Page:Hospitals, medical science and public health.djvu/38

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time, the patient is whisked off to some "specialist" who has an Installation, an Institution, a Home, or a Spa, which has to be kept agoing—recte si possit! And to the patient life is very dear; his judgment is enfeebled by illness and care; he clutches at any fair promise of aid; and the physician must remember that he also is human, and that when ill himself he is apt to run hither and thither quite as inconstantly.

And are we not more to blame when our imaginations, so kindly for others, stop a little short of our own brethren; when we are not quick to put ourselves in the place of him whom we are unhappily wont to designate not by the word of brother, but of "opponent." Now words sink into our minds like stones. The relations of medical men in small societies are delicate, and with the best intentions misunderstandings are apt to arise, and to be aggravated by busybodies. If, indeed, our medical neighbour be not very fraternal, not always perhaps very high-minded, we must remember that herein lies one of our special temptations; and, if only for our own happiness and peace of mind, we must be a little blind to his faults, and by our conduct endeavour to bring out not the worse but the better part of him. There is more awkwardness in these matters than malevolence, and there is nothing high-minded in being quick to take offence.

You may be tempted to say that it is all very well for me at my time of life thus to pose as your philosopher, and to set before you intellectual and moral ideals which you cannot hope in this rough and tumble world to attain. But to hitch our wagons to a star is not to reckon on camping in it at nightfall. An ancient sage has told us: "In magnis et voluisse sat est"; a modern poet puts it:

"What I aspired to be
   And was not, comforts me;"

or, as we say in our strong northern vernacular: "He did his best, and he couldn't do nowt else."