Page:Hospitals, medical science and public health.djvu/37

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33
AND PUBLIC HEALTH

error. Consciously or not, each one of you is harbouring his own ideal of life, good or bad, and is living by it; if the moth gets into it your character will decay with it, and so will your influence on others. Mark then, day by day, the order of your springs of action, that your hearts may be lifted up, and the continuity between will and action quickened and knit together. We have seen that to progress we must be living above the mean position; and as modern philosophy postulates that our several worlds are not outside us but within us, and are what we are, we realise that the world is what we make it; and that our maturer responsibilities cannot be ordered by any external authority. To every man is his own Jacob's ladder. In the words of an accomplished author[1]: "How many rush hither and thither, and wear down the patience of earnest counsellors, and all the best years of their own lives, in fretting and scratching among ruins for the law by which they may live! They look for it in books, in the minds of friends, in the face of Nature who betrays in her eyes the knowledge of the secret but utters it not. And last of all a remnant of the many look into their own hearts, where the great law of life has been hidden from the beginning."

For the pattern and governance of your daily lives I am thankful to say that in our own profession you will find a true and helpful example. Conversant during a long life with the homes of medical men, I have felt rebuked again and again by their devotion to duty, their peerless generosity, their self-respect and simplicity of manners. Faultless we are not, as more than once I have dared to say. Besides the temptations common to all men we have temptations peculiar to ourselves. Our patients, loyal and grateful as most of them are, disappoint us at times; and these disappointments may be very galling. In these days of rather aimless unrest they are apt to forget the importance of continuity of observation and treatment. The consultant gives counsel indeed, but it is upon the family physician, who knows the whole story and sees the daily strains, that depend the patience, the vigilance, and the common sense needed to compass the cure. Yet too often, and perhaps by a tea-table cabal at a critical

  1. Miss Mary Cbolmondeley I forget in which of her interesting stories.