ONE EVENING, when consultations in the surgery were so few that I sat glancing idly through the West Highland Advertiser, a long, thin man, with bad teeth and sandy hair streaked over his bald head, called to see me. I recognised him as Dougal Todd, the village painter and carpenter.
"I hope I'm not disturbing ye, Doctor," He began, in a melancholy, sanctimonious style, and with accent and idiom so broad that I am forced, in some measure, to translate it. "The truth is, I've just dropped in to have a word with you about my poor old mother." He shook his head and lowered his eyes. "Ye see," he explained, "my mother's a frail little body, and pretty old -- believe me or not, she's eighty if she's a day. It's but right she should see the doctor once in a while. I wouldna' have it otherwise, I'm so fond of her. Forby, I've got her life insured in a society or two, which makes it more or less obleegatory.
"Now, Doctor, I was wonderin' " -- his voice became ingratiating, confidential -- "seein' that my mother is just a poor old woman and me so ill off myself, I was wonderin', seein' that you're just the assistant here, I was wonderin', I say, if ye wouldna' see her for half the ordinary fee."
I stared at my dismal-faced visitor, quite baffled by his astounding proposition.
"I'll think it over," I said at length, resolving to put the matter before Cameron later in the evening.