Laying a Ghost
George Manville Fenn, 1891
First appeared in The Strand Magazine, Vol. II, No. 10, July-December, 1891.
“It is of no use for you to talk, Mary,” I said, quite angrily; “a professional man has no right to sit still taking his patients’ fees without constantly striving after higher knowledge for their benefit.”
“Of course not, dear,” said my wife, gently—by the way, she always does speak gently—”but you study too much.”
“Indeed, dear, but you do. Your forehead is growing full of lines, and your hair is turning quite grey.”
“All the better. People do not like young-looking doctors.”
“But you do work too hard, dear.”
“Absurd! I feel as if I must be a mere idler, Mary; and at a time, too, when it seems as if medicine was quite at a stand. Surgery has made wonderful strides, but the physician is nowhere.”
“What nonsense, dear, when everybody says that you are the cleverest doctor for fifty miles round; and at such times I feel as if I could kiss the person who said so.”
“Everybody is a goose; and, goose or no, don’t you let me catch you kissing them. There, be off, little one, and let me get on with my work.”
“Work, work, always work,” she said, with a pretty pout of the lips which invited what they received, with the result that my happy young wife went out smiling whileI sat down to think.