Magazine article The Spectator

Second Opinion

Magazine article The Spectator

Second Opinion

Article excerpt

I thought of Richard Lovelace's lines, slightly adapted to modern conditions:

I could not love thee, dear, so much Loved I not money more.

'And would you try again to kill yourself?' I asked.

'If it comes to the put to,' she said.

My next patient complained of headaches and unhappiness.

'I'm in a battered relationship,' she said.

It was not her first such, of course. She had three children by three different men, all of whom had abandoned her, but not before strangling her a little, blacking her eye a few times and knocking her unconscious.

'And how are the children?' I asked.

They were fine, she said, except that the eldest had begun to steal cars, which is the modern equivalent of measles, although it is unlikely that a vaccine will be found against it.

'Does your current boyfriend live with you?' I asked.

'No, he's in prison,' she replied.

'What for?'


'Of whom?'

'A man. …

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