to 
resist the majesty of Thring and the masters when I 
thought they were wrong. 



I left Uppingham in 1872, when I was sixteen years 
old, and was glad to do so. I do not go quite so far 
as Bernard Shaw in describing schools as prisons, 
but our house at Uppingham was something like one 
to me, and we had our ex-gaoler as superintendent. 

Before entering St. George’s Hospital, I had to 
pass a qualifying examination for the Fellowship of 
the College of Surgeons. I attended lectures in 
chemistry during 1872, but did not formally enter 
the Hospital until May 1873. 

The Hospital School was in a very flourishing 
condition at that time, with nearly two hundred 
students and a staff of great prestige. The surgeons 
were perhaps better known to the public than the 
physicians, and were a distinguished lot of men. 
Like other men they had their foibles and peculiarities, 
and as in all hospitals, there was a certain amount 
of jealousy amongst them. To an impartial spectator 
it was amusing to hear the surgical skill of a colleague 
criticised, because of certain irregularities at his birth. 
It is a fact that one surgeon in speaking of a senior 
colleague and questioning his opinion on a case, went 
so far as to say to a medical practitioner outside the 
hospital, “ and he too a bastard,” as if legitimacy or 
illegitimacy had anything to do with the value of 
a professional opinion. 

One of our surgeons was the son of Field-Marshal 
Sir George Pollock, who commanded, in 1842, our 



punitive expedition into Afghanistan. He dressed 
in black with a neat little black bow tie, and on one 
occasion his dignity was much offended by being taken 
for an undertaker by a poor woman who had come 
up to the hospital to make a complaint. My friend 
George J. Romanes knew Dr. Brydon, the sole 
survivor of the first Afghanistan Expedition, and the 
central figure of the painting by Miss Thompson, 
called, I think, “ The Remnant of an Army,” showing 
him riding alone in an exhausted condition into 
Jellalabad. He had been badly wounded and was 
faint from loss of blood. Two Afghans had been left 
to dispatch him. One of them rode away, thinking 
his presence unnecessary. As the other approached 
him, Brydon swayed forward from exhaustion on to 
the holsters of his saddle. The Afghan, who had 
only a lance, thinking that Bryden was about to 
draw his pistol and shoot him, made off. When 
Romanes was a young man he used often to shoot with 
Brydon, who told him this story. Mr. Pollock did 
not wear a ring. On one occasion he looked at my 
fingers and said, “ Ah, Turner, I am glad to see you 
don’t wear a ring. 1 don’t wear a ring. No good 
surgeon ever wore a ring.” No less than three or 
more of his colleagues, to my certain knowledge, 
wore rings. 

Another of our surgeons of world-wide reputation 
used to wear his waistcoats cut as a dress waistcoat 
is now. He had but one eye, and as he constantly 
was doing so-called “ minor operations ” without any 
gown to cover the whiteness of his shirt, the latter 
often looked like the wall-paper of a bedroom when 
he left, with red roses and stars on it. 

There was another surgeon, a very clever man, 
who had a great opinion of the ancient method of 
stopping haemorrhage by actual cautery—a heated 
iron. As he also had only one eye, some of his shots 


with the iron used to catch the fingers of his assistant, 
whose looks of indignation and expostulation were 
perceived by the students, though not by the offending 
operator. His assistance was frequently required in 
the ward when some days after the operation the 
blood vessels used to start bleeding again—secondary 
haemorrhage. He also had a passion for anatomical 
boots cut to the shape of his foot. He was one of 
the earliest of the proctologists, and could not keep 
his speciality out of even a consultation about a 
dislocated joint. A story was told of him, the truth 
of which I cannot vouch for, that as he knelt at 
the altar at his second marriage, when rather more 
than middle-aged, on the soles of his new anatomical 
boots was seen written, “ This style 14/9.” 

The assistant surgeons were very good assistants 
and shone perhaps more when helping than when they 
came to the full staff. One of them had a difficulty 
in pronouncing an h in the middle of a word, which 
was unfortunate when in his lectures and demon¬ 
strations the word “ adhesion ” occurred. 

There was also on the staff the son of the cele¬ 
brated Dr. Lee, who first discovered and described 
the nerves of the uterus. It was related of him that, 
when in the board-room, one of the surgeons of his 
time, I think Sir Benjamin Brodie, said in his presence, 
“ Thank God I know nothing of midwifery.” Lee 
turned on him and said, “ If you thank God, sir, for 
your ignorance, you have much to be thankful for.” 

The aural surgeon when I entered the Hospital 
was the late Sir William Dalby, who had a large 
practice and had Mr. Gladstone amongst his patients. 
He told me that latterly his practice never recovered 
from the effects of an illness he had, and subsequently 
went down to a fifth of his former earnings. It is 
a fatal thing for a surgeon, rising or otherwise, ever 
to be so indiscreet as to be ill himself. Medical 




practitioners, the public and his colleagues do not 
forget it until some years have passed. I myself 
have experienced this, and more than a year after 
I had thoroughly recovered I was often greeted by, 
“ Oh, I thought you were ill.” Sir W. Dalby was a 
great character, and had a wealth of language of his 
own. He used sometimes to make his listeners 
tremble at the force of his oratory when in the 
presence of his patients, but he would relieve their 
apprehensions by saying, “ My dear so-and-so, they 

cannot hear a d- thing of what I am saying.” 

Lip-language in those days was only just coming in. 

The ophthalmic surgeon, Mr. Brudenell Carter, 
an extremely clever man who used to write leading 
articles for The Times , had a great command of 
words, was a first-class orator and used to tell tales 
as he was extracting a cataract or doing any other 
delicate operation on the eye. He published a 
book entitled Defects of Vision , which his rivals 
called “ Carter’s Defects.” 

The physicians at the Hospital, when I entered, 
were not perhaps quite so prominent in the medical 
world as the surgeons, though some of them held 
places of honour in the profession. One of them, 
Dr. Barclay, subsequently became President of the 
College of Physicians. He was a genial, courtly gentle¬ 
man with a very good presence. A good presence 
is of more use to a physician than to a surgeon. 
You have to take more on trust in dealing with the 
workings of a physician’s brain than you do when 
you see the results of a surgeon’s hands. Dr. Barclay 
was very hospitable, and was a great advocate of 
a glass of sherry every night after dinner. He lived 
to a ripe old age, not hurting himself by this post¬ 
prandial pleasure. At this time water was a very 
unfashionable drink, and teetotalism was rare. One 
old gentleman of my acquaintance, a lawyer, used 


every night to drink a bottle of claret at dinner and 
a bottle of sherry after dinner. He lived to be over 
eighty, but he combined these habits with the salutary 
one of walking every day from his house near Lan¬ 
caster Gate to his office in Lincoln’s Inn Fields and 
back again. There were no twopenny tubes or motor 
omnibuses to counteract the good effects of Shanks’s 
mare. He had some Chateau Lafitte, meant in 1870 
for Napoleon III, the best wine I ever tasted. 

A great character and a great man was Dr. 
Howship Dickinson. He believed nothing was higher 
than medicine ; few things lower than surgery. In 
fact, in an address he gave, he spoke of u these evis- 
cerations and dismemberments that surgeons regard 
with such complacency, their patients with such 
inquietude.” It was said that he made use of a stiff 
finger to produce * dullness ” where he wanted 
dullness to be. He had, too, a habit of thinking 
aloud. On one occasion he was summoned into the 
country to see a sick child and was met by the authors 
of her being, both of them very ugly. When he 
went into the bedroom of the child, thinking aloud, 
he said, “ Well, you are an ugly little devil ! Just 
like your parents.” The child was too young to 
resent this questioning of its beauty. The parents, 
however, were present, and naturally indignantly 
resented it. 

There were many amusing traits in Dr. Dickinson’s 
character. Although he had been instrumental in 
introducing a physician from another hospital on to 
the St. George's staff, he was always telling him at 
committee that what was good enough for his parent 
hospital was not good enough for Hyde Park Corner. 
The poor young physician used to blush and subside, 
whereas the proper treatment would have been to 
” answer back.” Once at a Medical School Com¬ 
mittee meeting he gave notice that he would bring 



forward a proposal that only one of the surgeons 
should do abdominal operations. I was an ardent 
young surgeon only just elected, but I countered him 
by giving notice that I would propose that only 
one of the physicians should treat typhoid fever. 
He glared at me in astonishment, but withdrew his 
proposition, as I did mine. Ever afterwards he was 
my consistent supporter at that committee. 

There is a disease in the early stages of which the 
patient suffers from megalomania—“ swelled head.” 
Dr. Dickinson, who often rather jumped at diagnosis, 
cross-examined an unfortunate crossing-sweeper by 
asking him, when he had found out his occupation, 
whether he thought he was a good crossing-sweeper. 
“ I hope so, sir,” said he very meekly. “ There,” 
said Dr. Dickinson, turning to the students as he 
walked away from the bed, “ Boastful crossing- 
sweeper, G.P.I.” The following story was told me 
of Dr. Dickinson and the truth of it was vouched for 
by a friend of mine, Beville by name. He was con¬ 
sulted by a gentleman who had a stone in the kidney. 
He was against an operation and advised the patient 
to go to Contrexeville. The patient, however, went 
to see Sir Henry Thompson, who told him he must 
have the stone removed and not go to Contrexeville. 
Undecided what to do, the patient returned to Dr. 
Dickinson to ask his advice again, and asked him, 
“Shall I go to Contrexeville?” “Contrexeville, 
Contrexeville,” said Dickinson, “ if you go there 
and you have not got a stone already, they will give 
you one ”—quite forgetting his previous advice. 
Dickinson did not like his house-physician ever to 
make a diagnosis for him. On one occasion one of 
these gentlemen told him that there was a case of 
gout in his ward, and it so happened that this house- 
physician had been lecturing to a class of students 
on the case and had pointed out how typical was this 


case of podagra—gout in the foot. Dickinson, 
irritated by the diagnosis having been made for him, 
said, “ It is a case of rheumatism,” and the house- 
physician looked rather an ass. Next day, however, 
our friend on coming to the case, said, “ A typical 
case of gout ; you will never see one more typical, 

Differences of opinion between the house officers 
and the visiting staff must inevitably occur, but if 
the house officer is tactful he will never insist that his 
opinion is the right one. I know of one case in which 
an over-zealous young gentleman ruined his pro¬ 
spects of any future advancement by “ maintaining 
his own opinion still.” It was my fate once, by rare 
good luck rather than knowledge, to wipe the eye of 
one of my surgeons. He was a gentleman, generous 
and large-hearted, and he did not allow it in any way 
to hurt me, who had stumbled on the truth. The 
visiting staff are sometimes put on the wrong scent 
by their house officers. This happened twice in one 
day to one of our surgeons, who had been sent for 
to do an immediate operation on cases where it was 
absolutely unnecessary. In a third case the proper 
diagnosis had been made and operation was necessary. 
The surgeon was so confused, so suspicious of another 
error, that it was only after urgent pressing that he 
consented to operate, saying, “ Well, I will operate, 
but it is not a hernia.” It was a hernia this time, and 
only operation could have saved the life of the patient. 

Consultations in those days were held in the 
wards of the Hospital, not as now in the operating 
theatre. There were many stories handed down by 
tradition about what had been said by present and 
past surgeons. On one occasion one of the surgeons, 
who had a large and fashionable practice, apologised 
for being late as he had been commanded to see a 
member of the Royal Family. “ Ah,” said a junior 



colleague, “ I too, to-day have had to do with 
royalty.” His colleagues and the students looked 
at him with some wonder. “ Yes,” he said, “ I saw 
the Duke of Cambridge’s footman this morning.” 
A learned judge has said, “ Never give your reasons 
for your judgments.” Edward Cutler, a surgeon at 
the Hospital in the fifties, was very good, so it was 
reported, at this. His opinion as to the prospects 
of a patient or the likelihood of an operation being 
any good was excellent, but he never gave his reasons. 
The nearest that he went to it was when, speaking of 
a patient at a consultation, he said, “ I am damned 
if I know what is the matter with him, but he’ll 

The surgeons gave clinical lectures to the students, 
and it was from one of them that I learned the art 
of, as it were, addressing an individual when you 
are speaking or lecturing to a number of people. 
One day this gentleman was giving a lecture on all 
sorts of odds and ends of surgery, and illustrating 
his remarks by cases from his private practice, not 
mentioning, of course, the names of his patients but 
referring to them as an English duke, a French 
count, a Russian princess, and so on. He traced 
their troubled careers under the hands of other sur¬ 
geons, but eventually “ at last he came to me,” and 
then, of course, “ I put him right.” He addressed 
me constantly, an earnest young student in the front 
row, and then he would turn and address some 
gentleman at the top of the theatre. Being plagued 
with a sense of humour, this “ at last he came to me ” 
was too much for my risible faculties, and when he 
had left me and had returned to the student in the 
gallery, I burst into suppressed laughter. The 
lecturer, turning round, fastened on an innocent 
first-year man who was smiling at me, and reproved 
him severely. The lecture was just at an end ; I 



went to this innocent student and said, “ I must go 
and tell Z. that I was the culprit.” “ No,” said this 
tactful young gentleman, “ I will go and tell him 
that it was not I,” and we left it at that. The 
lecturer, who had by this time quite recovered his 
temper, took the matter very nicely. He was a 
great friend to me in after life and helped me in 
many ways. Had he ever known that I had laughed 
at “ at last he came to me,” this might not have been 
the case. 

The lecturer on chemistry when I first joined the 
hospital was first-rate, of a peppery temper, but a 
very amiable disposition. He thought the system 
of marking students for their attendance at lectures 
was absurd, so he constantly used to mark as present 
the whole class. He had a boy called Joe as an assis¬ 
tant, and to hear him say, “ Joe, damn that boy, 
where is he ? ” reminded one of Wardle and the fat 
boy in the Pickwick Papers. His experiments did 
not always come off, as there was sometimes tinkering 
with the materials used by the attendant students. 
He was great at analysing beer. 

In 1873 the students at St. George’s were a varied 
lot. There was but a small sprinkling of University 
men, and these mainly from Cambridge, for at Oxford 
the then Regius Professor, an old St. George’s man, 
did all he could to prevent the teaching of medicine 
catching on at Oxford, whilst at Cambridge Professor 
Humphry was doing all he could to make Cambridge 
a great medical school. We had a lot of public 
school men who came straight from school to the 
Hospital. Time spent at the University, if your 
ultimate destiny was pure surgery, was considered 
wasted because of the loss of seniority at the hospital 
that it involved. There were also a few students 
who had only just sufficient education to enable them 
to pass the very lenient tests that allowed them to 


become medical students. For instance, later on, 
when I was demonstrator of anatomy, in an examina¬ 
tion paper, in answer to a question on the anatomy 
of the eye, a student described the aqueous humour 
as a solid, consisting of various layers. He did not 
know that the word aqueous means watery. But 
whatever the student was when he came to St. 
George’s Hospital, the greater proportion of his 
comrades being gentlemen, generally educated the 
uncouth in some ways as public schools and uni¬ 
versities do. 

The tall silk hat was de rigueur, and woe betide 
any student who came up to “ the Corner ” in a 
bowler. The offending hat was used as a football 
and the owner was lucky if he found any remaining 
fragments. In some less severe cases it was hidden 
and sent back to his diggings. 

Before the days of the School Board, there 
were many “ characters,” especially amongst the 
poorer classes, though many emerged from those 
better educated. I have always blessed God for 
“ characters,” and regret the lack of them at the 
present day. Some were to be found amongst the 
students, but as a rule they failed in their examina¬ 
tions and never became qualified. One I remember 
contended that in an arctic temperature all the water 
inside him would become ice, although he would be 
alive and well. 

Hospital nurses in those far-off days had none 
of the training that is given now. I remember one 
nurse who was a great favourite of the senior surgeon 
of the Hospital, who said of her in her presence, 
“ This is the best nurse at St. George’s Hospital, 
consequently the best nurse in London, and con¬ 
sequently the best nurse in the world.” She used 
to sweep up the dust in the ward, and put it under¬ 
neath the patients’ beds. However, a great number 



of them were empirically good and very conversant 
with sepsis. The night-nurses were not always 
watchful and awake. When I was house-surgeon 
and one night had been at a ball, on returning to the 
hospital at about 3 a.m. I went round the wards to 
see what the night nurses were doing. I found four 
of them asleep, and stood ten seconds or so by the 
side of each one before I woke her up. Three of them 
denied having been asleep, the other one admitted 
it and threw herself on the mercy of the court. I 
did not pursue the matter any further, and have no 
doubt that they were tired, and there was not then 
the compulsory day sleep for night-nurses. 

Modern nurses are well trained and have to pass 
examinations. I should like here to say a word 
against excessive and repeated washing of patients. 
A patient of mine at St. George’s had a fractured 
thigh which would not unite. I could not tell why 
this was so, until one afternoon on going through 
the ward I saw screens round his bed and found two 
nurses washing his back. They had twisted the 
broken thigh at the seat of fracture right round. 
When this back-washing was stopped the broken 
bone soon united. After some operations immobility 
is absolutely essential. I ordered this in one very 
serious abdominal operation case. Four days after 
the operation the patient and nurse laughed together 
at 7 a.m. at my apprehensions ; when I called at 
9 a.m. the patient was dead from haemorrhage that 
started when he was turned over to have his back 

Nurses with hair on their heads and caps on their 
hair are not very susceptible to draughts. I have 
known their patients suffer from this. Nurses seem, 
too, to be very tolerant of hot water. I have only 
just avoided scalding myself on several occasions. 
There is no comparison between them and male 


nurses ; the women are so much better. I had 
experience of this during the war. I had a very 
painful abscess by the side of the eye. An orderly 
was told off to give me hot fomentations during the 
night. At ii p.m., trying to sleep, I closed my 
eyes, heard him tip-toe out of the room, and he never 
came near me again. I insisted that one of my own 
London nurses should look after me, and this was 
done, in spite of the initial protests of the naval 

Some of the porters at the Hospital were great 
characters. You might make any request you liked 
to Alfred, the hall-porter, and he would say, “ Yes, 
sir, it shall be done,” and very rarely, if ever, it was 
not done. One of the porters in the male surgery 
was an old guardsman John, who had fought at 
Inkermann, and who used to compare that blood¬ 
stained field with the male surgery. His actual 

words were, “ The b- Battle of Inkermann ain't 

in it with the b- male surgery.” His successor 

Tricky was a man who acquired extraordinary 
dexterity in the treatment of minor surgical ailments 
and emergencies, and was often a very present help 
in trouble to the young house-surgeon, commencing 
his work as resident. In the same way the head 
nurse or sister of the female surgery, from her immense 
practice, became similarly dexterous. The anato¬ 
mical porter was also a great character, with a pretty 
shrewd idea of the capacity, pecuniary or otherwise, 
of the individual students. His wife did not know 
the exact position that he occupied (not altogether 
a pleasant or nice profession), and her eyes were only 
enlightened by the laboratory boy who had a feud 
with Richard. The latter admitted that he had made 
one mistake in his life, when a French professor came 
over to show a new apparatus for the transfusion of 
blood. Richard allowed another porter to be the 


subject of experiment before a crowded theatre of 
students and doctors. At the subsequent collection 
nearly four pounds was obtained as a reward for this 
man giving some five or six ounces of his blood. 
Richard was most annoyed that this good money had 
gone astray. 

Old St. George’s men must remember with respect 
Lowe the librarian, who ticked off their attendances 
at lectures. He was unbribable and most com 
scientious. Before his time many a student was 
signed up who had not attended the required number. 

He used to supplement his income by being a 
waiter at night. My mother often availed herself 
of his services, and after a large ball that she had 
given she was very much surprised by the moderation 
of the champagne consumption, but Lowe, who was 
at the head of this department, told her that every 
waiter always took one or two bottles away with him 
and they had not done so on this occasion. 

He eventually died in St. George’s Hospital. 
In the obituary notice it was said that he would have 
liked to die there. I should query this. It rather 
reminded me of a sporting scribe who spoke of the 
appropriateness of Captain MachelJ’s burial “ beneath 
the turf he loved so well.” 



The Governors of St. George’s fifty years ago were 
largely the denizens of Belgravia and Mayfair. All 
had the privilege of attending the weekly Board of 
Management, and it was not uncommon to have two 
or three dukes, five or six noble lords, sitting at the 
Board Room table. The people of Belgravia and 
Mayfair subscribed, some of them handsomely, to 
the Hospital, and no hospital was more hurt by the 
institution of King Edward VII’s Hospital Fund 
than St. George’s. I remember myself one dear 
old lady, a great friend of mine, who had been in the 
habit of subscribing to St. George’s, saying to me, 
“ You don’t mind, dear George, I hope, if I leave 
off subscribing to St. George’s, and give my sub¬ 
scription to the King’s Fund.” That, I think, was 
the case of a fair number of the aristocracy. The 
hospitals in the East End and remote parts of London 
have benefited much more than St. George’s. I am 
not denying for a moment but what the King’s Fund 
is an admirable institution and that much more 
money is given nowadays to Hospital Charity because 
of the institution of this and similar funds than was 
given in olden days, but also it must be remembered 
that much more money has now to be spent than was 
formerly the case. It was not necessary in the days 
that I am speaking about for a patient to be X-rayed, 
to have a bismuth meal, to have his blood-pressure 
tested, to have a vaccine, to have costly preparation 

of costly dressings. Everything in surgery was 




simple and septic. In medicine, much was guessed 
at that now can be certainly diagnosed. Not to 
know what was the matter was often the case in 
olden days. Nowadays, we nearly always know 
what is the matter with people, but to know what 
is the matter may be, and often is, an expensive 
proceeding for a private patient. 

Elections to the Hospital staff of the medical 
officers were carried out by a vote of all the governors, 
a method not nearly so good as when election is made 
from a limited few recommended by those who are 
in the best position to know their merits—the medical 
staff. The old system had its abuses. It was said 
that in Sir Benjamin Brodie's time, he absolutely 
“ ruled the roost ” : his nominee was always elected. 
The modern method may also be criticised, for if 
amongst the candidates there is a man of marked 
character and ability, he very possibly may have 
trodden on the corns of one of the few who now have 
the selection in their hands. I have known such 
cases. In one, a candidate had been the joint author 
of a medical pantomime, in which several of his seniors 
were ridiculed in verse more or less appropriate and 
true. He was eventually elected, but a dead set 
was made against him by those whom he had 
caricatured. In another instance a prominent and 
talented physician was not elected because his father 
was a homeopath. This was to the great detriment 
of the Hospital, as the man selected could hardly be 
called his equal, and it was a visiting of the sins 
of the father upon the son with a vengeance. The 
defeated candidate was elected physician to another 
large London hospital, to the great loss of St. George's, 
and made a great name for himself. 

In former days at King's College Hospital the 
candidates for election were asked if they were ready 
to sign the Thirty-nine Articles. 



When a St. George’s man, McHardy by name, was 
asked this question on his election as Ophthalmic 
Surgeon—he answered “ Forty if you like.” 

McHardy was the grandson of Nelson’s signal 
lieutenant at Trafalgar, and told me that his grand¬ 
father had gone down to Nelson’s cabin about altering 
the word “ confides ” into u expects ” in the cele¬ 
brated signal. Nelson was on his knees engaged in 
prayer. The lieutenant was about to retire when 
Nelson got up and said, “ What is it ? Duty first.” 
And when told agreed to the alteration of the 

The work of the Hospital was done by the secretary, 
and one of the treasurers. The lay governors sat on 

I remember one amusing case of a governor who 
took great interest in the case of a fair dancer patient 
when fair dancers were not nearly so numerous as 
they are now. He sent her champagne and other 
delicacies, of which she was not allowed to partake. 
This unseemly kindness offended the puritan spirit 
of the Victorian age and the peccant old gentleman 
was duly tried, and I think reprimanded by his fellow 
governors. He attributed his conduct to the dictates 
of humanity rather than to the love of the beautiful. 

The treasurers of St. George’s Hospital, when I 
first joined, were the Dukes of Westminster and 
Richmond and Colonel Haygarth. The latter was 
the man who did all the work. He had been an 
officer in the Guards and was wounded at the Battle 
of Alma. One day he told me how he was wounded. 
He saw a Russian about to bayonet a brother officer, 
so he snatched up a rifle and shot him. At almost the 
same moment he himself was shot in the thigh and 
shoulder. Very curiously, on the evening of that day 
I was looking over some old letters written by an 
uncle of mine, who was in the Crimea with the Guards, 


[To face page 78. 



in which he told my father about Haygarth, and said 
that he was then at Malta doing well. 

The chief work of the Hospital fifty years ago 
was done by the secretary and the resident medical 
officer. The day of energetic treasurers like Sydney 
Holland (now Lord Knutsford) had not dawned, 
and there was very much less individual advertise¬ 
ment of hospitals than there is at the present time. 
When Colonel Haygarth resigned, he was succeeded, 
for a short time, by Mr. Moss, after whom came Mr. 
Timothy Holmes, who had been surgeon to the 
Hospital. Mr. Holmes was a capable treasurer, but 
perhaps a little old for his office. He was a man of 
rigid morality himself, but when it was a question of 
the employment of an expert (not medical) about 
some considerable hospital work, and it was pointed 
out by the “unco guid” that this gentleman had figured 
in the divorce court, Mr. Holmes said, “ Eh ! but 
I don’t see that that will make him any the worse 
at his work,” and he was appointed to do the job. 

After Mr. Holmes, who was assisted during the 
latter part of his office by Mr. West, as deputy 
treasurer, there came the great controversy as to 
whether St. George’s Hospital should remain where 
it is, or be removed to the wilds of Clapham and 
Streatham, or some suburban place. This split 
the governors into two opposing factions. The staff 
of the Hospital, with two exceptions, were strongly 
in favour of remaining at Hyde Park Corner. The 
struggle went on for some years, not to the benefit 
of the Hospital, and engendered a good deal of ill- 
feeling. The difficulties of removal were and are 
almost unsurmountable. The Hospital in those days 
was built on ground, part of which belonged to the 
governors of the Hospital, part held by them on an 
ordinary tenancy from the Duke of Westminster, and 
part held also from him but on a peppercorn lease, 



so long as it was used as a hospital. The value of 
the site was estimated at anything up to half a million 
of money. We who were opposed to its removal 
offered our antagonists to advertise it for a year, 
confident as we were that no adequate offer would be 
received. This confidence was justified. The best 
offer made was one of about £300,000, but the security 
even for this money was not thought to be sufficient. 
All thought of removal of the Hospital has long been 
abandoned. If St. George's had been taken away 
from Hyde Park Corner, there would have been 
no hospital between Charing Cross and Westminster 
and the West London Hospital, and it was admitted 

then bv those who wished to remove it from its site, 

*/ ' 

that some receiving station for accidents and urgent 
cases at Hyde Park Corner was necessary. 

I believe too, myself, that removal would have 
wrecked the School entirely. The perpetual talking 
about removal, for years did both School and Hospital 
an infinity of harm. 

St. George's is now run like most other large 
hospitals, by a deputy treasurer, who does much of 
the work that in former years was relegated to the 
secretary, and is ruled by a House Committee which 
has taken on the functions of the open board that 
used to exist, and out of its members are composed 
all the various sub-committees, such as nursing, 
finance, and so on. This makes for expedition of 
work, but I am not sure that in some ways it is not 
a bad thing. A much larger number of influential 
people in the old days took a personal interest in the 
well-being of St. George's. 

The medical and surgical work of the Hospital 
when I joined was absolutely different from the 
medical and surgical work that goes on there now. 
I suppose there has never been such a revolution of 
methods and abandonment of old rule-of-thumb ideas 



in favour of more scientific and accurate diagnosis 
and treatment. I can speak most of surgery, as that 
has been my life-long vocation. The surgery of the 
seventies and even the early eighties was dirty and 
septic, and we who had to do with this class of work 
learnt many a wrinkle of how to deal with septic 
cases. Nothing impressed me more during my work 
in the Great War than the ignorance of the younger 
generation of surgeons, who had been brought up 
on antiseptic or aseptic surgery, of what it was neces¬ 
sary to do when a case went septic. There was, 
through the nature of the wounds, a great deal of 
sepsis during the late War, which eventually was 
treated by the practice of cutting away all the 
infected parts. This practice did not obtain recognition 
in the early days of the War. 

The operations in the early seventies were done 
by the surgeons, in dirty overall coats, seldom washed, 
and sometimes the more bloodstained they were, the 
more proud was the operator. The wonder is that so 
many people survived. There arose in consequence 
of this septicity, a school of surgeons who were for 
leaving things alone, and only operating in cases of 

Even when I was house-surgeon in 1879, one never 
wore the clean, white, washable coat, and india-rubber 
gloves were not known. One used to have various 
things like needles, hair-lip pins, artery forceps, silk 
waxed ligatures stuck about one’s coat buttonhole 
with an utter disregard of possible sepsis. Lister, 
indeed, had to clear out an Augean stable, and like 
all reformers was assailed by misrepresentation and 
even abuse. The seniors especially were dead against 
the germ theory of diseases and all that it entailed. 
We, the younger men, used occasionally anyhow to 
go down to King’s College Hospital and watch Lister 
operate, the seniors never, and yet they had the 

8 2 


audacity, with an exceedingly incomplete knowledge 
of the so-called antiseptic methods, to approach 
operations the success of which entirely depended on 
asepsis. I have seen, myself, a surgeon during the 
performance of a delicate operation on the knee joint, 
take his unwashed hand from his trouser pocket and 
put it into the operation wound, and then they 
wondered that these wounds suppurated, and 
attributed the failure of the operation, not to their 
uncleanliness, but to errors in the method of treatment 
advocated by Lister. 

The latter was constantly placed in a very delicate 
position, when his opinion as to the advisability of an 
operation was asked. The answer should have been, 
“ The operation should be done if I do it. You are 
not capable of doing it.” This was too hard a thing 
for a man of Lister’s modest temperament to say 
directly, and so operations had to be forbidden, 
instead of done by a competent antiseptic surgeon. 
There never was a more modest man than Lister, yet 
strangely enough in his senile days he became obsessed 
with the idea that his services to science and humanity 
had not been adequately recognised by the profession. 

Lister, at the Medical Society in 1882, was cheered 
when he showed his then marvellous results of opera¬ 
tion on the patella (knee-cap). He paused and said, 
“ Thank you, gentlemen, for that cheer; it is the first 
I have had since I came to London five years ago.” 
I read a paper at the Clinical Society on the first 
fifty of such cases which showed that other surgeons 
could not do as Lister did. Lister was kind enough 
to attend and speak. The older surgeons talked a 
lot of nonsense which must have been very aggravat¬ 
ing to Lister. But all pioneers are at first misunder¬ 
stood and abused. Harvey, the discoverer of the 
circulation of the blood, was an instance of this. 
As I ventured to say in an introductory address 



that I gave at St. George’s in 1898, he had saved 
more lives than the mightiest soldier has ever caused 
to be sacrificed, and all the modern aseptic treatment 
with its certain results and hugely enlarged fields 
of possibility, all this is due to the genius of Lister 
putting Pasteur’s discoveries about fermentation to 
the practical aid of surgery. 

Just occasionally, even in the seventies, there 
was an accidental aseptic case, but as a rule there 
was what was called traumatic fever after an opera¬ 
tion, and one of the qualities of a good surgeon, was 
to find out and to know whether his patient was a 
good subject for operation. There is sometimes, per¬ 
haps, something mental in this. Mr. Brudenell 
Carter, who served in the Crimea, told me the story 
of a sergeant in the Guards who got a gun-shot wound 
of the knee-joint, in those days supposed to be a 
mortal wound. He was informed, in answer to a 
question of his, that his chances of recovery were 
not great, but when next visited by his surgeon, he 
was doing unexpectedly well, and he said to the 
medical officer, “ I have been thinking over what 
you told me, sir, but I have decided that I mean to 
get well, and see the old woman and my children 
again.” He did recover. 

Sir James Paget in one of his excellent lectures, 
and I never heard a finer lecturer, described how a 
prominent politician of the Georgian period had an 
operation performed for a tumour near the hip. 
He died of sepsis, and Paget was inclined to attribute 
this to the fact that he approached the operation 
“ without hope and without fear.” Personally I 
cannot agree with this conclusion. The old saying, 
“ Good healing flesh ” had a great deal of meaning 
in the old septic days. Later on, many a time, 
when my patients have told me that “ mine is such 
a good healing flesh,” I have explained to them that 


modern aseptic surgery makes the possession of this 
virtue of quite secondary advantage. 

The hospital patients of those days were taken 
from a lower social order than one finds in hospitals 
nowadays. Some were great characters and some 
could neither read nor write, but those people 
who could neither read nor write were often very 
excellent observers of human nature and effects, 
and many an apt and witty remark would often come 
from the person who was “ no scholard.” The British 
workman in those days had but one desire—to get 
well quickly, to return to his work, and once more to 
support his wife and family. Malingerers stretching 
out their periods of “ total and partial disability ” 
were few and far between. There were, it is true, 
even then some patients who enjoyed their ill health 
and convalescence after an operation. Modern sur¬ 
gery sometimes gets patients well all too quickly 
for their desire. In Lancashire, I believe that when 
a young man asks the Lancashire lass in holy 
matrimony she replies, “ Oh, yes, I will marry you, 
Jack, but you must give me my dues of courting.” 
In the same way some people want their dues of 
operation. I remember well an old servant of my 
mother-in-law’s who demanded these dues for six 
months, although her wound had healed and she was 
perfectly well at the end of two weeks. 

The floors of the Hospital were very irregular and, 
I think, made of oak. I have known of more than 
one case of broken leg from a slippery floor. We had 
amongst the visiting governors a gallant Admiral, 
Pearce by name, who had lost his leg in the Crimea, 
and who used to walk about on a wooden one. When 
all the Hospital was re-floored, I think, with polished 
teak, the Admiral could no longer stick it with his 
wooden leg, and gave up attending St. George’s, 
to the great regret of his fellow governors and the 


medical staff with whom he was deservedly popular. 
He told me of some of the rough-and-ready surgery 
in the Navy in Crimean periods, when it was the 
fashion to open a glandular abscess in a barbarous 
way, by the insertion of a sharp hook and pulling 
it out with but little reference to anatomy or risk. 

One patient distressed and amused me very much, 
when during a minor operation that was being effected 
with but moderate skill without any anaesthetic, he 
turned his eyes heavenwards and said, “ Good Lord, 
help Dr. Tomkins.’’ I was not Tomkins. 

There was one patient, a chronic grumbler at 
everything and everybody, who finally had an opera¬ 
tion performed on him, and he was approached by 
the house-surgeon one morning, who said in a chaff¬ 
ing way, “ Well, what have you got to grumble about 
this morning?” “Well, sir,” said the man, “is 
this the right thing for me to have in my dressings ? ” 
Arid a scalpel (a small surgical knife) had accidentally 
been enclosed within his bandages close to the wound. 

The neighbourhood of St. George’s was quite 
different in those old davs from what it is now, and 
there were some very fine slums about Sloane Street, 
and it was from this neighbourhood that many of 
the maternity cases came. Students had to look 
after patients under the supervision of a resident 
obstetric officer who lived at the Hospital, and some¬ 
times made very curious mistakes. There was one 
student, not very blessed with brains, who was un¬ 
remitting in his attentions to a patient who produced 
a baby one month after he had sat up two nights 
running in the immediate anticipation of this event. 

Human nature is the same in all walks of life, 
and the dear old lady out-patients of those days used 
to want in a minor degree what more exalted ladies, 
believing in tonics and drugs, accepted from a private 
doctor. I am afraid that I constantly used to take 



refuge in prescribing a white mixture something like 
Epsom salts. One day one of these ladies came to 
seek my advice and I asked after her friend and 
whether she took my medicine, “ Oh, yes, sir,” said 
she, “ she do treasure it up like gold.” 

Long afterwards when I was surgeon to the Hos¬ 
pital I had under my care a little boy on whom 
I had done an abdominal operation. He had to be 
fed artificially. On one occasion, just at the other 
patients’ dinner hour, when this proceeding was over, 
he turned to the nurse and said, “ I suppose now nurse, 
I ought to say Grace.” 



Although I had been so lazy and good-for-nothing at 
school, when I went to St. George’s Hospital I worked 
almost as hard as it is possible for any one to do. 
Starting at nine o’clock in the morning at St. George’s 
Hospital, I remained there at work until four, except 
for half an hour for luncheon. Walked across the 
Park to my father’s house, read from half-past four 
to half-past seven, started again at nine o’clock and 
read always till half-past twelve or one, sometimes 
as late as three a.m. I practically took no holidays 
except for football on Saturdays ; sometimes on a 
Wednesday afternoon, but not often. I used to run 
at Lillie Bridge, which was then the great athletic 
ground. I do not suppose that my amusements cost 
my father £10 in the year. One of my friends at the 
Hospital, astonished at the hours that I was able to 
work, said to me, “ Why, Turner, you work like a 
German.” The result of this work was that theoretic¬ 
ally I knew my subjects almost by heart, and whilst 
I was a student I was lucky enough to win every 
prize and scholarship that I entered for, in one case 
beating some one a year senior to myself for what we 
called the “ Big William Brown Scholarship.” When 
I eventually, in 1880, at the age of twenty-five, passed 
my final Fellowship examination, Mr. Holmes, one 
of the examiners, told mv father that I was first of 
all the candidates up for examination. 

When I obtained the Licentiateship of the Royal 




College of Physicians, the President, before reading 
out the names of the successful candidates, said, 
“ The examiners desire to express their appreciation 
of the way in which Mr. Turner has passed his 
examination.” I believe I got full marks for every 

All this was a very marked difference from my 
career at Uppingham, where masters tried to drive 
one to work at uncongenial subjects, gave little or 
no encouragement, and took little if any interest in 
any individual boy’s success or failure. 

My memory was good, and I attributed my 
success to this and hard work rather than to 
intellectual ability. Very few students physically 
could have worked as much as I did, and I started 
fresh, not tired from work at school. 

Very early in my career I had to teach other 
people, for having obtained the prize in anatomy in 
my second year, I was made assistant demonstrator 
of anatomy, and a year afterwards, senior demon¬ 
strator, and had, whilst still a student, to give a 
course of lectures on osteology (bones). 

Medical students traditionally have high spirits. 
I never had any difficulty with them except on one 
occasion when a young gentleman, who afterwards 
played football for England, threw a paper dart 
across the lecture theatre. I asked him to leave the 
theatre and reminded him that perhaps six months 
previously, such an incident might have been followed 
at school by a flogging, but at the Hospital one had 
to depend on the good taste and good feeling of the 
students for the maintenance of order during lectures. 
He was a very good fellow, and apologised. 

Almost as soon as I was qualified, I was elected 
assistant house-surgeon and six months afterwards 
house-surgeon to the Hospital, living there for a 
year of my life, and having to render first aid to all 


the casualties and look after one half of the surgical 
patients in the Hospital. 

The public has often a mistaken idea of what 
constitutes a house surgeon. His duties are onerous 
and responsible, but at his back he always has the 
visiting surgeon, for whom he can send in cases of 
necessity, and who visits the hospital nowadays 
almost daily, in my time about three times a week, 
and superintends all the surgical cases in the hospital. 
The house-surgeon is an understudy not a chief 
surgeon ; but in emergencies in my time, he had 
constantly to perform critical operations. Nowadays, 
as a rule, there is a resident surgeon who does such 

After my time as house-surgeon had ceased, I 
was appointed senior demonstrator of anatomy, and 
later on, surgical registrar and anaesthetist. 

As surgical registrar one had to take notes of all 
the surgical cases admitted into the Hospital, an 
arduous, sisyphus-like undertaking. I held this 
post for two years and it trained me in the methods 
of cross-examination. The difficulty to get the 
truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth 
from a patient, is as great as that which a counsel 
experiences with a witness in a court of law. 

I gave anaesthetics about a thousand times and 
am thankful to say I never had a death or any anxiety. 
Much less was made in those days of the giving of 
anaesthetics. In Edinburgh, students—non-qualified 
men—used to give them. This, however, I believe 
to be a dangerous practice, especially with chloroform. 
I was in Edinburgh some two or three months and 
by the kindness of Mr. Annandale and Mr. John 
Chiene, I followed the surgical practice at the 
Infirmary there, and certainly on five or six occasions 
I saw the surgeon stop in his operation and come to 
the assistance of the student who was giving the 



anaesthetic—either too much or too little. Nowadays, 
very properly, the importance of the anaesthetist 
is not forgotten ; indeed, I have known a physician 
anaesthetist who thought an anaesthetist was the 
highest act of God. He could see no wrong even 
when I complained to him that one of his juniors had 
left my patient to whom he was giving an anaesthetic, 
and went for a chat with a friend in a neighbouring 
room. During his temporary disappearance, I ceased 
my operation and waited until he came back. How¬ 
soever well a patient may be under an anaesthetic, 
sudden vomiting may be fatal in an unattended case. 

Whilst I was waiting, heir apparent to the visiting 
staff of St. George's, I was lucky enough to be elected 
visiting surgeon to the Dreadnought Hospital at 
Greenwich, where I had the care of some seventy 
beds. It was some six months after I had obtained 
my Fellowship, and I was only twenty-five years of 
age. I used to visit this hospital for over seventeen 
years twice a week, until I became full surgeon at 
St. George's Hospital. 

At the time of the institution of the School for 
Tropical Medicine at the Albert Docks, the committee 
of the Seamen’s Hospital Society made and published 
their plans without consulting the staff of the Dread¬ 
nought. Although they advertised the fact that we 
were all to teach, the only medical officer who was 
consulted was one physician not connected with the 
parent institution, and this was done secretly. I do 
not want to rake up an old controversy, but as a 
result of the committee's high-handed proceedings 
the whole of the medical staff of the Dreadnought 
resigned, and feeling in the medical profession was for 
a time so strong that it was difficult to find any one 
to fill their places. 

In all, I was thirty years on the visiting staff of 
St. George's Hospital. Ten years as assistant surgeon 


and twenty as full surgeon, from 1887 to 1918. 
This was the time when, owing to Lister’s discoveries 
and teaching, surgery was revolutionised and all 
sorts of pioneer work was done, so we surgeons of 
that period had, whether we liked it or not, to be 
pioneers, and constantly had to approach operations 
that we had never seen performed before, and some¬ 
times had to initiate others that had never been done 
before. Matters had so improved that before the 
War many of the younger surgeons hardly knew what 
sepsis was and had little or no experience of septic 
conditions. The War wounds, however, were some 
of them septic ab initio and others became septic 
from the lapse of time before they were treated, so 
that great as aseptic surgery is and was, antiseptic 
surgery had to be largely revived, and there was, in 
many cases of necessity, a reversion to antiseptics 
which had been almost given up. 

Since 1918 I have been consulting surgeon to the 
Hospital, a purely honorary post, but I have retained 
my connection with it as a member of the house and 
other committees of management. 

Now (1930) after fifty years’ service as a governor 
of St. George’s Hospital I have resigned my post on 
the House Committee, and being a medical man have 
received no thanks of any description. Had I 
been a layman all sorts of flowers of rhetoric would 
have been laid on my committee tomb. 

It was the custom to collect cases of interest and 
send them up to the College of Surgeons to be 
examined by the candidates who were up for their 
degrees. Each patient spent the day there, had a 
good dinner, and was given five shillings. 

On one occasion I had enumerated and explained 
all these advantages to a young man and had succeeded 
in persuading him to go and be examined by the 
“ young doctors.” 



Just as I was leaving the ward, I felt my arm 
plucked, and turning round saw that I had been 
followed by the patient, who said, “ I say, no 
cutting ! ” 

He was in doubt as to whether he was to be cut and 
carved, as Mrs. Raddle would have said, by the young 

Most of the cases sent up returned full of pride in 
the mysterious nature of their disorders that had 
puzzled so many of the faculty. 

The place where the residents live at St. George’s, 
although it is i, St. George’s Place, is still termed 
“ The Cottage.” The original St. George’s Hospital 
was Lanesborough House, and in its neighbourhood 
was a cottage in which the residents lived. Whilst 
I was in “ The Cottage,” we were each provided with 
a tumbler of milk for supper, about 9 p.m., that was 
placed on the tables in our rooms. One of us, the 
obstetric assistant, had a habit of visiting the other 
rooms as he passed upstairs to his own on the top 
floor, and not uncommonly he would say, “ Ha, 
milk ” and take up another man’s tumbler and 
drink it, pass up to another storey and repeat the 
process with the same apparent wonder that the 
tumbler was on the table. This went on for some 
little time, when it was thought advisable to put a 
little tartar emetic in the tumblers of those who 
occupied the two lower rooms. The gentleman 
fell into the trap, and after his pint of doctored milk 
began to wonder why he felt so ill. Milk afterwards 
was a sacred thing to him and he never touched it. 
This tartar emetic was commonly given to those who 
came into the Hospital drunk and sometimes dis¬ 
orderly, and it was curious and interesting to see 
their gradual loss of hilarity, and their approach to the 
mental and bodily condition that one usually sees 
on board ship during a gale. 



In the olden days, the fashionable doctor who 
rolled about in his brougham with a pair of horses 
was often very ignorant of his profession. A good 
presence and a good bedside manner were some¬ 
times of greater use than scientific knowledge. In 
London, too, when in difficulties he could always 
call in a second opinion. One of these gentry, 
whose bulletins about the condition of a certain well- 
known duchess were every day in The Times and 
Morning Post, used to come in the evening to “ The 
Cottage,” and in a friendly way pick the brains of the 
resident house physicians. We house-surgeons were 
not honoured in this fashion. The comparatively 
ignorant surgeon in private practice who undertook 
operations used to get some assistant surgeon con¬ 
nected with a large hospital to see him through. I 
may say that a clever assistant who saw that an 
inexperienced operator did what was told him, could 
guide even a student through most of the operations 
that were then done. It would be different nowadays, 
when operations are so highly specialised. It still 
remains a wicked thing for an inexperienced man to 
be brave and confident in himself at the expense of 
a trusting patient. During the War, it followed of 
necessity that many inexperienced surgeons had to 
operate in cases of emergency, but this should not 
be so in civil practice. 

A surgeon sometimes operates not knowing of the 
secret intentions of his patients. Two of my patients, 
both colonels, told me afterwards that in case of 
the failure of my operation, they had made arrange¬ 
ments to commit suicide in the Surgical Home, one 
had some prussic acid, the other a revolver. Thank 
heaven, both did well. A nice thing for me if anything 
had gone wrong! It should be remembered that in 
any operation it depends on the surgeon, his assistants, 
the nurses, those who have charge of the instruments 



and dressings and of the anaesthetic, whether a 
favourable result is achieved. If there is any want 
of cleanliness amongst some six different people, 
the blame will fall on the surgeon. I have often 
thought of this when reading Shakespeare’s soliloquy 
of Henry V , “ Upon the King, etc.” 

In the more restful times of old, with so many 
professional things to think of and to do, some of the 
older surgeons seldom went out and were not familiar 
with the jargon of social life and such things as 
games of cards. It is related that Mr. Whittaker 
Hulke, who was the son of the man who looked after 
the great Duke of Wellington, and was President of 
the College of Surgeons, was asked after dinner at a 
party whether he would “ like a little nap.” The 
old gentleman became very indignant, and said he 
did not want to sleep at all. 

I remember assisting Mr. George Pollock at an 
examination of candidates for the R.A.M.C. It was 
at a time when the services were boycotted by the 
best of young medical men, and at first I did not 
tumble to the reason of the eccentricity of his marking. 
He would give 75 per cent, to a young doctor who 
looked a gentleman, and only 50 per cent, to a much 
more intelligent medico who did not look like a 
gentleman. They were all doctors, and he was 
choosing those that he thought would be best for 
the Army Medical Service. He was the son of a 
field-marshal himself, and no doubt knew what was 
desired by the “ combatant ” officers. 

Mr. Pollock never left London for a holiday, and 
was of the opinion that a medical man should have no 

He once, when I was his house-surgeon, caught me 
laughing at him. He merely said to the students : 
“Well, Turner may laugh, but I am right all the same.” 

At one time I was surgical honorary secretary to 



the Medical Society of London. One had to attend 
all the meetings, and being of a gouty habit of body 
I got all the gout specialists to read medical papers ; 
the surgical papers, being a surgeon, interested me, 
and I took this method not to be bored by the 
physicians. One especially was all for a vegetable 
diet to ward off the ills of uric acid, but he could not 
answer Mr. P. J. Freyer’s question—that if this was 
true, why did the rice eaters of India suffer so 
enormously from stone ?—uric acid calculi—Freyer 
it was said received a £10,000 fee from a Maharajah 
and refused to refund this when urged to do so by the 
Indian Government. I don’t know how far this is 
true, but he left the Indian Medical Service and was 
afterwards a successful London surgeon. 

Sir James Crichton-Browne, still happily with us, 
was the president when I was secretary—and is a 
striking example of how not to grow old. I am not 
bad myself, when riding a motor-cycle at seventy-two 
from Brighton to London and back in a day, and 
driving a motor-car 220 miles without stopping, except 
for petrol. 

I attribute any juvenility I may have to punching 
a ball and riding a home trainer nearly every morning. 
It does not take more than five or ten minutes, and 
you can laze the rest of the day. 

Another admirable exercise for an old man is 
dancing. I took to it some eight years ago, cured a 
gouty knee that beat “ the doctors ” and became 
in many ways quite young again. One is sorry 
for May dancing with December, so I danced chiefly 
with lady instructresses. I always got a good partner 
and they were not wasting their time. I might be 
dancing still had not my best partner—a very 
charming lady—married and left London. 

About high heels for women. When I was a 
student we were taught that they led to all sorts of 



ills—internal displacements of important organs, etc. 
Nowadays my friend Sir W. Arbuthnot Lane openly 
advocates them, and that women should be digiti- 
grade—walk on their toes—rather then plantigrade— 
walk on the soles of their feet. Personally I don’t 
mind so long as the toes are not cramped to fit the 
fine point of the shoe. The second toe should be the 
longest—not the great one—and all the muscles of 
the foot are grouped round a line drawn through its 

A shoe or boot should have a rounded toe and be 
without blocks. 

Middle-aged people have a tendency to get stout. 
It does not do to interfere too much with nature. A 
doctor friend of mine boasted to me how he had 
taken off three stones. He looked it, the skin of his 
neck hung in great folds in its looseness. I was not 
surprised to hear soon after that he had been carried 
off by pneumonia. He had nothing to live upon, 
no fat to keep him alive. 

There is a wrong kind of fatness that one sees 
in the self-indulgent and alcoholic—a flushed face— 
a big corporation, an enlarged liver, and thin legs. 
Carlsbad and abstinence are here the proper remedies. 
They are too lazy as a rule to take the sovereign 
remedy exercise, hence their “ lean shanks ” before 
they are “ slippered pantaloons.” 



After I left school I did a little running at the Star 
Grounds, Fulham, and subsequently became a life 
member of the Amateur Athletic Club, whose head¬ 
quarters were at Lillie Bridge, under the super¬ 
intendence of J. G. Chambers—the old Cambridge 
oar and coach. At Lillie Bridge we ran almost daily 
in all weathers and all seasons, and so kept fit and 
well. There are very few alive who can say that they 
ran at the Star, Lillie Bridge and Stamford Bridge. 
I did the latter at St. George’s sports—when I was on 
the staff—in a veterans’ race which I won, as the 
handicapper had forgotten or never known that 
when a student I had won the hurdle race at the 
United Hospital xAthletic Sports three years running 
and had been second in the quarter of a mile, and 
had thought more of age than of my athletic past. 

It is not often that one talks during a race— 
especially during a hurdle race—but on one of the 
occasions when I won at the United Hospital Sports 
an old schoolfellow and friend of mine, who was very 
anxious that St. George’s should win the shield 
(which we did), came up to the penultimate hurdle 
and shouted at me to “ come on.” I was jumping 
carefully to avoid a fall, and replied, in mid-air, 
“ It is all right.” 

The style of hurdling then was very different from 
what it is now. We did the trois temps , that is three 
strides between each hurdle, but the front leg was not 

97 h 



held as straight as it is now when striding over the 
hurdle. A man who did the course in sixteen seconds 
was a champion. Lord Burghley, I think, has done 
fourteen and two-fifths seconds, and this in 120 yards 
is an enormous difference. My mother came to see 
me run in the hurdle race I have described, but was 
so anxious that I should win she could not bear to 
look at it, so closed her eyes ! 

London all round Earl’s Court has changed 
enormously ; as we walked to Lillie Bridge we had 
to pass a turnip field close to the station. There 
was a small iron church for the spiritual needs of the 

Professional running in the seventies had sunk to 
a very low ebb. There were still Sheffield Handicaps, 
where the stakes were good and betting fairly heavy. 
It was not always the professional runner who 
“ pulled ” himself. Constantly he did not know 
whether he was out to win or not, but his owner, the 
man who kept him during his training, would tell 
him to do all he could, and it was not until in the 
race itself he realised that he was running with a 
piece of metal in the sole of his running shoe. Accord¬ 
ing to the weight of this, the “ pro ” was handicapped 
the necessary two, three, or four yards in the hundred. 
I once saw at Lillie Bridge, in a heat of a professional 
short-distance handicap, three runners, none of whom 
was “ on the job.” The cleverest stumbled and 
fell at the start. There was an apparent terrific 
contest between the other two until each of them 
realised the other was not trying. They then 
deliberately stopped and neither would break the 
worsted. Of course the heat was declared void, and 
all betting also. One of these competitors assumed a 
most injured air when he was booed and hissed by the 
crowd, but as he got behind the pavilion, I saw him 
burst into a fit of laughter. No wonder that pro- 


fessional running has not survived these practices. 
I am not saying for one moment that all professional 
running was of this nature. I knew several ‘ ‘ pros ’ 1 who 
used to act as trainers for us amateur athletes, whose 
career on the path had been without reproach, but I 
was told by one of them that the celebrated Indian 
“ Deerfoot,” who won a large number of long-distance 
races, ran against non-triers. When eventually our 
English runners were slipped against him and really 
tried, they had no difficulty in beating him. The 
advice of old Harry Andrews, the father of a very 
numerous family, “ to eat light and run ffingry,” is 
very good, not only in running, but I think, in nearly 
all contests where hand and eye have to go together. 

I was much amused at a criticism by one of these 
professionals, Bob Rogers, of the most beautiful 
lady in London. He could not appreciate the beauty 
of her classical features, nor could he put up with the 
whiteness of her complexion. “ I like ’em,” he said, 
u with a little bit of colour in ’em.” This was before 
the days of the professional beauties. 

Any lady who used rouge or powder to any extent 
was taboo—not respectable. 

There was, however, a peeress who enamelled, 
rouged, and painted ; when expostulated with, she 
defended herself by saying it made her “ so beautiful 
that even the little boys in Sloane Street could not 
help looking at her.” 

I saw her walking there once—and everybody did 
look at her. 

What a difference from the present day! But 
not so long ago I saw a gentleman, before he got to 
Newmarket, in a railway carriage, take a comb from 
his pocket and comb his moustache. 

