Chapter Twenty-one

THAT FIRST YEAR in Bayswater, marked by much hardship and by an intensity of purpose which never for a moment relaxed, was as great a martyrdom as that suffered by the early Christians. But by keeping our sense of humour and laughing off our trials and discouragements we managed to survive. And it was wonderful when the tide gradually turned and began, vigorously, to flow our way.

It is true that I worked desperately hard. To attain a particular objective, one must give everything, offer unsparingly the sum total of one's capabilities -- and in these twelve months I did not take a single half-day's holiday. Yet I must admit that good fortune had its part in our ultimate success. I was lucky to make friends with the policeman on point duty, a good Scot by the name of Sergeant Blair, who got me many a useful fee for casualty work; and with the proprietor of the neiglibourbood chemist's shop, who often sent along customers who had asked to be "recommended" to a good doctor. Nor must we forget a certain native shrewdness which secured for me an entree into many of the private hotels which are so numerous in Bayswater.

Summoned in the middle of the night to some poor waitress, or cook, or scullery maid, who was sickening with influenza, or perhaps (this happened more than once) had surprised her unsuspecting employer by developing labour pains, in short, the kind of patient whom few of the other doctors wanted, I would get out of bed, treat the unfortunate woman like a duchess, visit her every day for a month,

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