Lately there has been some discussion about the 
diet of Varsity rowing crews and athletes. What suits 
one man may not suit another. A nephew of mine, 



of the lean kind, ran for Cambridge against Oxford 
in the cross country race. He was a natural runner, 
but he was trained to nothing—and badly dieted—so 
that he did not run up to his form in the Inter-Varsity 
contest. Had he run very little and eaten much more 
he would have done well. In my athletic days I ate 
and drank as I liked and had a very fair percentage 
of success, gaining in all some twenty-two prizes. 
My brother did well, but would have done much 
better if he had been less severe on himself. An old 
Uppinghamian who was running for Oxford in the 
mile stayed with us for the sports. On returning 
home after a long training walk, my brother said to 
him, “ Are you going to have anything to drink, 
Chester? I’m not.” Chester didn’t, but ought to 
have, as he was not troubled with the superfluous. 

I was once out shooting in Kent; a very celebrated 
Oxford oar was one of the party, and he ate a bottle of 
pickles, so his views on diet must have been liberal. 
I have heard that the coach of the Oxford crew had 
had trouble in restraining the natural instincts of this 
hefty gentleman when he was in training. 

It is well said that every one at forty knows what 
is good for them, but I suppose we are learning in the 

I was present at the hearing of the Tichborne case 
on two or three occasions, and well remember the fat, 
twenty-two stone man, Arthur Orton, the claimant. 
Providentially for him, he was eventually found guilty 
and served some years in Her Majesty’s prisons, 
coming out, I believe, with the weight of some eleven 
stone, and living for some seven years or so after¬ 
wards. Had he not been imprisoned, he certainly 
would have died many years before he did of drink 
and fast living. 

In court I heard Coleridge use his celebrated 
phrase “ Would you be surprised to hear ? ” 



I always rather admired the Tichborne claimant 
for his audacity, and his translation of laus deo semper 
as “ the laws of God for ever ” is worthy of any 

He wrote down his philosophical reflections too, 
“ that some men has plenty brains, some men has 
plenty money ; surely those men with plenty money 
are made for those with plenty brains ”—a quotation 
from Miss Braddon that leaves little to be desired. 

I saw in court Mr. Henry Hawkins, who was 
eventually the celebrated judge in the Penge so-called 
mystery case. The victim, Mrs. Staunton, died of 
tubercular meningitis, one of the symptoms of which 
is extreme emaciation. Although she had food in her 
stomach, she was said by the local doctor to have died 
of starvation. The defence called in Dr. Bristowe, 
one of the leading physicians of London and author 
of a well-known text-book, to prove that tubercular 
meningitis was responsible for her death rather than 
any foul play on the part of the Stauntons. The 
Judge did not realise the value of this evidence as 
compared with that of the general practitioner, and 
the jury, under his direction, found the prisoners 
guilty. This created such an outcry in the medical 
profession that no less than 400 of them petitioned 
against the verdict and sentence. The latter was 
eventually altered to penal servitude—very hard lines 
on the Stauntons if, as I believe, they were guiltless. 

It sometimes happens that legal authorities do 
not appreciate the difference between the evidence of 
a man like Dr. Bristowe, at the top of his profession, 
and any one of the hundreds who scrape through 
examinations and are qualified doctors, but often 
ignorant men. In the Services no one mistakes a 
general, colonel, or other officer for a private, nor 
do they make any error in distinguishing between 
admirals and captains and blue-jackets. Yet in the 



medical profession, although there is no different 
uniform, no gold lace or stripes to distinguish them, 
there are as many ranks as there are in the fighting 

I was once called but did not give evidence in an 
arbitration case. The “ doctor ” on the other side, 
in evidence, committed the most deliberate perjury. 
I said to our leading counsel, afterwards Mr. Justice 
Shearman, “ This man is perjuring himself.’’ 11 What 

do you expect ? ” said he ; “ an expert witness.” The 
only mistake made here was that the gentleman 
forswearing himself was not expert in any single 
professional thing. It was with him, I fancy, like 
with the Apothecary in Romeo and Juliet — u My 
poverty but not my will consents.” Had the offender 
been cross-examined, or the matter referred to 
a medical jury, he would have had no chance whatever 
if he had been charged with perjury; not even his 
ignorance could have saved him. 

Mistakes are often honestly made. A well-known 
lecturer and scientist was in a railway accident near 
Winchester, and claimed huge damages. His doctor 
certified “ spinal concussion,” a then fashionable 
surgical disorder. We had a consultation, and the 
case resolved itself into one of stone from which the 
claimant had been suffering for nineteen years ! The 
doctor withdrew his spinal concussion unreservedly, 
and no harm to the insurance company resulted. 

People with a hurt limb often hold it stiff. A case 
of this took in a well-meaning but not over-curious 
medical man who was prepared to swear to anchylosis 
of the ankle joint—permanent stiff joint. 

The patient was quite honest. He held the ankle 
stiff when it was examined as he feared he was going 
to be hurt. But at a consultation before his case 
came on, when, with nobody touching him, I told him 
to move his ankle, he did it freely—to the amazement 


of the anchylosis gentleman, and his case assumed 
quite a different aspect. 

As consulting surgeon to the Railway Passenger 
Assurance Company I have done a good deal of 
insurance work. Hardly ever do companies not pay 
when they should do so, and very frequently do pay 
when they ought not to. They constantly pay for 
mistakes of the medical men who are looking after 
their clients. It is extraordinary how often adhesions 
are allowed to form after accidents, and how often 
they are overlooked by their creators. Again, too, it 
is often overlooked that gouty inflammation attacks 
injured parts, and that it is the undiagnosed gout that 
is delaying convalescence rather than remote effects 
of the injury. 

The bone-setter scores from overlooked adhesions ; 
he says one or more bones are “ out ” and breaks down 
the adhesions. No bones are “ out,” but he has done 
what the surgeon ought to have done. It is true that 
occasionally the bone-setter has rushed in “ where 
angels feared to tread ” and irreparable mischief has 
resulted, e.g. a tubercular stiff joint. His mistakes 
are not trumpeted abroad. Every one hears of his 
successes. People insist on being “ quacked ” in 
medicine as in religion, and quack and patent remedies 
do sometimes score a bull’s eye. The best remedy 
I have for my own gout is not in the pharmacopoeia 
—and orthodox imitations of some patent medicine 
successes are usually inferior to those imitated. I 
could mention some from my own experience. 

Real old-fashioned gout such as was prevalent in 
the port-wine days is now not nearly so common, but 
“ goutiness ” prevails where it is constantly over¬ 
looked, especially after injury. Many so-called golf, 
tennis, cricket accidents are purely gout on top of 
slight injury. Luckily massage and mechanical 
exercises are good for the uric acid diathesis and are 



prescribed when no gout is suspected, but many a 
tardy recovery might be a quick one if the chief 
enemy were directly attacked by alkalies and col- 

A tipsy cook came up to the Hospital with a 
broken collar-bone. This was set and the arm 
confined to her side. She never came near me for 
more than six weeks. The kitchen-maid had been 
doing the cooking and the cook’s injury had been kept 
dark from her master. 

When I removed the bandages her fingers were 
absolutely stiff. She would not let me do anything 
for them, but some years afterwards, in Kensington 
Gardens, I was hailed by a female I did not know, 
who turned out to be the cook. All her fingers had 
perfectly recovered their utility. 

Another operation case which I thought would 
result in a permanent stiff thumb got quite well by 
itself. The man was engaged in the making of 
submarine cables, “ All thumb work, sir,” as he said 
to me, “ and that’s why it got well,” and he was 
quite right. The proper treatment of adhesions and 
the necessity of early movement to prevent their 
formation is not always known to the duly qualified 
but inexperienced. 

My insurance work constantly brings home to me 
this curious ignorance of the legitimate profession on 
this subject. Every one ought to read Wharton 
Hood’s book. It is one of the most educational that 
I know of, and but little read or acted upon. 

Good insurance companies hardly ever go to 
the law courts and as they would be appealing to a 
verdict of a common mixed jury it is well that they 
don’t. Were the jury a jury of medical men to 
determine a medical or surgical question all would be 
well. Arbitration is resorted to in nearly all cases, and 
on the whole substantial justice is done. I have 


always held the view that when I appeared it was 
not as an advocate of my company, but as one 
whose object was to tell the whole surgical truth 
and to do what I could to get a really just de¬ 
cision. The arbitrators have nearly invariably taken 
my view. 

Be it said with all respect and submission, I do not 
bow to supermen or even to the House of Lords in 
the judgment of medical facts, and I don’t hesitate to 
say that I think in some cases within my recollection 
a wrong decision has been arrived at. 

Just as a superman may play a very bad rubber 
of Auction Bridge, so he may be all at sea when 
laying down the law on an essentially medical ques¬ 

I should like to say a word about age limits and 
superannuations. If they are generally enforced 
many a capable man is got rid of, if they are not a 
driveller “ may lag superfluous on the stage,” but 
what has amused me in the past has been the different 
way in which old men on committees look on much 
younger men whom they get rid of on the ground 
of age. In one case to my knowledge there was a 
young committee man of over eighty-five, who thought 
anything over sixty too old to continue work. Re¬ 
cently I walked up the Monument, I drove my car 
247 miles in one day five months ago, and six weeks 
ago spoke from memory for more than an hour and a 
half to a meeting of “Our Society” (Crimes Club),, 
have been working on Mary Queen of Scots for seven 
hours a day, yet one is superannuated as a visitor to 
the King’s Fund, the duty being to walk quietly round 
a few hospitals and to write a report, the plan of which 
is already drawn up for you. I did not and do not 
quarrel with this, but merely express a hope that all 
my superannuators may later on be as vigorous as 
I am and have as many grandchildren. 


According to the way in which they have used and 
kept the machinery of their bodies in order, individuals 
differ enormously. Some are really old at forty-five, 
others really young at seventy. Colonel Crompton 
plays squash rackets at eighty-four, and Sir J. Crichton 
Browne is over ninety and is hale and hearty. 

Lord Haldane, whom we used to call the 
metaphysical barrister, was never an athlete and 
when young looked more like a suet dumpling than 
anything else. He lived to over the allotted span of 
life. Lord Birkenhead’s brilliant genius burnt itself 
out and he has died young. He told me that when 
at Oxford he pulled himself up thirteen times on the 
horizontal bar. What a contrast in the youth of these 
two Lord Chancellors ! Lord Haldane was never 
young. Lord Birkenhead was never old. 

Lady St. Helier interested herself in municipal and 
philanthropic work up to a very advanced age, when 
she was over eighty. Her recent death allows me to 
tell a story of a poor woman who wanted a pair of 
boots. Lady St. Helier, having already given away 
all hers, had bought a new pair. The poor woman 
was given these. I was told this by her maid. She 
sent Sir Evelyn Wood to me as a patient. Rumour 
at that time said that he and Lord Roberts were not 
at one time too friendly. Of course I had a bronze 
bust of “ Bobs ” in a conspicuous position on the 
mantelpiece of my consulting-room with which to 
greet him ! 



At Sherborne in Dorsetshire, Macready the actor 
used to live at Sherborne House, and Charles Dickens 
stayed with him there. He took the “ party by the 
name of Guppy” from one of the tradesmen there; 
and there was, too, a lawyer man who had been 
actually or nearly struck off the rolls, who looked a 
sanctimonious hypocrite, and was the image of the 
illustration by Cruickshank of “ Pecksniff” in Martin 
Chuzzlewit . My father used to tell the story of the 
avidity with which each number of the Pickwick 
Papers was read as it was published, and how 
one early reader of Mr. Winkle's experiences on 
the ice got great credit when somebody said, “ How 
slippery it is,” by saying, “ Not an uncommon thing 
on ice ”—Sam Weller's words to Mr. Winkle when on 
the ice at Dingley Dell. 

I am one of Dickens's most ardent admirers—and 
love his Bob Sawyer—but I think he and Moliere 
were both a little hard on the medical profession. 
Nowadays things are so different, both theoretically 
and practically, that sneers and jibes at our former 
ignorance and pretensions “ cut no ice.” 

There were serious riots at Sherborne in 1832 
about the Reform Act. It was reported that my 
grandfather, in talking to another old Tory, Lord 
Digby, had said “ They will be demanding hot rolls 
for breakfast next.” His house was besieged by the 
mob, who shouted, “ Hot rolls for breakfast,” and my 



father described how his father and mother, both 
armed with pistols, stood by the front door in the hall 
whilst the children went by a back way through the 
garden to safety. The mob did not get into the house. 

Cavalry were sent into the town, and a somewhat 
inexperienced leader took them up Green Hill. This 
is a steep hill having on either side of it an elevated 
pathway and cottages. The mob occupied these 
coigns of vantage on each side where the cavalry 
could not touch them, and they pelted them with 
stones to their hearts’ content, forcing them to beat 
a somewhat ignominious retreat. 

Amongst the characters in Dorsetshire in the 
“ seventies ” was Mr. Marwood Yeatman, after whose 
father, Harry Farr Yeatman, the Yeatman Hospital 
at Sherborne was named. He used to turn night into 
day and day into night. When he stayed with my 
uncle he never got up till about five o’clock in the 
afternoon, and used to keep us up playing whist to 
all hours of the morning. 

Mr. Sawbridge Erie Drax, M.P. for Wareham, was 
a great character. In his park he had all sorts of 
wild animals. On one occasion he incautiously 
crossed this part of the park and was pursued by a 
buffalo. His keeper intervened and attracted the 
attention of the buffalo to himself, whilst Drax 
climbed up the circular iron railing that had been 
put round a young tree. From this stall, or dress 
circle seat, he followed the pursuit of the keeper with 
the greatest relish, and was as pleased as Punch. 
“ Go it, Buffalo ! Go it, Buffalo ! ” he shouted. 

He erected a monument to himself on his lawn, 
and at the top of a column he was shown addressing 
a listening senate. As a matter of fact, he never 
opened his mouth in the House once ! 

The pictures in one of his rooms were entirely those 
of ladies that he thought he had been in love with. 


[To face page 108 



Each had a separate story, and the old man was very 
fond of telling them. When I knew him he was one 
of the ugliest old men I ever saw, but he had no squint. 

A cousin of mine who was short-sighted and 
therefore had missed a good deal of the unconscious 
education that normal sight gives, was a frequent 
visitor at my uncle’s house in Sherborne. 

His father, an old clergyman, would not let him 
join the army, and it was only after his father’s 
death that Freddy was enabled to do so by first ol 
all joining a West India regiment, as his age was too 
great for either Woolwich or Sandhurst. 

It was just at the time when officers in the army 
begun to shave off their side-whiskers. Freddy, who 
had had a black pair of these appendages, appeared 
without them at Sherborne. When I asked him where 
they had gone to, he blushed, but did not tell me. 
Shortly afterwards I was going to run at some athletic 
sports at Blandford, and Freddy came with me. He 
was then attached to a regiment at Aldershot for the 
purpose of training. At the station he met a brother 
officer, who over-boisterously clapped him on the 
back and said, “ Hullo, Cutler ! Do you remember 
that night ? ” Freddy, who obviously liked neither 
the slap on the back, nor his friend, nor the allusion, 
again blushed but said nothing. 

When we got in the train I said, “ What happened 
that night ? ” but he would not tell me, and I could 
get nothing out of him. But later on I said to him, 
“ I will tell you what happened that night. It was 
after mess, and they told you that you ought to shave 
off your whiskers. You said you could not do that 
as you never shaved yourself. They said they would 
do it for you, and they shaved off one and left the 
other on, and all this happened on a Saturday night.” 

I was right in all respects. I thought “ what 
should I have done about Freddy’s whiskers ? ” I saw 


from the way he was greeted at the station that, being 
a little short-sighted, he was very likely rather a butt 
for the young officers at the mess, and if they had 
known he could not shave himself, they would have 
perpetrated a trick like this on a Saturday night, as 
in those days to get any shaving done on a Sunday 
would have been very difficult. This is the only time 
I ever tried to rival Sherlock Holmes. I told this 
story to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who laughed and 
asked me if it was copyright. 

I have just heard on the wireless that Labour (Feb. 
1928) is against hairdressers working on Sundays. 

Some years ago in Hertfordshire I went at five 
minutes past twelve on Saturday to the local barber 
to have my hair cut. “ Five minutes late, sir. I 
can’t do it now,” he said. “ I should be turned out 
of my union.” “ I wonder you submit to such 
tyranny,” said I. ” I hate it but must obey,” was 
his answer. Eventually I persuaded him to do it 
secretly with the blinds drawn. 

On a railway journey a few years ago I felt very 
seedy, and so at a junction went to a refreshment bar 
for a little whisky (I hate this like poison and only 
wanted it medicinally). The barmaid could not 
serve me. It was after luncheon time and before 
dinner time. I explained I was ill and a doctor and 
would “ prescribe.” No ! I could not get anything. 

The Free Foresters used to hold a Fete annually 
in the grounds of old Sherborne Castle, with fireworks 
in the evening and other diversions. My sister, 
Freddy, another cousin, Phyllis Shirley, afterwards 
Lady Newdigate, and I went to see the show. Freddy 
had a great admiration for my sister. 

There was a fair crowd, but nothing to cause any 
trouble or annoyance, but during the fireworks I went 
up to Freddy and said to him, “ What are you doing, 
Preddy ? Why don’t you keep the crowd off 


Edith ? ” upon which he barged into the crowd on 
all sides and soon cleared a ring in which two prize¬ 
fighters might have been engaged—to the very just 
indignation of the people he had pushed aside. 

His short-sightedness was such that he never 
would have done for a practical soldier, but he got 
a prize at the Royal Institution for writing the best 
treatise on the defence of England in case of invasion. 

He came of an able family and was an able man, 
and died young of phthisis. 

His uncle, Edward Cutler, was surgeon at St. 
George’s in the forties or fifties of last century. 
Dressed for hunting in “ pink,” he used to rely on a 
long overcoat to conceal his eventual destination 
when he came up to the Hospital to see his patients 
in the early morning. He was the first to make 
service as surgeon of the Guards a stepping-stone 
to private practice—and was affectionately called 
“ Uncle Edward ” by the Brigade. 

“ Old George Digby,” who built the Digby Hotel, was 
at Sherborne Castle, and Sir Richard Glynn was master 
of the Blackmore Vale. He had been in the cavalry 
and had ridden in the successful heavy brigade charge 
at Balaclava ; Scarlett’s charge which went through 
the Russians, turned and cut their way back again. 

My father was full of tales of the Blackmore Vale 
hounds with whom he hunted in the forties—he was 
also in the Yeomanry—and after a festive evening 
was nearly killed whilst removing a barber’s pole. 
Knockers also used to satisfy the high after-dinner 
spirits of the young in those days. The Gooddens 
were at Compton, and my old friend Edward Goodden 
was almost the first clergyman in the west of England 
to wear mufti during the week. 

There was no polo at Sherborne then. I saw some 
of the earliest of this game played at Lillie Bridge whilst 
it was still a running ground and I was training there. 



In my early days many young physicians and surgeons 
got a fee for certifying lunatics. This has to be done 
in some place other than a lunatic asylum. 

The late Sir Frederick Hewitt, the well-known 
anaesthetist, told me this story of himself. He had 
agreed to certify a lunatic, and the rendezvous was 
the board-room at St. George’s Hospital. There was 
a student called Swinburne who owed Hewitt half 
a crown, and he asked another student to pay the 
debt for him. The latter, Clark by name, did not 
know Hewitt by sight, but inquired of the hall porter, 
and was told that Dr. Hewitt was in the board-room. 
Clark entered and asked, “ Are you Dr. Hewitt ? ” 

“ Yes,” said Hewitt. 

“ Oh, I have come from Swinburne to see you.” 

“ Oh, yes,” said Hewitt, “ Swinburne, and what 
do you think of his poetry ? ” 

“This is nothing to do with poetry,” said Clark, 
“ I’ve come to give you half a crown from him.” 

“ Oh, yes,” said Hewitt, “ and how many half- 
crowns have you got ? ” And so they went on at 
cross purposes for some little time, Hewitt thinking 
Clark was the lunatic. Finally Clark said, “ Here’s 
your beastly half-crown,” and threw it on the floor 
as he left the room, and Hewitt sat down to make 
his report on the lunatic he had just interviewed. 
Later on the real article arrived. 

I had a rather difficult experience myself once. I 


had gone down to Dr. Tuke’s private asylum at 
Chiswick House. The beauty of the grounds and 
house is so great that I once said to Tuke, “ Verily 
thou almost persuadest me to be a lunatic.’’ 

As it was impossible for me to interview the 
suspected lunatic at the Asylum, it was suggested 
that we should take a little walk together, so out we 
went into the wilds of Chiswick. It is far from being 
a lonely or deserted place to-day. I conversed with 
the lady for some quarter of a mile and found no trace 
of insanity, and was just about to propose a return to 
Chiswick House, when she suddenly showed me that 
she was as mad as a hatter. She had, however, no 
inclination to return, but wished to divest herself of 
her raiment, so that she could better explain to me 
certain matters that were neither medical nor surgical. 
She persisted in trying to undress, and as she 
unbuttoned two buttons I managed to do up perhaps 
one. I had, however, got her headed for home, and 
although bystanders and passers-by must have 
wondered what on earth was taking place, I did 
eventually get her back to her future home, myself 
holding on most of her apparel. 

It was and is really a dangerous thing to give a 
certificate if there is any chance of recovery of the 
certified individual. 

After the late Dr. Forbes Winslow lost an action 
brought against him by a person he had once certified 
as insane, there was a great slump in the eagerness 
of young gentlemen desirous of fees to follow anything 
connected with mental medicine. 

The mentality of the criminal lunatic is very 
interesting. Although I am a medical man, I rather 
think that the views of the lawyer should prevail 
over that of the doctor, even in murder cases, and 
that the lunatic who knows that he is doing wrongs 
and does wrong, should be punished, perhaps not by 



the disgraceful death of hanging, but by a lethal 
chamber at Broadmoor. 

I knew Dr. Orange who had been head of Broad¬ 
moor and was very seriously injured by one of the 
crafty inmates. I think it was he who told me that 
a criminal lunatic had threatened to “do in ” a 
gardener, and had said to him, “ If I kill you, I shall 
not be punished, but if you kill me you will be 
hanged.” That seems to me a fair enough apprecia¬ 
tion of right and wrong, and surely a man capable of 
this reasoning should be held responsible for his 
actions, and should be dealt with by the law 

It is said that those who have to deal with lunatics 
themselves have a tendency eventually to become 
more or less mad. I think there is something in this. 
We had a cook who had formerly been cook at Tuke’s 
lunatic asylum, and she thought that nearly every 
one was mad. She used to wear a cap something like 
Old Mother Hubbard. My father, who had a sense 
of humour, expostulated with her about this extra¬ 
ordinary cap and asked her why she wore it. She said 
that if she did not wear it, she would have “ a dozen 
men buzzing about her.” She was very far from 
being a Venus, and this was a case of setting her cap 
against, rather than at, the men. 

My brother, whilst house physician at St. George’s 
Hospital, acquired from one of the patients diphtheria 
of one of his eyes, and lost most of the sight of it. 
The other eye was bandaged up to keep it from 
infection. When he was well enough to get up, the 
cook, who took the greatest interest in his case, came 
up to “ see fair ” and said to my sister, “ You mind 
the window and I’ll look after the stairs,” as though 
he were about to commit suicide. His appetite, poor 
fellow, was feeble and capricious, but cook made up 
her mind he was to have a mutton chop. She 


n 5 

brought it up to his room and put a piece on a fork. 
When he said, “ What is it ? What have you got 
there ? ” she answered him by popping a piece of the 
mutton chop into his mouth. After he had spluttered 
and swallowed this, each time he opened that organ 
to swear at her she popped in another bit. The 
humour of it eventually struck my brother, and he 
took the rest meekly and properly. 

She took the view that I was delicate on the chest 
because I liked sweetbreads. I helped to nurse my 
brother for seventy-two consecutive hours without 
going to bed, so was not exactly delicate. 

I have twice sat up all night, once playing cribbage 
—the other time going over work for examination 
for a scholarship, working against time. I won at 
cribbage and was kept up by the loser who wanted 
his revenge, and I won the scholarship. 

A junior colleague of mine at the Hospital once 
took away from me an anaesthetist that I had bespoken 
for a small operation in one of the wards. All that I 
said to him in expostulation was, “ You have kept 
me waiting a quarter of an hour.” The next day I 
got four pages of violent and undeserved abuse from 
this gentleman, and his letter commenced “ My dear 
Turner ” (we were not on “ Turner ” terms) and 
finished, “ Yours very sincerely.” In my reply I 
suggested to him that when next he wrote a letter 
of abuse, he should begin and end it in suitable 
terms, and went on to say, “ Your enmity I may 
perhaps bear, but I cannot tolerate any assumption 
of friendship from you.” Poor fellow ! I did not 
know that he was in the early stages of general 
paralysis of the insane. When I discovered this 
later on, I was sorry that I had answered him as I 
had done. Megalomania (swelled head) is the early 
symptom of this terrible disease. He died of it 
some nine to twelve months afterwards. 



In lunatic asylums the lunatics have to be periodic¬ 
ally amused. My friend Dr. Tuke used to ask us 
sometimes to come down and dance and to join in 
the festivities at Chiswick House. There was a 
spice of adventure in such dances, but as a rule one's 
partners were such that you would never have 
guessed anything was wrong. I believe in one case 
nothing really was wrong, but the lady had been 
certified through the over zeal of her husband, and 
when she inherited money, he wanted her out; but 
she was so happy and contented where she was, away 
from him, that she took her revenge on him by 
remaining at a delightful place without his society. 

Occasionally I have been asked to see a would-be 
suicide at asylums. From a utilitarian point of 
view it seems to me sometimes almost a pity to 
interfere. Lord Melbourne’s “ Why can’t you leave 
it alone ? ” would not be so very wrong. Personally, 
if ever I were to lose my reason, I say now, being 
I hope of sound mind, that I would sooner not be 
prevented from ending a profitless existence, and 
would welcome a lethal chamber. 

When I was house-surgeon at St. George’s, a man, 
immediately after an epileptic fit, when he was in the 
status epilepticus , went for me. I took refuge behind 
a hefty porter, an ex-guardsman who had fought at 
Inkermann, and I was not hurt. If an epileptic 
commits murder when in this condition, he may have 
no memory whatever afterwards of what he has done. 
Sometimes there is only mental confusion and 
obstinacy. I remember mistaking this in a hospital 
patient for deliberate refusal to give any information 
about himself, and put the poor fellow in the padded 
room. When I went to see him after some two or 
three hours, nobody could have been more obliging 
and cheerful, and I realised what a mistake I had made. 

A friend of mine, a young doctor, went for a long 


voyage with a lunatic. The people on board ship 
knew one of them was odd in his head, and treated 
the doctor as if he were the patient. He could not 
understand the attitude of his fellow voyagers 
towards him, nor why everybody talked to him—a 
non-musical man—about violins, harps and pianos. 
A rumour had gone round that the lunatic's delusions 
were connected with musical instruments. 

Years afterwards I took this doctor to a debate 
at a meeting of a learned society on Myxcedema. In 
this disease there is a long so-called latent period 
between the reception of an idea and acting upon it. 
As we came away I asked him, “ Well, what did you 
think about it ? " “ Well," he said, “ I think I must 

have myxcedema myself," and as far as his “ latent 
period " was concerned he was not far out of it. 

He eventually took up a craze against tobacco, and 
was more intemperate on this subject than even the 
anti-alcohol fanatics. 

I never smoked until I was about sixty-five. I 
deliberately cultivated a taste for smoking then as 
so many people enjoy it that I felt I was missing one 
of the good things of life by abstinence. 

There is no doubt tobacco makes for philosophy, 
and so when one has little to look forward to and 
is “ waiting for the tomb," it is a good thing. 

Like all good things it can be abused. I have 
given it up now. 

Dr. Tuke used to give whist parties at his house in 
Albemarle Street every year after the annual dinner 
of St. George’s. It was there that I had the privilege 
of playing whist with Mr. Serjeant Ballantine, and 
also to be gently reprimanded for my errors. I 
remember now his saying to me, “ Can’t you see the 
rationale of it ? " 

I also met there a gentleman well known in the 
medical world, whose wife died under somewhat 


awkward circumstances, swallowing medicine from 
the wrong bottle. A German doctor who came over 
to London and was asked if he knew this gentleman, 
said, “ Oh, yes, he is the man who did decease his 
wife ! ” I remember him chiefly for his hawklike 
face and dirty finger nails. 

I once called a megalomaniac a “ dirty little Jew.” 
I was justly offended with him. He was little and a 
Jew, so I had only to explain the “ dirty.'' I assured 
him I had meant no reflection on his personal clean¬ 
liness, and so we left it at that. He died in a lunatic 
asylum ; at the time I had no idea he was insane, but 
he was very provocative and rude to me. 

I have a great admiration for individual members 
of the ancient Jewish race and gratitude for the 
many good stories we owe to them. I often ask 
myself, where were all the Jews when I was young ? 
One saw them so rarely; nowadays wherever you go 
you come across them—in many places where you 
are surprised to see them. How often nowadays 
are the old families gone from a country place and a 
Jewish gentleman reigns in their stead. It is quite 
common at a club nowadays to hear a Jew discussing 
hunting, shooting, fishing, breeding of horses and 
dogs, farming, and all the old pursuits and interests 
of a country gentleman and being readily able to 
accommodate himself to new walks and paths of life. 
I have no doubt that the Jew makes a good squire, 
but to an old-fashioned person like myself, whose 
boyhood was in the far-off sixties, the decline of the 
old families and old English stock is another proof 
of the flux of time and the crushing burdens that 
have been put on “ land " by overtaxation and 
cruel death duties. With the admiration I have for 
the capabilities of the Jewish race it is to me extra¬ 
ordinary they have done so badly in Russia. Granted 
that before the revolution they were oppressed, they 


are now oppressors that have shocked our civilised 
world, and have nothing to show for it—nothing 
productive has resulted—nothing but a blind and 
calculated hatred of others. 

Some people can’t keep an apology up for any 
length of time, and under provocation easily relapse. 
Three men at a club wanted a fourth for bridge ; the 
only man there would not play with one of them, a 
gallant colonel who had been rude to him—this was 
explained to the colonel—“ Oh, I’ll soon make that 
all right,” said he, and went and made a very hand¬ 
some apology, asking to have his irritability excused. 
The offended one, who was not entirely English, 
sat down to the rubber with the colonel as his partner. 
After some five minutes his lack of skill was so 
disastrous that the irascible soldier man lost all his 
control and apologetic behaviour and called him 
“ a damned Baboo.” The play naturally ceased. 
A great roulette and trente-et-quavante gambler was 
taken racing to Kempton. When asked how he 
liked it he said it was all right, but there were “ such 
terribly long intervals between the coups.” 



In 1879 I went to stay with Lady Willoughby de 
Eresby at Drummond Castle, and whilst there met 
Monsieur Benedetti, the Frenchman who was wrongly 
said to have insulted the German Emperor William 
the First at Ems. I am sure his natural politeness 
was such as to make the German version of the affair 
a wrong one. 

There was also Monsieur de la Valette, whose 
fathei s escape from execution, through the courage 
and skill of his wife, is historical. 

I met also Lord Petersham, who afterwards was 
Earl of Harrington. In spite of the disablement of 
one shoulder, he was very proficient at Polo and all 
other sports. He had consulted Sir Prescott Hewett, 
who advised a masterly inactivity as far as his 
injured shoulder was concerned. Had his accident 
occurred twenty years afterwards, an operation 
would have put him nearly right. As it was, he 
used to shoot with his one arm, and was very 
prominent in all the riding contests at the Agri¬ 
cultural Hall—Polo, etc. 

At Drummond Castle there was a ghillie, Donald 
by name, who taught me how to throw a fly for trout. 
One afternoon on the lake I, an arrant duffer, caught 
some fifteen of them in a very short time. The lake 
was an artificial one made, Lady Willoughby told me 
by her grandfather. The property had been taken 
away from the family after 1745, and when restored 



to it, the huts of the “ Hanoverian soldiery ” were so 
distasteful to her grandfather, as they could be seen 
from the drawing-room windows of the Castle, that 
he made the artificial lake to get rid of these 
unpleasant reminders of the Stuart disasters. 

Lady Willoughby very kindly offered to send 
Donald and myself up for a week’s salmon fishing, 
but I, like a young fool, refused this offer, so I have 
never learned to be a fisherman. 

I was very much touched when leaving Drum¬ 
mond Castle on tipping Donald he refused to take 
any money from me. “ No, no,” he said, “ you 
can’t afford it.” As a matter of fact, I could afford 
it, and eventually I prevailed on him to accept my 
offering. He was one of nature’s gentlemen, as 
are so many of the Scottish ghillies. 

He was as good a shot as he was a fisherman, but 
he gave the palm for interest to fishing, as one was 
never sure of your fish until landed, but could be 
certain you got your bird if once within reasonable 
distance of it. 

Lady Willoughby told me that Mary Queen of 
Scots visited the Castle. I have lately read a paper 
on this unfortunate Oueen and have verified this 
statement. She went there with Bothwell—so the 
historian Buchanan says—shortly before the murder 
of Darnley. She also hunted in the forest of 
Glenartney. Bothwell’s presence is doubtful. 

I heard a story of Field-Marshal Lord Strathnairn, 
who when shooting duck on the lake—one boat 
following another—severely peppered a gentleman in 
the boat next him. The occupants of this boat shouted 
to tell the warrior what he had done, but he, being 
rather deaf, misunderstood them and thought they 
were complimenting him on his shooting, and called 
back, “ Oh, yes, I knew I had got him that time ! ” 

Whilst at Drummond Castle, one afternoon I 


went with Lady Willoughby and General Stanhope 
to call on one of her shooting tenants. We arrived 
to find that they were out and were about to drive 
away, the General saying to Lady Willoughby, 
“ Oh, that’s all right, we’ve done the right thing, 
lucky to find them out ” unconscious of the fact that 
the lady, who had been walking in the garden, was 
then standing by the side of the carriage within half a 
yard of him. 

Lady Willoughby told me that her grandfather had 
introduced Capercailzie into Scotland. She disliked 
fish knives and forks, and was delighted that I ate 
some fish with the aid of a piece of bread. 

Her views on modern u vulgar ” stoves were 
emphatic, but the fireplaces at Drummond Castle 
were far too big for any imitation in most modern 

People often try to attune their conversation to 
what they think a man’s profession demands. A dear 
old gentleman, Mr. Heathcote, a visitor at the Castle, 
tried to interest me in the increase of lunacy in 
Scotland when I was a healthy young man of twenty- 
four. On another occasion the spread of Roman 
Catholicism in Presbyterian circles seemed to him to 
be suited to my supposed scientific mind. I had no 
interest in either lunacy or Roman Catholicism at 
that time of my life. 

I first made acquaintance of alopecia—a general 
falling off of all the hair on the body—by a lady’s 
eye-brow assuming a Mephistophelian angle one 
night at dinner, and could not at first understand it. 
Her want of eyelashes had already troubled me, 
coupled as it was with an abundance of too youthful 
hair on her head—her wig. A relative of mine suffered 
from the same complaint, but—I am told—his brown 
hair came back black. His wife had married a 
man of a different colour to that with which she was 


destined to live. Cause enough for divorce in 
America, I suppose. 

In 1880 I travelled with Charlie Mills, afterwards 
the second Lord Hillingdon, in Egypt, Palestine, 
Syria, Cyprus, Rhodes, Smyrna, Constantinople, 
Varna, Bucharest, Buda Pesth, Vienna, Paris—home. 
It was before the English occupation of Egypt. 
In Cairo there were but three hotels, Shepheard’s, 
Hotel de Nil, and the Muski. You had to ride from 
Cairo to the Pyramids ; there was no hotel there, and 
the Sphinx was not nearly so uncovered as it is now. 

We went from Alexandria to Jaffa, where the 
landing-place was somewhat difficult between two 
rocks. From Jaffa we went on to Beyrout and down 
by the coast of Tyre and Sidon to the waters of 
Meron and the sources of the Jordan. I remember 
visiting Banias—the Caesarea Philippi of the Bible 
—and then circling round to Damascus. There was 
but one road in Syria, Beyrout to Damascus, and the 
latter was then as it had been for hundreds of years— 
probably as it was in the days of Holy Writ. 

There was no lighting of any kind, and when Mills 
and I went there, the only other European in the 
town was the French Consul. The little children 
spat at us, but the adults were fairly polite. In the 
evening the bazaars were all shut and we walked 
by the light of a horn lantern to a native entertain¬ 
ment. It was exactly like a scene out of the Arabian 
Nights . 

The difference between Damascus and Cairo 
was nearly as great as the difference between Cairo 
and a European town. The street called “ Straight ” 
was, as Mark Twain described it, somewhat straighter 
than a corkscrew, but not so straight as a rainbow. 

During our tour we rode Arabs. We had a 
dragoman and about a dozen men with us. On 
striking our tents in the morning these men used to 


go on ahead so that in the evening vve found our tents 
erected where we were to stay the night. Our diet 
was not very varied, and Mahomet, the dragoman, 
used to take refuge in what he called u very good 
chicken also.” Occasionally a small lamb was 
offered up, but the chicken was our mainstay. I 
once, incautiously, saw the black cook preparing the 
food. My appetite was very small that evening. 

One night we were flooded out by a torrential 
downpour of rain, and had to take refuge in a native 
khan. Mills was fairer and more delicate of skin 
than I, and the fleas, as he said, sent down Joshua, 
the son of Nun, and Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, to 
spy out the land. Having found him suitable and 
delicate, they came in their hundreds, and he, the 
next morning, honestly had not got a square inch of 
skin without a flea-bite. I was pretty bad, but 
nothing compared with him—he had an eruption 
all over him. 

The last day of our ride back to Beyrout my poor 
Arab subsided on the ground. It was a very hot 
day and I took the saddle off, and found beneath the 
saddle a recently healed wound about the size of a 
soup plate. I found, on making inquiries, that the 
lazy Arabs never unsaddled the heated, unfortunate 
horses at night. I walked along carrying the saddle, 
and when I rejoined the party, for I had fallen behind, 
I was full of indignation with Mahomet. “ Oh, but,” 
he said, “ your horse is the best.” On all the others 
the sore was unhealed. 

We went from Beyrout to Cyprus, of which I 
remember little, except that the corn was about nine 
inches high—next to no straw. From there we went 
to the island of Rhodes ; this for two reasons. Sir 
Frederick Leighton, the President of the Royal 
Academy, was a friend of Mills, and had told him 
that the sunsets at Rhodes were only equalled by 



those over the Acropolis at Athens. Mills was a 
connoisseur of Eastern pottery and thought that he 
might pick up some good Rhodean ware. He did 
buy some, but very little, as we found that all the 
good pieces were sent for sale to London and Paris, 
and those that were not sold in these places were 
sent back to Rhodes for any tourists who might visit 
the island. 

From Rhodes we went on to Smyrna, and were 
asked by a German to go up and lunch on the hills 
above the town—to take, as he said, “ a cup of wine.” 
We went up there and had a picnic meal, the three 
of us alone. Before its conclusion the German said 
that he hoped no mauvais sujets would molest us, 
as it was the place where, a fortnight previously, 
there had been a raid by bandits who had carried off 
some prominent personage as a hostage and held him 
to ransom. Mills, the son of Sir Charles Mills, one of 
the heads of Glyn, Mills, Currie & Co., would have 
been a glorious prize for these gentry, and I was glad 
when we were safely down in the town again. 
Mahomet, too, used everywhere to proclaim Mills’s 
nobility and his friendships with English ambassa¬ 
dors with whom he was not really acquainted. 

I was much amused by an American globe-trotter 
in Egypt. I met him at Shepheard’s Hotel and asked 
him how much one ought to give the waiters and what 
he was going to do. “ Not a darned red cent do I 
give them—not a red cent. I am not coming here 
again,” and he walked out between two parallel 
rows of servants bowing to each side of them and 
saying, “ Good day to you, good day to you.” 

It reminded me of a story about Mr. George Payne, 
who when asked by an accidental gun at a big shoot 
what he ought to give the keeper said, “ Well, as 
you will never be asked here again a sovereign will 
be enough, but I shall have to give a fiver.” 



Both the American in 1881 and Mr. Payne were 
on firm ground. 

From Smyrna we went to Constantinople, arriving 
about sunset—a beautiful sunset over a beautiful 
city. But with the interior of Constantinople I was 

I was much amused at Mahomet, our dragoman. 
In Palestine, Syria, and the Islands, and even at 
Smyrna, he had been very much cock of his walk. 
His treatment of the native was, to use his own words, 
“ Give him good knock.” He was most gorgeously 
attired, and his dark features were really beautiful, 
though a little effeminate. But when he came to 
Constantinople all his finery disappeared, and he was 
the most humble of humble beings when in the 
presence of his masters, the Turks. 

Wherever we travelled we made the acquaintance 
and were entertained by heads of the Imperial 
Ottoman Bank. At Smyrna the gentleman in this 
position was most kind to us, and gave Mills and 
myself a Phoenician tear bottle. I have seen those 
at the British Museum, but think my tear bottle is 
better than anything they have there. 

In Constantinople the head of the Ottoman Bank 
asked us to dinner. The only way to get to his house 
was to walk along the Rue de Pera, “ and mind,” he 
said, “ that you keep in the middle of the road and 
have your revolvers handy.” This was in 1880, 
two years after the Russo-Turkish War. There 
were large numbers of disbanded Turkish soldiery, 
poor fellows with no money and nothing to eat, and 
they used sometimes to assault and rob people in 
the streets. We made our journey to and fro 
without adventure. 

While at Constantinople we went on Friday and 
saw the Sultan go to Mosque. 

From Constantinople we crossed the Black Sea 


to Varna in a gale. As far as I remember, we went 
on from there to Bucharest, in those days a dull, 
God-forsaken place with nothing to look at but some 
Turkish guns taken from the Gravitska redoubt at 
Plevna, and nothing to do but to ride about a very 
third-rate sort of park. 

From Bucharest we went eventually to Buda 
Pesth and Vienna, passing through the Iron Gates 
of the Danube. It was somewhere about here that 
I saw an unfortunate sturgeon, stuffed and crammed 
with bran and ice, so that the caviare would be fresh 
when he eventually arrived at Vienna. 

Whilst at Rhodes, and to a less extent at Cyprus, I 
was much struck by the classic and beautiful features 
of the male inhabitants, but there was a great lack 
of expression in their faces. 

In Rhodes it was rumoured that I was a cele¬ 
brated English Hakim, and the next morning after 
our arrival all the halt, lame, blind, and tubercular 
were round our tents. We had nothing in the way 
of medicines except a small travelling medicine chest. 
Luckily, in some of the bottles were some gorgeous 
colours, and I endeavoured to minister to the mind 
of some of the patients by a watery dilution of these. 
The poor people would not take my assertion that 
I could do nothing for them, so I had recourse to this 
subterfuge. Several of them came back the next day 
to say how much better they were. 

Mills, who was nothing if not kind-hearted, I 
believe made arrangements to have several consign¬ 
ments of cod-liver oil and other suitable remedies 
sent out to them. I hope they got them. 

Mahomet took leave of us at Constantinople and 
refused to be paid in cash. He was afraid of robbery 
on his way back to Egypt, and was more than 
content to trust an Englishman to send him the 
money. Mills knew Sir Richard Burton, who related 


to him how one of the Mecca pilgrims found out he 
was not a Mahomedan. Burton got the best of the 
encounter and completed the pilgrimage to Mecca. 

I did a very silly thing at Rustchuck. It was a 
place supposed to have been evacuated by the Russians 
under the treaty of Berlin—but they were still there 
—and two Russian officers at the railway station 
were swaggering up and down the platform for all 
they were worth. Being pro-Turkish and foolish, I 
strutted after them in my ulster and with a walking- 
stick, imitating them. I was not aware then of the 
summary methods of German and other Continental 
officers with unarmed civilians or I should have been 
more careful with the Russians. 

Some English friends of mine had served with the 
Turks in the Russo-Turkish War of 1878, and told me 
that nothing could equal the devotion of the Turkish 
soldiers to their English officers—one of these was 
the celebrated Baker Pasha. 

In the Great War, at Gallipoli an English hospital 
ship got in the way of the Turks, who politely asked 
it to move as otherwise they could not help hitting it. 

In my humble opinion one of the greatest faults 
of our diplomacy has been not to continue our 
Crimean friendship with Turkey. Gladstone’s “ Bag- 
and-Baggage ” policy has done us a great deal of 
harm, and a notorious politician of to-day, who was 
a youth in those days and infected by it, very nearly 
led us to disaster after the War. 

About 1893 I went to Aix-les-Bains for the benefit 
of my lumbago. I did not think I was going to derive 
much good, but was so very free from it the following 
winter that for nine years running we took the baths 
there. At that time it was a charming place, unspoilt. 
The prices both at hotels and elsewhere were quite 
low. You could live quite happily en pension at an 
hotel for about ten to fifteen francs a day. The place 



had been a great favourite with Queen Victoria, 
and a lot of nice English people went there yearly. 
Lady Somers and Lady Doneraile had villas and used 
to entertain a good deal. The fashionable doctor was 
Dr. Brachet, and his wife also was very fond of society. 

Baccarat, both for high and low stakes, was 
played at the Cercle and the Villa des Fleurs. The 
plays and opera at the theatre were quite good and a 
good deal of Parisian talent was engaged—Coquelin, 
Mounet-Sully, Sarah Bernhardt, and others of note 
and reputation whose names I forget, were to be 
seen and heard. The music was good, and the 
conductor one of the best from Monte Carlo. 

In the early season at Aix, in May, and later 
during August and September, the English were 
much in evidence. The whole place, as an English 
lady said when she first visited it, was like Monte 
Carlo “ only better.’’ Leopold, King of the Belgians, 
and George, King of Greece, used to visit Aix, the 
latter annually. 

Baccarat, it was said by the French Government, 
is a game of skill, because it is a matter of judgment 
on the part of the punter as to whether he should 
draw a card or not at the point of five, and the banker 
has many more opportunities of using his discretion 
as to whether he should draw a card or not. I used 
to play baccarat for moderate stakes, but occasionally 
patronised the louis table. When I did this I was 
prepared to lose twenty louis, and came away when 
I had won fifteen. During one stay at Aix, out of 
forty-one of such sittings I made my fifteen louis no 
less than thirty-nine times, but on the two losing 
occasions I am sorry to say that my human nature 
overcame me and I did lose more than the twenty 
that I had settled should be my maximum loss. I got 
angry one day and went on losing, but in spite of 
this I had a good balance at the end of my holiday. 



On one of these occasions I had got down to my 
last louis, but I converted this into sixty-five. I was 
in such a vein of luck that I had not stopped at 
winning fifteen. The best run of wins I ever had was 
thirteen not out. I had arranged to meet a lady 
whom I then did not know very well, and we were 
going for a bicycle ride to Chambery. I went in to 
the rooms some quarter of an hour before our time 
of starting, and in about five minutes or so it was my 
turn to take the hand. I meant just to lose and go, 
but I won thirteen times running. My own stakes 
were just two or three louis each time, but the people 
round me were staking high, and their indignation 
when I got up and went without having been defeated, 
was very great. Had I known the lady, Mrs. Mackay, 
better I should have kept her waiting. I am sure 
she would not really have minded, as she was very 
keen on sport, and I believe drove a four-in-hand. 

From Aix one can go many delightful excursions. 
I went to Annecy with Mr. Lushington, who was 
treasurer of Guy’s Hospital, and on the boat, incognito, 
was the King of the Belgians, whom Lushington had 
met many years before in India. He reminded the 
King of an incident that occurred there, of a gentle¬ 
man to whom a presentation of a piece of plate had 
been made, going afterwards to the shop to find out 
how much it had cost. This had been thought very 
bad form. The King remembered every detail of 
this affair. 

Mr. Lushington was the treasurer of Guy ’s Hospital, 
and supported the matron when she used to interfere 
with the visits of the medical officers to the patients 
in the wards. This, of course, attracted great atten¬ 
tion, so much so that Punch had a cartoon showing 
one of the honorary staff (I think a u Sir George ”) 
being stopped from entering a ward by “ complines ” 
or some other paltry excuse. 


The staff made the mistake of sending Mr. and 
Mrs. Lushington to Coventry and refusing even to 
recognise them. Lushington, when I knew him at 
Aix, was a charming old gentleman, but I can quite 
understand that he might have been masterful and 

So many of the laity forget that hospitals are 
medical charities and that all the money spent on 
them and the patients is money largely out of the 
pockets of the medical profession. Practically the 
only people not paid at hospitals are the medical 
men. Of late years, of course, both in-patients and 
out-patients pay small sums to the hospitals, not to 
the doctors. 

No other profession, not even the clerical, does 
such an enormous amount of work for nothing. It is 
true that members of the staff of a hospital acquire 
experience and reputation by being connected with it, 
but the seniors, anyhow, have got all they ever could 
get out of a hospital long before they retire. They 
give all their experience and skill for many years when 
connection with the hospital has ceased to be of 
practical utility to them. 

Not so long ago I read in a paper of the generosity, 
mentioned I think by a Judge, of a learned counsel 
who had helped some poor client for the absurd fee 
of a guinea. Those connected with hospitals, young 
and old, do this hundreds of times every year, and 
for no fee whatever. I myself was on the surgical 
staff of St. George’s Hospital for thirty years and 
never received a penny for looking after the thousands 
of patients that passed through my hands ; and 
eighteen years at the Seaman’s Hospital at Greenwich, 
where all I had was a railway ticket. A voyage to 
Greenwich or Wimbledon may easily mean the loss 
of an operation in private to the visiting surgeon, and 
the big fee attendant thereon. Experto crede. 



Operations in private come and go very quickly. 
If you are away some one else gets the job while you 
have been looking after your gratuitous hospital 

This was especially so when I was on the Greenwich 
staff before the days of the telephone. 

One of the consolations of retirement and old age 
for the surgeon is that he no longer has that telephone 
tied on, as it were, to his coat-tails. The bliss of 
being able to dine out, to go to a theatre, to go racing 
or to any other amusement, safe from the tinkle of 
the telephone bell can only be appreciated by one 
who has lived under its sway—day and night. When 
democrats, young and old, talk of an eight-hour day 
I wish they had the doctor’s day, or even the medical 
student’s day. 

King George of Greece was very popular at Aix, 
and used to attend the parties and receptions at 
Lady Somers’ villa. I had the honour of being 
present at one of these luncheon parties, and I 
remember the King admiring the view for a very 
long time when I wanted to get away. 

Lady Doneraile’s husband died, I believe, from 
hydrophobia, it was said from the bite of a tame fox. 
Both he and his valet went to Paris for the Pasteur 
treatment. Lord Doneraile attended once, and then 
was tired of standing in a queue waiting his turn, so 
he left, but told the valet he could go on for his full 
number of times. The peer died—the valet escaped. 

At Aix I met Clyde Fitch, the American author and 
playwright, and went with him, my wife, and the two 
Miss Fores tier-Walkers to the Grande Chartreuse— 
a hot, dusty, prolonged journey in a double victoria. 
Fitch and I, the two gentlemen, took turn and turn 
about by the side of the driver, or inside with our 
backs to the horses. I remember I did not see 
much of the scenery, which is very beautiful, as I 


i 33 

subsequently discovered when another year I did the 
same journey in a motor-car. We stayed the night at 
the Grande Chartreuse. The monks were there then. 
The dinner we had at the monastery was a desert, 
the only oasis being the green chartreuse. I attended 
the midnight service, where each monk sat at a 
sort of desk with a little light before him to say his 
prayers by. It was not, to me, very interesting, but 
one of the chants that I heard seemed very similar, if 
not exactly the same, as one I had heard years before 
on an Austrian-Lloyd steamer, full of Mohammedan 
pilgrims. They sang this same chant as we were 
passing the coast of Tyre and Sidon. When I heard 
it at the Grande Chartreuse I wondered if it had drifted 
to the Mohammedans by means of the Crusaders of 

Whilst I was at Aix a golf-course was started, 
and the first ball was driven off the tee, to the sound 
of trumpets and the letting off of rockets and other 
fireworks, by the Lord Donoughmore of that time. 
I do not know what the course is like now, but then 
it was a perfect wilderness of stones. 

I made the acquaintance of Miss Loie Fuller, who 
died the other day, at Aix. She was a friend of 
Mrs. Balfour, at whose house in London I met Mr. 
Nikovitch, who had been Serbian Minister in London 
when the King and Queen Draga were assassinated. 
He told us this story at dinner. Some six months 
before the assassination, he attended a seance of a 
clairvoyante and was asked whether he would like 
to be told anything. The clairvoyante had to receive 
some article, and then started to speak of the future 
or past of the person to whom it belonged. Nikovitch 
gave her a letter, in its envelope, that he had received 
from the King of Serbia. She put the envelope to 
her head and said, “ This is from a very exalted 
personage, and is in a language I do not understand.’’ 



Continuing, she said, “ Oh, it’s all dark, and two men 
are carrying lanterns. There are a lot of Russian 
officers,” and then, “ Oh, horrible, horrible ! They 
are killing the King and Queen ! ” When asked why 
she said the officers were Russian, she said, “ Because 
of the astrakan fur on their busbies and uniforms.” 
Nikovitch wrote to the King of Serbia telling him of 
this warning, and begging him to be careful of what 
he did in the Palace. He never received any answer 
to this letter, and subsequently discovered that it had 
fallen into the hands of one of the officers concerned 
in the plot against the King’s life. 

The following, I believe, are the facts of that 
assassination. The officers, armed with their pistols, 
went towards the King’s apartments in the Palace, 
but the King, being suspicious, had had a steel barrier 
built, something like the safety curtain at a theatre, 
separating his apartments from the rest of the Palace. 
This obstacle was got rid of by means of dynamite. 
The explosion, however, put out all the electric.light, 
and the conspirators had to go down to the stables 
and compel two men with lanterns to go with 
them and provide the necessary light. So the 
clairvoyante was right as to the officers’ uniforms, 
their brandishing pistols, and the two men with 

I would not have thought much of her prophecy 
of the assassination of the King, because the 
unpopularity of his marriage with Queen Draga was 
notorious, and the clairvoyante might very well have 
known that Nikovitch was the Serbian Minister, but 
the details of the men with the lanterns, the darkness 
of the scene, and the correct uniforms, require some 
explaining away. 

During the evening the Serbian Minister related 
to us other stories of the occult and mystic, so much 
so that he was almost a professional ghost see-er. 


One was that he had taken a house for a very little 
rent somewhere in the west end of London, and that 
his servants most unaccountably would not stay 
with him, but went away without giving adequate 
reason. Even his valet deserted him. He had got 
the house at a low rent as it was said to be haunted. 
On one occasion when he came home and opened 
the front door he saw an officer dressed in the uniform 
of Waterloo period come down the stairs from the 
drawing-room floor and go into the dining-room. 
When he went into the dining-room, nobody was there. 
An officer, shortly after Waterloo, had committed 
suicide in this house. I believe that this clairvoyante 
story has already been published in one of the 
magazines, but of this, I am not sure. The Serbian 
Minister said he was quite prepared to give the names 
of all the people who were present at the seance. 
If you can accept the facts as I have related them, 
it gives you very seriously to think about predestina¬ 
tion. I am, however, still sceptical, and think that 
Nikovitch unconsciously embroidered the story. The 
story I have just told was corroborated by my friend 
the late Mr. Diosy, who told me that the Serbian 
Ambassador was not at all surprised at being so 
psychic “ as his mother was a witch.” 

Whilst at Aix I rode my push bicycle without 
getting off up the Col de Chat—this meant some 
three miles up hill with zigzags at the top. There was 
just room, a small square space, at the top of each 
zigzag to recover oneself before tackling the next. 
I was fair done when I got to the top. One other 
man—an Englishman—had done this before me. 
Going up was hard work, but coming down was 
dangerous. Once or twice I was nearly over the side 
of the zigzag, but in spite of some shaves I eventually 
got down to the road leading to Bourget. 

The big mountain by Aix is the Dent du Chat— 


the Col is the neck below the summit. There is an 
hotel there. At our hotel was an elderly lady, said 
to be rich, who was married to a gentleman much 
younger than herself. He was travelling with a 
friend, but wrote to say he was coming to Aix. The 
old lady was all agog, and it was pathetic and painful 
to see how she decked herself out to welcome him, 
and to hear of her plans as to what they would do 
together. “ Charlie ” came one morning at io a.m. 
and left the same afternoon at 4 p.m. Not very nice 
of him. 

Lad}^ Burdett-Coutts before her marriage said 
to a friend of mine from whom I had the story, 
“ They say he is marrying me for my money. Well, 
if so he will get what he expects—and that is not 
always the case in matrimon}^” 

The advice of Punch that a wife gets on best 
with her husband by feeding the brute may be 
illustrated here. 

A really good cook is a valuable asset to any 
lady, but beyond price to any one whose husband 
is a gourmet. Such a cook was under my care in 
St. George’s Hospital with a chronic and trouble¬ 
some affection of the leg. Months were needed to 
get this right, and even then there was danger of a 

On explaining this to her mistress, I was asked if 
there was no quicker way of cure. “ Only amputa¬ 
tion,” I replied. “ How long would that keep her 
disabled ? ” was the next question. “ About six 
weeks,” said I. “ And the present treatment six 
months?” “ Yes,” I assented. “Oh! do do the 
amputation. Sir Arthur is so impatient and cross 
about his food I don’t know what to do.” If the 
months could be converted into weeks the absence 
of the cook’s leg was of little importance! I don’t 
know how much this was a joke, but because the 



cook’s leg offended I was not going to cut it off and 
cast it from me. 

Lady Augustus Fitz-Clarence and her daughter 
Eva were habituees at Aix-les-Bains. The dear old 
lady was a great friend of mine and I told her a 
story of the rudeness I had received from a lay St. 
George’s governor whom we will call Tompkins 

I think it was at the time of one of the Jubilees 
that the Hospital authorities had seats erected on the 
portico, roof and elsewhere, and a considerable sum 
of money was made by letting them out to the public. 
As a member of the staff I was given two expensive 
seats, but not wanting them for myself I took in 
exchange some of the less expensive seats on the roof 
of the Hospital, so that my children might see the 
show from there. In doing this I was virtually 
making a present to the Hospital of, I think, some six 
guineas, the difference in price. 

Rather a silly lay governor superintended the 
letting of the seats, and put those for my children 
behind a stack of chimneys on the roof, where grown¬ 
up people would have had a bad view of the pro¬ 
cession, and children none at all. When I went to 
expostulate and to have this rectified, Mr. Tompkins 
Short endeavoured to be rude to me. I think he got 
as good as he gave. 

I told this story to Lady Augustus when I saw the 
gentleman at Aix-les-Bains, and she was very angry 
with him. The next day she asked me to tea at 
Rumpelmayers, her other guests being the Duchesse 
de Grammont and the Princesse di Castiglione. 
Mr. Tompkins Short appeared at Rumpelmayers, and 
being a bit of a tuft hunter, made a bee line for Lady 
Augustus, coming toward her with extended hand. 
The dear old lady looked him in the face and cut him 



Eventually I was the humble means of getting 
rid of this gentleman from various committees at 
St. George’s Hospital. 

Colonel Allsopp sought refuge at Aix from his 
maladies. On one occasion he rather pointedly 
directed attention to his foot. This was of good 
proportions, but I fancy had been troubling him. 
As he was a friend of mine I restrained the remark 
which came trippingly to my tongue—that I had 
known the Allsopp hand from my youth upwards, 
and now I could claim acquaintance with and admire 
the foot! 

Mr. and Mrs. John Thynne and their daughter 
Agatha were amongst those who adorned Aix-les- 
Bains. We saw them now and again in London at 
their house in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey. 

It was about this time I took a violent dislike, 
without any reason, to an oily canon whom I heard 
preach in the Abbey. He had subsequently to leave 
his country abruptly. 

Whilst at Bordighera I was bidden to a party at 
the gardens of La Mortola, a place much loved by the 
late Queen Victoria. Amongst the company was a 
charming young lady, a Miss Fortune. On leaving 
I said to my hostess, “ Vous m’avez accable de bon- 
heur en me faisant connaissance de malheur.” 

Another joke I made in French was on a visit to 
la Souree at Aix-les-Bains where one can see the 
sulphur waters 11 raging furiously together.” I told 
the guide—an old French lady—that there some day 
would be a tremblement de terre (earthquake) and 
Aix would be destroyed. “ Oh, no,” she protested. 

Mais oui,” said I, “ il faut mourir quelquefois.” 
I knew perfectly well it should have been “ une fois,” 
but I liked to imagine a vain thing. 

I went abroad the first time to Amsterdam, 
Rotterdam, Antwerp, saw all the Rubens pictures 



at his tercentenary, acres of fleshy females, on to 
Brussels, Cologne, and up the Rhine to Mayence. 
On the steamer I got into trouble about the bones 
of the 10,000 virgins. In my anatomical fervour 
I had discovered a male thigh bone, so told a very 
proper old English lady they were not all virgins. 

“ I think we had better change the subject/’ said 

The following year I visited Paris and went up in 
the captive balloon one-third of a mile high, and have 
somewhere still my medal “ souvenir de mon ascension 
dans le balon captif.” The balloon broke away on 
its own about three months afterwards. Before the 
War I went with my son by sea to Gibraltar and worked 
up through Spain and Madrid, visiting Granada, the 
Alhambra, the Crystal Palace copy is a poor thing, 
Seville, Toledo, and various other places and 
cathedrals. I got quite tired of these. We saw some 
cock fighting—a poor sport, I think—but no bull fight. 
There was a “ little one for the children,” but we did 
not go. I was interested to see—I forget where— 
300-years-old drawings of the tortures we English 
were supposed to have inflicted on Spanish prisoners 
about the time of the Armada—a counterblast to our 
stories of the doings of the Holy Inquisition. One 
Spanish dance, where a stout young lady stood on a 
table and wobbled like a jelly amidst general applause, 
amused us much. Madrid was dreadfully cold. We 
had a walking Baedeker, a guide by name Garibaldi 
who had formerly pioneered the Duke of Edinburgh 
over much of the same country. He was more than 
worth his money—well read and entertaining. 

For six years I spent Christmas and Easter at 
Bordighera, between 1920-1926. One can have no 
idea of the improvement of Italy in every way by the 
advent of Fascism. An absolutely new spirit of 
work and devotion to duty and country is abroad, 


and Italy had got as far as the erection of scaffolds 
for the massacre of the well-to-do. 

Mussolini's right-hand man, Count -, gave a 

lecture in English to the English residents in Bordi- 
ghera, told us how some 400 determined Fascists 
routed some 20,000 Communists, how Mussolini 
took his life in his hands when he addressed these 
people and told them they were wrong—that nobody 
makes money by being a Fascist—that the yield of 
crops with the same labour has increased some 25 per 
cent, since employers and employed work together 
for Italy. Building at Bordighera increased by leaps 
and bounds, as houses built during a certain time were 
not to be subjected to rates and taxes for some sixteen 
years, I think. The only fly in the ointment is that 
building will spoil Bordighera and its olive trees. 
What Italy wanted in those days was a lot of new 
roads suitable for motoring. I am told that they 
have been much improved. When the fundamentals 
of the Christian faith were being explained to an 
intelligent little Italian boy, he was told that God had 
sent down Christ to be crucified to atone for the sins 
of the world. “ How selfish of him ! " was his 

Both the father and grandfather of this boy had 
obtained the Italian decoration which is the 
equivalent of our Victoria Cross. 

Bravery is hereditary just as much as cowardice. 
In one family that I know of the grandfather, in the 
Peninsular War, when a French officer challenged 
any British officer to fight him, accepted the challenge, 
whilst during a temporary truce the English and 
French troops looked on. The Scotsman killed 
the Frenchman. In the mutiny his son, when it 
was a question as to whether there was water in a 
moat surrounding a town held by the Sepoys and 
which the British troops were about to storm, rode 



up to and along the moat in spite of cannon and rifle 
fire and signalled for the troops to come on. During 
his return he was wounded in two places. 

One of this officer’s sons was killed in the Boer 
War, and another—a gunner—by his resource and 
bravery prevented a repetition of the Sanna Port 
disaster. He lost his life in the Great War. The 
surviving son—a General—I heard described as a real 
good man, as he used to make his own observations 
from an aeroplane before going into action. 



I have known a fair number of scientific celebrities, 
amongst them the late Lord Kelvin, whom I knew 
in London and used to meet at Aix-les-Bains. When 
he was over eighty and chairman of the Highwavs 
Protection League, I took him for a drive in my 
motor-car by the side of Lac Bourget; I had told my 
chauffeur to go slowly and on no account to bump his 
Lordship, hoping that I might win him to the side 
of reason in motoring matters. He came back from 
that drive, in which he took the time of every kilo¬ 
metre with a stop-watch, with a reasoned decision 
that fifteen miles an hour was the utmost speed at 
which any motorist should be allowed to drive 
his car. 

One evening in the garden of the hotel, looking up 
at the starry heavens, I made a remark to him which 
I have subsequently discovered was made by the 
great Napoleon to the savants who had accompanied 
him on his expedition to Egypt ; I said, “ Knowing 
even the little that I do of astronomy I think that 
the orderly movements of the heavenly bodies and 
their extraordinary arrangements are an argument 
in favour of the existence of a Deity.” “ I don’t 
agree with that at all,” said Kelvin, with a slap 
of one hand on the other to emphasise his views, 
I can imagine that anything can arise from the 
fortuitous concourse of atoms. To me the phenomena 
of life are much more powerful arguments of the 



existence of the Deity.” Kelvin at this time used 
to carry about the first piece of radium in his waist¬ 
coat pocket. This had been given to him by its 
discoverer, Madame Curie. Looking to the fact 
now known that work with radium and X-rays often 
produce cancerous ulcers of the skin, I do not think 
any one would do that now. Another great man that 
I met in olden days was Herbert Spencer. I well 
remember him at an at-home at Professor Romanes’ 
house, taking a lady into supper. In his absent- 
mindedness he sat down on an only chair, and left 
the lady standing. Absent-mindedness was a 
characteristic of another great man of beautiful 
character, Sir John Burdon Sanderson. If he were 
given any little curio or thing of scientific interest to 
examine he usually at the end of his investigation 
put it in his pocket. His wife used to make it her 
duty to see that he did not do this, or to retrieve the 
articles when he did. There was no suggestion of 
kleptomania. It was simply pure absent-mindedness, 
which, I believe, sometimes used to make him forget 
time when he was lecturing, and largely go over the 
hour allotted to him for this purpose. He was one 
of the most delightful companions that I have ever 
come across. Every one in the house party used to 
love his charming nature. Mr. Henry Pollock, when 
a fellow guest said, “ The burden of our song shall 
be Burdon Sanderson.” A well-known savant once 
described Burdon Sanderson as “ a natural liar ! ” 
The indignation of every one in the scientific world 
was extreme. 

I used to know Lord Lister fairly well. Both he 
and Lord Kelvin were delightfully simple minded, 
and of a transparent modesty about their own great 
achievements. Whilst Lister was working out ex¬ 
periments with antiseptic dressings and applications 
there had to be extreme secrecy, until he knew they 



were what he hoped them to be. I helped him at 
one of his operations when he was making a trial of the 
celebrated “ double cyanide gauze.” He would not 
tell me what it was, and gave me his reason for silence 
by saying that he could not afford to let an imper¬ 
fectly tried antiseptic material be associated with 
his name. I need not say that Lister had no idea 
of making any pecuniary advantage by this reticence. 
The medical profession does not do this. 

A story about Darwin was told me by Professor 
Romanes, who was his literary heir. On one occasion 
when Romanes was staying with Darwin, during the 
evening they—Darwin, his sons, and Romanes—had 
been discussing the origin of awe, and Darwin had 
said that he had experienced more awe when he was 
at the top of a very high mountain than at any other 
time in his life. Darwin was a bit of an invalid and 
had to go off to bed shortly after ten, but apparently 
not to sleep, for at about one in the morning he came 
in his night cap back to the room to tell those with 
whom he had been talking that he had made a mistake, 
that on consideration he had come to the conclusion 
that he had experienced more awe when penetrating 
into the virgin forests of North America than he had 
done on the mountain’s summit. He had come down 
to tell them this in the interests of truth and so that 
they should not be misled by his error. 

I remember when George Eliot died, Romanes 
told me that his admiration for her and her character 
was such that he felt her death almost as if it had 
been that of Darwin. 

The scientific notabilities that one used to meet 
at the Romanes’s Scottish residence were not all of 
them good at shooting, and somewhat comical, 
almost dangerous, incidents used to occur. To avoid 
the danger from one very notorious offender, the shot 
were taken out of his cartridges by another guest and 


[To face page 144. 


the gamekeeper and bran substituted. The birds were 
uninfluenced by this, but those who knew what had 
been done, shot with a sense of security that otherwise 
they would not have had. One of the gamekeepers 
had been promoted from being a fisherman. He was 
one of nature’s gentlemen, as so many Scotch ghillies 
are. His manners towards ladies would have done 
no discredit to any drawing-room in Belgravia, or 
even the court of Louis XIV. He had an odd way 
of speaking to you in the third person, for instance 
he would say to me, “ I think Mr. Turner, if the 
doctor were to stand here, he would have a fair chance 
at the ‘ rarebits ’.” I was the doctor. He had never 
been away from his native Ross-shire, but the 
Philosopher, as we always used to call Romanes, had 
him brought up to London, coming by the sea route 
from Scotland, and sent him to the Lyceum Theatre 
to see Irving in Faust. At the end of the play 
he made no motion to leave and was in a state of 
trance. When Romanes asked him what he thought 
of the play, he said, “ If there is a deil he’s yon,” 
alluding of course to Irving. He was very fond of 
the word yon. Once when out shooting with him we 
passed a crofter’s cottage. The man was working 
in the garden. Sandy said, “ Yon had a fair ‘ start ’ 
last fall.” When I asked him what he meant, he 
told me that the man had accidentally shot his wife. 
That was the fair start, although a tragic ending. 

It so happened the first time I went ferreting with 
Sandy I was very much on the rabbits. Sandy, who 
had had previous experience of Romanes’s scientific 
guests, said to him when we returned, “ But he hits 
them.” The Philosopher himself was an extremely 
good shot. On one occasion a lady staying in the 
house said she would like to see some shooting. 
Romanes took up a rook rifle and went to the top 
of the cliff which he had converted into a rabbit warren 


and there saw on the shore below a stoat darting 
between two rocks. He jerked his little rifle up and 
fired, cutting the stoat clean in two. Of course the 
shot was a sort of fluke, but it much impressed the 
lady as to the accuracy of modern arms of precision. 

I did not fire any more after that,” said Romanes. 

On one occasion late at night at Geanies, the 
name of his Ross-shire residence, a noise was heard 
as of somebody trying to get into the house. It was 
thought it might be a burglar. The Philosopher 
proceeded to the kitchen, which was lighted by a 
skylight from which he saw dangling the two legs of the 
man who had caused the disturbance. He dropped 
at the Philosopher’s feet who greeted him with 
“ Good evening,” leaving him to explain his presence. 
Most people perhaps would have rushed at him more 
or less violently, but it turned out that the poor 
fellow was one of those safties that in Scotland are 
not detained in asylums, but very often look after 
tethered cattle bv the roadside. 1 believe that he 
had been told to deliver a message at Geanies some 
twelve hours previously, but idiot-like had forgotten 
about it until this somewhat inconvenient time. 
Probably it was not the first time in which he had 
been on the tiles of the house when nobody was 
living in it. 

I believe a great deal has been written about the 
religious views of Professor Romanes. Throughout 
the time that I knew him he was agnostic. In early 
life he wrote a book on this subject, but although 
agnostic, he was one of the most Christian men, in 
the best sense of the word, that I ever met. He held, 
he told me, that there was evolution in religion as in 
other matters and that the Christian religion was, in 
his opinion, undoubtedly the best. He regarded 
Christ as the greatest moralist that ever lived. He 
was in no uncertain frame of mind during all the 


time that I knew him. He told me it had been a 
great mental trouble to him to have to leave orthodoxy, 
but he could not possibly do otherwise. He was 
familiar with both sides of the question ; in fact, was 
almost a library on this and other subjects. He used 
to read prayers on Sunday for the benefit of the 
household and to please his wife. He also read 
sermons. On one occasion he accidentally skipped 
a page in the book and, his mind being elsewhere, 
proceeded from one sermon to another without, I 
am sorry to say, noticing what he had done. When 
I asked him what he was going to do about the 
religious education of his children he told me that he 
thought he would leave his daughter to orthodoxy, 
but would tell his sons his true opinion when they 
arrived at the years 01 discretion. His exact words 
were, the tomfoolery of it all.” He told me that 
he made it a rule never in any case to weaken the 
faith of another, unless by special request from the 
individual and when he already had grave doubts 
as to the truth of revealed religion. He did not wish 
that any one should go through the terrible mental 
trouble that he himself had experienced. He was 
constantly doing good and his left hand did not know 
what his right did. It was not until after his death 
that I heard for a long time he practically had run a 
school for the necessitous poor. One of his reasons 
for Sunday prayer he told me was that he did not 
wish his sons to think that he was “ an Ingersoll ” in 
matters of religion. Although he was well known 
in the scientific world he more than once regretted 
to me that he had not devoted more time to poetry. 
Poets, he said, were much more thought of than 
scientific men, and their fame was more enduring. 
I will say nothing about his own scientific work 
which early had brought him the F.R.S. He was 
very interested in the question of the inheritance of 


acquired defects and made experiments by cutting 
off the tails of cats to see if it were possible to breed 
a manx one. When I suggested that his life must 
be too short for him to see the results, he said, “ Ah, 
but Ernest (his oldest son) can continue the experi¬ 
ments after my death.” 

A friend of mine who had been brought up ortho¬ 
dox became agnostic and afterwards reverted to his 
former faith. The Philosopher was very anxious 
to meet this gentleman, as he said he could not 
conceive how he could possibly return to his former 
belief. It is said that this eventually happened to 
him—but if so it was after repeated cerebral 
haemorrhages. He told me after recovery from one 
of these how painful was the return to life, and that 
he regretted that he had not died. 

One distinguished scientist, a widower with, I 
think, seven children would not take “ no ” for an 
answer from a beautiful young lady whom he sought 
in matrimony, and demanded her reasons, in writing, 
for her refusal. He received a reply that 11 there were 
seven reasons—his children.” This gentleman on 
one occasion was discovered on his knees by the 
footman bringing in the tea when he was pleading 
his cause. The lady in question, who was very 
attractive, had constantly to call in the aid of her 
mother to terminate an incipient amour, which her 
good nature and great kindness to everybody had 
allowed to develop further than she wished. Several 
scientific hearts were left lamenting. 

Professor Romanes never went to a public school, 
or I believe to any school at all. He told me that 
he was allowed by his mother to do practically what 
he liked, and that his mind was somewhat late in 
developing. He never read a novel until he was over 
twenty years of age, but he used to read all sorts of 
other literature, and when he went to Cambridge 


he used to say that he was really like Mr. Verdant 
Green. I believe that he was sent to a prominent 
oarsman and was told to express a wish to row in the 
Varsity boat. He did learn to scull and went out 
one day with a friend who was in another boat. 
Romanes was conscious of a most unpleasant smell 
in his boat, and from time to time his friend came 
up and said, “ Isn’t it disgraceful the way this river 
stinks ? I believe it must be from the drains.” As 
a matter of fact, this friend had put a piece of stinking, 
putrid fish in the Philosopher’s boat. But the 
Philosopher was no fool, and when the friend came 
again to complain about the smells of the river, the 
philosopher flung the piece of fish with great accuracy 
and hit him full on the chest, so that all the way home 
the practical joker was hoist with his own petard. 

The Philosopher used to laugh immensely at his 
former self. I think he was still at the University, 
or had only just left it, when he first attracted the 
attention of Darwin by the excellence of his writing 
about jelly-fish. They became fast friends, and 
Darwin made him his literary heir with discretion 
to publish what he thought fit. 

Darwin’s modesty was extreme, like that of other 
really great men whom I have met—Lord Kelvin and 
Lord Lister. When Darwin came up to stay with 
Romanes to attend a meeting of the Linnaean Society 
(of which I think Romanes was hon. secretary), he 
was very nervous about going there, and said to 
Romanes, “ I hope they won’t think it presumption 
on my part.” This at a time when all the learned 
and scientific world were scrambling over each other 
to get seats to be present and to see the great man. 

In those days I remember hearing scientific society 
described as society where the women wear their hair 
short and the men wear their hair long. There was 
perhaps some truth in this. Scientific, musical and 


artistic people constantly grudged the time to get 
their hair cut. 

It was a great privilege for me to accompany 
Romanes to the Zoo. He knew all the keepers, and 
we used to go behind the scenes and hear all the 
intimate details and study the manners of the animals. 
Romanes himself made many experiments with 
Sally, the gorilla. He taught her to count up to four 
and to distinguish different colours and so on, but 
he came to the erroneous conclusion that the ability 
of the highest anthropoid ape was only equal to 
that of a child of two. Nowadays any one who has 
seen a cinematographic performance of the highest 
apes, how they act, rescue babies from fires, and are 
certainly all but human, can no longer agree with 
Romanes—in fact, many statements in his book on 
animals’ intelligence would have now to be modified. 

I always used to disbelieve his story of the cat 
which spread crumbs for birds so that she might catch 
them, but I think Romanes believed it. 

Animals have powers, there is no doubt* that are 
denied now to us, whatever may have been the condi¬ 
tion of our remote forefathers. Their sense of direc¬ 
tion is extraordinary. About a hundred years ago 
my grandfather was talking to Lord Digby, who then 
owned Sherborne Castle. Some little time before, he 
had sent one of his hounds of the Blackmore Vale pack 
to a Master of Hounds in Yorkshire. It was before 
the days of railways, and the hound must have 
travelled by coach from Dorsetshire to Yorkshire. 
When Lord Digby was reading the letter thanking 
him for his present—my grandfather was with him— 
the hound trotted up. He had come from Yorkshire 
to Dorsetshire back to his old master in the same time 
as the letter. 

A frog story which I am assured is authentic. 
A gentleman in Australia, living in the bush, was 


much disturbed by the croaking of neighbouring 
frogs, one of which invaded the veranda and used 
to come into his room and sit by his washstand. This 
showed great friendship, but was rather inconvenient, 
so the gentleman asked a man who was going on to 
another station some sixteen miles away, if he would 
take the frog away and drop him there. This was 
done. Three days afterwards Mr. Frog was back in his 
old quarters inside the gentleman’s house! That 
meant that he must have hopped over five miles a 
day to get back. 

There was a minister, Mr. Miller, at Bordighera who 
was a great Naturalist and had a very fine museum 
of his own collections. He told me that on one 
occasion he had taken a female butterfly from the 
one spot in Italy where this peculiar specimen was 
found, to his own house twenty miles away. Next 
day, or two days afterwards, he came across no less 
than twelve males of the same variet3 r . They had 
never been seen in this place before, and were peculiar 
to the one small place from which the female had 
been taken. 

One always talks of a “ bee line.” I believe that 
if the antennae are cut off they lose their sense of 

Romanes was very interested in the growth of 
superfluous hair, and he was always on the look out 
for a hairy man who had got hairs on the back of the 
tips of his fingers. He never came across one. 

He wanted to make experiments as to the clinging 
capacity of babies. He was not allowed to do so on 
his own children, but I think he had a try on one of 
mine. I am not sure about this, but I know he tested 
my daughter Catherine as to how she would regard 
him in a sort of Guy Fawkes mask. The child did not 
mind this at all, but burst into furious tears when the 
Philosopher put his own face near hers! 



The absent-mindedness of philosophers is 
proverbial. One morning at breakfast Romanes 
hurriedly entered the room after an obviously rapid 

I chaffingly said to him, “ Philosopher, I don’t 
believe you have washed, brushed your hair, or 
cleaned your teeth.” He answered never a word, 
but about an hour afterwards he said to me, “ You 
were right, Tom.” He had been up to his bedroom 
to look. 

In the early eighties of last century Romanes and 
I were discussing the warfare of the future, and he 
said, “ War in the future will resolve itself into the 
manoeuvring of one army to get to windward of the 

“ But why ? ” I asked. 

“ So that they may be able to use the poison gases 
which will determine the result of any battle that may 
take place.” 

Rather prescient of him to think of this. I have 
since wondered whether he had got the idea from 
Professor Hugo Muller, a great chemist connected 
with the firm of De la Rue & Co., an exceedingly able 
man—a Fellow of the Royal Society and at one time 
President of the Chemical Society. 

Professor Muller married a distant cousin of mine, 
an English woman, and he was pro-English in every 

Romanes once in a conversation with Oscar 
Wilde, whom he met at an at-home, said to him, 
“ What an ass Bunthorne is! ” “But Bunthorne 
finds it pays,” returned Oscar Wilde, showing that 
his pose as an aesthete was assumed for his social 

It was Oscar Wilde who said there were three 
inevitables—death, quarter-day and Lady Jeune’s 


I remember Romanes discussing the origin of 
conscience with Mr. Cotter Morrison, the French 
historian. The latter had made experiments on his 
little girls, whom he taught that it was necessary to 
stroke their noses twice a day, and he found that 
when they did not do so they were much troubled by 
their consciences. 

The efficacy of prayer much interested the 
Philosopher. He wanted some real test to be applied, 
such as praying for the inmates of one ward of St. 
George’s Hospital, and not doing it for the inmates 
of another ward with somewhat similar cases in it, 
and then to have the results contrasted. It is needless 
to say this was not done. 

A good and pious lady of my acquaintance, when 
she heard that her daughter-in-law did not inherit 
some money until an old General died, put together 
her hands in the attitude of prayer, cast her eyes up to 
heaven, and said, “ Good Lord, take him.” This 
was not in any way a joke on her part. 

In olden days there is no doubt that sickness and 
accident were often regarded as a chastening at the 
Lord’s hand. So much so, that until recently, when 
at my initiative it was altered, the prayer for the 
patients at St. George’s was for those who were being 
chastised, as if the being in a hospital was the result of 
personal turpitude. 

The way that some of the poorer classes in 
Scotland regarded the acts of Providence was shown 
when one of two women crossing a narrow plank 
or tree bridge, fell into the water and was drowned. 
The remark of the survivor was, “ A Providence 
it was not me.” It was in the small fishing village 
to which these ladies belonged that the minister, 
giving out in kirk the programme for the next 
week, expressed the hope that at the Holy Com¬ 
munion there would be such an attendance as would 


cause a “ verra great commotion amongst the angels 
in Heaven.” 

Romanes at one time of his life, had a somewhat 
philosophic disregard of his personal appearance. 
He came on one occasion to my house with a shockingly 
bad silk hat. It so happened that I had a brand new 
Lincoln and Bennetfthat was a slight misfit for me, 
but was exactly his size, so I gave it to him. The 
next time I saw him crossing Green Street to my 
house, I noticed that he had on his head an exceedingly 
small, ill-fitting silk hat. “ Where on earth did you 
get this hat ? ” said I to him. “ Well,” he said, “ of 
course I was not going to wear your nice new hat in 
London, and I came up yesterday in another. I must 
have changed it at the Athenseum Club, for I found 
that I had got one too small for me. This morning 
I went to a barber to be shaved, and my hat was hung 
up with some others. When I came away, I couldn’t 
quite recognise which was the Athenaeum one, and 
so I took the smallest there, and I find it is smaller 
even than the small one I took at the club.” It was 
a balancing feat of some skill for him to keep the 
wretched thing on his head at all. He must have left 
at least two men with misfitting 1 hats, and uttering 
strong language at their losses and his lack of accuracy. 

I think it was at this time that he arrived at my 
house without his shoe laces being tied up. I did this 
for him, and the only reason he gave for not doing it 
himself, was that stooping gave him a headache. I 
have no doubt this was quite right, as it was after his 
first apoplectic seizure. Poor fellow ! he had several 
of these before he finally died, and he told me that 
his one regret on recovering was that he had ever 
come round from any of them. 

At Geanies both Romanes and his sister Charlotte 
were more than fond of the occult, and table-tapping 
and turning were often attempted. 



Nothing ever happened when I was there, but on 
one occasion the table rapped out, “ Will you worse 
than demons mock us below with your heartless 

Mrs. Romanes had something like hysterics. 
A parson who was one of the party was also much 
perturbed and said it was the devil. The next day 
he took up his testimony and went round to all the 
offending guests showing them how necessary it was 
to give up all such evil practices. 

Discussing the matter with Romanes, he was quite 
ready to agree that probably both he and his sister, 
unconsciously and without meaning to deceive, had 
something to do with the tilting of the table. In fact, 
he told me that by himself he was able to solve 
problems in this way by his unconscious mind that 
were too much for his conscious mind. 

At Geanies, Ross-shire—which Romanes rented— 
we used to play an abominable game, in which a 
victim was sent out of the room, and on returning had 
to find the name of some celebrity selected by the 
seven or eight people remaining in the drawing-room. 
Each one of these took a letter of the name, and 
selected somebody who had that letter for his initial. 
On one occasion a fair young damsel selected Samson 
to represent the letter “ S.” Four questions were 
allowed to the person trying to solve the riddle. She 
had already admitted that he was a man of the Bible, 
and when asked what he was celebrated for, thinking 
that “ strength ” would give away the show, she took 
refuge in the Delilah affair and said “ for his amiable 

Corney Grain used to tell a story of how some young 
subalterns poured whisky into the works of a piano 
to binge it up and make things more lively after Mess. 
When told this story, a laird in Ross-shire said gravely, 
“ But I don’t see what good this would do it.” 


He was unconsciously most amusing in the 
Samson games. 

I met at Romanes’s house in the eighties a } r oung 
German attache, and was very much surprised at 
his account of his examination as to his fitness for 
the Foreign Office. He was sent to see Bismarck 
himself, who told him to take down from a bookshelf 
a classical author—I think it was Virgil—and himself 
listened to his construing. Fancy Lord Salisbury, 
who was then our premier, doing such a thing in 
England ! 

The young German’s views on matrimony were 
very romantic. He proposed to marry on some 
absurdly small sum of money and his wife was to do 
all the cooking and housework. “ Rather dull and 
troublesome for her, would not it be? ” “ Oh, but 

she would love me so,” was his reply. 

There is a mistaken impression that a nigger’s 
dark colour enables him to bear the sun’s heat better 
than a white man, and that the pigmented races 
generally are favoured in this respect. Dr. Clarke 
when he was in Egypt in the nineties made experi¬ 
ments on this subject by means of differently coloured 
tubes containing mercury. In the black ones there 
was always the greatest rise in the sun’s rays, and in 
the white ones the least, so pigment was not meant to 
withstand heat-rays. The coloured races can un¬ 
doubtedly bear the sun better than the white man, 
but it is because they can bear the sun’s light rays 

Pigment is a protection against light—not against 
heat. White or light-coloured clothing is the best 
protection against heat—the worst against light. 

Dr. Clarke did a lot of most excellent work on the 
brain and cerebellum, and was the inventor of an 
instrument by which any desired part of the brain 
could be reached by a needle—practically without 


pain. This as yet had not been applied to human 
surgery, but only to cats. There is a great opening 
for some one to adapt his instrument to fit the human 
skull and so relieve apoplexies, or accidental blood 
extravasations within it. Injections, too, could be 
directed absolutely to head-quarters. 

Sane, sound, and well-informed on nearly every 
subject, Clark had one mental defect, he could not 
bear to be in the dark. An unexpected tunnel on a 
railway journey had to be met by the striking of 
lucifer matches. 

He knew his fears were absurd, but could not 
cure himself of them. 

Mentally and physically we all of us have some 
weak spot, some place of least resistance. 

A scientist friend of mine—not Romanes—an 
agnostic—was taken to task by a friend of his, a 
canon, for not going to church. The parson was a 
good sportsman and had rowed in the Inter-Varsity 
boat race, was a good shot and good to hounds, but 
all these temporal pleasures of his were nothing, he 
said, to the spiritual one of Holy Communion on 
Easter Sunday. He proposed discussion and debate. 
The scientist was able and very well read, and so much 
did he prevail in argument that the canon eventually 
wrote to say that he could not continue the con¬ 
ferences as his own faith was being badly weakened. 
However good your cause, you ought to know the 
other side of the question before you argue. I can’t 
help thinking the Church takes its clergy at too early 
an age. How can a comparative boy of twenty-three 
with only public school and university experience 
be able to lay down the law and guide people of much 
wider knowledge and greater age ? What does he 
know of the world ? Afterwards, too, the ordinary 
conversation of men in his presence is modified and 
hampered by respect for his cloth ; that of women 



by a conscious or unconscious admiration of a 
“ good ” man. The Church of Rome keeps its 
priests to themselves, but a celibate Anglo-Catholic, 
because his vows of chastity, poverty and obedience 
may not be known, is able unmeaningly to engage the 
affections of a young woman before she discovers her 
error. I think I have known such a case. Two people, 
more than worthy of parenthood from a eugenic 
point of view, did not marry although perhaps in 
love with each other. Good citizens are lost to the 
state, and all the time the pauper aliens of the East 
End of London go on breeding freely. The celibate 
should be labelled with a ticket plain for all women¬ 
folk to see. They are often men of high ideals and 
goodness, and ought to see the duty of passing on their 
good qualities to children and grandchildren. 
Marrying men are in a terrible minority already, 
and the greatest function of woman is motherhood, 
which she so constantly is not able to gratify. 

Re pauper aliens. I have always contended that 
“ St. George for Merry England ” is a better cry than 
“ London for the pauper alien,” that St. George’s, 
where patients are mostly English, is as worthy of 
support as the London Hospital and its East End 

Amongst the celebrities I have met was “ Doctor 
Jim ” Jameson. I saw him in London just after he 
had been released from prison on the ground of ill 
health. He was a charming person, with a tempera¬ 
ment well fitted for his subsequent distinguished 
career in South Africa. An old St. George’s man who 
had been surgeon to one of the regiments of Guards, 
Seton Hamilton by name, was also in the Jameson 
Raid, and “ not at all ashamed of it,” as he told me 
at Bordighera in 1924. 

I know a distinguished gentleman who is cognisant 
of the real history of this raid, but he will tell nobody. 


i 59 

I saw Colonel Fred Burnaby, of the “ Ride to 
Khiva ” fame, with his arm in a sling when he returned 
wounded from the Suakin expedition. The humani¬ 
tarians objected strongly to his use of a shot gun 
against the Fuzzie Wuzzies. On his return he was 
killed when our square was temporarily broken. He 
was fencing with one Arab when another gave him 
a fatal wound in the neck. He had not got his shot 
gun, and I suppose the unco guid were satisfied. 

Later on I was at a hypnotic stance, a piece of 
khaki stained with his blood—part of his uniform—in 
a pocket-book, was described by a woman in the 
trance when the unopened pocket-book w T as given to 
the man—I forget his name—who was giving the 
show, and was eight yards or so away from her. 

Burnaby was an early and daring balloonist. 
Charles Pollock, so well known in this branch of 
aeronautics, was a friend of mine, and crossed the 
channel more than once I think. He wanted to take 
me up with him, but I declined. The captive balloon 
in Paris in 1879 had given me all the balloon emotions 
that I w T anted—the difficulty of descent does not 
appeal to me. 

Pollock’s brother was one of the best card players 
I have ever met. He was first discovered by “ Caven¬ 
dish,” the well-known writer on whist and picquet, 
who did not play as well as he wrote. 

I once came across Sir Henry de Bathe, celebrated 
as an amateur actor ; indeed, my mother, who was no 
mean judge, said he was nearly the equal of Charles 
Matthews. I well remember the latter in My 
Awful Dad. Extremely good but passe. It was 
about this time that poor old Buckstone, though he 
was stone deaf, continued to act at the Haymarket, 
and took his cues from watching the lips of the other 
actors. Toole I saw many times. Lai Brough was 
a sort of rival of his and extremely quaint. They 


were both starring on tour at the same time, and 
sometimes in the same towns, Lai Brough preceding 
Toole. I was told that on one occasion when Lai 
Brough was very profoundly asleep after a convivial 
evening, they put him to bed and plastered him with 
labels, “Toole’s coming”—the same placards with 
which the town was adorned. These were the first 
things “ Lai ” saw next morning. 

“ Jimmy ” McDonald, a friend of the Duke of 
Cambridge, who used to live in Ranger’s Lodge in 
Hyde Park, was a patient of mine. He was called 
the silver pheasant because of his hair. It was said 
that in the Crimea the Russian soldiers took him for a 
priest, and refrained from firing at him. 

I met the Duke of Cambridge once on the doorstep 
of a great friend of his. The arm-chairs in the drawing¬ 
room had been made very ample to suit H.R.H.’s 

There was a story of a well-born officer in a crack 
regiment who in the Crimea made no secret of being 
a Pacifist and said he wanted to go home ! His 
brother officers gave him a very bad time and at 
night bombarded his tent with cannon balls. He was 
sent home, not shot. I don’t think he was an 
honourable. “ Honourable ” is rather a difficult 
title for some of its holders to live up to. One stole 
a brand new opera hat of mine—leaving one with the 
springs broken. I never got mine back—I could not 
help being amused by the club hall porter who treated 
my expostulations rather as if an honour had been 
conferred on me. Another that I knew was supposed 
“ corriger la fortune ” at cards. The son of another 
got my brother’s fishmonger to cash a stumer cheque. 
My brother paid rather than that the fishmonger 
should be swindled. The “ honourable ” mother 
would not pay. The actual miscreant years after 
called on me to try and borrow money. At first I 


did not recognise the name, but when I did he had a 
very mauvais quart d’heure, and I thrust u Higgins, 
the fishmonger ” down his throat, during his retreat 
through three rooms to my front door. My room 
right at the back of the house was very convenient 
for such conversations, as I found on another occasion 
when a swindling impostor—posing as a priest— 
forgot that he had paid me a former visit. 

The estrangement between Gilbert and Mrs. 
Kendal which lasted a number of years arose from a 
misplaced emphasis in one of the lines she had 
to speak as Galatea in Gilbert’s Pygmalioti and 
Galatea. She was corrected at rehearsal by Gilbert, 
but on the first night of the production accidentally 
gave her own version, and this Gilbert did not forgive. 
I well remember how charming and delightful she 
was in the part, but it was many years afterwards 
that Cecil Clay told me the above story, and I have 
forgotten what the words were. 

I he Daly Company, after making a tremendous 
success in London with A Night Out , went on tour to 
Edinburgh when I was there. I went to see them, 
and found an almost empty house. I met next day 
an English lady who had married a well-known 
Edinburgh professor, and spoke to her about this. 
She said 11 I love the Scotch, but there is one thing 
wanting in them—they don’t know how to amuse 

One of the Daly Company became a great friend 
of mine—Mr. William Sampson. I operated on him 
lor a very novel but dangerous condition, and his 
gratitude was only ended with his life. He heard 
I had lost a lot of money in backing my son in a 
motor business, and thinking I was “ hard up ” sent 
me a magnificent ” fee.” I had taken none at the 
time of the operation some twenty years before. 

I very nearly took a house in Chesterfield Street 




from the celebrated “ Skittles.’’ Everything was 
settled, but I insisted that the drains should be 
passed by the London Sanitary Protection Associa¬ 
tion. The lady demurred and gave me an ultimatum 
of twenty-four hours. I refused to give way, and 
called the deal off. Then she was ready to consent 
to anything, but by this time I had found another 
house, and so started life in Green Street, Park Lane. 

I was there seventeen years—afterwards in Half 
Moon Street until the War. My lease of the latter 
was up the end of July, 1914, so I was not saddled 
with a London house whilst I was serving in the Navy. 
When I first started “ practice ” I had to supplement 
my earnings by private coaching in anatomy and 
surgery. The drudgery of this is inconceivable. I 
did it for about five years. 

Young surgeons were very much neglected in 
those days ; the young consultant was often like the 
briefless barrister. 

In the hypnotic trance the subject does extra¬ 
ordinary things and the ordinary brain is not working. 
By invitation I attended a sitting given by Kennedy 
the Hypnotist to a lot of medical men and got myself 
elected to be one of a committee that went on the 
platform and watched the hypnotic proceedings at a 
near distance. Kennedy got a dentist to extract a 
tooth for one of his subjects. When the man 
recovered his normal condition he would not believe 
that his tooth had been taken out until he put his 
finger in his mouth and saw it covered with blood. 
Another subject after consuming a box of the most 
disgusting medicine enclosed in capsules, under the 
idea that he was a boy at school enjoying sweets, 
when he was told what he really had swallowed com¬ 
menced the act of vomiting. Kennedy’s power was 
such that by just raising his hand he stopped him in 
the very act and threw him once more into the 


hypnotic condition. I expostulated with Kennedy as 
to the drenching of these subjects with nauseous and 
filthy things, but he told me that they never produced 
any bad effects. About the truth of this I have no 

I remember George John Romanes telling me that 
by table-rapping he was able, by his unconscious mind, 
to solve problems that he was unable to solve in his 
normal condition. I remember him telling me about 
a French peasant girl who was dull, lethargic, and 
rather stupid in ordinary life, but who when hypno¬ 
tised became quick-witted, clever, musical, quick at 
repartee, and with an absolutely different personality 
from her ordinary one. He asked me for an explanation. 
I suggested that in the hypnotic condition she threw 
back to some ancestor or ancestress of the noblesse, 
possessed of the qualities that she showed only when 
she was hypnotised. He agreed with this view. 

There are a certain number of scoundrels who sail 
close to the wind in every profession, and the medical 
is no exception. A notorious wrong ’un overreached 
himself by swelling a millionaire’s tongue. The rich 
Jew was no fool and immediately dismissed him. 
This gentleman, when he got hold of a prominent 
statesman told him he must see him eat a dinner 
before he could prescribe, and then gave a dinner 
to meet Mr. Chamberlain ” at his own house—this 
tor his own social advancement and advertisement. 
He once strongly urged the claims of a surgical knight, 
Sir William MacCormac, against those of my youthful 
self to operate on a case. This was quite right, but 
when I was selected and met him, he told me “ when 
your name was mentioned I said at once I should like 
to meet one so eminent ” l I was not eminent, and I 
knew he was lying. He told the patient my fee was 
about double what I should have asked, as I was quite 
a young man then. 



Another wrong ’un, B., eventually shown up by 
Labouchere in Truth, when he started got a crippled 
crossing-sweeper to go round to all the big houses 
in Queen’s and Prince’s Gate to ask for subscrip¬ 
tions for an apparatus for B. to put him right. 
He was quite incurable, but it was a good way of 
letting the neighbourhood know that B. was on the 

To see incurable cases frequently to delude them 
and make them think they were curable was the 
practice of a well-known throat specialist in the 
Victorian era. I was told by a lawyer who wrote to tell 
him that a lady’s income could not stand his fees, that 
he answered, “ If her income can’t her capital can,” 
a callous communication that she had not long to live. 

I am writing only of those who have been dead a 
long time ; I heard to-day of two physicians—both 
baronets—who met in consultation on a millionaire’s 
wife—a difficult and doubtful case. They did not 
like to say they did not know what was the matter, 
so the more adroit of the two, Sir William, addressing 
the husband, said, “ There may possibly be two 
ignorant men in London who would give a name to 
your wife’s malady, but we are not going to.” He 
was called in on another occasion to advocate a 
necessary course of treatment to an obstreperous lady. 
He said absolutely nothing to her, but as he was 
leaving he told the doctors “ the maid is the key to 
this case,” and he was right. 

During his long and prosperous career his exercise 
was climbing stairs, as he told a lady who apologised 
to him for having to walk up to the nursery floor. 
His lunch was often raisins in his brougham. He had 
absolutely no interest outside his profession. 

The tact of another successful physician, Sir 
Andrew Clark, was never better shown than when he 
successfully soothed the ruffled feelings of a friend of 


mine who had a bee in his bonnet, and, not under¬ 
standing that he had to wait his turn before he could 
be attended to, challenged Clark’s butler to come 
out into Cavendish Square and fight him. There 
is a story that Abernethy refused to see the Iron Duke 
out of his turn when he forced his way into his 

A patient once said to Abernethy, “ I always have 
such a pain when I put my arm in this position.” 
“ Then why the devil do you do it?” asked 

Many years ago I was proposed by my friend Mr. 
Arthur Lambton for membership of Our Society— 
often called the Crimes Club. It is wonderful how 
hard he has worked as a presiding genius, and how 
much he has done to make the meetings successful. 
I have met very many interesting men there, and have 
heard very many interesting things not generally 
known. Our proceedings are secret, so I won’t say 
more than that many causes celebres have details 
not revealed at the trials of the criminals. Lately 
the committee of which I am a member have lost 
Sir E. Marshall Hall and Sir John Hall, both of whom 
took the greatest interest in the Club. Another 
prominent member, Sir C. Russell, has gone too. 
Amongst the early members, George R. Sims, Pro¬ 
fessor Churton Collins, Mr. Ingleby Oddie, H. B. 
Irving, Sir E. Wild, Sir Max Pemberton, and Sir 
Arthur Conan Doyle were conspicuous and all first- 
rate criminologists. G. R. Sims was the man who 
proved the innocence of Beck—a case of mistaken 
identity that could easily have been proved at any 
time. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has, to my mind, 
proved quite as conclusively that Oscar Slater was 
guiltless of the murder of Miss Gilchrist. 

I knew Professor Tidy, the expert on poisons, in 
the eighties. A Svengali-looking man, rather odd, 



but exceedingly interesting. He told me the following 
about the Maybrick case. The night before the trial, 
at a conference with Sir Charles Russell and his 
junior, Russell asked him, “ Well, what about the 
defence ? What is it to be ? ” “ That Maybrick 

did not die of arsenical poisoning, but of acute 
gastritis,” said Tidy. “ That's absurd,” said Russell, 
“ the evidence is overwhelming that he did.” 
“ That's all I can do for you,” said Tidy, and he went 
to bed. At i a.m. he received an urgent message 
from Russell to come down and continue the dis¬ 
cussion, a woman’s life was at stake, etc., so he went 
down, but maintained his view of the question. 
He informed me that he was sure that acute gastritis 
was the cause of death. “ But what about Mrs. 
Maybrick giving her husband arsenic?” said L 
Ah ! that's quite another thing,” was his reply. 
In fact he was ready to admit that there had been 
an attempt at murder, but “ maintained his own 
opinion still ” as to the gastritis. 

He interviewed Lampson the day before his 
execution to try and find out from him the cause of 
the delay of the action of the poison after the boy 
had eaten the cake given him by Lampson. He 
asked him if he had injected the poison with a 
hypodermic syringe into a raisin. Lampson did not 
deny this—and it is the probable explanation—as 
the skin of the raisin would take some time to digest 
before the poison was freed and did its deadly work. 

He was called to consult about a case of suspected 
poisoning. The doctors could not understand the 
symptoms of a rich lady who was desperately ill, and 
who had an only son. Both they and Tidy were 
morally sure that poison was at work, but absolute, 
definite proof was wanting. 

Tidy settled the matter by interviewing the son, 
and telling him that the police would be communicated 



with after twelve hours’ time, so as to give the 
poisoner time to leave England. The son bolted at 
once, and the bluff to prevent murder succeeded. 

A well-known man—long ago dead—once told 
me how he had, as he thought, to face death without 
aid when assistance could have been procured only 
at the expense of a lady’s honour. 

In opening a champagne bottle he was wounded 
by its breakage, and a severe cut by the knee bled so 
furiously that he thought he was going to die from 
the haemorrhage. 

His companion was a married woman of good 
reputation, and her being with him would have 
compromised her beyond redemption. He entreated 
her to go, and after some hesitation she went. 
Luckily it was not one of the main vessels behind 
the knee that was injured, but a smaller one, and so 
he recovered eventually to make a great name for 
himself in the literary world. 

Celebrity often walks with sin. The public would 
be much astonished if I were to mention the names of 
three very celebrated men who died of G.P.I., or of 
one, famous in holy orders, who luckily escaped being 
the central figure of a paternity case. 



In about 1910, while I was trying a new motor-cycle, 
I went down to Chigwell in Essex where my grand¬ 
father and grandmother are buried in the churchyard. 
Leaving the cycle at the " King's Head," immortalised 
by Dickens as “ The Maypole " in Barnaby Rudge, 
I tried in vain to find the graves. Crossing the road, 
I stood watching a cricket match and asked an ancient 
rustic by my side whether these were the boys of 
Chigwell School of which Mr. Crookes was once 
master. He stared at me in astonishment, for Mr. 
Crookes had been the master in the fifties and sixties 
of the nineteenth century, and said, “ Who are you, 
sir, that knew Mr. Crookes? " I said that I was the 
son of Mr. George Turner who once had lived at 
Chigwell and that as a boy I knew Mr. Crookes, when 
he came up to London to see my father. He said, 
“ I knew your father, sir." My father had left 
Chigwell in 1856. “ What brought you down here ? " 

he asked. “ I was trying to find my grandfather's 
grave in the churchyard." “ Oh," said he, “ Sacred 
to the memory of Hannah, wife of Robertson 
Buchanan, who died June 1854, also of Robertson 
Buchanan, who died March 1st, 1869." " Good 

gracious," I said, "how do you know all that?" 

Well," he said, “ I ought to, for I dug the graves 
of both of them." In the one case it was some 
fifty-six years before, and in the other some forty-one. 

He went on to say, “ Do you know how I learnt to 



read, sir ? It was by learning the letters on the tomb¬ 
stones.” He then took me to the churchyard and 
showed me the graves that I wanted to see. The 
lettering was almost gone, and I had it repaired. 

At the outbreak of the War I had two gardeners 
who were brothers. The younger one, although he 
was really under age, joined up at once, and was 
killed on March 13th, 1915* His elder married 
brother joined later and was killed on the following 
March 13th, 1916. The latter was a most capable 
man and an enthusiastic gardener. Some year or so 
before his wife had been ill and I thought a change 
of air would do her good, so suggested a holiday. 
“ Oh ! but, sir, with the grapes coming on, and the 
roses, I don’t think I ought to leave them.” His 
garden came even before his sick wife. The soil at 
Newlands at Radlett was a mixture of clay and 
gravel, an ideal place for the growth of roses, and 
mine were exceedingly good. The house was on the 
top of the hill above the Watling Street Road that 
ran through the village, and although within fifteen 
miles of London one might have been in Devonshire. 
Partridges and pheasants used to come on the lawn, 
and there was an open view of St. Albans Cathedral 
in the distance about four miles away. 

A very great friend of mine, Dr. R. H. Clarke, 

who himself believed very firmly in telepathy, died 

on Monday, June 28th, 1926. On that Mondav 

morning I had had my first long sleep which ended 
about 8 o’clock : in my second sleep, about 9 or 
9.15, I can’t say I heard a voice, but somehow it 
was communicated to me that “ Dr. Clarke is dead.” 
I thought little of it; knowing that he was ill and 
subject to heart attacks, it seemed not an unnatural 
thing that I should have thought of his death. On 
the Tuesday after midday, I heard from the lawyer 
that Clarke had died “ last night in Paris.” The 


time did not apparently coincide with the notification 
to me, but later when I heard the details of his death, 
I found that he had got out of bed on the Monday 
morning, had ordered his breakfast, had got back into 
bed, and when about half an hour later they brought 
his breakfast to the room, he was found dead. I 
believe there was a nurse in attendance on him, with 
whom I was acquainted and who knew of our friend¬ 
ship. As yet I have had no opportunity of asking her 
whether she in any way thought of me. Clarke himself, 
and the late Mr. Capper of thought-reading renown, 
were able to do almost anything in reading each other’s 
thoughts, or rather in Capper reading Clarke’s. 

I have left this account as I wrote it in 1927. It 
was not until 1928 that I received a letter from Miss 
Piggott asking me for a testimonial as she wished to 
obtain an appointment as nurse to one of the large 
steamships. I thus got into communication with her. 
Amongst others to whom I mentioned the matter 
was Sir John Rose Bradford, the President of the 
College of Physicians, who in former days had been 
one of Clarke’s friends. 

These reminiscences have been jotted down at 
various times during the last four years or so, and 
thus it is that I am completing my account years 
after I had written my original note (January 1st, 
1931). I have Miss Piggott’s letter, with the post¬ 
mark July 20th, 1928, describing in detail the im¬ 
provement in Clarke’s health before his sudden death. 

She was kind enough to write me a long letter 
from which I quote. “ When he felt a little better 
he decided to spend the week-end in Paris and return 
on the Monday. By Sunday he looked a different 
man, and it was decided that we should return to 
England the next morning at 9.30 a.m. My room 
was on the third floor—the next morning I was 
roused by the hotel proprietor, who was in a dreadful 


state of excitement, saying that Monsieur had ordered 
his breakfast at 7 o’clock and appeared in the best 
of health—at a quarter past seven, when the valet 
returned, Dr. Clarke was dead. I ran down to his 
room and found him on his right side—looking as 
though he had tried to get out of bed. I secured his 
keys and locked his trunks and put his money and 
watch away. I was next taken to the British Consul, 
but before going I remembered of no address in 
England other than his Bank in Croydon. I then 
wondered whether he might have your address—or 
possibly a letter from you. I quickly searched 
through his papers, but I was probably too upset to 
look properly. That was about nine or nine-thirty 
a.m. I finally decided to let the Consul attend to 
everything, etc.” 

I received this letter from Miss Cavendish Piggott 
July 20th, 1928. It will be seen that she was thinking 
hard of me and trying to get into communication 
with me the exact time that I learnt “ Dr. Clarke is 
dead.” Up to receiving this account I had told the 
story to many people, but always saying that the 
time of Clarke’s death did not correspond with the 
time of the message; this is true—but the telepathy 
was exactly accurate. I had an interview with Miss 
Piggott, and she told me she was doing all she could 
to get into communication with me. 

T. C. Bush, the great cricketer who used to play 
with the Graces for Gloucestershire, was also a 
member of the English football team which played 
against Scotland when I did in 1876. I have a 
photograph of that team and I am sitting near the 
Captain, Frank Luscombe, whose horse “ Marco ” 
won the Cambridgeshire, and next to Bush the 
cricketer. This photograph was not in my ordinary 
sitting-room or bedroom, and I saw it very seldom. 
One day I could not get the idea of Bush out of my 


head. I was thinking constantly of him for no 
apparent reason. It was not as if we had been great 
friends ; in fact, I do not think I spoke to him at any 
time except on the day of the International match, 
when coming out of the pavilion at the Oval, he said 
to me, “ I wish this were a cricket match instead of 
football.” The day following my involuntary con¬ 
stant thoughts of Bush I took up the Morning Post 
and found that he had died the preceding day, and 
there was a long notice of his business and athletic 
career. I am inclined to wonder if, when he was dying, 
that same photograph of the football team was in his 
bedroom, and that he was wondering who the fellow 
next to him was. 

\ ears ago I motored my daughter into a town in 
Hertfordshire, where she went into a shop and I 
waited in a small open car outside. Without any¬ 
thing whatever to lead up to it, I began to think about 
a young lady whom I had known thirty years 
previously, in the West of England. A car came along 
the street from behind me, and as it passed I saw that 
it was being driven by her brother, whom I recognised 
at once, although I had not seen him for certainly 
thirty years. As the car flashed by me, I saw there 
were some ladies in it. Some two or three days 
afterwards I saw a letter in The Times from this 
gentleman who was driving the car, showing that he 
was still alive, and was living in the neighbourhood 
where I saw him. I never saw the car approaching, 
so had no view of it until it passed me ; nothing to 
suggest him in any way. 

Although I have had these experiences and am 
more than ready to admit the possibility of telepathy, 
I am a natural sceptic in things occult, and have no 
belief in Spiritualism. 

I have once attended a Spiritualistic seance, and 



Lee. Graham. Hunt. Parson. Walker. 

Heath. Adams. Kewley. Collins. Stokes. 


Birkett. Tetley. Luscombe. Bush. 

Gregg. Turner. 




[To face page 172. 


having the privilege to know Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 
four different spirits did me the honour to talk to me 
during the seance, and in each case they gave them¬ 
selves away and were obvious frauds. 

The first purported to be the son of the house and 
who had been killed in the War. Although I knew 
his father, Lord Glenconner, I had never met the son, 
yet his spirit addressed me as if we had been well 
acquainted during his lifetime. The same error was 
made by another spirit. The next one purported 
to be that of a namesake of mine, General Sir A. 
Turner, with whom I had been unacquainted, but 
I knew several of his friends and he had stayed at the 
house of one of my married daughters. When he 
came I thought I would stop him making the error 
of having known me, and said to him, “ Of course, 
Sir Alfred, we didn't know each other during your 
life, but we had several mutual friends and acquaint¬ 
ances.” ” Oh yes,” said he, “ yes ; there were the 
Misses B.” I said to him, “ Let me see, what was 
the name of the one who was your great friend ? ” 
This gentleman had been in the habit of going about 
with the sister of my daughter-in-law a good deal. 
The spirit could not tell me the name, so I said, u Oh, 
I don't wonder at your not remembering the name, 
because you always used to call her by a nickname.” 

What was it ? ” The spirits, when they could not 
answer a question, took refuge in grunts, at other 
times their articulation was perfect. The young lady 
about whom I was cross-examining this spirit was 
called Birdie by my namesake in his lifetime, because 
of the shape of her nose. The spirit knew neither 
her Christian name nor this nickname by which he 
always called her. The spirit of Sir Arthur Conan 
Doyle’s son again made the mistake that he had 
known me in life. 

The last spirit who summoned me, was supposed 


to be that of my son who was killed in the War. 
He began by telling me there was no such place as 
Hell, and went on to quote a little from a book on 
Spiritualism by Conan Doyle that I had been advised 
to read before going to the seance. I asked him 
what he would like me to do. He said he wished to 
be remembered to his mother. I said, “ Yes, and 
to your wife or widow.” He said, “ Yes, and the 
children,” using the plural. He had only one child, 
a daughter, but in the books where details are given 
of myself and family the words “ has issue ” had been 
put after his name. On my asking him what name 
his mother called him, he replied correctly, “ Teddie.’ 
“ Yes ”, I said, “ and I.” “ Oh,” he said, “ Ned or 

Ed.” Now I had never called him Ned or Ed in my 
life. When he was quite young he was rather under¬ 
sized, and his great ambition was to be thought big, 
and he said he was “ normous.” In consequence 
of this I always used to call him “ Normous ” or 
“ Big One.” In fact, when he was killed, he had a 
letter of mine in his pocket which began, “ My dear 
Big One.” In addition to Big One and Normous I 
used to call my son who was killed in the War “ Fidei 
Defensor,” as when a little Joel at his preparatory 
school spoke slightingly of the Christian Faith he 
went for him vi et armis. He created considerable 
amusement at a circus when the clown pretending 
to help the men putting down the carpets was always 
getting in the way, he shouted out in a loud voice, 
“ Why he is just like Papa ! ” 

If he had told me at the Spiritualist seance either 
of these stories or other things known only to ourselves 
I should have been more of a believer in the faith and 
might have had to come down to telepathy as an 
explanation. The medium who made these repeated 
failures with me was a trumpet medium. 

I went to that seance in an earnest spirit of 


inquiry. It was opened by the saying of The Lord’s 
Prayer, followed by “ Lead Kindly Light ” (“ to 
increase the vibration ”). The first spirit that spoke 
was very squeaky, so we sang “ D’ye ken John Peel 
with his coat so grey.” After that the articulation 
was perfect, except when a question couldn’t be 
answered. I was told that the medium must have 
been an intermittent, that is to say, not above un¬ 
conscious manufacture on the occasions when she 
could not call spirits from the vasty deep. At the 
beginning of the seance, the atmospheric conditions 
were said to be extremely favourable for them “ to 
come through.” I was shown the trumpet, and was 
told that if during the seance I felt anything like air 
coming against my face, that this was not the case, 
but that it was an emanation from myself. I did 
feel something like somebody’s breath, and found it 
more than difficult to believe that it was anything 
proceeding from myself. 

To me this one seance was more or less conclusive, 
although I went to another, more for the purpose of 
taking a friend than having any further curiosity 

I wrote to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and told him 
all about it. His explanation was that the medium 
was an intermittent, and that this was not one of her 
days. It certainly was not. 

If one believes in telepathy and the possibility of the 
unconscious mind of the medium—whether hypnotised 
or not—communicating with the unconscious mind of 
a person at a seance, much may be explained, without 
bringing in spirits at all, in those cases where the 
medium has brought forward facts or events known 
only to the person in communication with the medium. 

It might be awkward to many people if one’s 
unconscious mind revealed all one’s secrets to a 
suitable medium. I knew Sir Edward Marshall Hall 


lairl^ well. That he w r as a convert to Spiritualism 
was, I believe, the result ol some unconscious telepathy 
between himself and a medium. He was an emotional 
man, as indeed was almost a necessity for the flights 
of oratory and passion which adorned his career as 
the greatest criminal lawyer and advocate of his time. 

Sir Edward was asked to defend Crippen. He 
would not do so as the medical evidence in which he 
believed was to be combated. He told me that his 
defence would have been that Crippen, to quiet Mrs. 
Crippen, had given her a dose of hyoscin—and 
accidentally a fatal dose—then finding himself in a 
position of great danger of being charged with 
murdei, he made away with the body, feeling that, 
looking to his liaison with Miss Le Neve, no jury would 
bring in a verdict of “ not guilty.” 

I believe that Crippen w'on the regard of nearly 
everybody when he was in custody, both before and 
after his trial and condemnation—and some people 
have gone so far as to think that his unselfish love for 
Miss Le Neve lanks him amongst the great lovers of 
histoi}/. His one idea was to shield her at any cost. 

Sir Edward talked to me also about the Seddon 
case and his satisfaction that he secured the acquittal 
ol Mrs. Seddon. Her innocence, he told me, he made 
the chief plank of his defence in the hope that the 
jury would also find her husband not guilty. This 
case and others of arsenical poisoning have shown that 
arsenic can be obtained all too readily. It is no good 
making the rarer poisons difficult to obtain if this well- 
known one can easily be got as a fly-paper or a weed 
killer. If I had my way, a poisoner should not be 
hanged but be killed by the same poison as his victim. 
Hanging is too good for strychnia, arsenic and 
antimony culprits. Where a nice, quiet, painless 
soporific such as opium or its alkaloid morphia has 
been used, the murderer might also be put to sleep 


without any undue suffering on his part. Hyoscin 
instead of hanging might have done for Crippen. In 
long-continued, protracted poisonings the murderer 
should also have delay and difficulty in his expiation. 
Modern hanging is almost certainly painless and death 
immediate. It is not always that the culprit's neck 
is dislocated, as is laid down in works on medical 
jurisprudence, but the sudden sharp shock may be 
attended by fracture of the spine—even as low down 
the fourth cervical vertebra. Sentimental human¬ 
itarians need not be shocked at this. It is quite true 
that a fracture of the spine at this place is not 
immediately fatal in itself—but added to shock and 
rope pressure, consciousness and existence would 
immediately cease whether the neck is dislocated or 

I used to wear on my watch-chain a small crystal 
locket, no bigger than the top of my little finger, 
that my sister Catherine had given to my father, and 
which he valued very much. One evening, after 
having in the afternoon watched a review of volunteers 
in Hyde Park, I found on dressing for dinner that the 
crystal locket was gone. Early next morning, about 
eight o'clock, I got up and went to Hyde Park, I 
met a friend in Green Street, who asked me why I was 
up so early, and I told him that I was going to look 
for a needle in a bundle of hay—this small locket in 
the Park. I went to the gate by which I had entered 
the Park the previous afternoon, and, as far as I could, 
went over the ground, got to the place where I had 
stood watching the troops, and then began to 
“ quarter " the ground. In less than a minute I 
saw something sparkling in the grass, and there was 
the locket that I had lost the day before. I think 
this is only equalled by what happened to my grand¬ 
father. He was riding with my mother along the 
towing-path at Richmond, and said to her, “ It was 


about here that I must have lost my ring last 
Saturday.” As he spoke his horse's hoof kicked 
up the ring that he had lost a week ago. Of course 
the towing-path by Richmond in the late forties of 
last century was a desert compared with Richmond 
of to-day. 

I have been told a story of a most extraordinary 
find of a gold sovereign purse lost in the Sahara desert 
off the usual track seven years afterwards by a gentle¬ 
man who out of curiosity returned to the place where 
he knew he had lost it. He saw something glittering 
in the sand and it was his purse. It must have been 
covered and uncovered by sandstorms innumerable 
times in seven years. The lady who told me is of 
unimpeachable veracity. 

Another remarkable story of a gentleman called 
Murray, who in paying an omnibus conductor dropped 
a £$ note. When he found out his loss he communi¬ 
cated with Scotland Yard and gave the number of 
the note. That evening his brother, Canon Murray, 
got into the same omnibus, saw as he thought a piece 
of paper, picked it up, and finding that it was a 
banknote went himself with the conductor to the 
place where lost property was taken. The people 
there had already been apprised by Mr. Murray of his 
loss, and their astonishment was great when the 
Canon gave the same name and related the circum¬ 
stances of the finding of his brother’s money. 

When I lived in Green Street, Park Lane, my 
children one day brought home from the park a 
young sparrow that had fallen out of its nest. It 
had next to no feathers. Tweakey Boo, as we called 
it, was revived with a drop of sherry, survived, and 
lived with us no less than thirteen years. He was, 
of course, exceedingly tame, and a bird of great 
character. He lived in the nursery, was looked 
after by the nurse, and he used to sit on her 


shoulder and nestle amongst her hair as she did 
her sewing. 

The nurse left us suddenly and did not come back 
again for five years. She then went up to the nursery 
—which had now become a schoolroom—and when 
Tweakey saw her he fluttered down to the door of his 
cage in great excitement, and when the door was 
opened he flew at once to her and nestled up against 
her as he had been in the habit of doing five years 

Dr. R. H. Clarke was greatly interested in this 
proof of memory in small birds. He came to the 
house, cross-examined the witnesses, and wrote a full 
account of the incident which appeared in Bird 
Notes . I subsequently related it in the columns 
of the Daily Mail. 

Tweakey used to take his bath in a saucer with a 
gold rim round it, no other saucer would do for him, 
he insisted always on having one of this pattern ! 

A lady whom he much admired, once asked my 
father-in-law to bring down from London a “ little 
parcel ” for her. He readily assented, and half a 
sheep in brown paper was duly delivered to him as he 
sat in his railway carriage at London Bridge. 

This lady’s sister—a Peeress—once carried off a 
nephew of hers from his work as a clerk in the City, 
to sit outside Gunter’s in Berkeley Square and drink 
champagne. She wore the badge of teetotalism on 
the front of her dress. “ But, Aunt Loo, what about 
the ribbon?” asked the nephew. “Hush, hush, 
my dear, that’s for the waiters,” said she. 

Her husband was a collector of Bibles—scandal 
said that he had taken one not rightly his from a 
church where it was chained to the lectern. 

He would not show this collection except to a 
favoured few of his guests. His poor wife was left 
to make excuses to the others. 


I once met a gentleman called Taswell, who lived, 
I believe, somewhere near Canterbury. A number of 
young cavalry officers, about two o’clock in the 
morning, jumped on their horses and galloped up to 
his place. Making a great noise, they demanded to 
see him, and when he appeared asking, “ What is it, 
what is it ? ” they said, “ Is your name Taswell ? ” 
Yes, yes,” he said. “ Wouldn’t it be as well if you 
dropped the ‘ T ’ ? ” said they. 

I once claimed from a fire insurance office under 
the following circumstances. 

A servant of mine had upset a big bottle of 
sulphuric acid on a Turkey carpet. I wrote to the 
company and told them of this and asked them to 
send somebody to estimate the damage. A young 
man called, and we covenanted and agreed for £g to 
be paid as damages. He returned shortly after he 
had left the house, a little doubtful, I think, as to 
whether he had done the right thing. He said to me, 
“ Was there really a fire? ” “ Well,” I said, “ if 

you are anything of a chemist you know that the 
chemical processes are not unlike, and we surgeons 
call red-hot irons actual cauterers, and the strong 
acids like sulphuric potential cauteries.” 

But was there smoke ? ” said he, so I rang the 
bell for the servant. 

u Was there smoke, Mary Ann ? ” 

“ Lor, sir, the room was full of it ! ” 

I concealed nothing from the Insurance Company, 
but I am a little doubtful as to whether I was within 
my rights or not. 

One of my cousins, Cyril Parker, who was killed 
in the War, was a great friend of mine and a real good 
sportsman. When at Eton he won the light-weight 
boxing competition, and backed himself to win the 
middle-weight. He succeeded in this. In after years, 
when he came home one night he found a burglar 


in his rooms. The burglar bolted and Cyril gave 
chase. Eventually he caught the man, who im¬ 
plored him not to give him into custody. “ On 
one condition,” said Cyril, “ that you stand up 
and fight me.” Although Cyril was a stone or more 
lighter, he gave the burglar a good thrashing and then 
allowed him to depart. 

When he was “ swished ” at Eton he took out a 
silken handkerchief and carefully dusted the execution 

If the execution master had any sense of humour 
the swishing should have been a light one, but my 
experience of schoolmasters was they were singularly 
lacking in this redeeming quality. 

I served Her Majesty Queen Victoria on two 
occasions as a special constable. When the mob 
threatened to storm Trafalgar Square I went down 
to the Wellington Barracks, learned the goose-step 
and to form fours, was provided with a truncheon 
and marched off to Trafalgar Square. Amongst the 
specials in the square I must have seen fifty to a 
hundred men that I knew as old footballers. The 
mob came and booked and hooted, but thought 
discretion the better part of valour. I think these 
football forwards would have been awkward proposi¬ 
tions for any rioters. 

A good many of my friends joined up, and I played 
a practical joke on about a dozen of them, sending a 
notice to each to attend the drill hall of the 153rd 
Middlesex Volunteers for drill at 9 a.m. on a Monday, 
and added that the Colonel Commandant trusted 
there would be no absentees, as such were liable to 
a fine of ten shillings. 

I think nearly all of my victims wandered about, 
trying to find the i53rd , s drill hall. In spite of 
acting of which I was proud, I must have incurred 


suspicion, as one of my friends subsequently visited 
my house and stole the truncheon which a generous 
Government allowed one to retain as a memento of 
this special service. 

My grandfather used to relate his experiences when 
he served as a special at the time of the Chartist riots. 

He was also one of the earliest volunteers—so much 
laughed at by Punch. I remember the beautiful 
green feathers of his head gear. This was at the 
time when the French Colonels addressed Napoleon III 
as to what doughty deeds they would do if necessary 
against poor perfide Albion. 

It was from this grandfather that his descendants 
got their athletic capacity. He was able as a young 
man to jump over what he could walk under. My 
son who was killed in the War, won the mile and 
three miles at the Freshmen’s sports at Cambridge, 
also the cross-country race, and ran for Cambridge 
against Oxford. I won some twenty-two races as a 
young man, including the Inter-hospital hurdle race 
for three years running. 

My brother E. B. Turner was a good miler and 
in the eighties and nineties was making all sorts of 
world records on a tricycle, beating even the bicycle 
records, when he himself was nearly forty. 

I was much interested to learn from his father 
that Lord Burghley was the first athlete of his family. 
It was most unexpected news to me. 

In the late seventies we were asked by some friends 
to see the Oxford and Cambridge boat race from 
Chiswick Eyot. After we had lunched and were 
waiting to go back in a coach the horses of which 
had been taken out, I was standing talking to the 
ladies inside the coach, when a policeman tried to 
force his way in. He was told it was a private coach 
and gently ejected. About half a minute after this, 
another policeman, minus his helmet, drew his 


truncheon and rushed at me. I eluded the truncheon, 
but this was the beginning of a regular fight between 
five or six undergraduates who were with us, against 
the two policemen and the surrounding mob. It 
appeared that one of these policemen had tried to get 
on to the top of the coach, but had been dropped over 
the side by Mr. T. Snow, who had been running for 
Oxford against Cambridge the preceding day. It 
was this man who came at me with his truncheon. 
The fight waxed fast and furious for some little time, 
when it eventually occurred to an inspector of a 
large force of police quite close, to stop the riot. 
The crowd protested in vain and strongly against the 
buffeting that we had given them. 

It appeared that the two policemen had been 
sitting up all night looking after the temporary stands 
that had been erected to see the race, and had been 
too liberally supplied with alcohol. I believe they 
ceased to be members of the force. 

At one of the Earl’s Court Exhibitions I visited a 
lady who told your character and your fortune by 
your face. I at once thought something of her 
because the first thing she said to me was, “ You are 
intensely irritable.” I was smiling and endeavouring 
to look pleasant at the time, but she was right; I 
have never been able to “ suffer fools gladly,” and 
am gouty and irritable. 

She went on to tell me that although I was in a 
prominent position, I might have held a much higher 
place in my profession, had it not been for the 
animosity of a lady of title. I have wondered who 
this could possibly be, but of course if there was any 
truth in it the last person to hear of such a thing 
would have been myself. If by any chance it is 
true, I am not ungrateful to her, as I am sure my life 
has been more many-sided and amusing than it would 
have been if my profession had been my all in all. 

i8 4 coincidences and experiences 

There aie several instances of very eminent 
physicians who, having no interests outside their 
profession, were bored to extinction when they could 
no longer work. 

Napoleon on one occasion moralised as to what 
would become of him if deposed as he was “ un etre 
politique not caring either for women or gambling. 

Mr. Gladstone in my young days was very much 
hated by Conservatives, especially after he took up 
Home Rule and so obtained the Irish vote at a 
useful moment. They could not forget he had 
denounced Parnell as “ marching through rapine to 
the dismemberment of the empire.” On one occasion 
General and Mrs. Mark Wood were invited to a 
public dinner, and found Mr. Gladstone was one of the 
guests. The General did a right about turn, and in 
s Pite the protests of his wife, left the room, and 
was going downstairs when he met the Duke of 
Cambridge, who was a personal friend of his. The 
Duke said to him, “ Where are you off to ? ” 

Well, sir, I cannot sit down to dinner in the same 
room as Gladstone/’ 

“ 01 b nonsense, nonsense ! ” said the Duke ; “ you 

come back with me. IVe got to do it, and so you 
must too.” 

The General sat next to Mrs. Gladstone at the 
dinner and used to tell the story that instead of eating 
a peach she put it in some pocket or other of her dress. 

What did you do ? ” the General was asked. il Oh, 
I squashed up against it,” said he. 

Whether ladies had pockets to their dresses in 
those days, and whether the story is true, I do not 

know, but anyhow the General used to tell it as I have 
related it. 

When the General’s son was married to a very 
charming lady, my father and mother sat in a pew 
directly behind him, and when, in the course of the 


marriage service the son said, “ With all my worldly 
goods I thee endow,” the General remarked in an 
audible whisper, “ Damn him ! He hasn’t a penny.” 

Enthusiastic admirers used constantly to take 
off their hats to the Grand Old Man. A Scotch 
gentleman, Mr. Andrew Williamson, who was one 
ol the pioneers of Tariff Reform (indeed it was after 
reading his book that Mr. Joseph Chamberlain took 
up the idea), was walking one day in Princes Street, 
Edinburgh. Some ladies whom he knew were coming 
towards him, and just in front of them was Mr. Glad¬ 
stone. The Conservative gentleman took off his 
hat to the ladies. Mr. Gladstone thought that he 
had been saluted, and politely raised his hat, to the 
indignation of the Tariff Reformer, who explained 
to him that he was the last man in the world to whom 
he would ever take off his hat. 

Not long after the fall of Khartoum and the death 
of Gordon, for which Mr. Gladstone was, rightly or 
wrongly, held responsible by many people, a beautiful 
young lady, a relation of mine, met him at dinner at 
Dalmeny in Scotland and attracted his attention. 
Mr. Gladstone talked to her for some considerable 
time. When this was known and she was asked, 
What did you think of Mr. Gladstone ? ” she replied, 
I thought of Gordon.” 

There used to be a crossing-sweeper in a red 
jacket who swept a crossing across Berkeley Square, 
from Davies Street nearly to Gunter’s, the con¬ 
fectioner. I was walking along this one day behind 
a gentleman, and we met Mr. Gladstone. The 
gentleman in front of me was obviously a Liberal 
and took off his hat, to which Mr. Gladstone replied 
by a similar salutation. I had been brought up to hate 
Gladstone and all his works, and had been told that 
Palmerston had said of him that he would either 
ruin his country or end his days in a lunatic asylum. 


I was rude and impertinent enough as I passed 
Gladstone to hiss him. 

In after life I had the great privilege of knowing 
that most charming and delightful great lady, Lady 
Frederick Cavendish, whose husband was foully 
murdered on May 6th, 1882—the day my father died. 
From the reverence, respect and love with which 
Gladstone was surrounded in her house and the way 
in which she spoke of him, I am sure that the Grand 
Old Man in many ways was really “ grand.” 

They used to say that Mr. Gladstone was many- 
sided, but sometimes superficial. I was told that 
at a luncheon party at Oxford when Dante was the 
subject of conversation Mr. Gladstone was the chief 

speaker and critic. Lord R-, a great Dante 

scholar, was present, and Gladstone, at the end of 
his remarks, turned to him and said, “ Don’t you 

agree with me, Lord -?” “Well,” said his 

lordship, “ I was not going to say anything at all, but 
as you have asked me, I am afraid I must say that 
I differ very materially from your views on Dante.” 

I was once asked to stay in a house where Glad¬ 
stone was coming as a visitor, and like an ass refused 
to do so. 

I revisited Aix-les-Bains about ten years or so ago 
for a bad knee, and whilst there occasionally played 
chemin-de-fer. There was a nice, quiet-looking 
English lady, grey haired and dressed in black, who 
knew all there was to know about the game. To me 
this form of baccarat was novel, but I soon picked 
it up. Occasionally sitting next to this Mrs. Tomp¬ 
kins, as I will call her, we got to saying a few words 
to each other. 

Months afterwards in London at my bankers, I 
found myself next to this lady and spoke to her, 
mentioning Aix-les-Bains. She flushed, said she 


did not understand me, and when I said that we had 
met at Aix, she said she had never been there in her 
life, and went away after an expression of sorrow on 
my part at my mistake. I saw, however, after she 
had gone the name Tompkins on a slip of paper 
that the bankers’ clerk had, and I said to him, “ Was 
that lady Mrs. Tompkins ? ” “ Oh yes,” he said, 

that’s her name.” Curious coincidence that the 
lady that had never been to Aix should have the 
same name and the same appearance as the lady 
who was having a little flutter there. I wonder if 
the lady was at Aix incognito, and that I made no 
mistake ? 

Grace before dinner at dinner parties always 
preceded the soup at my father’s house. It was 
sometimes said by a fairly young, very High-Church 
curate. He had never been to school, and when he 
went to Oxford his mother went and lived with him. 
After grace there was usually a hush before conversa¬ 
tion became general. During this pause the curate 
addressed me, and in a nervous, rather high-pitched 
voice said, ” Can you tell me, Mr. Turner, is it 
possible to take out the human eye, clean it, and put 
it back again ? ” It was with difficulty that I 
preserved sufficient gravity to answer him in the 
negative. Later on, when conversation flagged, his 
thirst for scientific knowledge was such that he 
inquired of me whether, if one ate watercress 
with tadpoles in it, a frog would develop in one’s 
interior. This is an absolute fact. I am always 
indebted to curates and the members of that brilliant 
financial race, the Jews, for the number of good 
stories of which they are the central figures. Perhaps 
one ought to add Scotsmen, who are so often slandered 
in funny stories. 

A young Maltese came to London with a letter of 
introduction from Colonel Percy Feilding, who 


commanded the troops in Malta, to my father. He 
spoke English perfectly, but with ever so little of an 
accent. At dinner my father said to him, “ I suppose 
you go out and see all you can of London ? ” “ Oh» 

no,” said he. “ It is so expensive,” and he told us 
how, when he arrived at Victoria he took a hansom- 
cab to drive him to the neighbourhood of Russell 
Square, where apartments had been provided for 
him. The cabman’s fare for this was hve-and-twenty 
shillings. Half a crown or so would have been the 
correct sum. The day afterwards he drove from 
Russell Square down to Westminster to see the Houses 
of Parliament, Westminster Hall, etc. This cabman’s 
fare was eighteen shillings. On the night he had 
come to dine with us he had been charged five shillings 
and set down at the wrong place. Another cabman 
picked him up and charged him only eighteen pence 
for his final hundred yards. 

Shortly after this dinner, during an exceedingly 
hot summer, I drove down to Victoria, and gave my 
cabman the usual extra sixpence. He said, “ Oh, 
can’t you give me another sixpence, sir. It’s so 
awfully hot.” " No, I won’t,” said I to him, and 
told him the story of my Maltese friend. He nearly 
rolled off his box with laughter. 

When this young gentleman paid his duty call 
after dinner, my mother was out, but he was received 
by my sister. Small talk is not the gift of every one, 
and no doubt it was difficult for a nervous young 
gentleman to start a conversation when alone with 
a Victorian young lady. After a silence and sitting 
on the edge of his chair, he looked at a beautiful 
collie dog that we had in those days, and started his 
conversation by saying, “Is he clean about the 
house ? ” My sister was able to assure him as to 
Crimond’s good behaviour, but was rather embar¬ 
rassed as to what might follow such an opening. 


I once gave a cabman a lesson. I took a cab from 
the Marble Arch to just this side of “ Cock/’ Kilburn, 
and gave the man his fare with an extra sixpence. 

Oh ! no,” he said, “ outside the four-mile radius.” 
This was not so, but he was inclined to be aggressive, 
so I told him to wait while I went into the house and 
kept him waiting twelve minutes. Up to fifteen 
minutes no charge was made. I then took him back 
to Marble Arch and gave him his exact legal fare—a 
sixpence or a shilling more than I had originally 
offered him, but he had waited twelve minutes, and 
driven me more than two miles for the extra money. 
His only comment was, “ Well, you do know ’ow 
to lay out your money, you do.” In those days before 
I had a brougham I did all my work in hansoms, and 
always, except on this occasion, overpaid the drivers. 

They were always most civil to any one connected 
with St. George’s Hospital—so many of them had 
been inmates there. 

On one occasion, an old patient—an omnibus 
conductor—tried to save a penny for me. ” You get 
down ’ere, sir, it’s a penny more round the corner ”— 
another hundred yards. 

There was a paper that lived for a short time, very 
malodorous, and which contained articles, which were 
libellous, on the past of rich financiers and company 
promoters. It was said that it was in the habit of 
blackmailing these gentlemen, and that absence 
from the list of those to whom open letters were 
addressed had to be paid for. One of my acquaint¬ 
ances stood the racket of this rag’s attack, and the 
companies he had been connected with were 
enumerated, and I will say no more than that they 
had not been very successful. I heard this gentleman 
once upbraid his partner for not supporting him at 
auction bridge. “ But,” said he to the offender, 
I said two hearts quite quickly .” 


Another financier of my acquaintance to whom I 
spoke on this subject, told me that he had bought 
the silence of the newspaper for about £i ,000. It was 
not a cash transaction for nothing, he was given 
some hundreds of worthless shares for his money. 
He was a rich man and really had no purple past, 
but he said he preferred to pay the money rather 
than be pilloried as his more pachydermatous friend 
had been. 

Tea tasters are, I believe, extraordinarily well 
paid. One my father knew got £3,000 a year. He 
was blackmailed for thirty years before he confided 
in my father, who had no difficulty in at once stopping 
the trouble, but the scoundrels were not prosecuted. 
This was in the sixties, and the law as to publicity 
was different then from what it is now. 

I heard Disraeli, when Prime Minister in the 
seventies, speak in the House of Commons. The 
question was asked what the Government would do 
if the neutrality of Belgium was threatened. “If 
the neutrality of Belgium is threatened, really 
threatened,” said Dizzy, and you could have heard a 
pin drop, the silence was so intense, “ Her Majesty’s 
Government will do their duty to their Queen and 
country.” The House burst into a roar of laughter 
at Dizzy’s adroit way of not answering an awkward 

One used to see him walking about arm-in-arm with 
“ Monty ” Corry, just as was depicted in the cartoon 
of Vanity Fair. 

On one occasion he had a majority of 101 in a 
vote of the House of Commons. He was asked what 
do you think of the division ? “ Oh ! ” he said, 

“ a royal salute.” 

I wish we had a Dizzy or two now. Politics 
seem like religion. One has to be guided by faith 
rather than reason. A prominent politician who in 



the War was against conscription—the one thing 
necessary for our salvation—in spite of this mental 
incapacity “ bobs up ” again after the War and is 
entrusted with posts of responsibility and trust as if 
nothing had happened. An equivalent mistake 
would have ruined the practice of any doctor. 

The same with the gentleman who had seen “ the 
Russian scare,” “ the French scare,” and now (the 
end of 1913) the “ German scare.” This was to 
pass like the others. He knew, too, at the time of 
Lord Haldane’s forebodings. A mistaken past seems 
no drawback to future advancement or the confidence 
of the many headed. Don’t use your reason, have 
faith in your eminent statesmen. Quacks are treated 
like this—not doctors. 

At the time when relations between Russia and 
England were somewhat strained because of the 
advance on Herat, Lord Dufferin was our repre¬ 
sentative in arranging about the delimitation of the 
frontier. My friend Sir Thomas Gordon was with 
him when they were inspecting a bleak and uninviting 
portion of land for this purpose, and Dufferin said 
to him, “ I do not think two great empires like the 
British and Russian could possibly go to war for a 
strip of country like this.” 

Sir Thomas, who was a great Persian authority, 
told me this many years after the so-called “ Russian 
scare ” had passed. 

The second Lord Dufferin told me a story of an 
experience of a relative in the Wild West of America. 
He saw a young cowboy come into a drinking saloon, 
rather the worse for liquor. He asked an old cowboy 
who was the leading man of the district to drink with 
him. “ No thanks,” was the answer. “ Well, if 
you won’t drink with me you shall dance for me.” 
And the young man proceeded to make the elder 
man move his feet by shooting at them. After a 


short time of this amusement, the old man was again 
asked to drink and assented ; then saying, “ I have 
danced for you and drank with you, and now it is 
my turn,” he pulled out his “ gun ” and shot the 
young man dead. 

An inquest was immediately held, and “ found 
shot ” was the verdict. 

A friend remonstrated with the murderer, “ Don’t 
you think you were a bit hard on him ? ” “ No,” was 

the reply, if I had left him alone, every durned guy 
in this place would have been doing the same thing.” 

A young friend of mine started to learn how to 
shoot. His mother was anxious that he should be 
asked to join a shooting party. She told me how good 
a shot he was. “ The first fifty cartridges he fired,” 
she said, “ he shot fifty birds.” On seeing my look 
of astonishment, she said, “ I don’t mean all birds, 
but fifty cartridges, fifty things,” and repeated this 
in a dreamy convincing manner. I heard that he 
was asked to the shoot, and that during the day he 
did not disturb fifty feathers. 

I was once glared at by great Admiral Jackie 
Fisher. I had taken my children to see H.M.S. 
Pinafore , and we were in the stage box. I had 
been explaining to the children about Admiral Porter, 
K.C.B., and his cousins and his sisters and his aunts, 
etc., when coming along a row of the stalls towards 
us I saw Sir John Fisher, and said to the children, 
“ Oh, there he is, the real First Sea Lord.” I suppose 
they must have looked at Sir John with unmeant 
rudeness or anyhow with considerable curiosity. I 
think Fisher knew I had spoken about him, but as 
I had nothing to do with the Navy in those days, 

I was untouched by his indignant glance. 

It was then a matter of much importance to naval 
officers whether you were “ in the Pond ” or not. 

I have an unfortunate habit of looking at people 



when I know the face, but cannot remember the 

Once when in the stalls of a theatre, on looking up 
at a box I saw a familiar face that I recognised, and 
stared. The gentleman looked down, and it was 
longer than it ought to have been before I realised 
that I was having a staring match with the King of 
England, Edward VII. Of course I at once modestly 
looked my regret at my lap and felt ashamed of my 
rudeness. I was wondering what Club acquaintance 
of mine he was, and I had been looking up at his 
Majesty at a curious angle, so did not at first recognise 

It has before now seemed to me almost cruel to 
prolong the agony of a dying person, who has got to 
die whatever is done for him, and this I think must 
have been in the mind of a lady who wrote to tell us 
of the death of her husband. She said, “ Dear Harry 
died yesterday—a good old-fashioned death.’’ By 
that I take it that he had not been plagued with useless 
oxygen inhalations, futile injections of strychnia, and 
useless administrations of stimulants when his case 
was hopeless. 

His wife—long dead—was perhaps a little cold¬ 
blooded. She suffered from chilblains of the fingers 
during her courtship. This my dear old father-in-law 
thought a decided drawback at this stage of her career. 
He was a very proper old gentleman, but obviously 
knew something of the “ ways of a man with a 

My father-in-law in early life had been in Australia, 
and was always ready to extend his hospitality to any 
Australian who came with a letter of introduction to 
him. One gentleman arrived with his luggage in a 
big sponge bag. Mr. DuCroz, unaware of this shortage, 
before dinner said, “ You would like to go and dress 
now? ” “ Wal—I don’t mind if I do have a wash,” 



and he changed his boots for bedroom slippers—that 
was all. His conversation was monotonous : “ Do 
you mind Clarke? ” “ Oh, yes, Clarke of Melbourne. 

Wal, he’s dead ”— a pause, then — “ Do you 
mind Jones ? ” “ Oh, yes, Jones of Sidney. Wal, 

he’s dead,” and so he went on, picking our all Mr. 
DuCroz’s old friends for obituary notices. After his 
visit all visitors were inspected before receiving an 
invitation to the country. 

My mother-in-law told me she saw the first nugget 
of gold found in Australia ; this was taken to a 
jeweller near where she was living. The secret of 
where it came from was a dangerous one. I met in 
Sussex one of the Australian millionaires who made 
his money by buying gold from the gold-diggers and 
selling it again. He raised every penny he could for 
this purpose, and doubled and redoubled his money 
with great rapidity. The miners received barely 
30 per cent, of the real value of the gold. 

A gentleman now dead, with a very well-known 
name, squandered his estate early in life. He told 
me that one night he lost £6,000 in tossing £1,000 
a time with a Jew gentleman. The next morning he 
went to Sam Lewis, said he had had a “ bad night ” 
and wanted £10,000. Sam opened one of the drawers 
of his desk and handed him ten £1,000 notes. This 
was before his estate, pictures, and plate had gone, 
and his credit was still good. He liked to “ shock ” 
people and had told this story to a very proper lady, 
the sister of his lawyer. He succeeded. Years after, 
when he was on his beam ends, a lady, a professional 
beauty, who was in love with him, offered to share her 
fortune with him and marry him. But he would not 
look at her generous offer of over £100,000. 

A friend of mine with a sense of humour played 
various practical jokes on the captain of one of the 
liners going to Australia. Orders were given that 


baths should be taken at certain regular hours, and 
that passengers were not to stroll about in their 
pyjamas at other times. Matters had come to such a 
crisis that the captain had threatened to put Gay in 
irons, but there he was on deck in pyjamas just at 
luncheon time. The indignation of the skipper knew 
no bounds, but Gay took off his pyjamas—completely 
dressed underneath them ! 

He was one of the many good fellows killed in the 

My wife, whilst talking to an omnibus conductor, 
one of my St. George's patients, quoted some well- 
known proverb, “ Yes, mum, * as you vulgarly says/ 
that's the explanation," said the busman. 

This type has now vanished from the London 
streets just as much as Mr. Weller, Senior. The 
permanent red face of both driver and conductor of 
the 'bus was, I think, due to the drink at each end 
of their journey. This flushed the cutaneous 
capillaries—blood-vessels of the face—and the outdoor 
life as it were fixed the colour. 

Indoor life without exercise is very different 
from outdoor life with exercise. The latter accounts 
for the amount of whisky some Scotch and other 
gamekeepers can put away without permanent 
injury to themselves. 

My friend Mr. McHardy was the inventor of a 
very ingenious instrument by which malingerers 
pretending blindness of an eye can be detected. 
Roughly, when the malingerer thinks the right eye 
is being examined, it is really his left one that is being 
tested, and so he goes “ blind " in the wrong eye, and 
is easily detected. 

I once operated on a small baby born out of 
wedlock. I was with it as I thought alone, and it 
had taken a firm grip of my index finger, and was 
smiling at me, “ Well, you little devil, what do you 


mean by coming here ? You have no right here, 
although you are a nice little beggar/' said I. When I 
turned round, the mother was there. I don’t think 
she heard. She was a very nice woman, and there 
was every excuse for any irregularity. Tout savoir 
c'est tout par dormer. 

One cannot always get out of awkward positions. 
My mother knew the younger of two ladies of the 
same name who lived together—one the mother-in- 
law of the other. She particularly inquired of the 
servant if the younger of the two was at home when 
she called one day. 

On being announced and ushered into the drawing¬ 
room, she heard the elder lady, who had been lying 
on the sofa for a little siesta, say, “ What a bother 1 
What a bother ! ” On seeing my mother she con¬ 
tinued, “ I was just saying, Mrs. Turner, what a 
bother it is that Hilda is out ! ” Not a bad get out. 

A St. George's man of resource who eventually 
became a K.C.B. at an early period of his career 
took a locum tenens in the country near a Ducal 

The Duchess's maid suffered from tooth-ache, 
and sent for him. He knew nothing of dentistry— 
students were not taught it in those days—but 
nothing daunted, he attacked the aching tooth— 
possibly with a wrong instrument, and broke off all 
the crown, leaving the fangs—which to him were 
inextricable. This would have nonplussed an 
ordinary man, but “ Dicky " was equal to the 
emergency, and retreated with honour, telling the 
maid and the Duchess that he had extracted “ the 
offending portion of the tooth." 

I don’t believe the saying “ as callous as a 
surgeon " applies to the modern one, however 
true it might have been in the old pre-ansesthetic 
and septic days. 


If you walk round a surgical ward to-day there 
are very few of the patients suffering pain; some of 
course, especially after accidents, is unavoidable, but 
the aseptic operation may be quite painless, and 
anaesthetic sickness the only trouble. 

My own feelings with regard to children and 
animals are the same as they were before I became a 
surgeon ; with reference to adults—who understand— 
thinking what one can do to alleviate their suffering 
and doing it does not destroy sympathy, but may 
make it less obvious and evident to onlookers. One 
has to admire courage and sympathise with pain 
without showing it. Cowardice is another matter, 
but this often occurs from want of knowledge on the 
part of the coward. 

At one time there was a reluctance to go to a 
hospital, nowadays people flock to them. I once had 
a difficulty in persuading a gentleman of title that 
St. George’s was meant for the poor, and that he 
could not stay in it when he was able to be moved to 
his house in a fashionable square. 

A very long time ago, amongst the visitors at 
St. George’s Hospital was a lady who was well known 
for her charm of manner and goodness. She was 
the daughter, nominally, of a Peer, but her real father 
was a fascinating Premier of the early Victorian era, 
and it was from him, I have no doubt, that she 
inherited her personal charm. 

She had been unhappily married to a man who 
had coerced her into the marriage by the threat of 
publishing her mother’s love-letters to the eminent 
statesman. More than this, when he was a tutor to 
some young sprig of nobility, he blackmailed him, 
under another name, and gave the unfortunate boy 
the advice always to pay the blackmailer—himself 1 
When eventually he was discovered, he had the 
decency to commit suicide. 


This lady was a great friend of my father’s, and 
when he died and she came to see my mother, she 
tried to console her by saying, “ Well, Mrs. Turner, 
you will have many pleasant memories of your 
husband. I never have had any of mine.” 

Her sacrifice had been a vain one, for the love 
affair of her mother had been common gossip at the 
time and is mentioned in some well-known memoirs. 

It was said that in her widowhood five Admirals 
proposed to her. I never knew any one more 
charming than she was, and quite believe in the good 
taste of the Navy. 

A great many years after her death I met one of 
her descendants who was perhaps just a little too 
proud of his descent and name. I should like to 
have enlightened him. 

Amongst the students at St. George’s in my time 
was one very sanctified person, about whom one of 
the female patients said, “ I don’t think much of him 
as a doctor, but, lor, sir, he do pray so beautiful.” 
He eventually had a good seaside practice, and 
annually used to take his holiday apart from his 
wife, laying great stress on the advantages to both 
of them of this temporary separation for a few weeks. 
Things went well for some years, but during one 
autumn holiday, he was found with another man’s 
wife on the Continent. 

It was my duty during the War to propose the 
toast of the bride and bridegroom at a naval wedding. 
Amongst the advantages of marrying a naval man, 
I pointed out that the Admiralty from time to time 
separated husband and wife, so that there were in 
such marriages, more than one honeymoon. 

This happy couple had first met at Gibraltar, so 
their affection was founded on a rock. 

With reference to “ praying beautiful,” the story 
is told of two well-known consulting surgeons who 


simultaneously, on opposite sides of their patient’s 
bed, dropped on their knees and accidentally knocked 
their heads together, over the recumbent form of the 
invalid, when each was about to test the efficacy of 

Amongst the students at St. George’s was a very 
prominent athlete, who, unfortunately, was eventually 
detected stealing money from the clothes of the other 
fellows who were engaged in running. On one 
occasion when I was going to run I gave him my grand¬ 
father’s gold watch to keep, as so many robberies 
had been taking place. When, after my race, I 
asked for it back again, he said, u By jove, it's gone ! ” 
It isn’t,” said I, and he produced it from his pocket 
with a laugh. 

Various robberies having occurred from the cloak¬ 
room, one of the students secreted himself and kept 
watch. He saw this gentleman take away an 
umbrella that was not his, and followed him for some 
considerable distance in the street to see if he pawned 
it. At last he became impatient and went up to him 
and accused him of the robbery, saying he had seen 
him select it from several others. “ Of course I 
knew you were hiding, and thought I would pull your 
leg,” said the other. The next day he came up to the 
hospital and told the story as a capital joke. He was 
living with another student who was an official of 
one of the Inter-Hospital clubs and had a fairly 
large sum of money in his trust. The thief used to 
rob his friend, ask him to go to the theatre or some 
other place of amusement, and when the latter 
demurred on the grounds of economy, used to stand 
treat for them both out of the stolen money. He was 
detected stealing marked coins, was not prosecuted, 
and was allowed to go out to Australia. 

One unfortunate student had “ done time ” 
before he entered at the Hospital. I was one of only 


two or three who knew this. He worked well and 
became qualified. Many years afterwards he called 
me in to a case, and I saw him pocket a fee that the 
patient had given him for me—the child was father 
to the man. I did nothing in the matter. 

Another good-looking, nice young fellow got into 
a smart set, lived beyond his means, and eventually 
was sentenced for obtaining money by false pretences. 

I was robbed of a pearl pin once returning from 
Sandown. There was a fog, no racing was possible, 
and no members’ train ran back. There was a 
scuffle to get into a carriage, and I had to exert some 
of my former football scrummaging to get a carriage, 
open the door, and see the lady who was with me 
safely in. Although the rush for the carriage had 
been very considerable, we found ourselves sitting 
nearly alone, I put my hand up to my tie and found 
my pin missing. Of course “ the boys,” when they 
had robbed me, had gone elsewhere. A large number 
of police were at the station, but charm I ever so 
wisely, I could not get any of them to take any interest 
in the fact that I had been robbed under their very 
noses. Their one idea was to get back to town. 

I was robbed on another occasion of a pocket-book 
containing some ten or twelve pounds, in a motor-bus. 
I had to go into the City and found myself with a 
certain amount of time on my hands, so elected to go 
by bus and to walk from the Post Office to Cornhill. 
I got up once and noticed that three men got up 
and when I sat down again they sat down too. I 
thought nothing of this at the time, but remembered 
it afterwards. When I did get up and was making 
for the exit, one of these Jews apparently dropped 
something in front of me and stooped down to pick 
it up. He was very deliberate in doing this, and as 
the bus was moving on, I said to him, “ Get up, don’t 
block the way, this is not Jerusalem.” When 1 



eventually got out of the omnibus the men had 
disappeared, and I found myself with both my 
greatcoat and my ordinary coat unbuttoned, and my 
pocket-book gone. I believe the bus conductor was 
in the job as he never stopped the bus when I wanted 
him to do so. I never got the pocket-book back. 
In addition to the money, it contained various things 
of no value to any one but myself, and I hoped that 
I might be favoured as I had heard of other people 
being treated, that is, by having the empty pocket-book 
returned to me. I suppose, however, that my remark 
about Jerusalem prevented these gentlemen from 
making use of the address on my cards. Often, I 
believe, the empty pocket-book is consigned to the 
nearest post office pillar box. 

My brother and I one Saturday morning, when 
students at the Hospital, were walking to it across 
Hyde Park. About a quarter of a mile from Hyde 
Park Corner, I decided to give myself a holiday and 
not go on to St. George’s. He went on. He went 
into the students’ room and was standing by the 
mantelpiece reading a sporting paper, when the iron 
water tank which stood on the roof of the Hospital 
gave way and came crashing down through the wards 
into the room where he was. Luckily the ceiling 
did not entirely give way over his head, but he was 
knocked down and found himself attempting to 
swim in a mass of water and plaster, two or three 
hospital beds and, I think, two patients. Except for 
some trivial cuts, he was uninjured. As the tank 
in its descent was passing through one of the wards, 
and one of the beds with a patient in it was slipping 
after it, one of the house-surgeons, Mr. Wilson, at 
considerable danger to himself, rushed forward and 
pulled the patient out of the bed as it disappeared 
downwards. This is not the only incident of heroism 
on the part of a house-surgeon about that time. 


When operating on a child for diphtheria, Mr. 
Lionel Kay-Shuttleworth, when the tracheotomy 
tube refused to function, freed it by sucking. Need¬ 
less to say, in doing this, he was incurring a terrible 
risk of diphtheria in the days when diphtheria was a 
fatal disease. 

Mr. Timothy Holmes, one of our surgeons, once 
did the same thing. He made light of it, but told me 
that his wife was very anxious as to whether he would 
be infected. 

When I was surgical registrar at the Hospital, 
about 1882, twenty-one cases of diphtheria were 
admitted into the Hospital in one year. Of these 
twenty died. Nowadays, owing to the serum that is 
used, diphtheria, if seen early and properly treated, 
is practically innocuous. Yet some fools go about and 
lift up their idiot voices against the experiments and 
research which have made such things possible. 
The public are often led to believe that cruel vivi¬ 
sections are prevalent. I am a surgeon, and was 
for thirty years on the surgical staff of St. George’s 
Hospital and have been there since 1872. I have 
never seen any vivisection of any kind whatever. 
This fact rather astonished the late Lord Lambourne 
when I told him of it. 

We still have some characters in the profession. 
A very successful, well-known, and good doctor of 
my acquaintance on one occasion asked me to see a 
case of a fractured wrist. (Colies's fracture.) Whilst 
I was wrestling to put back in place the broken bone, 
he pulled The Sporting Times out of his pocket and 
began to read the jokes on the front page. The 
patient was not under an anaesthetic. 

On another occasion, when I was about to operate 
on the son and heir of the house and the child was 
taking the anaesthetic, he suddenly became anxious as 
to whether his poodle dog, who always followed his 


brougham, had arrived safely at the house. Up he 
threw the window and called loudly into the street, 
“ Dab, Dab, Dab.” I hoped he was not heard by the 
anxious parents. As a rule there is a hushed and 
suitable silence in a private house when an operation 
is going on. 

I have done a good deal of skating in my time, 
having been both a member of the London Skating 
Club and that of Wimbledon. The former used 
originally to skate on the Long Water. My father 
was invited to skate with them, and on one 
occasion, when the ice on the Long Water was 
breaking up and people were falling in, he saw the 
head of a man in a tall silk hat just above the ice, 
still retaining in his lips and smoking a cigar. On 
going nearer to see who this cool fish was, he found it 
was his brother Henry. 

I myself went through ice on the Long Water at 
the end of a frost more than once on one afternoon. 
At last I got too wet for further recreation, and on 
running home through Kensington Gardens, dripping 
very freely, I was stopped by a gentleman of humour 
who asked me if the ice bore ! 

When Dr. Monier-Williams was comparatively 
new at St. George’s Hospital, I was walking with him 
in Hyde Park, and we talked of skating. I hope I 
did not endeavour to patronise him on the subject, 
especially when, that evening, he very kindly sent me 
a copy of his well-known work, of which till that time 
I had been ignorant. I believe his skate is still one 
of the best on the market, but since I ruptured my 
tendo A chillis I have not dared to venture on any 
skating. One of the best skaters at the London Club 
was Sir Edward Pollock, himself an old St. George’s 

My brother and I went up to skate at the Welsh 
Harp, but he fell in and I saw him safely off the ice. 


I continued to skate for a time, and when I got home 
without my brother and was asked where he was, my 
father was angry with me that I had not found out. 
As a matter of fact he had gone to bed in the Welsh 
Harp while his clothes were being dried. 

The Welsh Harp was unlucky for me on another 
skating expedition. When a boy about fifteen, I had 
gone up with two young ladies in their carriage, with 
a well-stocked hamper and champagne for luncheon. 
The latter meal we took inside the Welsh Harp. 
Mr. Warner, who told me he was a licensed victualler, 
was then the proprietor of it, and very properly wanted 
corkage on the bottles of champagne. I had about two 
shillings in my pocket, and five shillings was wanted 
for the corkage. I forget how I got out of the 
difficulty—I think by sending the money the next 
day, but it was a very unpleasant experience. 

I have on two occasions felt the urgent need of 
“ waistcoat pocket sovereigns ” ready money : when 
a linkman after a dance called a cab for a lady for me, 
and when a boy I had no tip for a waiter who had 
looked after my sister and myself eating ices. After 
these humiliating experiences I have always seen that I 
have abundance of silver about me. 

Amongst the students at St. George’s was a man 
with a squint, who was very proud of the dimensions 
of the calf of his leg, and never saw we were ragging 
him when we seriously used to measure it to decide— 
as we told him—bets about its size. He kept bees 
and said he was immune from their stings. This, 
however, was a little doubtful when one day he 
appeared with his already big nose double its size, 
the result of an onslaught. 

He said he had never told a lie in his life. We 
made him, when he was in the Cottage, an April fool— 
writing as if from a learned Continental society to 
which (we said) his fame had penetrated and asking 



him and Dr. Barnes to read a paper. He and Dr. 
Barnes believed it, and when we thought the joke 
had gone far enough, he would not believe the truth and 
told a number of lies about the contents of our letter— 
of which we had kept a copy and repeated to him. 

He had never published a thing in his life, and was 
absolutely unknown. Dr. Barnes, however, was a 
European celebrity. 

He is not the only man I have known with a 
squint who was proud of his personal appearance and 
his legs. A Hebrew gentleman of my acquaintance 
was similarly affected, and used to suggest that he 
had had numerous successes with the fair sex. A 
pity we all of us have not “ the giftie gie us to see 
oursels as others see us.” 

Many of the men at St. George’s have been good 
all-round men. “ Johnnie ” Morgan, the celebrated 
Oxford three-mile runner, became surgeon to 
Charing Cross Hospital. Clinton Dent—a great Alpine 
climber and President of the Alpine Club—one of 
the best photographers in London, good at everything 
he took up, eventually became surgeon at St. George’s. 
He won throwing the hammer at the U.H.A.C. sports 
too. Dr. Monier-Williams, one of the first of skating 
authorities and not unknown at croquet, was also a 
St. George’s man. 

Then there were Dr. Wilson, the life and soul of the 
Antarctic expeditions and who was one of the three who 
perished with Scott; Gowland, a boxing authority and 
boxer ; Dr. Dawtrey Drewitt; whose skill as an artist 
was, I believe, commended by Ruskin ; Dr. Dakin, who 
had he not made a fortune as an obstetric physician 
would have done so as an artist; Sir Prescott 
Hewett, whose water colours were very beautiful 
and well known. Sir Francis Champneys, who was 
with us for some seven years, was a great musician. 

Sir Russell Bencraft was a cricketer of renown, and 



C* M. Tuke played for Middlesex. We have had 
quite a lot of International football players. My 
brother E. B. Turner was a champion tricyclist, and 
took an extra Master’s certificate when a yachtsman. 

We have had an abundance of University oars, 
and have before now won the Hospital Rowing 
Championship. Our Rowing Club was in existence 
as far back as 1840. St. George’s has always been 
a small school, and when it gave up the teaching of 
anatomy and physiology it became still smaller. 
This handicaps us against larger hospitals in inter¬ 
hospital contests. Big hospitals like Guys and others 
have dental students. We have none. 

I think it will be a long time before ladies are 
admitted to the great London hospitals. The male 
students won’t have it. We tried it in a small way 
at St. George’s without success. Had we continued 
we should have had no men students. They 
petitioned against the fair sex. Of course one does 
not know what legislation may do in the future, and 
politicians, afraid of an adverse female vote, may step 
in and make their admission compulsory. Very many 
women are fit for nurses—very few, I think, for 
doctors. I made inquiries after the War where 
women doctors had been at work. I was surprised 
to hear they were “ callous ” and “ unreliable ” 
from two separate sources of information. 

One of our surgeons was noted for the magnitude of 
the cuts by which he endeavoured to stem the acute in¬ 
flammations that were so prevalent in the days of sepsis. 

One day he asked his surgical clerk to read out the 
notes of one of these cases. “ Mr. Holmes then 
made an incision twenty-four inches long,” said Dale. 

No, no,” said Holmes. 11 Mr. Holmes then made 
an incision twenty-two inches long,” said Dale, taking 
off only two inches of its length ! 

The late Sir Frederick Wallis had an exceedingly 


able clerk, an old Uppinghamian, who had been a 
double-first at Oxford, and was a prodigy of learning 
when he was at school with me. Mr. Wallis, as he 
then was, was somewhat rubicund of countenance and 
had hair with a tendency to the colour of William 
Rufus. Tylden read out his notes, “ Being red and 
angry, Mr. Wallis made an incision five inches long 
into the inflamed parts.” 

Tylden sacrificed his valuable life in making 
experiments in connection with enteric fever at a 
time when the typhoid bacillus was unknown. Had 
he lived, he would have gone far in the scientific world. 

The shortest notes I ever heard of being taken by a 
surgical clerk, who was on duty for three months, were, 
“ Ma y 2nd , scab on. June 5th, scab off.” This was 
all the description he had of his surgeon’s cases for 
three months. 

Hospital nurses are inclined, some of them at least, 
to look up to the students and doctors as beings rather 
above the average of humanity. We had an 
exceedingly pimply, red-faced student, short-sighted, 
who walked with a peculiar gait and looked an oddity. 
As he was passing through a ward one day, the Sister 
with whom I was engaged in conversation about the 
patients, said to me, “ Beg pardon, Mr. Turner, that 
young gentleman’s friends have made a mistake. 
They ought to have put him into the Church.” This 
was about the time when The Private Secretary first 
appeared and all London was laughing at Penley’s 
portrayal of the curate. It is not generally known 
that his celebrated performance was a copy of that 
of Beerbohm Tree, who first took the part. Nearly 
all the humour and " business ” was to be seen in 
Beerbohm Tree s version ; Penley copied him. 

I was present at the second night of Tree’s per¬ 
formance, and dared to take a maiden aunt to see it 
later on. She was extremely high in her Church 


views, so I told her that the gentleman who did not 
like London was a Low Church parson. In that way 
we got through our evening cheerfully—and I was 
not disinherited. 

When I was house-surgeon I constantly had to 
attend at the Old Bailey, where Serjeant Poland, 
Mr. Douglas Straight, Mr. Montagu Williams and 
other distinguished criminal lawyers were practising. 
One often had to wait three or four days before the 
case in which one had to give evidence came on, so 
I saw a great deal of the practice there, and was 
surprised at the lenient view taken by the juries. 

I remember one case where a man was charged 
with having sold a painted sparrow for a canary. 
The facts were plain enough and everything was 
blowing up for a conviction. But the victim of the 
fraud—a typical stupid bucolic—was cross-examined 
by a shrewd young barrister. The bird was said not 
to sing. “ But,” said the counsel, “ how did you 
feed him ? ” 

" With bird seed, sir.” 

“ You mean to say you never gave him sherry 
and biscuits for luncheon ? ” 

“ No, sir, I never did.” 

“ Well, didn’t you know that you had to give him 
sherry and biscuits to make him sing ? 

“ No, sir, I didn’t. I’d have done it if I’d known.” 

There were roars of laughter in Court and the 
prisoner was acquitted. 

If an assault or any other case is over-serious, the 
magistrate at the Police Court may send the man for 
trial at the Old Bailey. 

In one case of a brutal wife-kicker whose victim 
I had to look after at the Hospital, the husband 
implored the magistrate to deal with the case him¬ 

On the case coming up for trial at the Old Bailey 


before Mr. Serjeant Cox, who was very kind-hearted, 
I was asked whether an injury such as the poor woman 
was suffering from could have been caused by a fall 
against the kerb. This was possible, though not 
probable. I suppose I was a bad witness, and I simply 
answered, Yes.” The evidence as to the kicking 
was overwhelming, but because of the kerb possibility 
the man was acquitted. The brute afterwards had 
the audacity to come up and thank me for my 

When I was house-surgeon I came across the 
celebrated Lord Shaftesbury, who came up to the 
Hospital to see and look after a little child who had 
been injured by his carriage. His philanthropic work 
in connection with children is well known. 

Lord Lucan, who gave orders for the Balaclava 
charge, was also interested in another patient of mine. 
He was a relative—I think by marriage—of Lord 
Cardigan and said not to have been on good terms 
witn him. This, according to some people, was the 
cause of the “ blundering ” and confusion of the 
order to charge—Cardigan not liking to ask for 
explanations from his brother-in-law with whom he 
was not on friendly terms. I am not a collector of 
autographs, but I have kept Lord Lucan’s letter. 

I have a very characteristic one of the Iron Duke 
declining to introduce a gentleman into the House of 
Lords as he was not personally acquainted with him. 

It looks that in this case the wile of the autograph 
hunter succeeded. 

The big statue of the Duke—now at Aldershot— 
used to be on the top of the Arch opposite St. George’s. 

Mr. Spedding, so well known in connection with 
Bacon, died in St. George’s Hospital, as the result 
of a street accident, during my house-surgeoncy. 
He was one of my patients in the accident ward, and 
his case was hopeless from the hour of his admission. 




One of our house-surgeons in the seventies was ol 
humble origin, but his industry and talent early 
gained him distinction. One morning as he was going 
round the wards he came to an old man, and taking 
hold of his larynx (Adam’s apple) he said to us 
students, “ This man nearly popped off the ’ooks 
last night from spasm of the glottis ; he will some 
day.” He did not in any way mean to be callous 
or unfeeling. His prophecy came true two days 

A labouring man on one of my father-in-law’s 
farms fell off a hayrick and broke his spine. My 
mother-in-law went to see if she could do anything 
and found him lying paralysed on the floor of the 
kitchen of his cottage. His mind was quite clear. 

“ Why don’t you take him upstairs to his bed ? ” 
asked she. “ What’s the good, when we shall so soon 
be bringing him down again ? ” said his wife. The 
poor man could understand everything. The poor 
have often to face the hard facts of life and death, 
and are tactless rather than devoid of feeling—but 
this was going a little too far. 

The medical staff of the big hospitals is usually 
recruited from men educated at them, and this has 
many advantages. Everything is known thoroughly 
as to their merits. There is also no danger of an 
inferior man being palmed off from another hospital, 
though of course in some cases such men are extremely 
and exceedingly good. The immortal John Hunter 
came to us from St. Bartholomew’s, so did Sir 
Humphrey Rolleston and Sir Francis Champneys. 
Dr. Dakin, Dr. Collier and others have been excellent 
bargains. I am speaking only of those who have left 

It may, however, occur that others do not quite 
come up to initial expectations of those who give them 


Before removal of the Arch and before the Statue of the Duke of Wellington, now at Aldershot, 

was put upon it. 

[To face page 210. 

21 I 


In some cases people who go elsewhere than to their 
own hospitals become justly celebrated and may 
“ make ” the school. Professor Humphry of Cam¬ 
bridge, the real founder of the Cambridge medical 
school, came, I believe, from St. Bartholomew’s. 
Sir James Paget was a celebrated surgeon at this 
hospital. His brother, Dr. Paget, was a celebrated 
physician—I think at Cambridge. Anyhow, 
Humphry used to say that he was planted at 
Cambridge by one Paget and watered by another. 

Mr. Keetley, who left his own, made the West 
London Hospital. On one occasion he came to my 
house asking me to take a coachman’s wife into 
St. George’s. He had already seen my house-surgeon 
at St. George’s, and said, “ Perhaps I owe him an 
apology.” “ Why ? ” said I. “ Oh, for what I said 
to him—when he had kept me waiting for half an 
hour—and told me that if I was right in my diagnosis 
he would take the case in, but so many mistakes were 
made that he never promised anything.” Keetley 
was a well-known surgeon and author of a well-known 
text-book. I spoke to my house-surgeon, and asked 
him why he had kept Keetley waiting. “ Oh ! as a 
matter of discipline,” said he. 

This house-surgeon was a nice, clever man, and 
has made an eminent position in the profession for 

After living with another doctor for some time, 
Mr. Keetley left the house to go to another, leaving a 
metal notice of his removal and where he could be 
found, attached to the area railings. Some days 
afterwards, on Keetley going round to his old abode, 
he found that this notice had been taken down by 
the other doctor. “ Well, what did you do ? ” asked 
my informant. 

“ Got a screwdriver from the servant,” said 
Keetley, “ removed and took away his brass plate.” 


But for his deafness Keetley would have gone 
very far. 

Another thing about Nelson and the Battle of 
Trafalgar. A friend of mine possessed the chest of 
drawers that was in Nelson’s cabin, which was 
perforated by the round shot that had killed Mr. Scott, 
Nelson’s secretary. 

My friend Mr. George Beauclere told me that his 
wounded grandfather was in the cockpit next to 
Nelson, and a pillow was made for him by rolling up 
the Admiral’s coat, which had been taken off. The 
killed on our side at Trafalgar were under 500. What 
a contrast to the modern casualty lists ! 

One of our students eventually became a pro¬ 
fessional entertainer. The story was told of him 
going to a ducal residence in Scotland, and over¬ 
apologising for his temporary lack of evening clothes, 
his luggage having miscarried. Next day it duly 
arrived, and in the evening he went suitably attired 
into the drawing-room where all the men purposely 
were in lounge suits. 

A gentleman, the son of an English peer and 
having no right to a kilt, was a guest at a big house 
in Scotland where all the men wore kilts. He came 
down to breakfast one morning with a bath towel 
round him in place of a kilt and a sponge bag in place 
of the sporran. His joke was not appreciated at all 
by the indignant Scotsmen. 

Oddity of dress in Scotland reminds me that 
Professor Romanes one day accompanied me after 
partridges in an ordinary pair of trousers and bed¬ 
room slippers through high and very wet potatoes. 
I asked why he did it. “ Oh ! one gets wet anyhow,” 
said he. 

On another occasion he rigged himself up in a sort 
of Jack-in-the-green costume of sea-weed—so as to 
get near the many wild sea birds that frequented the 


wild, rough shore of Geanies. The effect was comic 
in the extreme—nobody more amused than the 
dear Philosopher himself. 

The views of house-surgeons, I found, were some¬ 
times somewhat peculiar. In two of my cases of 
broken leg, I found the splints had been too tightly 
applied, and a splint gall threatened in each case. 
I suggested to the young surgeon that he must be 
more careful in the amount of pressure that he put 
on injured and swollen parts. He argued with me 
that if there were only two sore places amongst his 
twenty or so cases, it was only io per cent, of the 
fractures that suffered ! 

Another house-surgeon loved to give that 
abominable but useful drug, iodide of potassium. 
He gave it for everything, and was quite cross with 
me when, being sceptical of its universal benevolence, 
I scratched out his prescriptions and thereby saved 
the patients from those unpleasant effects called 

It is a great thing to believe in your own powers 
and to think that they are helping unfortunate 
patients towards recovery. One of my house-surgeons 
carried this to such an extent, however, that he 
resented me, his chief, altering any of his remedies 
or touching any of his work. I had, however, as a 
matter of humanity, to disregard the consequences 
to myself. 

A belief in drugs is not necessary to the surgeon— 
some twenty of them would do for him; but a physician’s 
path is helped and softened if he possesses a real 
credulity that embraces many more. In the eighties 
we had an assistant physician at St. George’s, a 
F.R.S., who put sixteen different drugs in one 
prescription. The dispenser kept it as a curiosity. 

I think the patient survived. I don’t know if he 
swallowed the medicine, or even if it was made up. 


Dr. Wad ham was once visiting a country 
practitioner in the days when doctors dispensed their 
own medicines, and was sitting with him in his 
surgery. A woman came in with a long list of 
complaints. She said she felt giddy. “ Giddy ? ” 
said the doctor, taking down some green medicine, 
“ and had such shortness of breath.” “ Shortness of 
breath,” said he, adding a yellow potion, “ and such 
pain in the innards.” “ Pain in the innards,” said 
the doctor, adding something blue, “ and I can’t sleep 
o’ nights.” “ Can't sleep at night,” said the doctor, 
and brown was the colour, and so for each ailment he 
had a proper colour remedy ! 

This style of prescribing has been often desired 
by the laity and pandered to by medical men. It is 
very different from what I saw in a case of Dr. 
Brachet’s at Aix-les-Bains. A lady on her arrival 
consulted him for bronchitis. He never came near 
her after his initial visit. She recovered, and as 
Brachet passed her in the street in his carriage, he 
blew her a kiss. He, of course, knew that the climate 
of Aix was all that was necessary for her bronchitis, 
and did not minister to her mind with any rainbow 

It does not do always for a patient literally to 
obey the doctor. During an influenza epidemic many 
years ago, my brother told a patient to go to bed and 
stay there until he came and saw him again. He 
forgot all about the case and never went ! The 
patient’s friends still ask him what he means by being 
up and about. 

At St. George’s a house physician wishing to 
examine the chest of a young girl patient told her to 
go behind a screen and take off her things for this 
purpose. He found her like Eve before the fall. 

Early in my medical life I joined the British 
Medical Association, but left it when confidential 



notes of the Emperor Frederick to his English doctor 
reflecting on the German ones were published in the 
Journal. The poor Emperor could not speak, and of 
course meant what he wrote to be absolutely private. 

A good many of us resigned—amongst them the 
future Lord Lister. At that time, too, I thought the 
Journal was being run for the advantage of certain 
people anxious rather to advertise themselves than 
to promote the cause of science. 

Of late years the British Medical Association has 
been really representative of the profession under the 
able editorship of the Journal by Sir Dawson 
Williams, who has recently died. 



Doctors are not always wanted for illnesses. In 
olden days a lady sent for my father in a great hurry. 
She lived in a part of the country where the neigh¬ 
bourhood was not very refined, and consequently 
she and General Wood depended for society on the 
friends that used to come and stay with them. Mrs. 
Wood was the Lady Bountiful of the district, and 
there was one old gentleman who used to assist her 
pecuniarily in any good work she was interested in, 
and as a consequence was occasionally asked to 
luncheon at Bishop’s Hall. When my father came 
into the room Mrs. Wood was like Niobe, all bathed 
in tears, saying, “ He’s dead, Mr. Turner ! He’s dead. 
He’s gone to Heaven ! He’s gone to Heaven ! ” 

My father said, “ But, Mrs. Wood, who’s dead ? 
Who has gone to Heaven ? ” to which she replied : 

“ Oh, that dear Mr. Smithson. He’s dead, he’s 
dead. He’s gone to Heaven, but he was so dreadfully 
vulgar that we could not know him in London.” 

Another story about the same lady. After my 
father’s death I was honoured in the same way, that 
is, to help her in many things not surgical. By this 
time she was a very determined old lady, dead set 
against the craze of bicycling. When I laughingly told 
her I should come and see her on a bicycle, she said : 

“ My dear George, if you do so I will not know you 
any longer.” There was more in this threat than is 



One Sunday afternoon after lunch, her French 
maid came in a great hurry for me to go at once to 
see Mrs. Wood. I could not get a cab, so I jumped 
on my bicycle, and rode down into Belgravia, hoping 
that she would not see me arrive at her house. She 
didn’t, and I put the bicycle in the hall, and when I 
went upstairs I found my mission was to compose a 
difference between the French maid and the cook. 
The dear old lady was not ill at all. Having settled 
the affairs of the ladies, when I was saying “ good¬ 
bye ” she pulled out her purse and said, “ And now, 
dear George, I must give you a shilling for your 
hansom cab.” 

“ Nonsense,” I said, “ I don’t want a shilling.” 

“ Oh, but you must take it,” said she, “ consider 
your five children.” 

“ Well,” said I, “ I will take it on one condition, 
that you lie down on the sofa in the back drawing¬ 
room, because all this worry must have upset you.” 

Having seen her safely planted there, I sneaked out 
of the house, and my bicycle was not discovered. 

This was the same lady who described racing in the 
Marquis of Hastings’ time as “ a gentleman’s innocent 
little amusement ” and instanced Byron as one of the 
“ great good men ” that Harrow had produced when 
she was giving her preferences for that school over 

In the sixties, when crinolines and flounces were the 
fashion, the Woods’ gave a dinner party and Mrs. 
Wood had a love of a new dress for the occasion. 
She was very religious. As a footman was handing 
round a trembling cream it slipped out of its glass 
dish on to Mrs. Wood’s shoulder and went bumpety 
bump all down her silken flounces, to the floor. As 
she was about to express her indignation the General 
—her husband—who had seen the whole occurrence, 
leant sideways so as to catch her eye, and 



said, “ Call religion to your aid, my dear.” Religion 
won—she was looking daggers, but said nothing. 

Some people bring Providence into their most 
ordinary acts. A Don at Cambridge, very fond of 
liver and bacon at the breakfasts he gave to the 
undergraduates, used as his invariable grace, “ Let 
us see what Providence has provided.” It was 
always liver and bacon. 

A teetotal sportsman, after a very cold shoot when 
his guests returned to the house, cheered them up 
with, ” Here, you fellows, which will you have—hot 
or cold water ? ” None of them felt much inclined 
to say grace, i.e. thank you—” for what they were 
about to receive.” Physiologically a little cherry 
brandy may not increase your temperature or make 
you better able to resist cold, but it makes you feel 
warm and comfortable and appeals to the mind of a 
cold man, though it may not actually warm his body. 

My maternal great-grandfather, who owned slaves 
in Jamaica, must have transmitted to me a dislike 
of all pigment, so much so that I never, if possible, 
touch a coloured man, and when I had to operate 
on them at the Seamen’s Hospital, I used to leave the 
subsequent dressings, as far as possible, to the house- 
surgeon. Whilst there, on two occasions at opera¬ 
tions, exceedingly dangerous and difficult complications 
occurred from injury to the jugular vein (not from 
any fault of my own, but the disease had invaded it). 
On each occasion I felt “ I am glad this is not a 
white man.” On both occasions I did what w r as 
necessary and the patients recovered, but when the 
same occurred whilst I was operating on a white 
patient, I was acutely alive to all my responsibilities 
other than surgical, and greatly relieved when the 
danger was over. 

There is no doubt that if you go to any specialist, 
you stand a fair chance of being found to be suffering 



from the specialism he affects. On one occasion a 
little girl from the country was taken by the friends 
she was staying with to see an oculist. Spectacles 
were prescribed and duly obtained, much to the 
indignation of her father in the country, who said 
that the Ponsonby-Tompkins’s never had occasion 
to use spectacles, and he would settle with the oculist 
himself. He went to Savile Row to make his plaint, 
and came out of the house with a pair of spectacles 
on his own nose ! 

There was a student at St. George’s who was 
always borrowing money from his fellows and was 
very dilatory in his repayments. One of his victims, 
standing with others, said to them, “ By Jove, there is 
Billy, I will get my ten shillings back.” He returned 
later having lent another half-sovereign. 

Patients sometimes are quite peculiar in their 
gratitude towards, or condemnation of, the surgeon 
who looks after them. I learnt this very early in life 
when I was summoned to the wilds of Highgate 
to see a patient who had a whitloe that involved his 
finger and the palm of his hand. Immediate surgery 
was necessary or he might have lost his finger, his 
hand, or his life. Those were the days when there 
were no telephones, motor-cars, and very few people 
who gave anaesthetics ; for operations were not then 
one-fiftieth of the number that are now performed. 
I told this gentleman that something must be done 
at once, that I must do it without an anaesthetic, 
and that it would be painful. I did what was 
necessary and saved both his finger and his hand. 
I heard afterwards that he went about calling me 
“ a butcher.” 

Not so many years ago I had one of the most 
difficult operations in my life, on a very stout lady, 
and quite contrary to my expectation I saved her life. 
It was necessary in the saving thereof, to use a 



drainage tube, which led for a time to the existence 
of a sinus, a small, deep unhealed track in which the 
tube had lain. The dear old lady naturally did not 
like this, though it was a small price to pay for her life, 
and it eventually healed. I heard that a lady of my 
acquaintance, of high degree, had told the relatives 
that Mr. Turner’s patients “ usually had a sinus.” 
This “ damned good-natured friend ” was inaccurate 
in her assertion. I got no gratitude. Had the old 
lady died, it would have been said, that in spite of a 
successful operation, she had succumbed to failure 
of the heart and everything had been done that was 
possible. This, in my mind a veritable surgical 
triumph, no doubt brought me a certain amount of 

It is only fair to say that sometimes patients who 
have been mutilated, or treated with little skill, are 
exceedingly grateful to the authors of their evil. 
I came across a case not so long ago, where a patient 
grossly maltreated for a simple fracture of the thigh 
was acutely grateful to his attendant surgeon. 

There is sometimes an element of comedy in the 
minor tragedies of surgery. One evening as I was 
leaving St. George’s Hospital, a club friend of mine 
was brought up in a taxi suffering from concussion 
of the brain and a scalp wound. As he was a friend, 
I went back with him into the Hospital and myself 
examined the injuries and gave directions to the 
house-surgeon what to do, and recommended that 
he should wait for some hours in the Hospital, before 
he was taken to his own home. When I returned 
some four hours later, I found that the house-surgeon 
had carefully cut the hair of a wig he was wearing in 
the neighbourhood of the wound of the scalp. The 
wig was a good one, and no doubt as the result of the 
haemorrhage from the wound, was more adherent to 
my friend’s head than it otherwise would have been, 


and he was in too dazed a condition to expostulate 
at the unnecessary tonsure. 

In my student days a groom was thrown from his 
horse in the Row. He had slight concussion of the 
brain, but “ the young doctors ” who looked after 
him found that the pupils of his eyes were unequal 
and that one of them did not respond to light and the 
eyeball was insensitive. The surgeon on duty was 
sent for, as it was thought it might be necessary to 
trepan. The ocular mysteries were eventually 
explained by the fact that the offending eye was a 
glass one ! 

Occasionally patients or their parents have more 
than a well-deserved confidence in their family 
doctor. I was asked on one occasion to operate on 
a child and the doctor said that he would give the 
anaesthetic. He gave chloroform and luckily my 
attention was drawn, by the cessation of all 
haemorrhage, to the dangerous or even desperate 
condition of the little patient from the effects of the 
anaesthetic, given with too free a hand. It was, of 
course, stopped at once and I was able eventually, 
with great difficulty, to resuscitate the child and all 
ended happily. Afterwards the doctor and I went 
into the “ Parlour,” where sherry, biscuits, and cake 
had been provided to restore our exhausted energies, 
and both father and mother were brimming over 
with delight that the child was safely through the 
operation, and the mother, in a burst of candour to 
me, said, “ You know Mr. Turner, father and I have 

always had the greatest confidence in Dr. -, but 

we said to each other, that we could not have the 
same confidence in you.” 

The gratitude of patients is, I think, on the whole 
increased by drink, “ in vino veritas.” Once when 
I went to St George’s, I heard loud shouts proceeding 
from the male surgery, “ Do I know my Saviour ! 



Do 1 know my Saviour ! Of course I know my 
Saviour.’’ I thought that there was some Moody 
and Sankey revivalist sort of person there. It turned 
out, however, to be an old patient of mine on whom I 
had operated for a form of cancer of the face, and who 
though perfectly well came to see me every three 
months or so, to see that his cure was permanent. 
He had come up “ well oiled,” and somebody had 
asked him, when he said he wanted to see me, “ Do 
you know Mr. Turner? ” He replied in aloud, drunken 
voice, in the way I have related. 

On another occasion I heard a patient lift up her 
voice, so as to be heard by all the ward, in a protest 
which was thoroughly justified, as a dirty instrument 
had accidentally been used on her and she was 
suffering from sepsis; she was shouting out, “ If she 
has spoiled me, if she has spoiled me, I will have the 
law on her.” I am glad to say the “ spoiling ” was 
not permanent and that the recovery was a quick one. 

St. George’s Hospital being in the West End and 
most of the honorary staff living in its neighbourhood, 
even those who were senior, in my time, themselves 
looked after nearly all cases of emergency, and 
consequently were not infrequently called out in the 
middle of the night. This is not a pleasant process, 
and being of an irritable disposition, I confess that 
not uncommonly I made silent protest. Occasionally 
my protests were not silent. On one occasion when 
I had a new house-surgeon, he called me up at 2 o’clock 
in the morning on the telephone to inform me that 
a grave abdominal operation that I had done that 
day was doing splendidly. I confess that I could 
have waited for this excellent news without having 
my beauty sleep disturbed. If there is something 
not always to be desired in having a broken night’s 
rest, the return from the Hospital after having 
probably saved some unfortunate man’s or woman's 


life, more than made up for any inconvenience, and 
it was at such times as these that I used to thank my 
God I was a surgeon and that what Lord Lister called 
the Divine Art of surgery had, under his teaching, 
become worthy of the epithet. 

On one occasion when called up at about 2 a.m., 
I opened the window of my bedroom and shouted 
in rather an impatient voice to a person standing on 
my doorstep, “ Well, what is it ? ” A mild, timid 
voice replied, “ Please, sir, your house is on £0:6.” 
This was all too true, two rooms, my consulting room, 
and the room underneath it were gutted and some oil 
paintings that belonged to my grandfather and were 
irreplaceable, were destroyed. This fire was not 
without its comedy and tragedy. I had been 
inculcating into my elder son the necessity of always 
looking nice and clean. That day there had been 
bought for him some nice new Eton collars, and 
although the flames and smoke filled the house, and 
were right up to the nursery floor, the boy refused to 
leave without his new collars. 

The attire of people disturbed by fire is very often 
comic and not exactly perhaps fitted to the figure. 
We had at that time a new servant, and I had remarked 
to my wife, when this maid was handing round the 
tea things, that I thought her white bib and tucker 
were a little more prominent than they ought to have 
been and expressed suspicions as to whether her 
condition was interesting. When we were all collected 
together scurrying away from the fire, and before 
being dispersed to the houses of neighbours who were 
kind enough to take us in, the condition of this lady 
was no longer an open question. I am glad to say 
that my wife took the affair in hand, and what I hope 
was a happy marriage resulted. 

While I am on the subject of being called up at 
night, I once was asked to wait about during such 



time as an old crawler went to Hanwell and back to 
get the consent of parents to an operation. I said I 
did not want to picnic all the night, but would come 
round when such consent had been obtained. I am 
afraid I offended the gentleman who asked me to this 
all-night vigil. 

I have related elsewhere how once it was my 
privilege to save the life of a card-sharping swindler, 
whom I had met years before on the way to Epsom, 
and because I had denounced him as a card sharper 
had threatened to “ do me in ” the next time he met 
me. We met at the operation that saved his life. 

Those about to be operated on look at the matter 
from a different point of view to the surgeon. On 
one occasion I saw a married lady who had a son by 
a previous marriage : the existing husband, a poor 
little meek creature, ventured to press on her the 
advisability of submitting to the proposed operation. 
There was no danger to life whatever, but the lady 
most obviously thought otherwise, and it was evident 
that she regarded her spouse as advocating the 
operation in the hope that he would be left a 
widower. Reason eventually prevailed and all went 

Occasionally patients get angry with a surgeon 
because he will not operate on them. A hospital 
patient paid me a compliment in this way when I 
refused to do a fourth abdominal operation on her and 
told her that if she wanted anything more done, she 
must go to some other surgeon. She was angry at 
my refusal, but mollified my sorrow at her displeasure 
by saying to the nurse, that she would sooner “ die 
under Mr. Turner than let any other surgeon operate 
on her.” Compliments are sometimes paid to us for 
what we do. I shall never forget the worshiping 
admiration of a gentleman of colour to whom, when I 
was anaesthetist to St. George’s, I gave ether while his 


leg was amputated. When he saw me next morning 
he looked upon me almost as a god and said, “ You 
kill and bring to life again.” 

When I was house-surgeon at St. George’s there 
was an old man who periodically required mechanical 
treatment of a somewhat difficult nature and always 
hauled me out of bed at about 1.30 a.m. Each time 
I saw him I told him, in the future, when he had been 
ill for perhaps twelve hours, to come up at a more 
reasonable time, or go elsewhere. He persisted in 
doing me the compliment, in spite of my just indigna¬ 
tion, of always coming to me between 1 and 2 a.m. 

Night fears are curious things, and may be due to 
the old cave-man inherited tendencies. They act 
sometimes on patients, sometimes on attendant 
physicians by making them constantly come for 
surgical aid after, instead of before, midnight. I once 
knew a physician who had, amongst his many short¬ 
comings, this unpleasant peculiarity. 

People have before now asked me how I felt 
when I did my first operation—thereby hangs a story. 
When I was a raw youth, just qualified, full of all 
sorts of theoretical surgical lore, but with next to no 
practical experience, I was asked by the assistant 
house-surgeon to take his place at the Hospital. It 
so happened on that day that the house-surgeon went 
out, and I, as acting assistant house-surgeon, had to 
take his place. I was assured, however, that I was 
not on duty, my services would not be required, and 
in that comfortable assurance I sat down in the 
Cottage, as the place where the resident staff live at 
St. George’s is still called, to a rubber of whist. In 
the middle of this I was summoned by the porter to 
come over and do a tracheotomy in the Belgrave 
Ward. That ward was one of the most remote from 
the Cottage, not quite half a day’s journey, but a 
distance that was not negligible in such an urgent 




condition as a tracheotomy operation. I ran to the 
ward with my heart in my mouth and a box of 
instruments clattering under my arm, wishing that 
the earth would open and swallow me. I had never 
seen a tracheotomy performed on either the living 
or the dead subject. The poor man was just 
conscious enough to try to fight me off. The dear old 
resident medical officer, Mr. Marshall, was there, and 
when I said to him hurriedly, “ I have never done this 
before,” said to me, “ Never mind, you will do it 
all right.’’ Thank God I did do it all right and rescued 
the man from the death that was impending. I shall 
never forget the grasp of gratitude that that poor 
fellow gave me when he realised he was no longer 
suffocating and was restored to life. 

Surgeons of the present day, although progressing 
always, are not progressing with the same leaps and 
bounds that they did when first Lister’s teaching made 
so many operations possible and we, who were then 
called on to operate constantly, were pioneers and 
had to do things that we had never seen other surgeons 
do before. The first time I ever operated on the 
appendix, for gall-stones, on the kidney, and other 
important abdominal operations, I had never seen 
them performed before by any other surgeon. It 
makes an enormous difference to a surgeon if he has 
seen the thing done before. Nowadays the young 
surgeon has not even to go to the operating theatre 
for this experience because the big and difficult 
operations have had films taken of them and can be 
seen on the screen. 

In an introductory address I gave in 1898 I 
pointed out that Lord Lister had even then saved more 
lives than any warrior lord had ever destroyed. Now 
the number of civilians has been increased by 
demobilised and wounded soldiers. Yet for a long¬ 
time he was unhonoured here, was tardily made a 


Baronet and finished as a Baron. What a contrast 
in honours between this man whose name will live for 
centuries, and the multitude of Law Lords who adorn 
their profession, the successful journalists and 
politicians, about whom little will be remembered a 
hundred years hence. No title is necessary to keep 

the name of Lister alive, but he deserved much more 
than a barony. 

In his latter failing days he thought his work had 
not been sufficiently appreciated by his own genera¬ 
tion, and there was something in this, but there was 
no hankering after exalted rank and worldly honour, 

but only for the greater approbation of the scientific 
and medical world. 

A would-be well-dressed student who at first 
arrived at the Hospital with a velvet collar to his 
ordinary black coat was so particular about the sit 
of his trousers that he never sat down whilst at the 
Hospital. He lived at a medical man’s house where 
there were some other students, but they were not 
dressed well enough for him to walk with them to the 
Hospital. The trousers were changed when he 

returned home in the afternoon, and he sat down to 

He lived to become a really well-dressed and 
successful man. Wellington always liked his dandies. 
To dress well shows a desire to please others as well 
as to satisfy your own conceit. 

The rapid discard of the velvet collar of his coat 
was the key to his character. He quickly learnt what 
to do and what not to do, and pursued his path to 
success with deliberate calculation of every word and 
action of his life, lookingalways to his own best interests. 

One of my cases that eventually had a fatal result 
was that of a gentleman Head of Police in Jamaica. 
During the riots there, he had been caught unarmed 
by a mob of blacks, some 200 yards away from his 



barracks. They did their best to kill him with glass 
bottles and bludgeons, but being an old Rugby 
football forward, as well as a cricketer who played for 
Middlesex, he fought his way through them until 
eventually he was rescued by his imprisoned men. 
He was more dead than alive, but eventually 
recovered. He was left, however, with a tumour, I 
think the largest I ever saw, that extended from his 
heel almost to his groin, and was wrongly thought to 
be of a cancerous nature. He came back to England 
and I successfully operated on him for this, but during 
his convalescence he developed a blood clot in the 
vein by the knee, “ the dangerous region,” and so 
had to rest for a prolonged period. When he went 
back to Jamaica, I cautioned him that he must rest 
as much as possible and not to ride. To rest when 
you are feeling perfectly well is difficult. One day 
he rode round and inspected all his stations, a ride of 
some twenty miles, dismounted and went in to 
luncheon. At luncheon he suddenly died from the 
dislodgment of the clot. His sense of duty un¬ 
doubtedly led to his death. I put the case before 
Mr. Alfred Lyttelton at the Colonial Office as strongly 
as I could, and I believe something was done for his 
widow. Lyttelton was an old cricketing friend of his. 

I knew another case of the same thing, where a 
chemist accustomed to counter practice laughed at the 
advice of his young doctor. He also died suddenly 
from the same cause. 

Another minor tragedy was that of a lady, who 
was about to be married in six weeks’ time after a 
slight operation. She recovered from this perfectly 
in the ten days that I had allowed. When I told her 
that she might get up, both she and the nurse blushed, 
and it was then that I first heard that while she was 
lying unconscious from the anaesthetic after the 
operation, a hot-water bottle put into her bed had 


seriously burnt her foot. Neither she nor the nurse 
had dared to tell me of this misadventure. I got her 
to church for the marriage, but her white satin shoe 
had to be down at the heel. 

Nurses nowadays are very much better trained 
than they used to be. Their knowledge of anatomy 
in olden days was very limited. I was told by a 
doctor that on one occasion when he was about to 
syringe the ear of a patient, the nurse held the basin 
beneath the opposite ear, expecting the fluid to go 
clean through the skull and emerge on the opposite 

The difficulties of telling people the truth are 
sometimes very great and often not advisable. As a 
young man I helped to look after a noble Lord, who 
was dying in the corner of a huge room ordinarily 
used as a ballroom. I had been asked by the relatives 
what I thought of his prospects. I gave them to 
understand as tactfully as I could that it was a 
matter of hours. A very celebrated medical baronet 
was in attendance. When he came, the relatives 
asked him whether he couldn’t do something for the 
patient. Poor fellow, he was beyond hope, but the 
physician asked for a piece of blotting-paper and some 
ether, and then gravely and solemnly dropped ten 
drops of ether on the blotting-paper made in the 
shape of a cone some twenty feet away from the 
patient’s bed-side. He proceeded with stately stiide 
to the patient and held the blotting-paper, which of 
course by this time was absolutely devoid of any ether, 
in front of the patient’s mouth. A pure piece of 
humbug. When we eventually consulted he 
defended his conduct to me for quite twenty minutes 
and said what no doubt was true, You must 
remember that the world is governed by sentiment, 
not by science ; it would not have done to have said 
that I could do nothing. I have been reviled by the 



profession not once, but I always look here ” (touching 
the region of his heart). I suppose because I was an 
anaesthetist at St. George’s Hospital at the time, and 
so constantly had to deal with the rapid evaporation 
of ether, that my face must have shown him my 
amazement at his manoeuvres. Youth is intolerant, 
and I regard his conduct now, very much more 
leniently than I did at that time. It is absolutely 
true that the world is governed by sentiment. 

This medical baronet told my father that the first 
pair of stockings he ever wore he made himself. 
He was the son of a worker by the riverside. One 
day in a dense fog the treasurer of Guy’s lost his way, 
and was jeered at by the little ragamuffins in the 
street. One bright intelligent boy, however, 
volunteered to show the gentleman the way to his 
hospital. He was so taken by the lad’s intelligence 
that he had him educated and made him librarian 
to the hospital. Whilst in this position he passed 
the necessary examination to enter the medical 

profession, became a medical student and carried 
all before him. 

At first, of course, his experience was limited to 
the poor people who were driven in their extremity 
to seek hospital aid and advice. Judging by these 
poor people who were unable to obtain the comforts 
necessary to their sickness, he gave a well-to-do 
lady whom my father asked him to see, only some 
twelve months more of life. She lived thirty years ! 
The physician had not taken into account the 
difference between the well-to-do and the poor in their 
resistance to disease. 

There have been, of course, many self-made men 
in the profession of medicine. One surgeon was called 
in to see a case in the country, and the doctor told 
me that he pretended not to ^know the neighbourhood 
at all, although he had been born and bred in humble 


circumstances in the immediate vicinity of the house 
that he was visiting as a distinguished specialist. 
Quite contrary to this, and much more commendable, 
was the behaviour of another celebrated surgeon, 
who, when he might have had the highest of all 
society, made it his custom in his holidays to return 
to the haunts of his youth and freely associate with 
the humble friends of his early days. 

Another surgeon that I knew of would have 
nothing to do with a junior whose father had helped 
him in the early period of his career. The junior's 
resentment at this ingratitude was such that he 
proclaimed the comparatively humble origin of the 
offender on many occasions. 

The self-made man has no occasion to be ashamed. 
He might remember the dictum of one of Napoleon's 
marshals who, when twitted with the fact that he 
had no ancestors, replied “ I am an ancestor.” 

Sometimes one is consulted under difficult circum¬ 
stances. I heard of a surgeon, who was consulted by 
his dancing partner at a Palais de Danse about a little 
pimple on her leg below the knee about which her 
mother was anxious. On being told that he would 
be very pleased to see her any time she liked to come 
to his house, she said it was a trivial matter, and 
couldn’t he tell whether it was cancer or not where 
they were, and asked him whether this could not be 
done when the lights were lowered during the next 
waltz. Accordingly, during the next period of gloom, 
an attempt at diagnosis was made ; when she suddenly 
said in a loud voice, “ But A.B. that's the wrong leg.” 
The same lady consulted a doctor about some trivial 
indigestion, and he recommended an eighth grain 
of calomel to be taken at dinner. She went to a 
chemist who told her that this ought to be followed 
by a seidlitz powder on the following morning. Her 
mother took her to a matinee the next day. She saw 


her doctor that evening, who asked her about the 
play, “ Well,” she said, “ I didn’t see much of it, 
in fact both mummy and the other people in the stalls 
got quite angry with me for so constantly leaving 
them.” The effect of the chemist on the top of the 
doctor had been too much for that unfortunate 
sufferer from their dual control. 

The effect of concussion of the brain and apparently 
slight head injuries is sometimes very tragic. A 
person of absolutely irreproachable character and 
always moderate and correct in language may during 
“ cerebral irritability ” shock his neighbours by foul 
and coarse words. There may sometimes be an 
absolute change of temperament. An exceedingly 
genial and popular farmer going home from market, 
sustained a serious head injury by being thrown from 
his trap. Por three years afterwards he was cross, 
irritable, and most unpleasant. On his death it 
was found that this change of temperament was due 
to pressure of a blood cyst on his brain. I came across 
a case during the War where an unfortunate man had 
been injured by shrapnel in the head. He had always 
been scrupulously honest, but was convicted of 
robbing the till. Nothing was apparently wrong with 
his head, but I found that at the seat of one of his 
seven shrapnel wounds there was a depressed fracture 
of the internal table to his skull, and I believe that 
his moral obliquity was due to this cause. The 
matter was put right by the operation. The other 
head symptoms ” disappeared and he was pardoned 
for the misdemeanour he had been guilty of, when 
suffering from this pressure on the brain. 

A great many crimes of old men are due to 
physical causes. The condition of the body frequently 
leads to irritability and want of judgment. I had 
once to appear before a learned Judge who had, as I 
knew, a stone in his kidney. It was in the' days 


when surgeons did not, as they do now, remove these 
painful and irritating “ foreign bodies." He snarled 
at me from the Bench like a bad-tempered dog, when 
I was putting forward my views about the mental 
condition of a woman who had sustained a very 
serious head injury. I am glad to say that the Jury 
took my view of the case and awarded the poor 
woman some £$00 damages. 

I hope, if it is ever my fate to appear in the dock, 
or elsewhere in a Law Court, that I shall have a Judge 
of healthy body, as well as of abundant knowledge 
of the law. When you think that the punishment of 
crimes varies so much for the same offences at different 
places, good health should be a sine qua non of his 
lordship on the Bench. 

The brother of this Judge very nearly killed me 
when out shooting. He was a veritable Mr. Winkle 
and never touched a feather all the day. 

When we were moving from one stand to another 
through some rhododendrons a cock pheasant got 
up between us. I was not more than five yards from 
him. He fired point-blank at the pheasant when it 
was about five feet or so from the ground. I saw a 
red circle of light, no smoke, and providentially was 
not hit! The gamekeeper rushed up to me and 
said, “ Good God, Mr. Turner, I thought you must 
be killed I ” 

Mr. Vernon Boys has photographed flying bullets 
and charges from shot-guns, showing that the latter 
proceed for a certain distance in a compact mass 
before the pellets spread. My escape must have 
been due to this fact. The shot—like a bullet—just 
missed my head. 

I shot the pheasant. 

I knew a gentleman who spent a good deal of his 
night time in a subterranean cellar at Oxford, weighing 
the earth. He became engaged to be married, and 



when he came to dine with us and took his fiancee 
into dinner he was so tired that he went to sleep by 
her side during the meal. I thought it a little 

Later on, when congratulated by my wife on the 
birth of a son, he wrote, “ Thank you for your reference 
to our domestic affairs.” 

That concussion of the brain does lead to loss of 
memory, I know from my own experience. I was 
concussed about 1905 by a fall from a motor-cycle. 
During the War I had to operate on a bad case of 
what is called axillary aneurism, following an 
explosion, where a piece of metal had penetrated the 
main artery of the armpit. This is a dangerous and 
may be even a desperate operation. I am glad to say 
the patient recovered perfectly, but on talking the 
matter over with a gentleman who had been my house- 
surgeon at the Seamen’s Hospital nine years before he 
reminded me that I had done an almost similar 
operation on the carotid artery at the root of the 
neck of a negro. Of this I have no memory; I only 
know that I have tied a carotid artery. This gentle¬ 
man reminded me of many details of this case, and 
how that I had said the poor fellow might die on the 
table, and that he ought to be told of the risk he was 
about to undergo. Death was certain had he not 
been operated on. He made a good recovery. 

I do not think it fair that any person should go 
down into the valley of the shadow of death without 
knowing it. I expressed this view to a very brilliant 
surgeon, a splendid operator, with whom I had a 
consultation on one of his cases many years ago. 
He said, “ I shan’t say much to the patient.” There 
is always to be taken into consideration any mental 
effect which might prejudice the condition of a 
person subjected to a grave operation, and it may in 
certain cases be advisable that he should be ignorant. 



I think myself, I should like to know my risks and 
what the odds were against or for me. This was the 
practical way that an American abroad once looked 
at his case. He knew I was at Aix-les-Bains and he 
appealed to me as one Anglo-Saxon to another to 
tell him what his chances were, if he consented to an 
operation. He had no chance without one, and he 
asked me to tell him what the odds were if it was 
performed in the endeavour to save his life. 

Malingerers are curious people and, like hysterical 
patients, they will malinger more with some doctors 
than others. During the War, I saw a man who was 
said to have lost his eyesight, following shell-shock. 
I could find nothing wrong with his eyes, and I said 
to the head sister—my daughter, who was full of 
sympathy for him—■“ Have you tried the passion of 
love ? I went back to the Hospital about a month 
afterwards and she said to me, “You were quite right, 
we caught that man walking with one of the prettiest 
girls of the village, and there was no lack of eyesight 
about him at all.” 

In olden days blisters, counter irritants and actual 
cauteries were much more freely used than they are 
now, and during my house-surgeoncy days, I found 
that when my surgeon directed me to give a malingerer 
a few “ light touches ” with the cautery, the 
malingerer began to hop about and use his palsied 
limbs vigorously. Some of them recovered on just 
seeing the cautery irons being heated. 

Self-mutilations are not confined to absolute 
lunatics. The hysterical sometimes indulge in them. 
One lady I knew amused herself in her leisure time 
by sticking needles into her knee joint, a process not 
altogether without danger. She was X-rayed after 
my operation, to show that they were all removed. 
She came back in six months * time with some more. 
She denied this time having put them in herself, but I 


insisted that she should confess, before I removed this 
second batch. I believe in Lancashire, it is not 
uncommon for ladies when sought in holy matrimony, 
to assent, but with the proviso that they should have 
their “ dues of courting." Some people want their 
dues of operation. A too quick recovery does not 
suit them. They like to be the central feature of 
interest longer than modern surgery, with its quick 
healing, allows them. I remember one pathetic case, 
where a poor solitary widow came to her daughter's 
house for an operation. The wound was all healed in 
some three or four days and I ceased my attendance- 
So as to stay longer in her daughter's house, this poor 
woman deliberately tore open the recently healed 
wound. No permanent harm resulted. 

It is not always onlookers that see most of the 
game in surgical affairs. On one occasion I operated 
on a little boy, who was most desperately ill with 
peritonitis. I did not think he had the ghost of a 
chance of recovery, but found very unexpected and 
beneficial results followed the giving of a certain meat 
extract. I think the bottle must have been a bad 
one : anyhow it caused unusual symptoms, unpleasant 
in themselves, but which relieved the patient and he 
recovered satisfactorily. 

That year I was an examiner for one of the 
prizes for Students at the Hospital. One of the 
candidates took this case for a text, severely criticised 
my treatment, maintained that I ought to have given 
the boy mutton broth and was quite unaware of the 
effects of the meat extract, which saved his life. That 
gentleman did not gain the prize. 

It is well that physicians and surgeons should be 
in accord in their views, especially in private cases 
where the relatives want to know everything. I once 
had a serious case, and on going to see her one 
morning was met by her anxious mother who related 



symptoms which told me, as a surgeon, that all 
anxiety was over. I told her this and said that we 
ought to rejoice greatly and be exceeding glad. 

“ But,” said she, “ Dr. -—who had arrived 

before me—“ says that something must be done to 
check this ‘ alarming condition.’ ” Nothing was done 
and the patient never looked back. 

I was consulted once by Mr. Bram Stoker, the 
biographer of Henry Irving, and told him the following 
story. It had been my good fortune, when a student, 
to gain various Wm. Brown exhibitions and prizes, 
and when Mrs. Wm. Brown, the widow, died Lady 
Burdett-Coutts, with whom she had been living, sent 
me an invitation to attend the funeral. I hate 
funerals, but I was told it was my duty to attend. 

I went and found myself as a representative of the 
Wm. Brown Scholars, placed in the fore-front of the 
proceedings, walking immediately behind Lady 
Burdett-Coutts who was chief mourner. Amongst 
the pall-bearers was Henry Irving, and just after the 
ceremony was over, he came up to speak to Dr. Wad- 
ham, who was talking to me, and said, “Well, 
Wadham, how did I do that ? ” “ Very well indeed,” 

said Wadham. “ I ought to have,” said Irving, “ for 
I have been burying Ophelia every morning this 
week.” It was just before his first production of 

A lady who had fallen off her horse in the Row 
was brought into the Hospital. She had evidently 
been partaking of alcohol and refused to give her name 
or any information about herself. A somewhat 
tactless house-surgeon applied electricity as a remedy, 
with satisfactory results. The lady, however, after¬ 
wards, with some justification, made a complaint. 
Evidence was taken of the witnesses and the police. 
They one and all testified as to the tipsy condition 
of the patient, and a gentleman who had come to 


“ see fair ” on her behalf expressed himself as satisfied 
with what he had heard and that there was no real 
cause for complaint against the house-surgeon or 
police. Something must have happened after this, 
as some two or three weeks later on paragraphs were 
put in the papers expressing the regret of the police 
at the mistake they had made as to the lady’s 
condition. She was a very well-known lady and 
very rich. 

On one occasion the Hospital Committee were 
engaged in “ trying a magistrate.” A somewhat 
dictatorial and well-known magistrate, who was 
interested in a woman who was admitted into the 
female surgery, pushed himself behind the screen, and 
although he was in the Hospital, in a room, still 
kept his hat on. The house-surgeon, who was 
attending to the patient, pointed out to him that his 
presence behind the screen was improper, and I 
think also suggested that perhaps his hat had better 
be taken off. The magistrate complained to the 
governing body, who came to the unanimous verdict 
that the house-surgeon had only done his duty. 
This same house-surgeon, Dr. Rivers Pollock, was a 
great athlete, had won the Hurdle Race at the Inter- 
Varsity Sports and had dead-heated for the Champion¬ 
ship. A more inoffensive or polite man never drew 

I once made the mistake when fixing a bandage 
round a man’s fractured ribs, to pass the safety pin 
into his skin. The man never came near me for 
about a month, and when I removed the bandage I 
saw to my horror what I had done, and asked him 
why he had not told me of it and had not come up 
sooner to see me, and whether he knew that I had 
pinned him to his bandage. “ Oh yes, sir,” he said, 

“ but I thought that was the proper thing to do.” 
A good many years afterwards, when I had completed 


an operation on a lady, I saw that my assistant, who 
was putting on the bandages, was about to commit the 
same error. I told him this story and to be careful. 
He laughed at the story, but next day, when I came 
to see my patient, she said, “ I feel perfectly well, 
but I have got such a pain in the back.” She ought 
to have had no pain in the back, so I undid the 
bandages and found, in spite of my warning, this 
young man had duly pinned her to them. He was 
an unfortunate young man, and in the days when 
push-bicycling was popular, ran into a pedestrian. 
A policeman came on the scene and eventually he 
had to go the the Police Station. It so happened 
that I passed in my brougham when they were 
discussing the necessity of his presence at the Police 
Station. He said, “ There goes my cousin, he’ll tell 
you that I have given my correct name and address.” 

Oh no, that won’t wash,” said the policeman, and 
off to the Station he was taken. About the same 
time, when I was living in Green Street, Park Lane, 
I came round a refuge at the Marble Arch on the 
wrong side of the road and my bicycle knocked over 
an old gentleman, in the presence of a policeman on 
duty. I jumped off and asked the old man what on 
eaith he meant by getting in the way. This carrying 
of the war into the enemy’s country was so successful, 
that the policeman forgot I had taken a wrong turning. 

I am always so thankful I was not born a girl on this 
account. I have no bump of locality and am always 
taking these wrong turnings. 

One sees in the lay Press perhaps more often than 
in the medical, wonderful cures advertised even for 
that terrible disease called Cancer. I once looked after 
a poor woman to whom I was summoned in the early 
morning to do a tracheotomy, as a cancer was pressing 
on her throat. There was no doubt that it was of 
this nature, as I removed a little bit for microscopical 



examination. My Autumn holiday coming on I left 
for Scotland, leaving her in the care of my colleague, 
Mr. Clinton Dent. When I returned, I said to him, 
“ I suppose that poor woman is dead.” “ No,” said 
he, “ she is down at Wimbledon Convalescence 
Hospital, and nearly all the swelling has disappeared. 
She goes by the name of The Wonderful Woman.” 

I saw her at Wimbledon and I arranged for her to 
come and see me from time to time. Some two or 
three months afterwards it was obvious that there 
was a recurrence, the swelling was growing again 
rapidly. I urged her to come into the Hospital while 
it w^s still removable. She procrastinated, and when 
she did come, after what is called an exploratory 
operation, we decided that it could not be removed. 
Curiously enough, once more the whole thing 
practically disappeared. She lived for some two years 
after this, and when she died there was an undoubtedly 
malignant mass, not much bigger than the top of 
ones little finger : this mass which had been as big 
or bigger than a cocoanut. I found, on looking up 
the literature, some thirty-eight cases where, as here, 
there had been no doubt as to the nature of the 
trouble and where there had been disappearance. The 
histologist who pronounced this cancer was the late 
Mr. Sheridan Delepine, one of the best specialists 
of his time. What a case for a quack cancer curer— 
when one hears of the marvellous cures treated by 
these gentry! Just as all is not gold that glitters,so 
luckily all is not malignant that is said to be so. 

It is most important that a surgeon should be fit, 
or anyhow know if in any way he is unfit or incapaci¬ 
tated. During the War, I fell down and broke a rib 
just in front of the heart and ruptured a muscle in 
my left leg. I was not able to lie up, and about two 
days afterwards I started on a somewhat difficult 
operation, with a not very experienced assistant. 


Halfway through I found that I could not properly 
use my left hand from the injuries I had received at 
the accident, and I had to leave the operation in an 
incomplete condition. I really ought never to have 
started on it, but I did not know the full extent of my 
injuries and incapacity. I am glad to say the patient 
eventually was cured of his malady, but by another 
surgeon who no doubt imagines he “ wiped my eye.” 

All surgeons make mistakes. A surgeon who says 
he never makes mistakes is a liar. Sir Astley Cooper 
is said to have admitted that his mistakes would have 
filled a graveyard. In his day even a little operation 
might have been fatal from sepsis. Lord Lister and 
Pasteur have altered all this. One of our surgeons at 
St. George’s when I was a student had the run of 
the town, chiefly because he knew when to keep his 
hands off. Both he and another celebrated surgeon 
used to carry this masterly inactivity a little too far, 
and in consequence sometimes the bone-setter, rushing 
in where angels feared to tread, made a great and well- 
advertised success. Of the failure of these gentlemen 
the people hear little. Their successes are trumpeted 
to the four corners of the earth. 

An unfortunate fishmonger, stumbling when getting 
out of an omnibus, injured his knee. He walked for 
nearly a mile home. He sent for a notorious bone- 
setter who told him, as they very nearly always do, 
that he had ” put a bone out ”—dislocated his knee— 
gave him an anaesthetic and, as he said, reduced the 
dislocation. I may say here, that dislocations of the 
knee are very rare—real dislocations—and nobody 
could walk immediately afterwards. I am not now 
referring to the present fashionable dislocations of the 
semi-lunar cartilages, and other so-called internal 
derangements of the knee joint. The fishmonger 
brought an action against the Omnibus Co., and 
called the bone-setter as a witness. This gentleman, 





in his cross examination, was given the bone of a 
right thigh and a left leg bone, and asked to put them 
together to demonstrate the dislocation that he said 
had been present. He did not recognise or realise 
that the bones were of opposite sides, and when he was 
asked, “ Where did you learn your anatomy? ” he 
had the impudence to answer, “ In my family—it is 
hereditary.” The fishmonger was ruined by this 
case, having incurred costs which he was unable to 


Properly qualified doctors, being human, often 
make errors, but sometimes there is no excuse. A 
lady who was interested in St. George's once asked 
me to take in and operate on a case that had already 
been operated on for hernia in a country hospital. 
When I came to do the operation, I found that the 
seat of the trouble had not been dealt with on either 
side, in the very slightest degree. It was as if no 
operation had ever been attempted, save that there 
were two pieces of silver wire placed underneath the 
skin. This lady had her knife into the country 
doctor, and was for cross-examining me as to what I 
had found. I got out of the difficulty by saying, 
Lady S., I never criticise other people’s operations, 
being quite conscious that I myself may be, might be, 
and have been criticised for what I have done in 
some of my own.” I had a very divided duty. It 
was an atrocious thing for that doctor ever to have 
touched a knife, and had I given him away I don’t 
think he could have much complained. The way 
that some inexperienced men, who have a pruritus 
secandi, operate on people is most unjustifiable. 
It may be brave on their part, but it is a kind of 
bravery that should be non-existent. I heard of one 
young general practitioner operating successfully on 
a rich old lady for cataract. He had never done the 
operation before. It turned up trumps, and the 


gentleman eventually enjoyed an extensive seaside 
practice , but what about the lady and the risk that 
she ran of blindness from his inexperience ? 

When I was first appointed to the Seamen’s 
Hospital at Greenwich there was no ophthalmic 
surgeon, and I was supposed to operate on the eye. 
I had had some little experience as assistant to Mr. 
Brudenell Carter, but I soon saw to it that a proper 
ophthalmic surgeon was appointed to the Hospital. 
Mr. Brudenell Carter was one of the cleverest men I 
ever came across. For years he was on the staff of 
The Times newspaper, writing leading articles. His 
language was extremely ornate, and he was a first-rate 
after-dinner speaker. When I was his assistant in 
the eye department, and somebody came up with 
an inflamed eye, he would say to me, “ I think, Mr. 
Turner, that a lotion containing perhaps two grains 
of the sulphate of zinc to the ounce of distilled water 
will meet the requirements of this case.” All this 
instead of telling me—zinc lotion, or again he would 
say, “ I should be tempted here to prescribe the two 
perchlorides, namely, that of iron and mercury.” 
When I was up for my final examination at the College 
of Surgeons, and was being taken to diagnose various 
cases who were attending for that purpose, the late 
Sir Wm. Humphry, Mr. Erichsen and Mr. Cooper 
Foster, were listening to my replies to the late Sir 
Wm. Savory, who was the examiner. Savory was 
accused of being a very harsh and sometimes unjust 
examiner. He certainly liked the candidate to err a 
little. The cases were so easy that I was not 
humouring him in this respect. At last we came to a 
boy whose body was one mass of scar tissue, the 
effects of a burn. Savory said, “ What is this ? ” 

I asked the boy, ” Have you ever been burnt, boy ? ” 
Yes, sir,” he said. I said, “It is an overgrowth 
of the scar, following a burn.” “ Yes,” said Savory, 


“ and what would you do for him ? ” I replied, “ I 
think, sir, that in this case, I should be tempted ”— 

“ Yes, tempted,’’ said Savory, and I said—■“ to leave 
him alone.” The onlooking examiners burst into a 
roar of laughter. I think Savory was under the 
impression that I was going to recommend that the 
boy should be flayed alive. 

When I first became assistant to Mr. Carter I 
asked my predecessor what sort of a man he was. 
His reply was, “ I should like him very much if he 
wasn’t so damned polite.” Then he told me how at 
one operation he had got an exceedingly sharp little 
knife, that was used for cataract extraction, in his 
hand, with the point directed towards Mr. Carter. 
The latter turned quickly round for the knife which 
went under his thumb nail for about half an inch. 
“ Well, what did he say ? ” said I. “ He said nothing, 
but just looked at me.” My own experience of his 
politeness was of a less unfortunate nature, but I 
was made to feel that I was very ignorant and a great 
fool. There had recently been a case of a rare 
affection of the back of the eye, in which the pupil 
looked of a primrose colour. An oldish man came 
up to see me about his eyes, and I thought this was 
another case of the same thing. I consulted my 
predecessor, who agreed with me, and I sent for Mr. 
Carter. Rare cases in hospitals often come in couples, 
and I thought this was an illustration of this fact. 
Carter came, looked at the man’s eye, by putting on 
a pince-nez in front of the spectacles that he habitually 
wore, and then said, “ I think, Mr. Turner, we will 
take him now to the dark-room and examine him with 
the ophthalmoscope.” By this time, I was fully 
aware that there was nothing wrong with the eye 
at all, but proceeded like a culprit with Carter, while 
he examined the patient with the ophthalmoscope. 
He got up and said to me, “ I think, Mr. Turner, you 


will find that the media are quite clear.” That was 
his way of telling me that it was a normal eye and 
that I had summoned him without good reason. The 
assistant who made this mistake with me was my 
great rival for prizes and scholarships. He worked 
very hard, and on one occasion whilst walking across 
the park together, he said to me, “ How do you get 
to sleep when you have finished your work late at 
night ? I have found out a very good plan,” and 
he told me that he was in the habit of putting a small 
piece of lint at the bottom of a tumbler and then 
saturating it with chloroform. He put this over his 
mouth and nose, when he was in bed and so induced 
sleep. I told him I thought this was a dangerous 
proceeding, but he said, “ The weight of the tumbler 
always makes it fall off.” Some thirteen or fourteen 
years after this, I saw in the Times that he was dead, 
and at the inquest it was stated that the tumbler 
with a piece of lint was found in his bed near his face. 
I think an open verdict was returned. There were no 
reasons whatever for suicide and I am sure that it 
was the fatal accident that I had told him might at 
any time occur. Chloroform acts very uncertainly, 
I think, on people and is, in my opinion, a much more 
dangerous anaesthetic than ether. 

On one occasion at Greenwich I was about to do 
a very complicated operation. The patient was 
afraid of an anaesthetic, but this was absolutely 
necessary. He then asked that he might have 
chloroform rather than ether. I referred him to the 
anaesthetist who consented. Before the operation 
began and whilst I was getting my instruments ready, 
I was called by the anaesthetist, who had only just 
started his work, to see the patient. He was dead, 
and nothing we could do revived him. It was as 
much a death from fear as from chloroform, but had 
ether been used this probably would not have been 



followed by such a terrible result. I myself have seen 
at least three deaths from chloroform, but never one 
from ether. The latter, however, has been said to 
kill not on the operating-table, but in the wards from 
bronchitis. A very great deal depends on the 
anaesthetist; nowadays they practically are all 
specialists, in my early days hardly any of them 
were. When I was a house-surgeon I had to look 
after a civil servant who was admitted with a 
broken leg. He developed delirium tremens, and 
died of it. My evidence at the inquest was to this 
effect, but I was interrupted by a gentleman in the 
court, who said he did hope that the jury would not 
believe the doctor, as if a verdict of death from 
delirium tremens was brought in, there would be no 
pension for the widow and children. The jury “ did 
not believe the doctor,” and brought in a verdict of 
accidental death from fracture of the leg. It would 
have been my duty to have signed the death 
certificate. I could not go back on the evidence 
I had given before the Coroner, but the difficulty 
was solved by the resident medical officer, who 
had seen the case when first admitted, giving a 
certificate in which there was no mention of delirium 
e potu. 

Another Coroner’s jury disagreed with the evidence 
that I had to give. A poor young fellow who had 
been abroad trying to make sufficient money to 
marry upon, returned to England to receive a letter 
from his fiancee stating that owing to his impecuniosity 
the engagement must be broken off. One afternoon I 
was summoned hurriedly to the house next my own in 
Green Street, and found that this young man had 
just shot himself through the heart with a revolver. 
The smoke was still in the room. He had taken off 
his coat and waistcoat, and had sat on the bed to do 
this. On the mantelpiece he had left two letters, 


one, I think, for his father, another for the young lady. 
At the inquest one of his relations said that he was 
always careless with fire-arms, especially out shooting, 
and that he had no doubt that his apparent suicide 
was an accident. The jury took that view, I am 
glad to say, and discredited my evidence. 

A medical man of my acquaintance received 
numerous congratulations on his escape from death 
from prussic acid, and he told me what a fearful 
feeling he had had, as if his heart was bursting.” 
Some years afterwards he was found dead with prussic 
acid by his side. I think there can be no doubt that 
he had attempted suicide on the first occasion. 

I was much struck by the absolute callousness of a 
young woman, as to the death of her lover, who had 
shot himself in the head after putting a bullet into her 
brain. I successfully extracted this and she made a 
good recovery, but was not in the slightest degree 
upset by the death of the man with whom, there was 
no doubt, she had agreed to die. Perhaps the injury 
had altered her disposition. 

The modern surgeon has not to be of such coarse 
fibre as his predecessors of a hundred years ago, before 
anaesthetics were used. Sir Astley Cooper was almost 
as good a draughtsman as he was a surgeon, and in his 
pictures of operations he depicts the resolution and the 
fortitude of the patient at the commencement of an 
operation, as well as his limp collapse at its termina¬ 
tion. I know nothing more horrible than to operate, 
even for a slight thing, without an anaesthetic, but 
before now have had to do it. A hospital porter 
refused an anaesthetic for the terrible operation of 
removal of the upper jaw. He lived for many years 
afterwards doing duty as a night porter. 

A lady who was plagued with a disfiguring little 
swelling of the scalp, tightly adherent to the skin and 
consequently very painful to remove, would take no 



anaesthetic. Her sister said, “ Harriet has a good 
courage.’’ Harriet had a good courage, but it was 
very painful for me. 

A consulting surgeon may go through life without 
being called doctor very much, nor does he carry his 
profession into private life by means of this prefix, 
and so is spared many gratuitous consultations. I 
have always hated to be called doctor. A little child 
at the Hospital said to me one day, “ Thank you, 
doctor.” I said, “ Don’t call me doctor.” She said, 
“ No, doctor.” I said, “ I will give you sixpence if 
you will not call me doctor.” “ Oh, thank you, 
doctor,” she said. She got her sixpence all the same. 

Lawyers, engineers, men in the services, are not 
called according to their profession. On some 
occasions one has heard all sorts of ridiculous ideas 
given vent to by people in ignorance of the fact that 
they were in the presence of a medical man. When 
the Emperor Frederick of Germany eventually died, 
I remember a first-class idiot at my Club saying, 
“ Of course he died, as he was fool enough to have his 
throat cut.” He died because he did not have “ his 
throat cut ” in the early stages of the disease. A 
personal friend of mine, who suffered from the same 
complaint, had the whole of the disease removed 
more than thirty years ago, has just died from another 
cause at the age of eighty-seven. 

How different the world’s history might have 
been if an early operation had been performed on the 
Emperor Frederick ! 

Medical men at times of death and trouble see 
much bravery and sometimes much cowardice. I 
have had, before now, to admire the heroism of the 
poor as well as the noblesse oblige of the well-born 
in meeting trouble and death with fortitude. I came 
across one young married lady who deliberately 
elected to die rather than submit to an operation that 


would have saved her life. This was a wrong sort of 
bravery. Unexpected relations are sometimes 
revealed by death. I saw on one day the wife and 
the unfortunate mistress of a gentleman who met 
his death from accident. The wife was really but 
little upset. The poor unfortunate woman who 
had been linked to him by no ties of Holy Church 
was the picture of despair and sorrow. 

It is the duty sometimes of one doctor to make the 
best of or even conceal the professional mistakes of 
another. I once, when abroad, was asked by a doctor 
to come and see a case of broken fore-arm, which he 
was going to put up in Plaster of Paris. Our conversa¬ 
tion and consultation was carried on in the French 
language unfortunately before the father and mother 
of the young man. I examined the fore-arm and 
found that there was no break at all, and using 
technical terms “ not understanded by the people,” 
I told the doctor that the bone was not broken. 
Perhaps he did not follow my bad French. He had 
committed himself to the fracture, the Plaster of Paris 
was ready, and he put the injured limb up in a 
Plaster of Paris splint. I was returning to London, 
the patient was coming to England also, and he was 
to come and see me when he arrived. The Plaster of 
Paris itself was not bad treatment for the sprain, 
and so I silently acquiesced for the time being in its 
use. I took it off about a week afterwards, in London, 
and told the young man just to keep his arm in a 
sling, and also I said to him, when he asked me how 
it was, “ If I had seen your fore-arm now, for the 
first time, I should not have known it ever had been 

When I was a student, one of our surgeons was 
honesty itself about his mistakes, and used to speak 
of any case where he had gone wrong as being “ of 
very painful interest to me.” He was supposed 



generally to be callous, but really this was not so. 
On the day of his retirement I was walking across the 
Park with him to the Hospital, and he was talking 
of his career there, and said to me, “ The most 
worrying thing in surgery is when one has to ask 
oneself whether one could not have done better for 
the patient. ’’ He was not generally credited with such 
sentiment. He had a great objection to anaesthetics 
for minor operations, and had had one of his eyes 
removed without any ether or chloroform. When I 
was his house-surgeon I often tried in vain to get 
them used. It is only fair to say that he himself 
had whitloe—he would not have the laughing gas I 
suggested—and bore his pain bravely. He asked me 
once to help him at an operation and give (t a whiff of 
ether ” to the wife of a publican in the King’s Road, 
Chelsea. The operating table was an old-fashioned 
four poster bedstead, with a feather bed on it. There 
was no way of getting to the other side of the operator 
but by lying on the bed the other side of the patient 
parallel to her. This I did. The surgeon had only 
one eye and so really required assistance. It is still 
a wonder to me how we ever got through the operation, 
which was not a minor one. There ought to have 
been two assistants, an operating table and an 

One of our surgeons when about to amputate at 
the hip joint, said to the patient, “ We’ll do that 
little thing for you to-morrow.” As wrong a sense 
of proportion as any of the criminal classes possess. 

Doctors have to help each other, and many a 
helping hand is held out to the young struggling 
beginner, by another in a similar predicament. On 
one occasion when I was in this condition myself, 
I transferred a lady to the care of a gentleman, 
afterwards a baronet and a very distinguished man 
in the medical world, but who then was at the outset 


of his career, the late Sir Francis Champneys. For 
some reason or other, he and the lady did not “ hit 
it off ” altogether, and I believe he had to threaten 
her with his lawyer if she did not curb her unruly, 
libellous tongue. He lectured at the Hospital at 
nine o’clock in the morning ; I had to lecture at ten. 
I used to meet him in the park, coming away from 
Hyde Park Corner, as I went down there, and I am 
afraid that my excessive sense of humour sometimes 
made me smile when I heard of the misdemeanours 
of the patient that I had sent to him meaning to do 
him a good turn. 

Hyde Park was the scene of the rudest act I ever 
committed. As I was walking across one day, I saw 
in front of me a man whom I did not like, and who 
was no friend of mine. On seeing me coming, he waited 
for me as we were going in the same direction. I did 
not know what to do, as his general appearance was 
such that I did not want even to be seen in his 
society. When we met, “ Walking across ? ” said 
I. “ Yes,” said he. “ Then I shall run,” said I, 
and started to run for about 150 yards and then 
walked. I am rather ashamed of this. 

Rudeness does not always effect its object. There 
was a member at one of my clubs many years ago 
whom we used to call Spides, because of his pro¬ 
nunciation of the word spades in this way. He had 
been elected by a mistake, and the cardroom com¬ 
munity practically boycotted him. He was pachyder¬ 
matous, how T ever, and it became a case of either 
cards with Spides or no cards at all. Meaning to do 
his persecutors a good turn, and soften their hearts, 
he put them all to the tune of some hundreds of 
pounds into a gold mine which went phut. He was 
perfectly honest and lost money himself in the same 
venture. He was really, although vulgar, a very 
good-hearted man. 



I was once consulted by a good looking, although 
rather wild and wayward married lady, and she was 
coming to see me at 11.30 a.m. At breakfast that 
morning a note, sent by hand, was brought to me from 
a Jewish gentleman, saying he wanted to see this 
lady and might he come at the same time. I did 
not take the trouble to answer the note, but sent out 
a very peremptory “ Certainly not.” The lady came 
at 11.30, and after our consultation she said, “ You 
know that Jew you dislike so ? ” “ What about 

him ? ” said I. “ Well, last night, when my husband 
was gone to the Opera, and I had said I had a head¬ 
ache and was going to bed, and so did not accompany 
him, the Jew came at about 9. My husband returned 
earlier than he should have done, and found him with 
me in the drawing-room. He was very indignant, 
kicked him out of the house, and threw his coat and 
hat after him.” This was the man who the next day 
had had the impudence to try and make an assignation 
at my house. I was very angry and pursued him 
from place to place until I found him eventually at 
his club. He sat and literally sweated whilst I 
called him all manner of names and cursed him freely. 
I very nearly hit him and expected never to hear of 
him again. Shortly afterwards I received a note 
from him telling me that he had advised a friend of 
his to consult me about an operation. I took no 
notice of his letter, but the patient came and he was 
the first of two that this man deliberately sent me 
after this episode. I suppose it was to placate me. 
It was very clever of him to be able to find two cases 
to suit his purpose. 

There was a boy at St. George's Hospital, an 
in-patient himself who had a most uncanny sense of 
death and was nearly always to be found behind the 
screens put round a dying patient, and that not only 
in his own ward. His taste for death was fitting for 



an executioner of the future. Another boy, the 
exact opposite to him, went about cheering up those 
who were down on their luck, and heartening those 
about to be operated on. He went direct to his point 
and used to say, “ Cheer up, No. 17.” 

I remember a lady who on leaving a surgical home 
kept by a beautiful lady, when I asked her if she had 
got along all right, said that she had, but that she 
would have much liked on her admission to the home 
to have been greeted by a motherly woman rather 
than “ a good-looking one dressed up for effect.’’ 
There may be a little too much beauty in such 

During the War, at the time when first the German 
atrocities were becoming known I was asked to see a 
German officer—a prisoner and a Junker. It seems he 
had not made himself popular by asking to be con¬ 
fined in another room to a German Naval Officer. 
Apparently the latter gentleman was not worthy to 
breathe the same God’s air. 

A good many of the wounded in the early part of 
the War received first aid from very inexperienced 
hands. This case was one of them, for a young 
outside surgeon with more ardour than discretion 
had been trying to ferret out a bullet lodged about a 
foot from its point of entrance, the seat of his 
operation. This bullet was perfectly quiet and doing 
the German officer no harm. It was then very 
difficult for any one to leave an imbedded bullet alone. 
I was asked on another occasion to open the skull 
of a wounded man and remove the bullet that was 
lodged at the base in the bone. I was shown X-ray 
diagrams and told exactly what the depth of the 
bullet was from the surface of the skin. The elevated 
temperature and fever that existed were pointed out 
to me, but as the wound had been incurred five months 
previously I looked elsewhere for its cause, asked 



him if he had a sore throat and found one that 
explained all his symptoms. I came across a case in 
private long before the War where a man had given 
himself facial paralysis by an attempt at suicide. 
The small scar where the bullet had entered his skull 
was just behind the ear and was hidden from general 
observation. The bullet was causing no trouble 
except this permanent facial palsy, and the poor man 
told me that his punishment for having tried to take 
his life was the daily exhortation he had from people 
to get this incurable paralysis cured. 

People not in the scientific world have very curious 
ideas as to the social and other status of those 
eminent in it. When the late Professor Dewar first 
liquefied air, a very dear old friend of mine who also 
had been my patient and who used to have an annual 
garden party, wrote to Sir John and asked him what 
his terms would be to give a show of the liquefaction of 
air to her guests. I believe that Dewar’s reply on a 
postcard was, “ Madam, your request is as extra¬ 
ordinary as my discovery.” The old saying that 
more people know Tom Fool than Tom Fool knows, 
is very true with reference to surgeons who see 
multitudes of patients and their friends in different 
garbs and disguises. I once made a terrible faux pas 
myself in not recognising a lady of high degree whom 
I had seen on the operating table and in a house in 
widow’s weeds, but who came to see me afterwards 
dressed in the height of fashion with a bonnet and 
veil. I was fool enough to ask her her name. 

I was much amused once by a dear old lady, the 
wife of a tradesman whom I had rescued from 
impending death by an operation, when she called 
shortly after my marriage to make, according to 
promise, the acquaintance of my wife. She arrived 
while the latter was engaged and I first interviewed 
her. She took out of her pocket, hidden under her 


s kirt, two earrings and put them into her ears, various 
rings that she put on her fingers and bracelets round 
her wrists. She had come to “ tea,” but stayed until 
we had three times rang the bell for dinner. She 
then unhooked her earrings, took off her rings and 
bracelets, replaced them in her pocket, and went 
home by ’bus, with this precaution against robbery 
in that public conveyance. Her husband had been 
very extraordinary and had wanted to make a kind 
of Eastern bargain with me about the fees, so I was 
more than surprised when later on he brought a 
son-in-law to see me on whom another surgeon was 
about to operate ; he wanted me to be present, asked 
me what my fee would be, and to my surprise when I 
mentioned it, “ Oh, that will never do, you must have 
double that.” He was not dealing with his own 
money. That was the explanation. 

I don't wonder that at one time lawyers and the 
medical profession were not admitted into certain 
clubs. They are often in the position of Father 
Confessors not bound by the secret of confession. 
It is very rare, however, that this secret is not kept. 
On one occasion a doctor whose brother was in a crack 
regiment was asked to look after a lady about to 
have a baby. She was living in the wilds of Maida 
Vale, and obviously did not belong to that locale. 
She was said to have a husband, but the doctor never 
saw him until one day, as he was leaving the house 
a month after the birth of the child, one of his brother's 
brother officers drove up to the house. He was the 
husband.” The real husband, a Peer, was abroad. 
The soldier man was not married. I met the lady 
in after life, but she little dreamt that I knew of this 
incident in her past career. I may say I am telling 
no stories that can affect the living in any way. 
The actors in this affair have long been dead. 

Sometimes a wound that apparently would 


disfigure a patient dreadfully leaves but little per¬ 
manent or visible scar. I can recall the surprise of 
a surgeon who removed from the hollow part of the 
upper jaw of a man a piece of metal some three 
inches long which had come off a gun that had burst 
some nine or ten years previously. In some guns on 
this flat piece of metal there is room for an appropriate 
picture of a man shooting a bird or a rabbit. This 
must have entered the patient’s face beneath the 
upper lip. There was no apparent disfigurement, and 
the astonishment of the surgeon was very great when 
he extracted so large a foreign body. 

Curiously enough, during the War I gave a 
certificate to a German. This man had years before 
tried to commit suicide by shooting himself in the 
abdomen. I took him into St. George’s about two 
years before the War. X-ray examination showed 
the bullet some four inches from the surface doing no 
harm, and I left it where it was. He had pleaded its 
existence as a reason against service in the German 
Army, and I forget exactly how, but I rather think 
through a German officer, I was asked about 

It is a very long time since the storming of Badajos, 
during the Peninsular War. The last of the wounded 
died in the seventies of last century. He had been 
shot in the liver and the bullet had become encysted. 
When he was a very old man over eighty, he was 
getting into his old-fashioned four-posted bedstead 
by means of two stair-like steps that were by the side 
of the bed to help him do this. He slipped, the 
bullet became dislodged, set up peritonitis of which he 
died. Not quite similar, but rather interesting, was 
one of the most delayed casualties of the Crimean 
War, when more than forty years afterwards some 
Russian sailors dredging in the harbour of Sebastopol 
were killed from the explosion of a shell that had been 


there since its bombardment in 1855. A shell 
fired by dead men killed those who were then unborn. 
With reference to the Crimean War, in the late 
seventies I had to deal with certainly seven or eight 
of those who rode in the celebrated charge of the 
Light Brigade at Balaclava. They were then middle- 
aged men and becoming very much affected by the 
infirmities of on-coming old age. They told me that 
when they got up to the Russian guns they found the 
gunners hiding under these guns, to which they were 
chained, and they killed them with their lances as they 
passed by. The son of the hero of the Badajos story 
met with an accident, from the effects of which he was 
paralysed. He received about the largest sum that an 
insurance company ever had to pay, producing books 
that showed that before this accident he was earning 
thiee to four thousand pounds a year. As luck would 
have it he eventually recovered completely from the 
paralysis, but I don’t think the insurance people 
got back any of the £40,000 which they had paid 
him. It was not a case of malingering but a case 
where the pressure on the spinal cord had been 

due to blood which in process of time had become 

On one occasion I operated on the relative of a 
prominent statesman, and saw the latter during the 
convalescence of the patient. He was always 
attending to the set of his tie, pulling his waistcoat 
down into a proper position and looking at himself 
in a looking-glass. I confess that I thought he was 
rather conceited, but when in the next day’s Morning 
Post I saw his engagement to a beautiful and charming 
lady, I recognised that it was but the pluming of his 
feathers by the male bird before he went courting. 

I knew another very distinguished statesman in the 
days of his youth, Lord Haldane, and when he was 
first elected to the House. I became disgusted with 




party politics when, shortly after the time that 
Gladstone had gone over to Home Rule, Haldane 
came to stay in the same house where I was, having 
left one where the late Sir William Harcourt was, and 
he told us that Sir William had asked him what he 
was going to do about this Home Rule question. 
He replied that he had not quite made up his mind, 
and Harcourt went on to say, “ Well, you are young, 
you can do as you like, but I must stick to the party.” 
Sir William was the author of the celebrated phrase 
” steeped to the lips in their Parnellite juice,” and 
had been a determined Unionist. Many years 
afterwards I was looking after a soldier, Lord Binning, 
who was going to stand against this learned gentleman 
in a Scottish constituency and used to discuss with 
him what he had better say at his meetings. I 
suggested that he should say he was a plain soldier 
not accustomed to argument and that he was pitted 
against a man who was most proficient in a pro¬ 
fession, members of which can be briefed for either side 
and can make a good case out of a bad one and show 
a bad case to be a good one. When lawyers stand 
for Parliament, the constituencies should remember 

I wonder if a time will ever come when ” none are 
for a Party and all for the State”? In Italy some 
years ago I heard a lecture given by an Italian Count 
in most perfect English on “Fascism.” This gentle¬ 
man was one of Mussolini’s right-hand men, and as he 
explained it to us, there is no self-seeking of any kind 
among the Fascists. They are not allowed any 
pecuniary advantages, they work, employers and 
employed, all with one object, the betterment of the 
State, and I think he told us that in one agricultural 
district the output of wheat had been increased three¬ 
fold with the same expenditure of labour and money 
as before Fascism was introduced. In Italy itself 


there are signs of a new orderliness, a new spirit which 
may perhaps be due to this regime. 

There was a well-known member of the House of 
Lords who used to attend the Board Meeting at St. 
George’s Hospital. When he spoke in the House of 
Lords he was given next day a column in The Times , 
and I thought from this he must be an orator, but 
when he spoke in the Board Room of St. George’s 
Hospital, he hemmed and hawed, couldn’t always get 
an accusative to follow a verb, repeated himself 
without necessity, and was such a failure on one 
occasion that one of the senior surgeons sitting next 
to me said, “ God did not make Lord YZ. for an 
orator. ” Had he not been born in the purple he would 
have made no mark at all in life. I have always been 
a Conservative and appreciate the advantages of birth 
and breeding, but I cannot help thinking that the 
Conservative party has too often in the past put birth 
before talent, and the reflections of a former Lord 
Chancellor in his autobiography are worth remember¬ 
ing. I forget which Lord Chancellor it was, and I am 
quoting from memory of his book, but I believe that 
what he said was as follows, “ There now came a time 
in my life when I had to choose whether I should be a 
Liberal or Conservative. I saw that on one side 
birth was everything, whereas on the other side 
capacity and talent were allowed to come to the fore, 
and so I became a Liberal.” On one occasion I was 
dining at a City Company and, as Warden’s guest, was 
sitting at the high table next to a well-known member 
of Parliament, Sir H. Howarth. I was rather 
interested in the possible career of a friend of mine, 
Colonel Lockwood, who was in the House of Commons, 
and I asked the Member of Parliament whether he 
thought he would get any appointment. " Oh, yes,” 
said he, “ he may do, he belongs to one of the 
Houses ’.” My fellow-guest asked me, when I 


had given expression to the opinion that our King 
Edward VII was the greatest king since Henry VIII, 
why I had mentioned Henry, and I said that because 
he was before his time, was a great advocate of 
education, and, whatever might be the opinion as to 
his religious views, was an Englishman who meant 
to be master in England ; that although his matri¬ 
monies were unfortunate, he honestly believed 
he was right and was right in the execution of his 
two wives. (t And more than that/ said Sir Henry 
Howarth, “ it curiously happens that to-day at the 
British Museum I have been reading the manu¬ 
scripts of the arguments put before the King about 
his marriage with Katherine of Aragon being a 
nullity because she was the widow of his brother. 
Any one who will read the marginal notes in the 
King’s own handwriting must,” he said, “ be con¬ 
vinced of his sincerity.” 

Some people would say that I once saw a ghost at 
one of my cases. I had been helping one of our 
surgeons, Sir Prescott Hewett, to look after a lady 
and had been up nearly all night with her. When I 
left in the morning I told her son that I did not think 
I could do anything more for her, but as he wanted 
me to go back in the evening, after a hard day’s work 
at the Hospital, I went. It was obvious the poor 
woman was dying, but how long she would live was 
uncertain. I went to lie down on a bed in a neigh¬ 
bouring room, having told the nurse to awaken me if 
anything was wanted. I was awakened from sleep, 
as I thought, by a servant dressed in white passing 
across the room from the door to the window. I 
started up and said, “ Why have you come in without 
knocking ? ” At that moment there came a knock 
at the door : it was the nurse to tell me that the lady 
had just suddenly died. There was nobody else in 
the room. I think that I must have really been 

26 i 


awakened by the noise of the door of the opposite 
room opening and I had mistaken some moonlight 
effect on a white marble mantelpiece that was in 
my bedroom, for “ the servant/’ 

I do not myself believe in ghosts. A friend of 
mine, however, told me a very realistic story of his 
experience. He was in Brussels and engaged to be 
married to a young lady who was living at the English 
Embassy in Paris. One night after dinner he had a 
curious sense of mental malaise. He went to bed and 
dreamt or thought that he saw his fiancee and heard 
her calling “ Alec ! Alec ! ” to him. More than that, 
she touched him on the forearm. He went in to see 
his mother and told her the story, and next day went 
to consult a doctor about a small blister that he had 
at the spot that had been touched. The doctor 
pooh-poohed his story and told him that he must have 
burnt himself smoking in bed, but as he did not smoke 
this was an impossibility. During the course of the 
day he had a wire from Paris saying that his fiancee 
had died about the time that he thought he had seen 
her. Her mother afterwards told him that when she 
was delirious and dying she was constantly calling on 
him, “ Alec ! Alec ! ” I told this story to Mr. Myers, 
who with Mr. Gurney started the Society for Psychical 
Research. He was much interested in it, mainly 
because there had been apparent contact between the 
apparition and the person who saw it, and he told me 
that of the innumerable ghost stories that he had 
investigated or heard of there was only one other 
instance of this nature—where a lady, a relative of a 
Peer, had been touched on the wrist, scarred, and had 
subsequently always worn some black velvet to 
cover the scar. I believe that Gurney and Myers, 
both of whom I knew, agreed that the one who 
died first should appear if possible to the survivor, 
but that nothing of this kind ever happened. 



I once sat up all night with Prof. Romanes to in¬ 
vestigate a u ghost ” in Scotland. In the preliminary 
examination of the scenery I found a bit of wood 
to which was attached an iron chain, also two mis¬ 
chievous boys. This was enough for me. The ghost 
was said to make noises like the rattling of an iron 
chain and I played chess during the night with 
Romanes with little hope of any apparition. He was 
not so readily satisfied as myself, but about two months 
afterwards I received a letter from him telling me that 
I was right in my surmise that the boys were the 
guilty parties. Men of science are themselves so 
truthful and so accurate that I think it is harder 
for them to detect fraud and inaccuracies than, we 
will say, a suspicious schoolboy. 

On some occasions if a medical man makes a 
mistake in his diagnosis, he still may be right in his 
prognosis. What he loses on the swings he gains 
on the roundabouts. A contemporary of my own at 
the Hospital, who took some fifteen years to “ walk the 
Hospital ” before he became qualified, disappeared 
into practice. I met him some two years afterwards 
in Hyde Park, asked him what he had been doing, 
and when he told me that he had been at work in the 
country I asked him whether he had had any good 
cases. He thought for a moment and then said, 
“ Well one that was awfully lucky for me, awfully 
lucky for me." It appears that he had been working 
in a small village, with his principal some five miles 
off. The latter came over at intervals to superintend 
his assistant’s work or to see any of the graver cases. 
The “ lucky ” case was that of a poor woman who 
had a bad throat, which my friend had put down to 
diphtheria and had prophesied a fatal result (for this 
occurred before the days of the serum which now 
makes diphtheria a negligible quantity). When the 
principal looked at the throat he patted the old lady 


on the back and said, “You have a quinsy and you 
will soon be all right.” That night the poor woman 
died from the effects of the bursting of the quinsy, 
a very rare accident indeed, and the reputation of the 
assistant who had made a bad diagnosis, but whose 
gloomy prognostications had been fulfilled, was much 
increased. As he repeated, “ It was awfully lucky 
for me.” 

The same gentleman and a South African were 
put to examine and report upon an abdominal 
tumour in a man at St. George’s Hospital. After 
much hesitation they sent in “Ovarian Cyst” as 
their diagnosis. This is an absolute fact. 




One of my earliest escapes from accident was on the 
day when the Duke of Edinburgh drove with his bride 
through London. As I was walking along Regent 
Street, somebody let fall an axe from the top window 
of a house. As it came down, the wooden part—the 
handle—struck my forearm. Had it been the 
“ business end ” I should have experienced a rough- 
and-ready amputation of the hand. 

Much earlier even than this was my escape, as a 
baby confined in a high chair, from my brother, who 
had heated the poker and wanted to “ make me a 
Guy Fawkes.” A little later on, when I was pushed 
by him downstairs, and cut my chin, my brother 
was made by my father to share the rhubarb powder 
that was thought necessary for my healing. 

At my first school Gregory powder was the first 
remedy for all sickness. There was no getting away 
from “ the dregs.” The master in his dressing-gown 
—cane in hand—saw to that. I can see him now. 

I have always hated and avoided rhubarb tart 
since when a child I was told by my brother, who 
wanted to get my share, that it was the same as the 

I have been in a good many accidents in my life, 
and did everything that was possible in this line in 
hansom cabs. 

On one occasion a young thoroughbred ran away 
with me—first in the road, then with the cab partly in 
the road and partly on the pavement, then entirely 



on the pavement, and finally we crashed into some 
area palings close to Lord Coleridge's house in Sussex 
Square, ploughing them up for some six or seven yards. 
The cab was smashed on that side, and the horse so 
injured that it had to be destroyed. I jumped out 
on the opposite side, unhurt, thanked the cabman 
for having stuck to his ship and remunerated him 
accordingly. A big crowd had collected, and one 
member of it, a gentleman who looked like a Pres¬ 
byterian Elder, addressing me said that I had much 
to be thankful for that I had escaped uninjured. 
During this adventurous ride my predominant feeling 
had been not fear, but rather anger that it was I who 
had been selected for a nasty accident. The shock of 
such things, however, is beyond one’s personal control, 
and as this old gentleman spoke to me, I suddenly 
found my knees trembling, just as those of Homer’s 
heroes did, and it was with difficulty for a moment 
that I stood upright. 

I experienced the same difficulty on Boxing Day, 
1926, near Hounslow, when, from the skidding of my 
car, which turned turtle, I went through the top into 
a deep ditch and was hauled out from the debris, 
and from an unpleasant mixture of earth and petrol, 
feet foremost, by my rescuer, the driver of a motor 
omnibus. On this occasion I had slight concussion 
of the brain, and found for half an hour or so that my 
only possible position was supine. A very hard 
bowler hat saved me. 

On another occasion when I had concussion leading 
to more than an hour’s unconsciousness, I fell over 
the handles of my motor cycle, again near Hounslow, 
on to the pavement. In those days the turning 
circle of a motor cycle was a large one. I was 
learning to ride and was not aware of this fact. When 
I recovered consciousness I was in the surgery of a 
surgeon about a mile from the place of accident. 


Two stalwart policemen were watching me and 
saying that I must have “ fallen heavy.” On my 
return to consciousness one of them went to the 
telephone to ring up my house in Half Moon Street, 
Piccadilly, and told my daughter, who answered the 
call, that I had met with an accident and was ” waiting 
to be claimed.” She was sensible enough to make 
inquiries, and came down in my brougham and took 
me home. 

On another occasion at Bordighera in 1925, whilst 
paddling on some rocks with my little granddaughter, 
the wind took my new panama hat into the sea. I 
pursued it over the slippery surface of the rocks, fell 
and struck my head—got up again, fell once more on 
to my other side ; once more semi-conscious, I got up 
and pirouetted round to fall this time face down¬ 
wards, buried in a basin-like depression full of sea¬ 
water, r on the surface of the rock. My wife, who had 
witnessed all this, came to my rescue over the slippery 
rocks, and although she fell and sprained her ankle, 
she reached me in time to pull my head out of the 
sea-water and so undoubtedly saved my life. 

As is usual in cases of concussion of the brain, my 
memory is almost absent, or at the most very vague, 
as to what occurred. Two young Italian workmen 
helped to get me off the rocks and got a taxi to take 
me back to the hotel. Although they were poor men, 
they declined to accept anything but thanks. 

On this occasion I had broken ribs on both sides 
and a scalp wound with concussion of the brain. 

I broke some ribs when, at the end of a journey 
from Rugby to Radlett on a motor-bicycle, I 
found the road at the bottom of the hill outside 
St. Albans blocked by a hay-cart and a motor. The 
stupid driver of the hay-cart was watching the 
chauffeur mending a puncture. I had to select which 
of the two vehicles I went into, and chose the hay-cart. 


The motor-cycle and I went into the ditch and I cut 
my thigh severely, as well as breaking my ribs. The 
driver of the motor-car luckily knew where I lived as 
he had taken some guests to a ball we had given a few 
days previously. This was before the War, and a 
most painful experience. I remember wishing that 
it had been the Kaiser so that he might know some¬ 
thing of the pain of a wound and be less likely than 
he seemed to plunge Europe into a great war. 

During the War, at Chatham I broke a rib just 
over my heart by falling in a blizzard from a very 
high, old-fashioned carriage on to the kerbstone. 
I was going to the theatre—and went all the same, 
as I thought the performance might divert my mind 
from my more than uncomfortable condition of a 
broken rib and a ruptured muscle of my calf. 

I broke a rib again by slipping up on the two¬ 
penny tube. I ran to get into a carriage, and the 
guard deliberately shut the door in my face. Both 
my feet shot off the ground, and I fell on to my ribs. 
I should have liked to have talked to that guard 
afterwards ! 

In all, I have broken ribs five times—not bad for a 
non-hunting man ! A fracture from direct violence 
is much more painful than one from indirect violence. 
In my insurance work, people with fractured ribs 
want a lot of time for total and partial disablement. 
I have never allowed this for myself, as the treatment 
of a fractured rib is, roughly, simply to leave it alone 
with a bandage or plaster round the chest. 

I have had some close calls whilst riding a motor¬ 
bicycle. On one occasion, on an elevated road with 
tramlines, I was going to pass one tramcar, going in 
front of it and avoiding another tramcar that was 
on the other line. I was doing some twenty-five 
odd miles an hour, when I realised that there was 
hardly room to do this. I put on the foot brake, and 



then the hand brake, and found that neither were 
acting. There was nothing for it but to go as hard 
forward as ever I could. I just managed to squeeze 
in between the two tramcars with some six inches to 
spare. Had I hesitated for one half-second, I should 
have been squashed between the two cars and killed. 

On another occasion when going from Radlett into 
St. Albans on a very twisty road, a solitary chauffeur, 
driving his car at some forty miles an hour on the 
wrong side of the road, missed me by inches as he 
came round an abrupt corner. Luckily I was quite 
close to the hedge, and had just time to “ damn ” 
him as he passed by. 

On yet another occasion, when I went from London 
to Wincanton on my motor-bicycle and had done 
one hundred miles and got within eleven miles 
of the latter place, a somewhat similar experience 
befell me, but on this occasion there was no room for 
me to do other than turn myself and bicycle over on 
to a heap of stones by the roadside. I saw so little 
of my would-be destroyer that I do not know whether 
the driver was a man or a woman, whether the car 
was open or closed—I simply saw the swiftly 
approaching bonnet and radiator, and avoided it as 
I have described. When I eventually extricated 
myself and the damaged motor-cycle from the stones, 
I expected to find some motorist expressing his 
contrition. Nobody was there I Luckily the controls 
of the motor-cycle had suffered no injury, and with a 
somewhat damaged machine I did the further eleven 
miles into Wincanton—a most disreputable-looking 
object with torn and bloodstained clothes and a 
broken rib. I went to a chemist and superintended 
my own first aid. 

I was upset once on the Slough road, just outside 
the town, by a silly push-bicyclist who turned and ran 
into me at a right angle just as I was passing him. 



It was in the early days of the motor-cycle and I 
think he lost his head on hearing my horn. As we 
lay on the ground together I upbraided him in suitable 
language and then made him push my injured motor¬ 
cycle back into Slough for repairs, leaving his own 
bicycle in the ditch by the roadside. 

I will say that I have always found people willing 
to help an elderly gentleman in difficulties with a 
motor-cycle, and when I was an Admiral—or anyhow 
dressed as an Admiral during the War—both officers 
and men rushed to help me if ever there was any 
little mischance. 

In the early days of the motor-cycle, more than 
twenty-five years ago, when there was a surface 
carburettor, platinum points, and about twenty 
ways by which you might be stopped, it was not 
uncommon to sit under a hedge for half an hour 
before you found out the cause of your trouble. I 
remember on one occasion another bicyclist, a 
mechanic, took nearly an hour before he found out 
what was wrong with my cycle and put it right for me. 
It was on a Bank Holiday and he would not take a 
farthing from me for his time and trouble. “ No, 
sir,” he said, “ you’re out for a holiday and so am I. 
I should have been very much ashamed of myself if 
I had not found out what was the matter with your 
cycle and put it right. I am much obliged to you 
for the experience," 

I think I did get him to have a drink, but as I am 
practically a teetotaller he had it alone. 

I have been pinned in the seat of a hansom cab 
by another vehicle charging it at right angles, and 
w r as something like a baby sitting in a safety chair 1 

I was once nearly thrown over the splash-board on 
to the horse’s quarters. 

I have been jammed up against the roof and saved 
by my hat, but had acute gout in the shoulder after 



this contretemps, and this was followed by adhesions 
of the shoulder joint. 

On yet another occasion, in the Bayswater Road, 
the hansom was knocked clean on to its side on the 
pavement by a wagon that was out of its course. 
I was unhurt myself except that I could not move my 
left shoulder or arm, and I did not know whether 
anything was broken. The cabman was pitched on 
to the pavement, which was very muddy and greasy, 
and was unhurt except for a scalp wound. I examined 
him roughly, and a four-wheeled cab was called to 
take him to St. Mary’s Hospital. As, with my 
support, he walked to get into this cab, he suddenly 
lost his morale and subsided in a heap on the pave¬ 
ment. I am afraid the surrounding crowd thought 
I was very unsympathetic, for the language in which 
I exhorted him to get up and not be a fool was strong. 
I got him into the four-wheeler, directed the driver to 
take him to St. Mary’s, and was about to shut the 
door when an officious member of the crowd did 
this for me, and jammed one of the fingers of my 
right hand. As my other side was disabled, my 
condition was not a happy one. 

Talking about loss of morale, I was driving my car 
near St. Albans when I saw a youth of about sixteen 
fall from a bicycle on to some stones. He cut his 
head, so I went up to him, put the bicycle at the back 
of my car and drove him to the hospital. As we were 
going there, he asked me what would happen to the 
cut in his head. I said, “ Oh, they’ll stitch it up for 
you. It will soon be all right.” 

He said, “ But I don’t want to go to the hospital,” 
and burst out blubbering and crying. 

” But you’ve got to go,” I said. 

He said, “ Will it hurt me ? ” 

I said, “ Yes, and serve you jolly well right for 
being such a coward ! ” 



That young man had not had the discipline of 
a public school and had not learnt how to take 

In quite the early days of bicycling, my brother 
took me down on a tandem tricycle to lunch with some 
friends at Redhill. On returning to London, he lost 
his pedal as he was descending a steep hill. Being a 
novice, he looked for his lost pedal instead of steering 
straight. The machine ran up the bank at the side 
of the road and he was thrown on to his head, and for 
half an hour was unconscious. I thought he was 
killed first of all, as his head lay in a pool of blood, and I 
thought he might have fractured his skull. Personally, 
I bounced about the road, and but for a few bruises 
was not hurt. The roads in those days on a Sunday 
afternoon were comparatively deserted, and after 
the buckling of the wheel of the tricycle had been 
put right, I, who had never worked a tricycle before, 
had to pedal this tandem tricycle seven miles into 
Croydon, before we could get a train to take us to 
London. The difference between Sunday traffic on 
country roads then and now is absolutely incon¬ 
ceivable. I do not suppose we passed more than 
three or four horse-driven vehicles in that seven 
miles. The bicycle and tricycle were such new things 
that they were conspicuous by their absence. We 
arrived home to dinner at 9.30 p.m., my poor mother, 
who was dead against the cycling methods of pro¬ 
gression, having passed a very unpleasant and 
anxious time, which was not relieved when she saw 
the gravel-rashed, skinless face of her eldest born, 
who, to lessen her anxiety, walked into her presence 
with quite a jaunty air, looking very “ bloody bold 
and resolute.” 

Whilst riding a hired bicycle that was not up to 
my weight at Aix-les-Bains, the metal upright sup¬ 
porting the saddle, broke. This occurred just after 



I had passed a coach-and-four descending a very 
steep hill. There was no stopping either for myself 
or the coach, so I had to balance myself on the pedals 
—the saddle rocking about between my legs. It was 
a most uncomfortable position, and dangerous going 
round the turns until a level bit of road enabled me 
to dismount. The spike under the saddle was most 
viciously pointed, and quite justified the surgical 
apprehensions I had had until I had successfully 
eluded it. One of the drawbacks of being a surgeon 
is the knowledge of unpleasant potentialities during 
times of risk and adventure. As I told a French 
friend, “ heureusement je n’etais pas perce "—to be 
chased by a four-in-hand with a sharp spike under 
your seat on a down-hill course was distinctly an 
unhappy position. Thank heaven we met nothing. 

In my last motor-car accident my car skidded and 
turned turtle into a ditch. I went through the roof, 
was shocked and slightly concussed. The shock 
alone would have killed many men of my age, but 
my trained heart did not fail me. In the hospital I 
got a hard bed and a hard nurse, not at all a minis¬ 
tering angel. Bruised all over like a rotten potato, 
softness and warmth were my first necessities ; nurses 
should remember contusion's needs and not make 
traumatism harder. I left before I should have done 
and nearly complained when I sent my donation to 
the hospital. I have always appreciated Louis XIV’s 
rebuke to a late-comer, “ I have nearly been kept 
waiting." I was kept waiting a very long time 
before any one came to my assistance at the time of 
this accident, although an A.A. man was within a 
hundred yards of me. To the doctor, however, I was 
and am grateful. He was very good to me and sent 
me home in his own car, although I was departing 
“ without leave." 



I was one of the early motorists, when to motor was 
thought by some of the public to be a crime. When 
we stopped outside a confectioner’s shop at Guildford, 
to have some tea, a policeman on duty told me to 
move on and not to obstruct the traffic. I said to 
him, “ If this was a carriage, you would not tell me 
to move on, and I am not going to move on,” and I 
didn’t. On the return journey, motoring up Notting 
Hill quite close to the pavement, on our own side, a 
young bicyclist on the wrong side of the road ran 
into my car. The cyclist was quite wrong, and my 
chauffeur quite right, but we were surrounded by an 
almost French Revolutionary crowd, in spite of the 
boy not being injured. 

The first time I took the motor-car abroad, as we 
were passing through Rouen a crowd booed and threw 
stones at us, one of which hit my wife. 

When I was learning to drive a car and was in 
the neighbourhood of Epsom I knew very little about 
brakes and sounding a horn. Luckily going very 
slowly, I ran into an old man and gave him a Dutch 
run. I expected all sorts of trouble. The crowd, 
however, acquitted me of all blame because the old 
gentleman was stone deaf. 

I joined the Automobile Club, as a sort of protest 
against automobile persecution, at the request of my 
friend Colonel Crumpton who, now well over eighty, 
is still an expert squash-racquets player at the Auto¬ 
mobile Club and elsewhere. 

273 t 


It was at his house I first saw electric light used. 
He gave an “ At Home ” and lighted all his rooms 
in this manner—the first time, I think, the light had 
ever been used for such a purpose. 

A benevolent gentleman wished to give a thousand 
pounds to St. George’s Hospital and approached me on 
the subject. I asked him to stipulate that the money 
should be put to the electric lighting of the operating 
theatres, and this was done. Other hospitals soon 
followed suit. I told Lord Lister what I was going 
to do, and he said the money could not be spent in a 
better way. 

In olden days we had recourse to all sorts of illumi¬ 
nation even at hospitals. I once, in a ward at the 
Seaman’s Hospital, tied the femoral artery by the 
light of a candle, single handed, as the gentleman who 
ought to have assisted me lost his nerve and confessed 
himself useless. It was a case of haemorrhage, and 
the patient’s life was saved. 

I once saw a senior surgeon at a hospital, in the 
middle of an operation, absolutely lose his nerve and 
drop his hands helplessly. “ Shall I finish ? ” said 
his assistant, and he completed his senior’s task. 

Whilst motoring in France my chauffeur was 
driving fifty miles an hour along a long, straight road. 
Two pigs appeared—and one was killed by our front 
mudguard. No one appeared, and we were miles 
from anywhere, so we drove on ; some five miles 
further on, whilst mending a puncture, we were over¬ 
taken by a French car, the driver of which said to me, 
11 Vous avez tue un cochon. ’ ’ I turned to my wife, who 
was a good French scholar, and said, “ You had better 
talk to him.” He said, 11 You have keel a pig.’ 1 
“ Have I ? ” said she. “ Oh, yes, you have keel 
him right enough. In France you may keel a dog, 
but if you keel a pig you must pay sixty-five francs.” 
I expressed my readiness to pay, and explained the 


circumstances. “ You go to the gendarmerie/’ said he, 
and tell them.” So I meant to do, but as I did not 
know where I had killed the pig, and also remembered 
I was driving in France with an English number— 
contrary to law—and having to be at Toulouse that 
evening for letters and a telegram I was expecting, I 
later on thought it advisable to avoid gendarmeries, 
as the French officials would undoubtedly have pre¬ 
vented me getting to Toulouse. I was expecting 
to be summoned back to England by an urgent case. 

I had taken my Delaunay-Belleville to test its 
speed as England was impossible with a rigidly 
enforced limit and fines often most unjustly imposed. 

I tested the speed all right, but the trip cost me 
no less than nine tyres ! The roads were so bad and 
flinty, the wonder is we had no accident. What we 
lost on the tyres we saved at the hotels ; the franc 
was then worth tenpence and the charges were very 
moderate, so that later on a journey from Havre by 
car to Aix-les-Bains for four of us cost ve^little over 
ten louis! A good deal cheaper than the railway. 
As far as I remember, we took three days on the road. 

My first motor-car was a Delaunay-Belleville, a 
very good car such as the French gave the Emperor 
of Russia. It stood in a show-room in Oxford Street 
next to a Mercedes car. I took it abroad to Aix-les- 
Bains and back. When we were coming back, some 
six miles out of Boulogne it stopped for want of 
petrol. This was in the early days of motoring, and 
the places for petrol were few and far between. Cars 
also were rare. I thought we were in for a night 
on the road in the car. My chauffeur went to see if 
he could get petrol in one direction, and I went in the 
other. To my delight I saw a car coming at me with 
a solitary chauffeur in it. I stood in the middle of 
the road and made him stop. I explained my wants, 
and he grudgingly gave me a little petrol. The car 


was the one that had stood in Oxford Street next to 
mine, and was returning from an expedition in the 
Austrian Tyrol. 

I garaged my car in London some distance from 
my house. At the garage a man said to my chauffeur, 
when he was rather boasting of having driven some 
thousands of miles in France without ever stopping 
(a rare thing in those days), “ What a fool you were,” 
meaning that he ought to have made stoppages, 
punctures and difficulties, so that he (the chauffeur) 
could have made money from commissions from 
those who put things right. My chauffeur, however, 
was an honest man, and I afterwards passed him on 
to Lady St. Helier. 

Another chauffeur I had was an old soldier who 
served with two friends in the Boer War. They were 
shot down, one on each side of him. In telling the 
story to my wife, he said, u Then I did feel lonely, 
mum.” When I engaged him I expressed a desire that 
my chauffeur should be a married man. He was un¬ 
married, but said that the matter could be arranged. 
Shortly afterwards he rang us up on the telephone. 
I was out, so he asked my wife if she thought I would 
give him a few hours off the next day to get 
married. She replied that of course I would, and 
not a few hours but the whole day. In about half 
an hour’s time he rang up again and said he was “ very 
awkwardly situated”—that it was not on the morrow 
that he was going to be married, but the day after. 
Curious not to know the exact day of one’s marriage ! 

When motoring up from Radlett to London, a tyre 
punctured just outside the Bald Faced Stag at 
Edgware. We went into this Inn to have tea whilst 
the puncture was mended. After the tea was over, 
I said to the damsel who brought it in, “ I should 
like to see Dick Turpin’s room.” 

“ Yes, sir,” she said. 


I had not the slightest idea that there was such a 
room in the Inn, and was what is commonly called 
humbugging. There was, however, not only the 
room that Dick Turpin used, but also his sword 
hanging up on the wall. The window opened on to 
the stable yard, and any one could, with the greatest 
ease, have got through it to any horse put up there. 
I knew, of course, that Dick Turpin infested the 
suburbs of London, and the Inn being an old one 
suggested to me the joke of asking to see his room. 

It is not generally known that Turpin’s ride to 
York is a myth. 

In Charles II’s time a man committed a robbery at 
Kingston-on-Thames—saw that he was recognised—- 
rode as hard as he could to York in two days, I think, 
and appeared at a public entertainment so as to be 
able to prove an alibi. 

One of the best amateur billiard players I ever 
saw had also a pretty wit. When Wainwright the 
murderer buried his wife beneath the concrete floor 
of his kitchen, Hatchard remarked that Wainwright 
had no objection to marriage in the concrete but 
only in the abstract. 

I am only a very moderate player myself; in my 
young days billiards, it was said, went with drink, and 
I was over thirty when I really began, and you ought 
to begin young. I once made a break of sixty-one and 
another of fifty-eight on a championship table after 
a very hard day’s partridge shooting. As a long start 
man I have won two Club Billiard handicaps—one 
because a man I disliked said I had “ no nerve ” and 
betted freely against me. To say a young surgeon had 
no nerve was an insult, so I practised vigorously and 
he lost about £400—not to me but to my friends. I 
took £15 from him. In my practice I did the long 
losing hazard off the middle spot forty-five times run¬ 
ning—winners are and always have been my downfall. 



I brought off two little bets of one pound to a 
shilling in one game. My opponent was at ninety- 
eight when I took the first one, and I was forty-eight 
behind. I got halfway and left him a fairly easy 
cannon ; the layer offered another 20-1 which I took. 
The cannon was missed, and I ran out. My opponent 
with 20-1 on him had become nervous because of the 
money he was carrying. 

I can remember when the elder Roberts lost the 
professional championship to Cook. The old gentle¬ 
man would have made a much better fight of it had 
he taken the matter more seriously. As it was, he 
spent his time when not at the table in betting and 
chalking down his bets, etc. I had, late in life, some 
billiard lessons from John Bennett who defeated 
Cook. Bennett was a good teacher ; he insisted on the 
losing hazard and keeping the balls in the middle 
third of the table—“ your territory ” as he called it. 
Mistakes were as “ easy as falling off a log.” He 
limited the aspirations of his pupils to the next two 
strokes—and rebuked the over-curious by “ You are 
all learning ” if they were not contented with the 
simple things of billiards. Bennett himself was 
defeated by “ young ” John Roberts who held the 
title for so many years. Roberts had the end of his 
umbrella made like a cue tip and so brought off 
several matches when he undertook to play a man 
with his umbrella against his opponent’s cue. 

The uncle of the Jubilee Juggins told me how the 
latter used to take on Roberts at pyramids—receiving 
of course a big start—and how every member of the 
Club used to back Roberts. The Juggins took all the 
bets offered him. No wonder he got through his 
money with a record rapidity. 

A friend and I played a practical joke on another 
friend. We were all three watching a game of 
billiards, and we arranged with the marker—who 



knew of the joke—that at the end of the game when 
asked who had won he was to say “ the striker.” One 
of the players was about fifty behind when we offered 
to back “ the striker ” just as he was about to play. 
A shilling was accordingly snapped up by our victim. 
Curiously enough, against all probability our man 
won, and we had the greatest difficulty in not being 
paid, but we had written the joke down and were 
corroborated by the marker—so all was well. 

At one time I played chess a fair amount at Simpson’s 
in the Strand. You paid a shilling for a cup of coffee 
and cigar—but I did not smoke. The professionals 
played for “ the usual stake,” one shilling, and you 
were always handicapped to lose. There was, how¬ 
ever, one little Frenchman—who must, I think, have 
been a Communist taking refuge in England—not 
so good as the others. On one occasion I played him 
level thirteen games and was all square at the end. 
The loss of a shilling to him was like losing a tooth. 
I went in one night for half an hour, before going to 
a theatre, and won my game from him. His distress 
was pathetic, “ he would not have played only one 
game had he known, etc.” I did not take his shilling. 
He could not afford to lose even that. 

My father played chess with an old gentleman 
who was nearly blind, and sometimes stayed over 
long. One night when I was sitting with him in the 
smoking-room, a ring came at the front-door bell; the 
servant was told to say my father was out. “ Oh, 
never mind,” said the old gentleman, “ I will wait 
for him.” As he came along the passage to the 
smoking-room—an end room with but the one door— 
my father was uncertain and slow in his decision, 
got up and crouched behind his arm-chair with his 
pipe still in his mouth. This chair was taken by the 
old gentleman, the tobacco smoke ascended to 
heaven, and the chair’s occupant began to sniff. 

28 o 


The whole effect was comical in the extreme. My 
father was like a Venus accroupie, a difficult physical 
position to maintain, and had to rise and make the 
best explanation he could. Luckily the sight of the 
gentleman was such that he may not have realised 
exactly what had happened, and he had a nice evening’s 
chess, although my father was tired. 

His daughter, unmarried, succeeded to an estate 
by the riverside. The lawn led down to the river. The 
people of the village imagined they had a right of 
way or rather a right to bathe from this lawn, so there 
were many studies of the nude in the early morn— 
elaborate bathing dresses of to-day were not then 
known—but there was no mixed bathing. As Miss Z. 
was an early riser and the breakfast-room looked on the 
river, it was awkward. I don’t know how the ensuing 
legal dispute ended. I think it was in the lady’s favour. 

Harking back to chess, there is nothing like it 
for a railway journey. A friend of mine had a moor 
in Caithness which we used to visit for the middle 
of the week. Two or three games of chess killed the 
slowness of the Highland Railway. Chess is one of 
the few games where it is not necessary to have a 
pecuniary stake to increase its interest. I would just 
as soon play chess for nothing as bridge for money. 

At Bordighera there was a Russian refugee, Prince 
Cantacuzene, with whom I used to play. He had 
been one of the best at St. Petersburgh—but was ruined 
by Bolshevism. The heroism of his wife and 
daughter, who refused to say where their jewels were, 
even when five Bolshevists actually touched them 
with their rifles and threatened murder, enabled them 
to escape. 

Something diverted the attention of these 
scoundrels, and they left the carriage. They sub¬ 
sequently held up a train and robbed every individual 
in it of all they possessed. 


[To face page 280 . 


Princess Olga, the daughter, was only fourteen. 
She told me that she had seen such horrors that she 
did not care what happened when the Bolshevist 
pressed the muzzle of his rifle against her. 

I took to golf unfortunately late in life. In my 
young days Wimbledon was about the only place 
where this game was played. I was never more than 
an eighteen man, but I did once get round in eighty-six 
on a course, the bogey of which was seventy-nine, and 
I once did a hole in two. I played more against gout 
than anything else, and often went round with a 
caddie alone. On one occasion I was asked to make 
up a foursome. About the third hole my partner 
had done a good drive, and I played too long a 
brassie into a bunker guarding the green. My partner 
came up and stood looking at our opponents some way 
behind on the opposite side of the course. As my 
partner stood in the bunker he pressed down the 
sand behind the ball so as to make it teed up for the 
next shot. 

I will not disclose his nationality, but he was not 
a Britisher. I don’t think any money depended on 
the match. It was simply that he could not help 
cheating. This particular club was said to have 
been the scene of a dispute over a hole, and a voice 
was heard, “ don’t ’aggie—’arve it.” 

All our family are card players. I myself played 
whist at quite an early age. On reading over a book 
on clubs I was much interested to learn that a great- 
great-uncle of mine, the Bishop of Bath and Wells, was 
a habitue of the Cocoa Tree Club. This was Bishop 
Beadon. The mother of my great-grandfather who 
lost his estates by gambling was a Beadon. 

When I first played whist at my Club in 1888 for 
half-crown points and ten shillings on the rubber, I 
learnt how bad my preceding sixpenny point play 
had been. A bumper of thirty shillings was a serious 



matter, but I soon improved and learnt to hold my 
own. The only good of fairly high points is that you 
take trouble and the general play is so much better. 
I have in my time played for fairly high points both 
at Poker, Picquet, Whist, Bridge, and Auction Bridge, 
but never so high that I could not afford them or 
such as to cause me, if I lost, a mental headache the 
morning after. Character, I think, comes out at cards 
more than in any other pursuit. The mask is off. 

I have often been told by long-suffering partners 
that I am too forward a player— e.g. at auction bridge, 
but they do not lose. The mistakes of such a player 
are open, gross and palpable, those of the cautious 
player are not so evident. He loses his 500’s by not 
winning a game that just audacity would give him. 

A gentleman does not wait for certainties—not 
that this waiting is ungentlemanly, but because it 
does not pay. No really good player hesitates about 
taking a sporting chance when opportunity offers. 
Much, too, depends on the jockey who is going to ride— 
i.e. play the hand. It is no good being a forward 
declarer if you are going to give away a trick or two 
in the play. 

I once at a card club saw an opponent, a well- 
known cheat, deliberately looking over my partner’s 
hand. “ Do for God’s sake hold your hand up,” 
said I. “ I can nearly see it, and poor Smithjack can’t 
help looking over.” The offender glared at me, but I 
had said nothing he could lay hold of, and my partner 
afterwards was less careless in the way he held his cards. 

I have known two ladies who both had the same 
trick. In neither case was it a matter of money, the 
stakes were ridiculously small, and they were rich 

It is said the great Napoleon used to cheat at 
cards and knock the chessmen over when he was 
getting the worst of the game. Some people cannot 



bear to be beaten. Real cheating at cards in respect¬ 
able clubs is extremely rare, but it does occasionally 
occur. I was told once by a Jewish gentleman that 
he detected a fellow countryman cheating at picquet, 
by altering his discard after he had “ taken in.” He 
had not at once denounced him, but had refused to go 
on playing. He had told others, one of whom must 
have cautioned him as to the danger of bringing such 
a charge without overwhelming evidence, for the next 
day he came to me in great agitation asking me to 
forget that he had even spoken to me on the subject. 
They say that when George Payne was asked by 
a young man what he was to do—as he had detected 
a fellow member of the club cheating—he said, “ Why, 
back him, you fool. ” This, of course, by way of a joke. 

George Payne, when taking a railway ticket for 
Newmarket at Liverpool Street, heard a voice, “ Take 
one for me too, George.” Payne did so, and handed 
it over his shoulder to one of “ the Boys ” who had 
asked him. “ Thank you, Mr. Payne,” said the 
“ Boy.” 

Payne in telling this story used to finish it with 
“ Clever devil, he deserved it.” 

The most extraordinary distribution of cards that 
I ever saw occurred when playing the old-fashioned 
bridge. I picked up seven spades and six clubs, my 
partner had seven clubs and six spades. Our adver¬ 
saries had all the red cards. Hearts were made trumps 
and of course a grand slam resulted. It was not the 
first time that evening that the pack had been used. 

Another extraordinary distribution occurred at 
picquet, the elder hand with four kings “ left ” a card, 
an ace, and the other three the younger hand drew in 
were the other three aces ! I was not one of the 
players, but a friend who told me the story was 
“ the younger hand.” 

Now for another story about four aces. 



In the days when I used to play poker, I met, at the 
house of a very old friend, a man of good birth whom I 
had known some fifteen years previously. He had 
brought with him an American who seemed a very 
good fellow, and was known to the wife of an old 
officer in the Guards. She also was present. I 
won that afternoon, and again when my old acquaint¬ 
ance asked me to a party in his rooms. It was now 
the American’s turn to ask me to his hotel. I went, 
and found three other Americans—my old friend was 
not at first there. So we played with an £carte pack. 
The limit was higher than I liked, but as I had won 
three times I did not like to object. At first I again 
won, then the luck changed. Everything I did was 
wrong. I suspected nothing, not even when I dis¬ 
covered five kings in the pack. I met four aces about 
four times ; as a rule they come out, if at all, about 
once in an afternoon. Proposals were made to increase 
the stakes, but my Scotch blood made me demur, and 
I played as cautiously as I could, when I once more 
met four aces. I jumped up and said, “ This is too 
much.” Up jumped the Yankee too, who no doubt 
thought I had detected him cheating. I had no 
suspicion whatever and was only alluding to my luck. 
I had lost enough, and went. As I was leaving 
the hotel it suddenly struck me I might have been 
cheated. I went to an old friend, a lawyer, who 
himself was a poker player. He made inquiries at 
the American Embassy and employed a private 
detective. One of the party was the most notorious 
card sharper in America, the others were members of 
the Cutlass gang, some of whom had been tried at the 
Old Bailey for attacking a victim, who refused to 
pay, with cutlasses. Thank heaven I did not actually 
detect their cheating or I might have been attacked 
myself. My lawyer advised me to pay. Some time 
afterwards I attended professionally an old officer in 


the Guards. He was so ill that I suggested to the 
nurse that his wife should be sent for, and was told 
that she was a very bad lot, and separated from him. 
His name was similar to the lady who had introduced 
the charming American to us. 

Lords, when I first knew it, was a very different 
place from what it now is. There was the pavilion and 
some seats near it, but the ground itself just had forms 
round it—only a single row, if I recollect rightly, in 
some places. 

One used to see the three Graces—E. M., W. G., 
and G. F. His mother used to say the latter was the 
best of the three. E. M. was “ the doctor ” then. 
I came across W. G. when he had practically retired 
from cricket, and was at the Crystal Palace, and often 
saw him play when in his prime. The three Walkers 
—V. E., I. D., and R. D .—were also celebrated. 
The latter I knew in his later days. In racing he 
made a practice of laying odds when they were 5-2 or 
more, and was said to have made his system pay. 

“ Charlie Buller ” was one of the cricket stars. 
I was at school with his first cousin, and having Buller 
blood in me myself, used to take great interest in his 
cricket career. He was a hero to us boys because of 
his prowess with the raw ’uns and having knocked 
out a nigger pugilist bully of the Haymarket and its 
neighbourhood. Kargaroo I think was his name. 

I used to see C. J. Thornton, the Jessop of his 
day, and one of the biggest hitters ever known. When 
he batted without pads at Eton, it was rumoured that 
he had them under his flannels. This was actually 
the case. His fag, Bobby Lockwood, told me so. 
“ I know,” said Bobby, “ as I had to put them on 
and take them off.” 

I don’t think Thornton was so interesting to watch 
as “ the croucher ” Jessop, but he used to make things 
hum, and some of his hits were marvellous. 



My interest in racing is probably hereditary. My 
great-grandfather gambled his estates away by racing 
and dicing at Doncaster about 1780. My father 
had to do with the Marquis of Hastings during the 
so-called Hastings era, and as a boy I was constantly 
hearing of the notabilities of the turf at that time. 
When Padwick, the so-called “ relieving officer,” 
had so many of the young nobility as his clients, 
Harry Hastings ” lost much money, but in many 
other places besides the race-course. He was some¬ 
times a little under the influence of champagne, and 
sometimes a bit reckless, but Danebury was often 
victorious in his contests with the Ring. 

Gentlemen used to bet heavily in the 11 Hastings 
era ” and even make yearling books on the Derby. 
Captain Machell is said to have backed “ Hermit,” 
the subsequent winner of the Derby, for a hundred 
thousand pounds in this way with the Duke of 
Hamilton. The bet, however, was subsequently by 
mutual consent declared off. 

My father was in the Hastings’s box at Epsom 
just before the start of the Derby for which 11 Lady 
Elizabeth ” was such a raging favourite. The 
Marquis came up and told his wife before the race it 
was all up with the mare ”—she ran nowhere— 
although on her two-year-old form she should have 
had the beating of her field. What an opportunity 

for a betting man ! My father looked after him in 



his final illness and used to tell us of the sorrow and 
sympathy of hansom-cab drivers and many poor 
people who had benefited by the generosity of the 
dying man. It was in the days of “ Pretender ” and 
Pero-Gomez ” that I first began to read turf 
literature. Bell's Life and The Sportsman were the 
two chief papers, and they were full of the advertise¬ 
ments of advertising tipsters and bookmakers with 
whom it was not then illegal to bet. They would 
give you the tip and lay the odds too. Their blandish¬ 
ments were seductive, and this was the sort of way 
in which they put their wares before the sporting 
public. 11 To those who wish to realise an opulency, 
John Jones has got a dead snip for the Cesarewich 
and Cambridgeshire.” Good things kept all the year 
and then, of course, a request for money or a per¬ 
centage of the coming winnings. They were only 
too willing to lay the odds themselves : sometimes 
by a misfortunate chance the good thing came off. 
A party of us Uppingham boys in this way backed 
Indian Ocean ” and “ Exciseman ” for a double. 
My share of the winnings would have been £25, but 
providentially the bookies were welshers. Had I 
been paid so much it would have infallibly led to the 
detection of my unlawful proceedings. The scoundrels 
said our commission had arrived too late, offered 
us our stake money back again or to put it on another 
equally good thing. I got my stake money back 
again. One of the others of the syndicate had the 
daring to write to the Sporting Life and expose the 
fraud. The welshers’ advertisements were refused by 
that paper, and, better still, Uppingham masters 
remained in ignorance of the episode. 

The first day’s racing I ever attended was at 
Windsor, and I lost every penny I possessed, and so 
had to walk from the course to the station to return 
home. It had been done sub rosa> but I by no means 



regret the experience as I saw that great jockey 
George Fordham ride. As far as jockeys are con¬ 
cerned, my opinion, though not worth much, is 
that Archer was the finest I ever saw. I can see 
now the look of grim determination that came into 
his face just before a start. In one two-mile race at 
Ascot, which he won on “ Bird of Freedom,” the 
moment previously he had been smiling at the 
remark of a man in the crowd, the next moment you 
could read in his face there was but one thing on 
which he was already concentrating—the winning 
of the race. His finishes, of course, were magnificent. 
The worst of backing him was the comparative short 
price that one got. The very way in which the poor 
fellow, when delirious, committed suicide showed, to 
my thinking, what a man of resource he was in any 
critical moment. As I understand it, his sister 
tried to prevent him using his revolver. He pushed 
her off with his right hand and shot himself with his 
left by putting the pistol in his mouth. Very few 
right-handed suicides would ever think of shooting 
themselves with the left hand. Did they do so, the 
diagnosis in doubtful cases between murder and 
suicide would be more difficult than it is now. When 
Archer, savaged by “ Muley Edris, ’ ’ consulted Sir James 
Paget, the first surgeon in London, Paget, who knew 
nothing of the turf, asked him what he was. Archer’s 
reply, I believe, was, “ I am as great a man in my 
profession as you are in yours, Sir James.” 

In the days of “ Musket,” the sire of “ Carbine,” 
I made a practice of backing him whenever he ran 
in a long-distance race. There was an accommodating 
tailor who was ready to make advances on one’s 
wearing apparel. “ Musket ” never let me down, 
and I always had back my pea-jacket, trousers, 
or whatever other article of attire I entrusted him 
with. Still, other animals were not so reliable and 1 



remember my mother’s surprise, when I returned 
home with a wardrobe consisting only of the suit of 
clothes in which I stood. 

It was about this time that the red-hot favourite 
“ Macgregor ” was defeated and unplaced at Epsom. 
A friend of mine, a very old race-goer who knew 
Fordham the jockey and saw him just before the race 
when mounted on “ Macgregor,” wished him luck, 
and he told me he was sure that Fordham felt some¬ 
thing was wrong with the horse. There was, of 
course, no question of FordhanTs honesty, but he 
was persistently unlucky in the Derby until eventually 
he won his first and only one on “ Sir Bevys.” 

Schoolboy tips as a rule are not worth much, but 
“ Doncaster ” was freely given for his Derby. I have 
myself seen thirty-one Derbys and have backed the 
winner twenty-one times. I should have seen more 
only for professional reasons and thinking it bad for 
me as a surgeon to go racing. For about ten years I 
omitted going to Epsom, or indeed anywhere. 

The first Derby I ever saw was in 1874, won by 
11 George Frederick,” named after His present Majesty. 
I liked the look of him as he went up, and backed him 
at 8-1. Never having seen a Derby myself before, 
I climbed to the top of my stand, saw the race, saw 
that “ George Frederick ” was going to win, and saw 
my bookie pack up his traps and disappear. This was 
the first time that I was welshed. The only other 
time was many years afterwards at Goodwood. I had 
been racing at Stockbridge for a couple of days with 
fair success and had betted with a man with a 
villainous countenance, a cast in his eye and a 
suggestive scar on his face. He, however, had always 
paid and I had entrusted him with a £5 note, which 
was duly returned to me. I was one of a party 
staying at Chichester for the Goodwood Races, and 
when we appeared on the course this gentleman 



saluted me by touching his hat with his pencil, 
this appeal to my vanity was too much for me, and I 
introduced him to my friends. We betted for some 
time without much harm on either side, but I 
remember taking a violent fancy to a horse called 
Dog Rose,” that won at 9—2. All our party were 
well on him and this proved too much for my bookie. 
I have never seen him since. 

My elder son was called George Frederick after 
his two grandfathers—the survivor of whom he 
horrified by telling him he was named after my first 
Derby winner. About a century ago the father of 
the Rev. Sir Emilius Bayley, who took the name of 
Laurie, determined to name his child after the winner 
of the Derby. Luckily Emilius won. I believe 
“ Beelzebub ” was his other horse (1823). His 
victory would have been awkward. 

The ways of the Navy are very excellent. I 
remember a dinner at my house in London after an 
Ascot day. A cousin of mine, who was in the senior 
service and had been at Ascot, was dining with us. 
I said to him, ” A good race that, the Hunt Cup, 
wasn’t it ? ” He said, “ Oh, Hunt Cup, I didn’t see 
that race.” I said, “ What! not see the Hunt Cup ? ” 
“ No,” he said, “ it was my turn to watch the book¬ 
maker. He and another naval officer, Trigby, we 
will call him, took it turn and turn about : one 
watched the race, the other the layer of the odds. 
Amongst the winners of the Derby that I backed 
were Sir Hugo ” at 40-1, “ Merry Hampton ” at 
100—8. The 40—1 chance, in my opinion, ought 
never to have come off. u La Fleche ” was badly 
ridden or, as it seemed to me, struck into something 
when descending Tattenham Corner. She was so 
upset by the race that she (two days afterwards) only 
just struggled home in the Oaks from 11 The Smew.” 
I backed the second in “ St. Amants ” Derby, run in a 


thunderstorm. It is said, I do not know with what 
truth, that the ears of this horse were plugged with 
cottonwool, and he was the only one of the field 
who was not upset by the thunder. Another second 
that I backed was “ Louviers ” in “ Minoru’s ” 
Derby. I am sure that the Judge’s verdict was a 
right one, though many people to this day think 
otherwise. “ Craig an Eran ” recently, in my opinion, 
was a most unfortunate second. I backed him. 

Epsom has many aspects. Some of my early 
Derbys I saw from the Hill, where all sorts of shows 
were going on during the intervals between the races. 
I remember one tent contained a fat lady. When 
the gentlemen present were threatened by kisses 
from this huge damsel I took refuge by climbing a 
ladder and refused to come down except on terms. 
There was no osculation. 

I gave up racing unwillingly. The year that I 
did so I had nineteen days of it, and won on seven¬ 
teen : but there were so many people who thought 
that a surgeon ought not to have the ordinary plea¬ 
sures of a gentleman, and as so much gross exaggera¬ 
tion was made of any apparent lapse from virtue, 
especially by one’s friends and colleagues, I decided 
to give it up entirely. One of my senior colleagues, 
when I put in an appearance on Derby Day at 
St. George’s Hospital, had a tilt at me before a 
crowd of students, asking why I was not at the 
Derby. I said, “ I am giving up racing because the 
profession is such a mass of tradesmen that they don’t 
understand any one who has a desire for the pleasures 
of a gentleman.” He was much of a tradesman 
himself, and he knew what I meant. I was never 
troubled further. It is too absurd to think that a 
surgeon has no time except for his profession. I have 
known one carry this idea to the absurd extent of 
apologising for being seen at an exhibition of pictures 



at the Royal Academy. Other professions and the 
successful men in them went racing. One rarely 
saw a medical man. 

I have always made it my business to be present 
at every Ascot, where one sees the best horses of the 
year, and if one is able, as I am, subsequently to 
visualise these horses in their after running, one has 
a pleasure even although not present at the actual 

I used to do work early in the morning and late 
at night in the Ascot week. There was a comic 
song, “ I Always Leave My Hat in the Hall.” On 
one occasion I had been seeing a patient in a very 
proper and sanctimonious household and had left 
my hat with all the Ascot tickets for admission to 
Tattersalls, to the paddock, to the stands, etc., in 
its lining. There was a look of much sorrow on the 
face of the worthy butler when he handed me this 
as I was going away. I have no doubt it had been 
subjected to considerable inspection by the other 
inmates of the house who were waiting about to hear 
what I thought of the patient after his operation. 

Racing—a day in the fresh air—is an excellent 
thing for a surgeon. It ought almost to be obligatory 
now and then for anaesthetists—those unfortunate 
people who live in an atmosphere of ether, chloro¬ 
form and gas, and inhale so much of it themselves. 

I have never been a betting man in the proper 
sense of the word. A sovereign or two was my usual 
stake, a fiver was something quite out of the ordinary 
and as a rule only when I had to lay odds. I have 
known more than one doctor doing a flourishing 
practice, seen everywhere about London in his 
brougham, attending good-class patients, who spent 
his spare time in speculating on the Stock Exchange 
and risked his money in nearly all the rotten gold¬ 
mines that once were so common a method of having 



a flutter. If you lose a fiver racing, you see it run 
for, you are in the fresh air, whereas if you lose £50 
or £500 in your brougham or consulting-room by giving 
orders on the Stock Exchange, you may be more moral 
than had you betted and seen your money running, 
but I contend it does not do you nearly so much good. 
The discipline of the turf is very character forming. 
You soon realise what a fool you are and have been, 
and you need not waste a fortune over the process. 

If you regard betting in the same way as you 
would taking seats at opera or theatre, that is to 
say, as a matter of amusement, you can survive 
and have much pleasure on the turf for many a long 
year. I still exist, after more than fifty years as a 
small bettor, and have much pleasure whether I win 
or lose. Sometimes I have brought off long shots. 
I remember one of the Duke of York’s stakes at 
Kempton won by “ Miss Dollar.” I had noticed 
that this mare was second best in the Hunt Cup at 
Ascot and was taken by her appearance as she went 
to the post; so, too, was my wife, “ who had an eye ” 
for a horse. I put a sovereign on her with Alec 
Harris, the spitting bookmaker, at 66-1, ready. 
(Harris was called Spithead.) 

I was then a member of Kempton, and some eight 
or ten people standing near Alec in Tattersalls followed 
my example. When I went to receive my £67, Dick 
Dunn, another well-known bookie who had had a 
“ skinner ” like most others, said, “ Good race that, 
Alec.” “ Good race be blowed,” said the unfortunate 
Alec. “ I laid more than £1300 against the (wicked 
word) mare in the last two or three minutes.” I 
heard that when a stable boy at Newmarket told the 
trainer, who was there, I think Chas. Archer, that 
” Miss Dollar ” had won, he said, ” LID Miss Dollar ’ 
you,” and gave the boy a hiding for what he thought 
was his joke. 



There was another occasion when I might have 
backed a winner at the long odds of ioo-i, but did 
not. I was showing Sandown and its beauties to 
a lady who was fond of hunting but had never been 
racing. I did not have a bet of any kind myself all 
the day, but when I was leaving the paddock just 
before the big two-year old race, a lady met me and 
said, “ What are you backing for this race, Mr. 
Turner ? ” I said, “ I am not betting at all, but I 
have seen the favourite ; I am sure he is not all 
right ; I don’t like his looks at all, and if I had a bet 
I should waste a sovereign on 11 Coriander.” They 
were betting io-i on the favourite. The race was 
run and “ Coriander ” won. I met the lady after¬ 
wards, and she said, “ Well, I ‘ wasted ’ a sovereign on 
‘ Coriander,’ Mr. Turner.” I said, “ Oh, congratula¬ 
tions, what odds did you get ? ” “A ioo-i,” and she 
and two of her friends had taken my tip and each of 
them won £100. I was taking but a partial interest 
in that day’s racing, as I had a patient in a Surgical 
Home about whom I was a little anxious. He was a 
Canadian and was in a Home kept by a most efficient 
and nice lady, but who, in my opinion, had the defect 
of suffragetism. I believe one of her rooms was 
papered purple, another green, and another white. 
As I was leaving the Home one day, she said to me, 
I don't like that patient of yours, Mr. Turner. As a 
rule all your patients are such nice people.” “ What’s 
the matter with him ? ” I said. “ Oh, he is not a 
man.” “ Why not ? ” “ Well, every night he says 

he cannot stand it and he must have the night sister 
down and hold her hand.” I took an early oppor¬ 
tunity of going in the evening and seeing the night 
sister. I found her “ comely of face, and of an agree¬ 
able shape,” so when I next saw the proprietress of 
the Home, I said, “ That gentleman’s conduct proves 
he is a man. If I were in your Home, I should have 


the night sister down every night and hold her hand 

In olden days I used to invest my sovereigns re¬ 
gardless of the market, except in selling races, so 
long as the horse looked well in the paddock and 
went down all right. Old age has brought me caution 
and I think some loss of judgment. I am not so 
successful now as I used to be in my earlier years. 
For example, this year's Hunt Cup ; my paddock 
inspection left me with two horses, “ Pondoland ” 
and “ Weathervane.” I came back to the ring and 
found “ Pondoland ” being backed, and so discarded 
“ Weathervane,” who started at 20-1 and won. In 
olden days that 20-1 would have tempted me, and I 
should not have followed the money. 

I have seen many memorable races at Ascot, 
“ Ormonde ” beating “ Minting ” and “ Bendigo.” 
I had not betted, but I placed them. I saw “ Ard 
Patrick ” beat “ Sceptre ” and “ Rock Sand ” in the 
Eclipse at Sandown, and although I had backed “ Ard 
Patrick ” to beat “ Sceptre ” up the hill because of his 
strength, and he did it, I think he was a little lucky 
to have succeeded. 

I saw “ St. Simon ” beat “ Tristan ” in a canter 
for the Ascot Cup ; I saw “ Bendigo ” win the first 
Eclipse Stakes from “ Candlemas ” and “ St. Gatien ” 
—I saw also the first Kempton Jubilee. The course 
here is, I think, peculiarly suited for good horses 
with heavy weights—as the triumphs of “ Bendigo,” 
“ Minting,” “ Orvieto,” and others show. A furlong 
from home “ Orvieto ” looked absolutely out of it, 
but ridden by Morny Cannon he got up and won. 
Had there been an Ascot or Sandown hill to be sur¬ 
mounted he would not have done this. One of the 
best performances of a two-year was that of 
“ Meddler,” of the same year as “ Isinglass,” in the 
big two-year-old race at Sandown. He was left 


several lengths, yet won in a canter. This same race 
was the closest of the “ Tetrarch’s.” He was rearing 
when the barrier went up. “ Why so close ? ” I 
heard the man leading him in say to the jockey on the 
return of the horse to the paddock. I had laid odds 
on him and my binoculars had never left him, and so I 
could have answered the question. 

I saw “ Isinglass ” beat “ Bullingdon ” and 
Ladas ” for the Princess of Wales’s Stakes at 

This is a race I shall always remember. I was 
in a carriage about 150 yards from the finish. “ Bull¬ 
ingdon ” was well shut in on the rails, and his jockey, 
Morny Cannon, as they passed us pulled him up and 
had to take him to the outside to make his effort. 
He was beaten a head. I had backed “ Bullingdon ” 
on looks for the Derby, and I think this race showed 
that my judgment was not very far out, although 
Bullingdon ” ran nowhere at Epsom. 

There was a party of about six of us on that day 
at Newmarket in a carriage. One of our number 
said, “ Don’t go wasting your money on bookmakers, 

I will lay any of you starting price against your 
selections so long as you write them down on the 
card before the horses are off, but mind, none of your 
Ladases In consequence of this we collected 
and put about £25 “ ready ” on “ Ladas ” in the ring. 
The rest of the day, the amateur bookmaker was 
most unfortunate. We started with a 7 or 8-1 
winner, and backed every one of them, except 

Another day’s racing lives in my memory. When 
my elder son was about sixteen, I thought I had better 
show him round myself and took him to Lewes races. 

I pointed out the bookmakers to him and told him 
how they all lived by betting against horses and 
enlarged on the folly of backing them. We went 


into the paddock before the first race and I showed 
him a horse that I should have backed had I been 
going to have a bet. 

The race was run and this animal was defeated 
by a head. “ There, you see,” I said, “ how lucky I 
was not to have backed it.” The next race I thought 
I would give him a practical demonstration and put 
on half a sovereign. Unfortunately the horse won, 
and I backed every other winner that afternoon, but 
because the boy was present I only went home with 
about £20 ready. My outlays were small although 
I was winning, because of his restraining presence. 
I am afraid the lesson was rather wasted, but although 
a sportsman he has never had any great liking for the 

The day that “ Reve d'Or ” won the City and 
Suburban at 100-7 is also full of pleasant and interest¬ 
ing memories to me. I had backed the mare in town 
and had gone down alone to Epsom to see the race. 
As my movements were always uncertain, I not 
infrequently went off at the last moment and alone, 
as I could never be certain that I should be able to 
go racing at all. 

On this particular day I backed the winner of all 
the seven races. I have done this twice in my life ; 
the other time—the Thursday of the Epsom summer 
meeting, when “ St. Serf ” won the chief race. My 
continued success was most displeasing to my brother- 
in-law in whose box I was. He was positively angry 
with me ! On the “ Reve d'Or ” day a lumberer 
endeavoured to fasten himself to me. In spite of 
my more than negative attitude to his advances, 
after each race he came up and said, “ Did you back 
that one ? ” Towards the end of the afternoon my 
patience was exhausted, and I answered him also with 
a question, “ Do you know what a lumberer is ? ” 
This was unwise on my part, as later when I was 



passing a drinking-bar where he and some of his pals 
were refreshing themselves, he flung a stone ginger- 
beer bottle as hard as he could at my head but 
luckily missed. Nothing can be more foolish than 
in any way to provoke “ the boys ” or card sharpers. 

I had an adventure with a card sharper in the 
train on the way to Epsom in the early eighties. A 
gang of sharpers entered the compartment where a 
friend of mine and I were sitting. They tried to 
induce us to play cards, it is needless to say without 
success. Halfway down, I think at Mitcham, the 
unsuccessful gang left us ; tickets were collected, and 
when the ticket collector came to me, I said to him, 
“ Why don’t you fellows prevent gangs of card 
sharpers infesting the railways as they do ? That 
man over there,” and I pointed to him, “ is a sharper 
and three card trick man.” He saw me point at 
him, and came back to the carriage. I prepared to 
receive calvary, but he contented himself with 
blasphemy and obscenity, telling me that he would 
do me in ” the next time he saw me ; that the boys 
and he would jolly well kill me. I soon forgot all 
about this ; but some ten years afterwards when I 
was assistant surgeon at St. George’s Hospital, one 
afternoon I saw at my door in Green Street a four- 
wheeler cab with a hospital porter by the side of the 
driver. This meant an emergency operation at the 
Hospital. Before the days of telephones and taxis 
we were summoned by a porter in this way. When I 
got there I found a man very ill requiring immediate 
operation to save his life. I said to him, “ I know 
your face ; where have I seen you before ? ” He 
said, “ Nowhere, sir.” I said to him, “ I am sure 
I have seen you before. I never forget a face.” I 
operated on him and perhaps unfortunately for the 
community, he recovered. As I was walking home 
to Green Street it suddenly flashed on me that this 



was the card sharper. The next day when I went to 
the Hospital, I found the man with a green cardboard 
shade like an inverted crown round his head. I asked 
the nurse how he came to have it on. It was one 
of the shades that were used for the gas that then 
lighted the Hospital. She said, “ Last night he was 
so restless and complained so much of his head, and 
asked me so earnestly to let him have the shade, 
that at last, to keep him quiet, I consented.” I 
might say that his head was in no way involved 
in the operation and its effects. The obvious 
explanation is that he was a “ wrong ’un," possibly 
wanted by the police, and almost certain that I had 
recognised him. I went no further in the matter— 
said nothing to him—for I thought that when he was 
“ down and out ” in the Hospital, to have tackled 
him about our former interview would have been 
like putting a ferret in on a tame rabbit. 

A gentleman whom I knew, when he once found 
himself in a carriage with card-sharpers politely said 
that he could not play with them and had only 
thirty shillings in his pocket, which he would be very 
ready to give them if they showed him some of their 
tricks. They accepted the thirty shillings and gave 
him an exhibition of sleight of hand and cunning, 
which he always said was well worth the money. 
“ Suaviter in modo ” is sometimes better than 
“ fortiter in re.” 

Years afterwards I again found myself in a 
carriage with a gang of sharpers. There had at that 
time been a good deal of rough work and brutal 
violence in race trains and race-courses. I was 
determined that this should not stop my racing, but I 
was not molested this time as I sat in my corner seat. 
They devoured other prey, and I felt quite comfort¬ 
able in the knowledge that I had a small loaded 
revolver in my pocket. I had this with me as a 



matter of precaution ; but thank heaven had no 
occasion either to show or use it. 

I mentioned just now the sitting on the box of a 
four-wheeler cab of a hospital porter. I always 
respect the memory of and take off my hat to a 
distant connection of mine by marriage—a small 
middle-aged man with a stubbly beard, a slight skin 
eruption, very nervous and awkward, but who had 
this world’s goods in abundance. His uncle, an 
elderly gentleman, had taken a third wife by the 
help of the Matrimonial News. This lady, with a 
past not unconnected with a gallant Victorian Prime 
Minister, had a daughter. The parti was asked to 
dine and go to a theatre with his new relatives. After 
the play the elders went off together, leaving Joey to 
escort the young lady home. Instead of taking the 
usual hansom—in which he would undoubtedly have 
been compromised—he took a four-wheeler ; put the 
lady inside and drove home himself with the driver 
on the box. In this way he retained his threatened 
celibacy. He died eventually full of years and 
masonic honours. 

Back to racing again now. I was with a party at 
Doncaster, one of whose members was very much 
afraid of his wife. Her parting words to him were 
that he was not to bet or lose money. We will 
call him “ Billy.” Billy betted and lost money— 
some £20 or so in the four days. When the last race 
of the meeting was about to be decided, he asked me 
whether I thought it was good business to lay the 
odds of 5-2 on a mare of the ” Duchess of Montrose ” ? 

I said, “ Yes, good business.” Billy hardened his 
heart and laid £100-40. We were in the York and 
Lancashire Stand. Billy’s agitation was such that 
he did not dare to watch the race and asked me to 
describe it to him. I can see him now crouching 
down below the railing so that he should not see 


anything. The race was, I think, over the old St. 
Leger course. The horse was ridden by Morny 
Cannon and won in a canter. The jockey had his 
feet well out all the time and there was never a 
moment’s anxiety ; but it seemed to me that it 
would be a good moral lesson to Billy if he had a 
very exciting race—so from the Rifle Butts in— 
I am afraid that I strained the exact truth and 
described a ding-dong tussle that ended when all 
seemed lost in a victory for the Duchess. What 
Billy thought of me the next day when he saw the 
account of the race I don’t know. He was of an 
excitable disposition. I remember we saw together 
the race when “ Signorina ” once again showed her 
true form and beat the two-year-old “ Orme ” for a 
big—I think £10,000—stake at Leicester. On her 
way to the post “ Signorina ” was full of beans and 
let fly at a policeman’s horse. Because of this I 
backed her. Billy was on too. When they had gone 
about twenty yards he shouted in a loud voice, “ It’s 
a race! It’s a race!” to the astonishment of his 
neighbours. At Ascot he got into the hands of a 
lumberer, and when we asked him what he was 
backing for any race, he said, “ I can’t tell you until 
I have seen my ‘ Commissioner ’.” I am afraid that 
Billy and his money were soon parted. 

In Clubs’ and Members’ Enclosures there is very 
little display of outward emotion. Every one learns 
“ faire mauvais jeu avec bonne mine,” and also 
remembers the lines of Horace : 

Non secus in bonis 
Ab insolenti temperaiam 

The first St. Leger I saw was won by 11 Memoir ” ; 
she had been absent from exercise shortly before the 
race and started at 9-1. She had been in training 


all the year, and I argued with myself that a little 
rest would not have hurt her any more than it would 
a man athlete under similar circumstances, so backed 
her with Mr. Pickersgill. This was my first bet with 
him. One of his charms was that he was just as civil 
and obliging to a small bettor like myself as he was 
to a client who betted in hundreds. A lady asked 
me to introduce her to him—I did so unfortunately. 
Some months afterwards she lost some hundreds to 
him and did not pay, anyhow immediately. Pickers¬ 
gill would not listen to any apology. He said to me, 
“ Of course you thought she would bet as you do in 
sovereigns and half sovereigns, I quite understand ! ” 
This had been my idea, but never again do I ever 
introduce a lady to a bookmaker. 

Before now doubts have been expressed as to the 
efficacy of prayer, and more often doubts as to the 
use of swearing ; but I knew a man who had not 
great control over his emotions, but had a marvellous 
gift of language to express disapprobation. If his 
luck was out at cards he used to swear like the English 
army in Flanders, and worse. On one occasion, at 
Ascot, his racing partner and he had a dispute as to 
which horse their money should be on. The partner 
prevailed, and when in the race the horses passed the 
confederates, it looked as if another animal was sure 
to win. The gentleman proficient in oaths started 
to blackguard his partner in the most unwarrantable 
and ungentleman-like way. As the coarse language 
flowed from his mouth, the hill began to stop the 
offending race-horse and the one they had backed 
finally won by a head. He did apologise. His luck 
at cards always used to change for the better after 
he had been delivered of strong language. A well- 
known nerve specialist, a physician who outwardly 
looked devoid of humour, recognised the value of 
strong language as a safety valve to an irritated and 



pent-up brain. He used to say that if he had his 
way, he would have places like cabmen’s shelters 
in the streets where angry and irritated people might 
go and swear. In bad cases a looking-glass and a 
poker would be provided so that the patient might 
break the former, and in extreme cases he said he 
would like to have a Bishop in attendance to be 
shocked by the oaths. 

On one occasion I myself said a big, big D. at a 
most inappropriate moment. I had slipped on some 
wet asphalt in crossing Oxford Street ; had fallen 
and just escaped death from the wheels of a motor 
omnibus by some six inches ; as I stumbled on to the 
kerb, the unfortunate ejaculation of the monosyllable 
occurred just as a nice, well-meaning clergyman, 
rushing to my assistance, received me in his arms. 

A racing friend of mine whose horses were managed 
by Captain Machell, in middle age took unto himself 
a young wife. The lady’s idea was to enjoy life and 
her husband’s money. The gentleman who, like 
“ Champagne Charlie ” of the song, “ had seen a 
deal of gaiety throughout his noisy life,” had aspira¬ 
tions for quiet and rest after marriage. With such 
different views the inevitable eventually happened 
and the lady left him. After dinner at Newmarket, 
where he was staying, the husband related at some 
length his trouble—he was never terse in his anecdotes 
—and Captain Machell became somnolent, so that 
when the injured husband, at the end of his story, said, 
li And then, my boy, she bolted. What am I to do ? ” 
the sleepy Machell, thinking he must be speaking of a 
mare or filly, said, ” Put her in a selling race and get 
rid of her.” This gentleman had a great idea of the 
value of exercise and used to walk round one of the 
London parks. In the road and parallel to him 
proceeded a four-wheeler cab in which had been placed 
a change of socks, an umbrella, and overcoat so that 



he should not suffer in any unexpected way from 
rain. He lived to a good age. 

Captain Machell was dreaded by the ring. I was 
told of a starting-price job of his over a long-distance 
race ; no money was put on the horse until the start 
had taken place, then some ten or a dozen men 
scattered about the ring backed the horse for all they 
could get on at any price on the course. This betting 
after the start did not influence the starting price. 
So the Captain had the long odds from the offices 
as well as “ tons of money ” on the course. 

A racing man, a gallant Captain, an acquaintance 
of mine, running a horse of his in France at a small 
meeting, agreed with his English bookmaker that he 
should have the price returned by the pari mutuel. 
I think some £250 was in this way invested. On the 
course the judicious investment of some £50 on the 
other horses running, made (as it was a very small 
meeting) the return of the price against his horse a 
very long one. This horse won in a trot. He always 
used to chuckle over the way he had diddled the 
bookmakers. As a rule the boot was on the other leg. 

One of the most exciting Derbys, which showed 
Fred Archer, the jockey, at his absolute best, was that 
in which “ Melton ” beat “ Paradox ” in the last 
stride. At the number board “ Paradox ” looked 
to be winning fairly comfortably, but he was a lazy 
horse, and Archer on “ Melton ” knew this and delayed 
his effort until close on the post, when he gave Melton 
two rib binders which forced his head in front at the 
winning-post. Before and after this spot he was 
behind. Old Tom Jennings, the trainer, was in our 
box, and he said, “ I have never seen such riding, 
never anything to equal it.” 

I did not think that I should see “ Spearmint’s ” 
Derby, but at one o’clock in London I found I was 
free until 4.30. I had then a powerful motor-car, 


and I determined to see if I could get to Epsom. 
By this time the bulk, if not all, of the traffic was off 
the road and I arrived at Epsom in time to back the 
winner of the race before the Derby. I then backed 
“ Spearmint,” saw the race, and was back again in 
town at about 4.30. This showed me that on Derby 
Day, perhaps not now, but in those days, by going 
very late and returning very early one need not be 
away from London more than some three and a 
half hours. 

“ Ayrshire’s ” Derby I shall always remember 
from the way in which old John Osborne rode “ Crow- 
berry.” He came round Tattenham Corner on the 
outside and finished on the ground close to the Stand. 
By doing this he no doubt came round much more 
quickly that had he attempted to get near or hug 
the rails, but I could not help thinking at the time 
that he must have lost much ground by doing so, 
and he was beaten by only two lengths. It is, how¬ 
ever, great presumption in me to criticise so world- 
famed a jockey as John Osborne. 

Johnny Osborne was honesty itself, and no trainer 
would have dared to instruct him not to win. The 
nearest to this was just before the Derby when 
Osborne was already mounted, the trainer said, 
I hope you will win, but if you can’t win, the horse 
is in the Ascot Stakes with 5 st. 8 lbs.,” and left him 
to his meditations. The horse was not placed in the 
Derby, but won the Ascot Stakes all right. Osborne, 
I believe, in relating this story said that possibly he 
might have been placed had he punished his mount 

“ Common,” who won in 1891, I was told about 
during the winter. My friends backed it at 50-1. 
When the day of the 2,000 guineas, his first race, 
arrived, I tossed up as to whether I should go to 
Newmarket and see “ Common ” run, or whether 



I should put the £5, which this would cost me, on to 
“ Common." Unluckily fate decided that I should 
go to Newmarket. I saw “ Common " and thought 
him rather on the leg, and so backed Peter Flower. 
It was in this race one first saw the beautiful stealing 
action of “ Common " that won him the triple crown, 
the 2,000, the Derby, and the St. Leger. In the latter 
race, it looked at one time as if the French horse had 
the beating of him. “ But mine is a stayer," said 
John Porter. “ Common " stayed home and won. 

The Derby of 1890 is impressed on my mind by the 
exhibition " Surefoot " made of himself. His one 
idea, even when close home, was to savage the 
neighbouring horses. I can see him now doing this 
about 100 yards from the winning-post and believe 
that had he run kindly “ Sainfoin " would never have 
been the winner. As it was, “ Surefoot " was only 
beaten by about a length although unplaced, or 
rather, to be accurate, placed fourth. I saw “ Sure¬ 
foot " subsequently win the Eclipse Stakes, it was 
said in a fit of temper and running away. 

The St. Leger of 1894 was a memorable one. 
“ Matchbox " was the favourite of the two Kingsclere 
horses and “ Throstle " was not generally supposed 
to have much of a chance. The day before the race 
was run, I went with Porter, the trainer, Sir Fred 
Johnstone, Sir George Chetwynd, and my friend 
Burt to see these horses. They were brought out, and 
“ Matchbox " monopolised our attention. Sir Fred 
Johnstone, patting the neck of “ Throstle," said, 
“ But this is the winner of the St. Leger, at least the 
Duchess says so." The Duchess of Montrose had seen 
"Throstle" win at Goodwood and rightly thought 
her a stayer. In the race, “ Ladas " the favourite, 
who had been lying nearly last just before turning 
into the straight, went through his horses like a streak 
of lightning and assumed the lead, only later on to 


falter and be caught and beaten by “ Throstle/’ 
ridden magnificently by Moray Cannon. I may be 
quite wrong, but I thought then and think now that 
if the effort of “ Ladas ” had been delayed for another 
furlong, his speed was such that he would have won. 
I did not see the Derby won by “ Flying Fox,” but 
his subsequent running and brilliant career made me 
rather proud of the prophecy that I made concerning 
him. When he came out of Ascot, as he was going to 
the post with his tongue lolling out of his mouth, 
I said to a friend of mine, “ There goes another 
‘ Orme/ only better.” 

I heard a story about a well-known horse which 
ran nowhere in the Derby, much to the disappoint¬ 
ment of his owner. The jockey’s excuse was that 
he had been caught in the tapes at the start and so 
got badly away. 

The owner went that night to the cinema and 
saw the start as portrayed by photography. The 
tapes did not seem in any way to blame. The excited 
jockey must have imagined his story, perhaps he did 
not know how to explain his bad riding, for, without 
any fraud being attempted, even a crack jockey may 
ride a very bad race, especially in the Derby. “ Oh 
reason ! thou art fled to brutish beasts ” may often be 
said of the Derby jockeys. Archer and Donoghue 
both rode and reasoned well. 

Between 1895 and 1907 I only saw one Derby, that 
of “ St. Amant,” for reasons that I have already given. 

I have only twice had a winter bet on the Derby. 
I took 20—5 about “ Cicero,” and by all accounts was 
lucky to win, as “ Jardy ” was off colour. I did not 
see this race. The other winter bet was in favour of 
“ Craganour.” He impressed me very much as a 
two-year-old. In the race at Epsom he was first 
past the post and then disqualified in favour of 
” Aboyeur.” I saw the cinema film of the race, and it 



seemed to me that “ Craganour ” was much more 
sinned against than sinning. I thought so much 
of him as a two-year-old that I put a sovereign on for 
my first and newly arrived granddaughter. As she 
was a lady I paid up to her, though of course I lost 
my own money. 

Another memorable Derby that I saw was won by 
“ Kisber,” who was permitted to run by the sports¬ 
manlike behaviour of Sam Lewis, the money-lender. 
I have heard the following story about the origin of 
the success of Sam. He used to do business with the 
cavalry at Hounslow in a small way, when Lord 
Cardigan was in command. Cardigan had given 
orders that no people like Sam should be allowed 
into the Barracks, and so Sam used to come when his 
lordship was safely away. On one occasion Cardigan 
rode back in a great hurry unexpectedly. He was 
hot and perspiring, saw Sam and asked who he was 
and ordered that he should be brought before him, 
as he sat on one of the stone eminences in the court¬ 
yard of the Barracks. He began forcibly to repri¬ 
mand Sam, who stopped him and said, “ Beg your 
Lordship’s pardon, but if you, when hot and per¬ 
spiring sit on cold stone, you will suffer from piles.” 
The humour and audacity of this tickled Cardigan so 
much that he allowed him afterwards to come into 
the Barracks and peddle his wares. Both Sam and 
his wife did many kindnesses and good acts. Amongst 
the latter was the running of nurses to look after sick 
people I remember a lady, the wife of a former 
patient of mine, bringing in an ambulance to St. 
George’s Hospital a case for admission. From purely 
philanthropic motives she had become one of Mrs. 
Lewis’s nurses. I was unable to take the patient 
in as we had no beds, so she went elsewhere with no 
better success and finally made a promenade of nearly 
all the hospitals in London. After she had left 



St. George’s there came an agonised call from the 
ambulance people saying that the ambulance was to 
be stopped at all costs, as before this lady and her 
patient used it, its occupant had been a case of 
confluent small-pox. I believe the hunt for this 
ambulance occupied several hours before it was 
eventually found. Luckily neither the lady nurse 
nor the patient contracted this terrible disorder. 

A very benevolent lady whose husband was a bit 
of a martinet and lived in a fashionable part of 
London in the sixties, saw a poor man looking terribly 
ill in the street. The goodness of her heart was 
such that she took him into her house, put him in the 
attic and sent for her doctor, who, when he came, 
proclaimed the disorder to be confluent small-pox. 
The one thing both lady and doctor thought most 
important was to keep the knowledge of his risk from 
the somewhat peppery General, and the patient, 
during the latter’s absence at his club, was removed 
to a fever hospital. The General at the time and 
ever afterwards never could understand why there 
was such urgency for the re-vaccination of himself 
and all the household, seeing there was apparently no 
epidemic of small-pox anywhere in the metropolis. 
However, it was a case of all’s well that ends well. 

This same lady, at the time of the ruin of the 
Marquis of Hastings and the scandal of the scratching 
of the earl and Punch's cartoon of the spider and the 
fly, wept copiously at a luncheon party because 
“ gentlemen could not have their little innocent 
amusements without those horrid papers interfering.” 
It was she also who said she did not like Eton, “ it 
was so wicked.” “ Harrow was much better.” 
M Why ? ” she was asked. “Just look at all the 
great and good men Harrow has produced.” When 
asked “ Whom? ” she said, “ Why, Byron.” She did 
not get any further as the general laughter was so loud. 

3 io RACING 

We once attended a race meeting in Ireland to 
which our hostess went rather unwillingly. Her 
brother was running some horses that he had bred 
himself, so her husband, my cousin, and we were 
keen to go and see them run. She good-temperedly 
went, much against her inclination. When we arrived 
on the lawn things were luckily quiet, and some of 
their friends were present. Eventually the Lord- 
Lieutenant, Lord Cadogan, and his party drove up. 
My host thought this a good moment to soothe and 
cheer up his wife, and endeavoured to make her feel 
quite at home by saying to her, 11 There, you see, 
my dear, just like a garden party, just like a garden 
party.’’ At this moment, however, the roar of the 
ring commenced. “ I’ll take odds. I’ll take odds. 
Three to one bar one, three to one bar one,” and then 
things did not look quite ” just like a garden partv,” 
but very much like a race-course. 

I have heard the following story in connection 
with “ Laureate’s,” Cambridgeshire. When the horses 
were going to the post the Prince of Wales expressed a 
desire to see the owner, Mr. Hammond, who told him 
Laureate had a good chance. The Prince backed 
him. The orders to the jockey had been, win if you 
can, but otherwise make no show. A man on horse¬ 
back was sent post-haste to alter these to make all the 
show you can. After “ Laureate ” had won, the 
jockey said to Hammond, (i It was luck you altered 
your orders, as at one time of the race I thought 
‘ Melton ’ (the Derby winner) had got me stone cold.” 

I think it is due to my medical training and being 
an old athlete that I am able to make a paddock 
selection that usually goes very near the mark. I can 
see if a horse is fit and well and suited to the course. 
An Ascot and Sandown horse is different from an 
Epsom and Kempton one. 

Horse-racing is a noble sport, but when I look at 


the majority of those that follow it I occasionally 
am not over proud that we have similar tastes. I 
believe, however, that there is much less rascality 
in racing than people think ; if only “ once warned off ” 
meant “ warned off for life ” it would be much less. 
People are warned off for what practically is thieving. 
There should be no mercy for the racing thief whether 
he is owner, trainer, or jockey. If it were known that 
sentence was a life sentence, few would risk it. 

I have only seen one Grand National, but it was 
a memorable one when “ Cloister/’ with 12 st. 7 lbs., 
made all the running and won. In trying to find one 
to beat him I had picked “ ^Esop ” who ran second. 

A mare called “ Casse Tete ” was engaged in 
another Grand National, and when writing of her 
chance the chief scribe of the Sporting Life —Angur, 
I think—said, “ if she wins I will eat her.” She won, 
but Angur did not have any horse-flesh for his dinners. 

I always regret that the National type of horse is 
so seldom entire, and cannot be bred from. The 
qualities of stamina and pluck are well worth trans¬ 
mitting. A National horse has to go on jumping 
even when he is tired, such a one as “ Shaun Spadah.” 
Although I have only once been to Liverpool, I have 
backed a good many National winners, but missed 
one under tantalising circumstances. 

Some friends and I were discussing the Grand 
National and I expressed an opinion that “ Father 
O’Flynn ” had a good chance. One of my friends 
who did not know a horse from a haystack laughed 
at the idea, and offered to bet me the market odds, 
20-1, against it. I accepted his offer, but a fortnight 
afterwards he wrote asking me to scratch the bet and 
have it with a bookmaker as the odds were still the 
same. I assented, but left the race alone, so, although 
my judgment was verified, I lost my 20-1 bet. I ought 
to have made him hedge instead of scratching the bet. 


When Jack Spigot won the City and Suburban I 
drew him in a sort of sweep over and over again, was 
laughed at, and so in a spirit of bravado I doubled 
all the bets at 20-1. We were boys betting in 
sixpences, but it was a great haul for me. 

A friend of mine had an old gamekeeper who, with 
his wife, used annually to go to Doncaster from the 
Lake District to see the St. Leger run. Asked by his 
master on his return how he had enjoyed it, he said 
that what he liked best was to see u the nobility and 
gentry playing cards in the railway carriages.’’ 

Bookmakers, turf sharps, and card sharpers were 
his “ nobility and gentry.” 

Travelling back from Newmarket about six years 
ago, I found myself in a carriage with an old 
professional, whose stories of past racing were most 
interesting. I asked him about the existence of a 
jockey ring thirty years or so ago—if it really was a 

“ Well,” he said, “ I can tell you this, I was 
stopping in a small inn where some four or five 
jockeys were also staying. I had gone to bed early, 
and my room was next to that of one of the jockeys 
who had also retired. The partition between the 
rooms was so thin that I could hear two or three 
jockeys enter and say to the jockey in bed next door, 

' You are going to win the selling race to-morrow.’ 

‘ Oh ! am I ? ’ said he. ‘ Yes, we have arranged it all.’ 

"This was enough for me, and so I backed his horse 
at 7-1. It won all right, and the thing was so cleverly 
managed that although I knew it was a put-up job I 
could not see how it was done.” 

Racing reminds me of double events. I pulled off 
one by being President of the United Hospitals 
Athletic Club and President of the United Hospitals 
Rugby Football Club. Whilst the latter, I had on 
two successive years the honour of attending the 


Prince of Wales, now his Majesty King George V, at 
an Inter-Hospital Cup Tie, and of appreciating both 
his knowledge of football and his interest in hospitals, 
for which he, his father and son have done so much. 
As I was a visitor for King Edward’s Hospital Fund 
from 1906-1929, I know something of this. 

One of the reasons I took to racing was that on 
the race-courses alone I found forgetfulness from the 
greatest sorrow of my life, the death of my sister Edith. 
I suffered dreadfully from the restlessness of grief. 
I found the consolations of religion utterly inadequate, 
and have alwavs done so, even when a firm believer 
in Christianity and orthodox in my religious views. 
The roar of the betting ring, the crowds on the course, 
the excitement of the races did more for my dreadful 
unhappiness than any prayer or thought of future 
re-union. I have known others, and religious people, 
to take to drink or dope in an attempt to relieve their 
hopeless misery. So many, outwardly faithful, suffer 
from unconscious infidelity even in clerical circles. 
If death is really and truly the gateway to life, 
it is illogical to pray to be spared it ; to pray for 
an ailing Archbishop or even for your nearest and 
dearest. To those alone who are neither consciously 
nor unconsciously agnostic or infidel are the consola¬ 
tions of religion satisfactory. The slightest particle 
of hidden doubt makes them valueless in a real and 
devastating sorrow. 

Life has been said to be a mauvais quart d’heure 
with some delicious moments ; there is much sense in 
“ Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die,” what¬ 
ever faith may sustain us. So many forget that duty 
of cheerfulness ; this too depends so much on the state 
of the body, the fitness of which depends on proper 
food, drink and exercise. The wise man will study 
all these and will not of necessity exclude alcohol— 
rave the temperance fanatics ever so loudly. One 


should not allow a just indignation at excess to 
obscure the benefits derived from the use of alcohol 
in moderation, do drink too much is due to want of 
self-control. What, I allow, has puzzled me is to see 
men whose careers show that they have abundant 
self-control give way to this failing. In such cases 
I have suspected some secret cause, a woman, black¬ 
mail, remorse, or hopeless sorrow. Just as in 
hysteria, there is nearly always some unknown cause. 
Heredity in many cases supplies the suitable soil. 
An unsatisfactory or childless marriage may be too 
much for a woman’s self-control, and drink or dope is 
the result. In some cases I have known it lead to 
self-mutilation instead of drink or change of religion. 
Being nearly a teetotaller myself, I have on occasion, 
after a long afternoon—three hours perhaps of 
operating—appreciated the revivifying effects of a 
glass of champagne. The intemperate temperance 
people forget that it is a food, and they forget the 
enormous amount of happiness its moderate use has 
brought to the truly temperate ; they forget its use 
as a stimulant in sickness and ill-health. Ammonia 
and coffee are 11 not in it ” with alcohol. 

Exercise in the open air beats exercise in a bed¬ 
room, but by punching a ball and riding a home- 
trainer I have kept myself fit for many a long year. 
In five minutes in his bedroom the old man can in 
the morning make his muscles fit for the day, and 
exercise both his cardiac and respiratory systems so 
that they will not fail him in extremity. 



There is some talk of admitting women to Holy 
Orders. A bishop has protested against it. It 
reminds me of what I once said to a lady whose 
matrimonial affairs did not turn out well, and who 
consequently had become converted to the Roman 
Catholic faith. On my asking her whether she got 
all the comfort and consolation that she expected 
from this step, she became very eloquent and finally 
said to me, “ Oh, do let me send you a priest ! I 
replied that a priestess would have a better chance of 
converting me. She laughed, but I never saw her 
again for five years. If women are to be admitted 
to other professions, why not priesthood ? Many 
priests are celibate—why not celibate priestesses ? 
The Romans had Vestal Virgins. 

It is somewhat daring in these days to say that I 
am of opinion that the mass of women, both physically 
and intellectually, are inferior to the mass of men. 
I can’t forget the average weight of the brain of a 
woman is five ounces less than that of a man . Individu¬ 
ally there are many clever women— e.g. the lady who 
was placed “ above the Senior Wrangler,” but 
collectively I am sure the lack of that five ounces of 
brain matter tells. This lesser weight of women’s 
brain is a fact not generally known. It was not 
known to the M.P. son of a talented lady who was 
one of the leaders of the anti-suffragettes until I told 
him. I wonder if Mr. Baldwin knew of it when he 




added so many charming young ladies to an already 
ignorant electorate ? Ladies sometimes weep to 
show their happiness—tears of joy. A nurse who 
was looking after me when I was ill had a tiff with the 
young man to whom she was engaged, broke off the 
engagement, and gave him back his ring. She then 
returned to me, “ Oh ! so happy, ” and burst into a 
flood of tears, declaring she was <( Oh ! so happy.” 
I was nearly well, but I had to get her to stay a few 
days longer so that her “ happiness ” might diminish. 
The lover’s quarrel was made up. 

Another lady decided to separate from her 
husband by mutual agreement. She was “ Oh ! so 
happy ” in the same way and with the same weeping. 

I knew a lady who smiled when she was miserable 
and told you of her misery, and wept when she related 
a cheerful story. A deaf gentleman who had not the 
key to her emotions made a terrible blunder by 
laughing, as he thought with her, when she was telling 
him of the death of her first-born son. 

Women are said to be afraid of mice. One of 
them frightened a girl in a sweet-shop by running 
about the bottles. She started and jumped and 
caused a gastric ulcer to perforate. I operated on her 
at St. George’s and she recovered. This is the only 
time I have heard of any justification for mouse terror. 

A gentleman was passing a man working with 
lime, the workman shook his brush and only two 
pellets of lime hit the gentleman, but each was in the 
centre of an eye, and he was blinded on both sides. 
This is hard to beat for ill luck. The story was told 
me by Mr. Brudenell Carter, the ophthalmic surgeon. 

A gushing, emotional, well-intentioned lady of my 
acquaintance volunteered to take a blind man across 
Hyde Park Corner. She clutched his arm and 
eventually ran him violently into a shelter. The 
blind man was not a Bayard, and his abusive language 


was terrible, and awkward. The same dame borrowed, 
without her husband’s knowledge, a pearl necklace 
which had belonged to his first wife. She was 
plumper than the last-named lady had been, and at the 
ball the necklace string broke and the pearls went 
everywhere, several being lost. The husband was a 
bit of a martinet, much older than she was. Her fear 
of discovery of her peccadillo was, I am told, most 
amusing and real, as the re-threaded pearl necklace 
was now much too small for her, and she could no 
longer wear it, except perhaps as a bracelet. 

An American said to me, “ I don’t understand 
your use of the word 1 gentlemanly.’ In my country 
a man may not do a thing because it is unseemly, 
immoral, or against his interests, but he would never 
be prevented from doing it because it was 

A young American of artistic taste was taken to 
see Westminster Abbey by one of my sons. He 
gazed at the frozen poetry, the magnificent archi¬ 
tecture for some little time, and then said, “ Say, this 
is some cheese ! ” 

An American lady asked an Englishman at 
Bordighera what he thought of America and the War. 
“Iam afraid I shall offend you,” said the Englishman. 
“ Never mind,” said she. “ Well, America was a 
party to the treaty about the integrity of Belgium. 
She did not come into the War until she was literally 
kicked into it by Germany, being ‘ too proud to fight.’ 
She came in late, went out early, and then did not 
abide by what her representative, President Wilson, 
had undertaken—to be a guarantee for France's 
security. She has made millions and millions of 
money by the War, and demands that the allies’ debt 
shall be paid in full, like a Shylock.” “ I agree with 
every word you have said,” was the answer. I think 
one ought to remember that interference in European 


politics could hardly be expected ; that America 
being a continent rather than a country, it was 
impossible at first to persuade the Westerners that 
they were affected ; that there were a great many 
Germans in America, and the rights of the question 
were by propaganda made very difficult for Americans 
to understand ; that the anti-English Irish-Americans 
were powerful ; that the frightfulness and barbarity 
of the Germans required the sinking of the 
Lusitania to make America believe in them; and 
as far as money is concerned, “ les affaires sont les 
affaires.” But still, if America had not insisted on her 
pound of flesh, what a name and reputation she 
would have made for herself! As it is, she is not 
exactly popular anywhere. 

A friend of mine, a physician, used to hunt and 
hire horses from a man in Leicestershire who knew 
he was a physician at a London hospital. The 
Leicestershire man became ill and wired to my friend, 
“ Who is the best man for pneumonia ? ” He was 
answered, “ I am the best man for pneumonia ; who 
is the best horse dealer ? ” 

The public think there is a “ best man ” for every 
different thing. The truth as a rule is that there are 
a number equally good, and often it is not the one who 
has advertised himself most. I was once dreadfully 
let in by a man whose book was supposed to be the 
best on the subject. He looked wise and took out a 
measuring-tape, and then I knew he was a fool, for 
nothing but a trained eye was wanted. He came to 
quite an erroneous decision and caused me a lot of 
trouble, but he was perfectly honest and later on 
admitted his error and its consequences. 

Not all professional books are written to further 
science, many only to further the authors. 

It is hard for the public to know how much paste 
and scissors have been used in a medical book. 



A porter at the Seamen’s Hospital was supposed 
to have cancer necessitating an operation on the 
upper jaw. He was not my case, but I showed him 
to the surgical staff at St. George’s, who all agreed. 
He consented to an operation, but being a philosopher 
decided to have a week’s drink before it was done. 
I accidentally met him at Greenwich and he told me 
of his purpose. “ Well,” I said, “ if you are going to 
drink, drink iodide of potassium with your whisky. 
Just on the off chance.” He returned at the end of 
the week nearly well, and afterwards completely 
recovered. Such a mistake could not be made 
nowadays, methods of diagnosis are so much more 
sure ; in fact, the early treatment of syphilis is now so 
effective that one rarely comes across its neglected 
horrors. The young surgeon has no idea of them. 
Coming home from my Autumn holidays many years 
ago, I found that the young surgeon who had been 
doing my work had done a very extensive operation 
of trephining on a swollen bone that needed only 
this same iodide of potassium to effect a cure. 

At Aix-les-Bains one year the gentleman who 
looked after our spiritual needs at the English Church 
told us that he was going to select as the subject of his 
sermon, “ The Common or Garden Sins.” I thought 
he would start at the beginning with Adam and Eve 
in Eden, but his discourse had nothing to do with the 
apple or horticulture. 

There was many years ago a delightful, eccentric 
clergyman at Cookham, who used to perambulate all 
parts of the church whilst preaching, up and down 
the aisles and everywhere. I think, too, he had 
peculiar views about surplices ; anyhow he was a 
character much to be thankful for. When I was a 
boy Spurgeon was all the rage. There was always, 
“ quelque chose imprevue.” One summer’s day he 
entered his pulpit and said, “ It’s damned hot! ” Then 



after a pause, “ Such was an expression I heard this 
morning,” and proceeded to preach against swearing. 
His illustrations were vivid, as when he slid down the 
pulpit bannisters to show how easily one could go to 

The Salvation Army was greeted with ridicule 
and contempt by the orthodox when it was first 
started. General Booth was laughed at and derided. 
No one then had any idea of how much good it was 
to do for the submerged tenth, and how much it would 
appeal to a certain type of religious mind. I went 
and heard Moody preach and Sankey sing, but neither 
appealed to me much, and one wonders that they 
created so much sensation. My father knew a 
beautiful old lady who always asked him if his soul 
was saved—her son, I think, used to hold forth in the 
Park—yet this pious person told him in high glee 
that a grocer had given her two tins of lobster and had 
only charged her for one. She had not the slightest 
intention of correcting his mistake. 

A widow lady who drank was rather an offence 
to her late husband’s people. They were “ climbers ” 
and afraid of scandal. Her brother-in-law represented 
a constituency where the Nonconformist Conscience 
was supreme. On one occasion my mother visited 
the poor lady, who was ill in bed. As she was tear¬ 
fully relating her woes, she put her hand under her 
pillow for her handkerchief and inadvertently brought 
forth her black bottle of brandy. Whisky was not so 
popular then. The M.P. called on my father to 
discuss what measures should be taken, and calmly 
told him that a cheque for a thousand pounds would 
be his fee if he would certify his sister-in-law as a 
lunatic. Our parrot, which was in the room, had not 
much command of bad language, but very appropri¬ 
ately kept on shouting out, “ You wretch ! You 
wretch !”as my father showed the legislator the door. 



The “ climbing ” of the family has proved 
successful and some of the rich members of it have 
married into the aristocracy, and I read of their 
doings now and then in the Morning Post . 

I once found out that a lady I took to be English 
was American, as was also her husband ; when I 
asked her why they were living in England, she said, 
“ If you had ever lived under a democracy you would 
not ask me such a question,” and went on to say that 
in those Victorian days there was real freedom in 
England ; such was not known in the United States. 
Her opinion of England in these days—with the 
remains of Dora still about the country, when 
you can neither eat nor drink what or where you will 
—might easily be altered in America’s favour. 

Even in democratic America the President—who 
is temporary—has more power than any European 
king who is permanent. 

Here we are ruled by a coalition of Socialism with 
what Liberals Mr. Lloyd George has left of a once 
really great party, and we are not to be allowed 
another general election because those who swear by 
Democracy—the rule of the people—are afraid of 
the very god by which they swear. 

Prohibition is one of the latest of America’s 
mistakes, but in the American constitution there 
is a much earlier mistake if it is stated that all men 
are equal. Surely nothing can be more absurd than 
this, or even that they should have equal rights to 
representation. Men are no more equal than are 
horses or dogs. Heredity makes all men unequal, 
whatever may be their environment. An inferior 
brain can be improved by education, but however 
much “ taking of pains ” there may be, there can 
be no approach to genius unless there is a hereditary 
strain of talent. Breeders of racehorses will not 
breed from bad racehorses, or from those who show 



any family taint of temper; the same with breeders 
of dogs. The breeding of man is not a matter of 
eugenics, and so the clever strain of a father may be 
neutralised by the mental stupidity of a physically 
attractive mother and vice versa , but, all the same, 
there are clever families, such as the Darwins, the 
Pollocks, and others that I could mention. Members 
of these families produce clever women as well as men. 
From an intellectual point of view, nothing could be 
finer than the breeding of Miss Fawcett who was 
placed “ higher than the senior wrangler.” But if 
you admit heredity you do away with equality of 
birth, either in the matter of brains or physique. 
It is the fashion nowadays to swear by Democracy, 
but look at what it is producing ! Every big business 
trade, banking, engineering, etc.—requires a work¬ 
ing head—a brain—independent rather than sub¬ 
ordinate to the other working parts. Yet in politics 
the shifting opinion of the ignorant, many headed, 
open to indirect bribery, without seeing beyond the 
immediate present, is presumed to be the only wav 
by which the proper government of an Empire is to 
be carried on. Vox populi vox Dei! Compare the 
present state of Italy with the present state of Great 
Britain, where we have rival parties bidding against 
each other in a squandermania which is a direct road 
to ruin. It does not seem to me to be a time for 
the smoking of pipes, even of peace. In his fight 
against national bankruptcy, economy and open 
Protection should be Mr. Baldwin’s bludgeons 
against the heads of Spendthrift Socialism and Little 
England Liberals. 



In the summer of 1914 I began thinking of my Autumn 
holiday, and as no holiday is a holiday to me unless 
I see the sea, I thought I would go to Berlin by way of 
Hamburg. I took tickets at Cooks’ Tourist Agency 
for the sea trip to Hamburg, to be in Berlin for a 
week or ten days, and then to return by the same 

When the Austrian Archduke was murdered at 
Serajevo it occurred to me as a humble student of 
world politics that European war might be on the 
tapis, so I went down to Cooks and said I wanted 
them to change my ticket for a trip round Land’s 
End to Belfast. The clerk asked me why I wanted 
to change, and I told him. He rather laughed at the 
idea, and said, “ Surely what is good enough for us is 
good enough for you.” Seeing me, however, deter¬ 
mined not to venture to Berlin, the tickets were 
changed, and he said, “ Do you know anything ? ” 

“No,” I said, “ I know nothing. I am only a 
man in the street, but I do not want there to be any 
likelihood of my being in Berlin when war is declared. 
The steamer would come back as fast as it could to 
London, and I should be left in the enemy’s country.” 

It so happened that the movements of that steamer 
were exactly as I had predicted, and had I sailed in 
her I should have been stranded in Germany. 

As it was, I had some days at sea, and hurriedly 

came back to London on being commandeered as 




a consultant to the Admiralty, and proceeded, on 
August 4th, 1914, to the Royal Naval Hospital at 
Chatham. As I was starting for this trip to Belfast, 
I saw a German steamer come up the Thames as 
far as the Tower Bridge, turn round and start back 
again—I presume—for Germany. This was on the 
Thursday or Friday before war was declared, and 
no doubt the hurried return was due to what the 
police call “ information received.’' 

I went down to Chatham on August 4th, 1914, to 
the magnificent naval hospital there. Whilst at 
Chatham I received much kindness and hospitality 
from Admiral Sir Richard and Lady Poore, old 
friends of my cousin Captain Shirley. 

In the early days of the War it was supposed that 
the German fleet would come out, that there would be 
a big battle, numberless wounded, and so this large 
hospital stood, with many a vacant bed, waiting for 
“ The Day.” This, of course, did not happen, but 
some fifty wounded men came in from the first naval 
engagement in which our destroyers were concerned, 
and in which the German steamer Mainz was sunk. 
All the fifty cases were put under one surgeon’s care. 
In the later stages of the War it was recognised that 
the sooner casualties were operated on, to prevent the 
wound becoming septic, the better. The need for 
this was not so well understood, perhaps, in the early 
days of the War, and surgeons were allowed to stand 
by, doing nothing. 

In my letters home I forgot the censorship and 
described some of the proceedings of the scurrying 
orderlies and the flashing of the gold lace of the 
officers, in a way that was, perhaps, a little frivolous. 
Anyhow, a notice was put up shortly afterwards 
that no one was to see the cases except those immedi¬ 
ately concerned. At the time I was in mufti and 
one of the consultants to the Admiralty, and had been 


given more or less a free hand with reference to my 
duties at the hospital. So I took it that this notice 
did not concern me. 

There were no instruments for mechanical 
exercises or means of treating disabled and wounded 
men at Chatham. I went to the Medical Director 
at the Admiralty, who agreed with me as to the 
necessity of having these, and obtained a grant of 
£500 for this purpose. In the meantime, I got several 
essential instruments to go on with from a sort of 
surgical gymnasium that I had rigged up over my 
stables at my house in Hertfordshire. The space at 
Chatham Hospital is enormous, but at first no place 
was said to be appropriate for the purpose. I asked 
if it would help if I reported to the Admiralty that I 
was unable to treat cases as I wished. After that 
remark of mine, all was plain sailing ! 

Later on Johannesburg subscribed some thousands 
of pounds and all the naval hospitals had a very 
complete massage, electrical and mechanical exercise 

I was more than a year at Chatham. Part of the 
time, however, was occupied by a voyage to Malta 
and bringing back some 700 wounded from Gallipoli. 
It had been intended by the Medical Director- 
General that I should go on to Mudros, but it was 
engineered (I think I know by whom) that I should 
come back from Malta, and another gentleman 
went on to Mudros. Nobody was more surprised 
to see me than the Medical Director-General when I 
reported my return at the Admiralty. 

A naval officer who had been ill for some time 
was advised by me to have an operation performed 
by a specialist. He had to get leave of a certain 
distinguished Admiral. I had to interview the 
Admiral, who said to me, 11 I don’t like operations 
at all. I don’t believe in them, or in this one doing 



any good.” I very nearly retorted, “ What would 
you think, Admiral, were I to criticise your Fleet 
operations? ” The operation was performed and 
with absolute success. 

The various special departments of surgery were, 
during the War, presided over by civilian specialists. 
This does not reflect in the slightest on the naval 
medical officers. From the fact that in peace time 
they have to do with a large number of healthy young 
men, it stands to reason that their clinical field in 
the special departments must be extremely limited. 
It is on these grounds that I have, constantly and 
earnestly, urged the establishment of specialism for 
the benefit of the blue-jackets. Officers go for such 
matters largely to private specialists. The blue¬ 
jacket has no such opportunity. I have outlined a 
scheme by means of which this might be corrected. 
If I had my way, what I would do would be to appoint 
some of the junior specialists at the large hospitals 
in the large towns as Aides to the Naval Medical 
Service. Such men, for some small retaining fee, 
might be summoned when necessary for a special 
operation at Chatham, Haslar, Plymouth, or other 
naval hospitals from the nearest big town. They 
would also, as it were, be recruiting sergeants for the 
Naval Medical Service and could be ear-marked for 
duty in cases of “ grave national emergency.” 

If there were twenty such young men at £50 a 
year, it would only mean a cost of £1,000 a year. 

I have suggested that these officers should be the 
assistants in the special departments of large town 
hospitals. Their education is such that they are 
true specialists long before they, in due course, them¬ 
selves become the seniors. 

Executive officers in the Navy have to go in for 
courses of gunnery, torpedoes, submarines, and so on, 
and they do this thoroughly and efficiently, but in 



my opinion, there not being enough clinical material 
amongst healthy young sailors, specialists in medicine 
and surgery can only be created from those who live 
and practise in great cities. A six weeks’ or two 
months’ course by a Naval Medical Officer at a civil 
hospital would not make him a specialist, and the 
blue-jacket in England or Scotland is entitled to the 
services of a true specialist when perhaps the sight of 
an eye, or the deafness or otherwise of an ear, depends 
on the trained skill of a specialist operator. 

Whilst at Chatham I saw the Bulwark blown up. 
There were two distinct explosions, and then a 
column of smoke and debris ascended to the skies 
looking about twice as high as St. Paul’s. 

I was there when the first Zeppelin came over. 
I think it was rather surprised to find itself at Chat¬ 
ham. It dropped no bombs—probably hadn’t any— 
and a few of our pop-guns were let off at it. In 
those days the anti-aircraft artillery was nearly 
conspicuous by its absence. 

Later on, my friend Sir Alfred Rawlinson, brother 
of Lord Rawlinson, was put in command of some of 
the anti-aircraft guns about London, and he told 
me that he trained his men by taking them over to 
France to shoot at the actual thing—the German air¬ 
craft. Later in the War, when I was not there, 
Chatham was the object of an air attack and there 
were numerous casualties. 

Just after the three cruisers were torpedoed, I was 
in the hospital at Chatham. A young gentleman 
was brought in who had been on all three of them— 
La Hogue , Cressy , and Aboukir . He was torpedoed 
in the Aboukir , swam out to the second, and was duly 
torpedoed again. He got on the third and down she 

Whilst I was at Chatham the wounded were 
visited by their Majesties the King and Queen. 



The interest that His Majesty has always taken in 
hospitals is well known, and his knowledge of them 
is such that later on when, at Plymouth, I had to talk 
about Admirals and Hospitals, I ventured to say 
that what the highest of them all did not know was 
not worth knowing, and this is no mere compliment, 
but a truth worthy of acceptation. 

Whilst at Chatham in 1914 and 1915, I used often 
to watch and listen to the sergeant drilling recruits 
on the lines. Whilst impressing on these gentlemen 
to keep in line during an advance, he told them that if 
they did not keep in line—" what ’appens ? they would 
get 'took prisoner’.” "And then what ’appens?” 
said he; "no (wicked word) pay!” Addressing 
quite the smallest of these recruits, he was explaining 
to him how frightened the Germans would be of him 
and his bayonet, and told him that when he came to 
close quarters with the Germans, it would be all up 
with them. The little recruit, like the fat boy in 
Pickwick , " swelled wisibly.” I do not know what 
his eventual destination or destiny was. He was 
not one of the London Scottish who made such hay 
with the Prussian Guard when thev came to hand-to- 
hand fighting. 

A friend of mine who really was in this magnificent 
victory of the British volunteer over the vaunted 
Prussian professional, told me that he saw red on that 
occasion, because he saw a German bayonet their 
doctor when he was kneeling on the ground looking 
after a wounded enemy, a German. My friend was 
one of the fourteen survivors of the London Scottish. 
The day after they routed the Prussian Guard with 
the bayonet, they were almost exterminated by the 
multitude of fresh German troops, and the excessive 
gun and shell fire to which they were subjected. 

On leaving Chatham I went to Plymouth, where 
I spent the rest of my time until the end of the War. 


Vice-Admiral Sir William Norman was in com¬ 
mand of the hospital, and a more charming or popular 
man, good at his work, could not be conceived. He 
succeeded Sir W. May as Medical Director-General 
at the Admiralty, and was himself followed at 
Plymouth by the present Rear-Admiral Sir William 
Pryn. He also did excellent work and was very 

At Plymouth I had a house in West Hoe Terrace 
by the sea-shore, close in front of which everything 
that came to or went out of Plymouth Harbour 
passed. The Admirals while I was there were Sir 
George Warrender, Sir Alexander Bethell, and Sir 
Cecil Thursby, from all of whom I received much 
kindness and hospitality. Sir George Warrender 
was a charming personality, who most unfortunately 
became ill and died in London during the War. 
Sir Alexander Bethell succeeded him, and was most 
efficient during his command. He was very kind to 
me, and my little granddaughter fell in love with him. 
Admiral Thursby comes of a family of sportsmen, and 
I remember at a cricket match one day when he was 
knocking the bowling all over the place, I heard one 
blue-jacket say to another, “ Remember, Bill, he’s 
an Admiral not a Rear-Admiral,” meaning by that 
that he was an older man than a Rear-Admiral would 
have been and consequently his prowess was the more 

A St. George’s nurse wanted to work under me at 
Plymouth. I managed this for her, but her nursing 
career was cut short by matrimony with one of the 
naval medical officers. Her brother was to have 
given the bride away. He was on leave from the Front 
in France, but he had to return to his regiment and 
leave Plymouth the night before the wedding. I was 
asked to deputise, and so next day the bride and I 
entered a motor-car the driver of which was directed 



to go to the appointed church. The bride was a 
little nervous, but I did not think much of that until 
she said, “ But we’re not going to the right church ! ” 
I tackled the driver, who said, “ Nonsense,” and that 
he knew his way about Plymouth, and so on. So we 
drove along, the bride protesting and saying she was 
afraid the bridegroom would be angry. We duly 
arrived at the wrong church, and the bride said, 
I know this is the wrong one because I helped to 
decorate the right one with flowers yesterday.” 
The error was rectified and the motor eventually 
went to the right church. The driver did not 
apologise in any way—he seemed to think it was 
almost the right thing for a bride to be a girl who took 
the wrong turning on her wedding day ! 

There was, of course, a lull in the activity of 
naval surgery from time to time. One used to see 
the victims and survivors of some of the U-boat 
atrocities, and I heard many stories of the abominable 
methods of the German navy. How any one can 
for one moment forget the Hun in all his inhumanity, 
barbarity, and beastliness I cannot conceive. Surely 
we all ought to remember rather than to forget—it is 
a duty. I am writing now just when it has been 
decided that the Nurse Cavell film shall not be 
exhibited. I have since seen this most harmless 

At Plymouth I saw several of the “ Q ” boats and 
much admired the ingenuity by which guns could be 
trained on the German submarine almost at ten 
seconds’ notice, from the apparently innocent ship. 

I heard the real history of the Barralong affair 
from the British Commander. When I asked him 
how the accounts published in America could be 
reconciled with what he told me, he said (I speak 
from memory), “ Amongst some seventy muleteers 
German gold could easily buy untruthful statements 


and lying affidavits.” All he had done was to give 
orders to his men, when they went on board the 
Barralong , to see that they themselves suffered no 
loss. Those orders were carried out and were 
perfectly legitimate ones. 

During the lull in naval warfare I suggested to the 
Admiralty that it would be well to pass a number of 
naval medical officers over to France so that they 
might see the practice at the military hospitals 
there, both in the Field and at the Bases, so that when 
our turn came, they themselves would be efficient 
in all the modern and novel methods of treatment of 
wounds. I had the hardihood to suggest that I 
might myself go out as their representative. 

Not being a u pukka ” officer, this was not granted 
to me, but they did the next best thing. I was 
given leave of absence to go abroad, and when I got 
out to France I found a six-cylinder motor-car and a 
Captain in the R.A.M.C. to guide and direct me over 
the First Army area. I visited hospitals at Boulogne, 
Wimereux, and other places, went up to the Vimy 
Ridge, Lens, Arras, and saw everything there was to 
be seen and got to within a mile of the German lines. 
I was surprised at the extraordinary goodness of 
the roads. I could have ridden my motor-bicycle 
practically up to the most advanced dressing-stations 
close to the Germans. 

I saw our big guns at work, ana our aeroplanes 
fired at by the German anti-aircraft guns. I noticed 
then that our aeroplanes flew comparatively low over 
the German lines, whereas the German aeroplane 
was the tiniest possible speck, immensely high up, 
when it was over ours. 

I went over to Philosophe, where my boy who was 
killed is buried. That part of the journey was not 
always a safe one. The driver of our motor-car was 
rather inclined to stop on account of a German 



aeroplane, but I demurred. The latter was high up, 
and did not molest us. 

Whilst going round one of the hospitals near 
Boulogne, the officer who was seeing me round was 
told that Sir Henry Burdett wanted to see him. He 
was for staying with me, but I told him his assistant 
could show me the cases and that he had better go to 
Sir Henry. Years before I had crossed swords with 
Sir Henry Burdett, both at the Seamen’s Hospital 
at Greenwich and again at St. George’s Hospital, 
where I told him to his face that the unpopularity of 
this hospital with the King’s Fund was due to him, 
so when the officer, after his interview with Burdett, 
came back to me, I said to him, “ I am afraid you 
may not have had a very good report of me from 
Sir Henry.” 

Oh,” he said, “ quite the contrary. Burdett 
said, ‘ Oh, Turner knows what he wants and usually 
gets it ’ ! I thought this very generous of him, for 
I had endeavoured to be extremely rude to him and 
had succeeded. 

On my return from France, in the railway station 
at Boulogne, I happened to pass a colonial, a colonel 
with two rows of ribbons, who was saying, “ I suppose 
I am the only man who was crucified by the Germans 
and got away.” Incidentally I found myself next to 
him on the boat, and said, “ Excuse me, but I suppose 
you were humbugging about that crucifixion ? ” “ No 
I was not,” he answered ; “ look at the marks on my 
hands.” I asked him how it happened, and he replied, 
"We were attacking in a fog ; and got ahead of the 
supporting troops and were surrounded by Germans. 
Usually there was little quarter between them and 
us, but they wanted information. My men would 
not give them any, and when I refused, their officers 
gave orders that I should be crucified. It was only 
when they had practically finished the job and nailed 



me up that they were themselves surrounded by the 
troops that we had out-marched and had now come 
up on both sides. So I was rescued." “I suppose 
not much quarter was given ? " I said. “ Not much/’ 
he answered. 

At Plymouth I had the privilege of making the 
acquaintance of Mr. and Mrs. Page. The American 
Ambassador was a simple, charming, and shrewd man 
who obviously had always been very well disposed to 
the English and the Allies. 

I saw, too, a number of American naval officers. 
The Admiral and the Captain were especially nice. 
On speaking to one of them—I forget which—about 
the British Navy, he said, “ Oh, we always regard 
the British Navy as one to look up to and imitate." 
In the future are we going to look up to the American 
Navy, and is it going to be true what that wretched 
ex-Kaiser has said—that Britannia no longer rules 
the waves ? God help us if we don’t ! 

At Sir George Warrender’s I met again my old 
friend Lady Tryon, widow of Sir George Tryon, who 
went down in the Victoria. I remember, some time 
before this catastrophe, dining with them in Eaton 
Place. The Admiral has just returned from what 
had been one of the earliest manoeuvres of the Fleet. 
.Somebody said to him, “You must have been very 
tired, Admiral." “ Yes," he said, “ I was, but I took 
jolly good care that every one else should be tired 
too ! " 

During a visit to Plymouth the Prince of Wales 
inspected the Crimean naval veterans at the Royal 
Yacht Club ; they were white-haired, white-bearded 
men with many medals. One had no medal. The 
Prince talked to him twice as long as he did to the 
others. No wonder he is popular. 

My friend Miss Forestier-Walker not only did good 
work at the hospital at Plymouth, but also provided 



young officers with a house on the Hoe which they 
could use as a club. 

I wonder how I ever got either my C.B. or K.B.E., 
for during the War I sometimes was rash and more 
than outspoken. The head of the Naval Medical 
Service was an old friend of mine, Sir William May, 
who was educated at King’s College Hospital. A 
man naturally knows more about people of his own 
hospital than those connected with other hospitals. 
Two of the consultants to the Admiralty, Sir Watson 
Cheyne and Sir L. Cheatle, very properly appointed, 
were King’s men. Later on, in an interview that I 
had with the Director - General, there was some 
question of yet another younger man from the 
same hospital for another appointment. I told Sir 
William, ” Then the Naval Medical Service will 
rightly be called and indeed be the King's Service.” 
“ Yes,” he said, “ but my answer to any criticism 
would be that I know all these men are fit for their 
positions.” Nobody was questioning this, but only 
the propriety of their all being of the same breeding. 
We are all apt to think our own hospital the best, 
and I am not blaming Sir William for his loyalty to 
his. Perhaps my joke was ill-advised, but some one 
ought to have made it. 

The Council of the College of Surgeons of England 
is elected by the Fellows of that College. Big schools 
like St. Bartholomew’s have many Fellows and 
consequently many members of Council. Any young 
surgeon at such a big hospital, with his numerous 
friends at Court, i.e. on the Council, has a far better 
chance of being elected to the Examinerships and 
Professorships than an equally or better professionally 
endowed young gentleman who hails from some smaller 

There ought to be a rule that not more than a 


certain number of Councillors can be elected from any 
one hospital. 

I am not democratic enough to think that all 
members should have votes. This would be the 
advertiser’s gain—and advertisement may be good 
for a trade, but is bad for a profession. 

It is sometimes not advisable to wipe another 
person’s eye. I did this once to a President of a 
College of Surgeons, now dead. The footman of an 
illustrious personage was taken into St. George’s 
Hospital with a broken leg. I maintained he was 
doing well and recovering properly. The President, 
who had been sent officially to see the case, differed 
from me and said that the fracture was not uniting. 
He was backed up, unfortunately, by two other 
surgeons, and so an operation was started, which 
showed that they were wrong and I—who had had the 
advantage of seeing the case throughout—was right. 
I don’t want to boast in any way of this. I had more 
information and evidence. 

This same President subsequently visited the 
patient without my knowledge—a breach of medical 
etiquette. I accidentally heard of this from a silly 
layman and wrote to the offending surgeon on the 
subject. He had to admit the soft impeachment, 
acknowledged that he had done wrong, and apologised. 
His perturbation was such that his letter to me 
started “ Dear — ” and then his own name. I never 
spoke a word of this to any one. As he had apologised, 
I kept the matter quite secret, but a year or so 
afterwards a friend of mine said to me, “ What have 
you done to the President ? He hates you like 
poison.” So then I told him the story, and he said, 
“ Oh, of course that accounts for it.” 

In the early days of the War one of our visiting 
staff at St. George’s asked me for a certificate as to 
his surgical capability. He had been in the habit 



of performing all sorts of capital operations. To my 
astonishment he was not deemed worthy of a place 
in our Army Medical Service, and he had to go to 
France, where he was in surgical command of a 
hospital, did most excellent operating and other 
work, and was decorated with the Legion of Honour. 
It was only years after the War that I ascertained 
that my friend, the former President of the College of 
Surgeons, had adjudicated as to the fitness of my 
colleague to serve in the British Army and no 
doubt had rejected him because of my recom¬ 
mendation—this, too, at a time when all sorts of 
general practitioners unused to operating were being 
accepted ! 

Poor Tommy Atkins ! 

Many ladies were kind enough and patriotic 
enough to give their services during the War as nurses. 
In one case that I heard of, one of the young nurses 
was the daughter of the commander-in-chief of the 
district. She was a very good nurse and took great 
interest in her work, and was very keen in helping 
to arrange many matters connected with the nursing, 
but she mentioned her mother, Lady Z., a little more 
frequently than was agreeable to a certain Miss Potts, 
so when Lady Z.’s name was again mentioned—“ My 
mother, Lady Z.”—the nurse said, “ Yes, and my 
mother, Mrs. Potts, says so and so ” ; and “ My 
mother, Mrs. Potts ” was always brought up when 
“ my mother, Lady Z.” was mentioned. 

I was much amused during the War, when, dressed 
as an Admiral, I was walking along the Birdcage 
Walk near the Admiralty, an enthusiastic taxi-driver 
shouted out to me, “ Ah, you're the men we want 
now ! ” 

When coming up from Plymouth to London I 
used to spend some of the time in sleeping, and was 
doing so in a railway carriage one day when two 



gentlemen got in at Newton Abbot. Of course I 
rose, u Oh, no, Admiral, no, Admiral, you take your 
sleep now,” they said. I may say that throughout 
the War my sleep was never seriously interfered with 
at any time. 

Since the War I have, of course, dropped the 
“ Admiral/’ but on one occasion at Newmarket, as 
I was walking into the paddock, I heard somebody 
say, “ Admiral, Admiral.” I took no notice, but 
then it dawned on me that it might have been some 
one who knew me at Plymouth. I looked round, and 
sure enough it was a delightful and charming lady 
who husband’s horse won the next race, starting at 
ioo to 8. I went and spoke to the lady after the race 
and offered my congratulations, while concealing the 
regret I experienced that I had not spoken to her 
before the race, as possibly the kindness of her heart 
might have suggested to her a very remunerative 
tip in connection with her husband’s horse. I never 
answered to the name “ Admiral ” in those days, but 
if any one were to call me that now, I should at once 
respond ! 

Whilst at Plymouth I came across a young airman 
who had been decorated for accounting for six German 
aeroplanes. He shot down two, two others collided 
and crashed, and the remaining two ran or rather 
flew away. 

Some months later, on my way to London, I 
met in a railway carriage another airman. In the 
course of conversation I said, “ You seem to have got 
the German airmen stone cold,” and told him the 
above story. “ Well, that’s very funny,” said he, 
I got this decoration for much the same thing. 
I had eight against me, shot down two, two of them 
collided, and the other four went away.” I am sure 
that he was not pulling my leg, and his decoration 
was a reality. 




I heard of another airman who found out, just 
before a big battle, that part of our trenches was 
held by Germans. This was not believed, but he 
was so sure of it that, contrary to orders, he went 
next day and bombed them. A number, 156, came 
out and surrendered with their thirteen machine 
guns. He was right, but because of his disobedi¬ 
ence he went through the War without decoration 
or reward ! 

Physicians and surgeons, if there is a mutual 
confidence between them, will work together well, 
but if the one has no confidence in the other, it is 
very much the reverse. I myself have on more than 
one occasion been asked to do an abdominal operation 
on a case of pneumonia—this has actually before now 
been done—but I am glad to say in each case I 
recognised that the lungs were at fault and was 
masterly inactive. All the same, like every surgeon, 
I have had my errors, and during the War on one 
occasion I “went too low,” although I went where I 
was directed ; no bad consequences resulted, but I was 
a little ashamed of myself for not having personally 
verified the exact position where surgery was 

The greatest master of physical diagnosis that I 
ever came across was a physician who met with no 
success in private practice. He was never wrong as 
to what was out of view, but he was hardly ever 
quite right in his treatment, in fact, a little eccentric 
in this respect, and although next door to a genius, 
the private practitioner would have none of him. 
He devoted his life to his hospital work, and if any 
one deserved success he did. He sacrificed a lucrative 
position at another hospital, where he would have 
become a successful specialist, to serve St. George’s, 
and he died a very poor man. His was the hardest 
case I have ever known. Everybody liked him, he 


was the soul of honour, an excellent physician, a 
great writer, yet he failed, and failed badly. 

On his death the Governors of the Hospital— 
who knew not Joseph—gave him a single line as an 
obituary notice in their annual report. Had he 
been a layman he would have had half a page. 

Many of our profession, after life-long gratuitous 
work at hospitals, remain unnoticed on retirement, 
even by the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. 
Lately, when asked to subscribe to a hospital, I had 
a friendly correspondence with its President, a lay 
legal Lord, and ventured with submission to contrast 
the medical and legal professions in their altruism 
and their pecuniary rewards. I was told I had led 
“ a noble life.” I don’t know about that, but it has 
been an amusing one to me, and I hope I have not 
always failed to amuse others. 


Abernethy, Dr., 165 
Aix-les-Bains, 128, 129, 137, 142 
Albert, H.R.H. Prince, 16 
Allsopp, Colonel, 138 
Andrews, Harry, 99 
Archer, Fred, 28^, 304, 307 

Balfour, Mrs., 133 
Ballantine, Mr. Serjeant, 117 
Bathe, Sir Henry de, 159 
Bayley, Rev. Sir Emilius, 290 
Beadon, Bishop of Bath and 
Wells, 281 

Beiseigel, Herr, 49, 50 
Belgians, Leopold King of the, 
129, 130 

Bencraft, Sir Russell, 205 
Benedetti, M., 120 
Bennett, John, 278 
Bethell, Admiral Sir Alexander, 


Bettini, Trabelli, 10 
Birkenhead, Lord, 106 
Bismarck, Prince, 156 x 
Blackburn, Captain, R.N., 32 
Blondin, Charles, 5 
Boys, Vernon, 233 
Brachet, Dr., 129 
Bradlaugh, Charles, M.P., 7 
Brampton, Lord, ioiy 
Bristowe, Dr., 101 
Brodie, Sir Benjamin, 65, 77 
Browne, Sir James Crichton, 95, 

Brydfn, Dr., 64 K. 

Buchanan, Robertson, 168 
Buckstone, J.B., 10, 159 
Buller, Charlie, 285 
Burdett, Sir Henry, 332 
Burnaby, Colonel Fred, 159 
Burton, Sir Richard, 127 
Bush, T. C., 171, 172 

Calcutta, Bishop of, 32 
Cannon, Morny, 295, 296 

Cantacuzene, Prince, 280 
Cardigan, Lord, Balaclava charge, 

Cardigan, Lord, at Hounslow 
barracks, 308 

Carter, Brudenell, ophthalmist, 
66, 83, 243, 244, 316 
Cavendish, Lady Frederick, 186 
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. Joseph, 
163, 185 

Chambers, Hammond, K.C., 32 
Chambers, J. G., 97 
Champneys, Sir Francis, 251 
Cheatle, Sir L., 334 
Chester, J. G., 100 
Chetwynd, Sir George, 306 7^ 
Cheyne, Sir Watson, 334 
Churston, Lord, 1 
Clarke, Sir Andrew, 164, 165 
Clarke, Dr. R. H., 169, 170, 179 
Collins, Professor Churton, 165 
Cook, Mr., billiard player, 278 
Cooper, Sir Astley, 241, 247 
Cornish, Rev. C. E., 32 
Coutts, Baroness Burdett-, 136 
Crimes Club, the, 165 
Crippen, Dr., 176^ 

Crompton, Colonel, C.B., 106, 273 
Cutler, Edward, 70, 111 X 

Cutler, F. F., 109, no 

Dakin, Dr., 210 

Dalby, Sir William, 65, 66 

Dante, Alighieri, 186 

Darwin, Professor Charles, 38, 

*<I44> 149 

David, Herr, music master, 50 
Dewar, Sir James, 254 
Dickens, Charles, 107 
Dickinson, Dr. Howship, 67, 68, 69 
Digby, Lord, 107, 1502& 

Digby, “ Old George, in 
Diosy, Mr., 135 
Disraeli, Benjamin, 19 0 
Doneraile, Lady, 129, 132 




D’Orsay, Professor, 59 
Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan, 165, 

Draga, Queen of Serbia, 133-4X 
Drax, Sawbridge Erie, M.P., 108^ 
Dreadnought Hospital v. Sea¬ 
men’s Hospital, 90 
Dufferin, Marquis of, 191 
Dunn, Dick, 295 

Earle, Rev. William, 42 
Eliot, George, 144 

Fechter, C. A., 10 

Fisher, Admiral Lord John, 192 

Fitch, Clyde, 132 

Fitz-Clarence, Lady Augustus, 137^ 
Foli, Signor A.J., 10 
Fordham, George, 286, 289 
Freyer, P. J., 95 

Garibaldi, G., 16, 259 
George, H.M. King, at Chatham, 
313, 327; interest in Hospitals, 

Gladstone, Rt. Hon. W. E., 184-5, 
258-9 A 

Gladstone, Mrs., 184 
Glyn, Sir Richard, 111 
Gooden, Rev. Edward, 111 
Gordon, General, 185 
Gordon, Sir Thomas, 191 
Gowland, A., 205 
Grace, E. M., 285 
Grace, G. F., 285 
Grace, W. G., 285 
Grain, Corney, 155 
Greece, George, King of, 129 
Green, C. E., 54 

Gurney, Mr., psychical research, 

Gwynne, Rev. T, 26 

Haldane, Lord, 106, 257-8 
Hall, Sir E. Marshall, 105^175 
Hall, Sir John, 165 
Hammond, John, 310 /X 
Harcourt, Sir William, 258^ 
Harrington, Earl of, 120 
Harris, ” Spithead,” 293 
Hassall, Professor Arthur, 37 
Hastings, Marquis of, 286, 309 
Hawkins, Sir Henry, 101 ^ 

Heenan, John C., 4 
Hewitt, Sir Frederick, 112 ^ 
Hewitt, Sir Prescott, 260 
Hillingdom, Lord, 123-5, 127 
Holmes, Timothy, Treasurer of 
St. Georges, 202 

Hood, Wharton, 104 
Howarth, Sir William, M.P., 

Hulke, Whittaker, 94 
Humphry, Sir W., 211, 243 


Irving, H. B., 165 

Irving, Sir Henry, 145, 237^ 


James II, a passing reference, 62 
Jameson, Sir Starr, 158 
Jennings, Tom, the trainer, 304 
Jockey Ring, existence of, 312 X 
Johnstone, Sir Fred, 306 
“ Jubilee Juggins,” 278 

Kay-Shuttleworth, Lionel, 202 
Keetley, Mr., surgeon-author, 211 
Kelvin, Lord, 142, 149X 
Kennedy, Mr. Hypnotist, 162-3, 

King Edward’s Hospital Fund, 

Lambton, Arthur, 165 
Lane, Sir W. Arbuthnot, 96 
Lee, Dr., 65 

Leighton, Sir Frederick, 124 
Lewis, Sam, 194, 308^ 

Lister Lord, xiv, 81-2, 91, 143, 
149, 215, 223, 226-7, 2 74 
Lioyd, Edward, 10 
Lockwood, Colonel, M.P., 259 
Lowe, Mr., librarian at St. 

George’s, 75 
Lucan, Lord, 209 
Lucas, A. P., 54 

Lushington, Mr., treasurer of 
Guy’s Hospital, 130, 131 
Lyttelton, Alfred, 228 

Mace, Jem, pugilist, 5 
Machell, Captain, 286, 303, 304 y 
Macormac, Sir William, 103^ " A 
Magee, Archbishop of York, 58 
Manning, Cardinal, 10 
Matthews, Charles, 10, 159 
May, Sir William, 325, 334 
Maybrick, Mrs., 166 X 
McDonald, Colonel J., 160 
McHardy, M, ophthalmic surgeon, 
7 8 > 195 

Miller, Rev. W., 150 
Mills, Charles (Hillingdon, 2nd 
Lord), 123-5, 127 
Mitchell, Charlie, 5 
Monier-Williams, Dr., 203, 205 
Montgomery, Miss, authoress, 58 



Montrose, Duchess of, 306 
Moore, Sir John, 31 
Morrison, Cotter, historian, 153 
Muller Professor Hugo, 152 
Mussolini, M., 140, 258, 259 
Myers, M., psychical research, 261 

Napoleon, Emperor, 282 
Nelson, Lord, 78,^212 X 
Newdigate, LaayTiio 
Nicolini, Ernesto, 10 
Nikovitch, M., Serbian Minister, 
133-5 *. 

Norman, Vice-Admiral Sir 
William, 329 

Oddie, Ingleby, 165 
Orange, Dr., 114 
Orton, Arthur, 100-1 
Osborne, Johnny, jockey, 305 

Page, Walter Hines, 333 
Page, Mrs. W. H., 333 
Paget, Sir James, 83 
Parker, Cyril, 180-1 Xs. 

Parrot, M., at Uppingham School, 

Patti, Adelina, 10 

Payne, George, 283 

Pearce, Admiral, 84 

Pemberton, Sir Max, 165 

Phelps, Samuel, 10 

Pickersgill, Mr., bookmaker, 302 

Poland, Serjeant, 208 

Pollock, Charles, aeronautist, 159 

Pollock, Sir Edward, 203 

Pollock, Sir George, 63, 94 

Pollock, Dr. Rivers, 238 

Poore, Admiral Sir Richard, 324 

Porter, John, 306 

Potts, Mrs., 336 

Pryn, Rear-Admiral Sir William, 

Rawlinson, Sir Alfred, 327 
Roberts, John, senr., 278 
Roberts, John, junr., 278 
Roberts, Lord, patient of Sir 
George Turner’s, 106 
Rochester, Bishop of, 41 X 
Rogers, Bob, 99 

Romanes, Professor G.J., 143-157, 
163, 177, 212 
Rouge, M, 49 

Russell of Killowen, Lord, 165-6^. 

St. George’s Hospital, 137-8, 153, 
189, 197-9, 201-3, 222, 225, 

29L 332, 335. 338-9; surgeons 
and physician sat, 63-75 ; nurses 
and porters at, 72-5 ; elections of 
the staff, 77; removal contro¬ 
versy, 79, 80 ; The Cottage, 92, 
93, 204 ; celebrities at, 205, 206 
St. Helier, Lady, philanthropic 
work, 106 

Sampson, William, 161 
“ Samson,” 155, 156 
Sanderson, Sir John Burdon, 143 
Santley, Sir Charles, 10 
Savory, Sir William, 243 
Sayers, Tom, pugilist, 4 
Seamen’s Hospital, Greenwich, 
90, 243, 245, 274, 332 
Seddon, Mrs., her acquittal from 
accusation of poisoning her 
husband, 176 X 

Serbia, Alexander, King of, 133-4 ^ 

Shaftesbury, Lord, 209 

Shearman, Mr. Justice, 102 

Shirley, Captain A.H., 290, 324 

Sims, George R, 165 

“ Skittles,” 162 

Snow, T., 183 

Stauntons, The, 101 

Somers, Lady, 129, 132 

Sothern, Sam, 10 

Spedding, Mr. 209 

Spencer, Sir Herbert, 143 

Stoker, Bram, 237^ *s/ 

Straight, Douglas, 208 
Strathnairn, Field-Marshal Lord, 

Tapp, Rev. Egerton, 5 
Taswell, Mr., 179, 180 
Thornton, C.J., 285 
Thring, Rev. E., 34-5, 37-40, 
44 - 5 . 55 . 59 

Thursby, Admiral Sir Cecil, 329 
Thynne, John, 138 
Thynne, Mrs. John, 138 
Tidy, Professor, 165-6 ^ 

Titiens, Teresa, 10 
Toole, J. L., 159 160 
Trelawney, Bishop, an ancestor of 
Sir G. Turner, 

Tryon, Admiral Sir George, 333 
Try on, Lady George, 333 
Tuke, Dr., 113, 116-7 
Tuke, C. M. 205 
Turner, Frederick F., 2 
Turner, E. B., 41, 50, 56, 100 
Turner, George Frederick, 290, 296 
Turner, Sir George, K.B.E., an¬ 
cestors, 1-3, 281; school at 



Candover, 25-30; at Upping¬ 
ham, 32-62 ; enters St. George’s 
Hospital, 63 ; house-surgeon at 
St. George’s, 7, 81, 88, 225 ; 
surgical registrar at, 89, 202; 
visiting surgeon to the Dread¬ 
nought Hospital, 90; athletics, 
97,182 ; the Tichborne trial; 100 
-1; Sherborne, 107-m ; mental 
cases, 112-119; at Drummond 
Castle, 120-2 ; travel with Lord 
Hillingdon, 123 ; cure at Aix, 
128; baccarat, 129, 130; Conti¬ 
nental visits, 138-9; visits Pro¬ 
fessor Romanes, 144-5, 155; 
life at Radlett, 169; telepathy, 
170-1; spiritualism, 172-6; 
skating club, 203; operations, 
219-22, 224-6, 228, 232, 234-5, 
240-2, 245, 316 ; politics, 258-9; 
ghosts, 260-2; accidents, 164- 
72 ; motoring incidents, 273-6 ; 
billiards, 277-8; chess at Simp¬ 
sons, 279; golf, 281; cards, 
281-4; cricket celebrities, 285 ; 
racing reminiscences, 286-314; 
at Chatham Hospital, 324-8 ; at 
Plymouth Hospital, 329-30, 

333 , 337 

Turner, George, father of Sir 
George, 3, 4, 107, 168, 177, 

Turner, H, 3, 4, 107 

Turpin, Dick, 276-7 

Uppingham School, 32-62 

Valette, M de la, 120 
Victoria, H.M. Queen, 16 

Wadham, Dr., 215, 237* 
Wainwright, the murderer, 277 
Walker, Miss Forestier-, 132, 333 
Walker, I. D, 285 
Walker, R. D., 285 
Walker, V. E., 285 
Wallis, Sir Frederick, 206-7 
Wales, H.R.H. the Prince of, at 
Plymouth, 333 
Ward, Miss, 22, 24 
Warrender, Admiral, Sir George, 
329 , 333 

Wellington, Duke of, 165; a 
reference to his nickname of 
“ Old Nosey” in The Peninsular 
War, 21 

Wild, Sir E., 165 
Wilde, Oscar, 152 
Williams, Montagu, 208 
Williamson, Andrew, 185 ^ 
Wilson, Dr., 60 ^ 

Wilson, Mr., surgeon, 201 
Winslow, Dr. Forbes, 113 
Witts, Rev. W., “ Daddy,” 42 
Wood, Sir Evelyn, patient of Sir 
George’s, 106 
Wood, General, 216 
Wood, Mrs., 216-7 X 

Yeatman, Marwood, 108 

Zazel at the Aquarium, 5