THE STUDENT ON
HIS NARROW BED
Arthur Conan Doyle was born into an ancient and aristocratic Irish Catholic family. The Doyles could trace their lineage all the way back to the 12th-century French noble family of D'oel or D'Ouilly, while his mother's family had connections with the Conans and the royal Percy and Plantagenet families of England. From the time he was a small child, this heritage captured Arthur's imagination. His mother was obsessed with the family's past. One of Arthur's earliest memories was of sitting on the kitchen table learning from her the coats of arms of all his noble ancestors. She filled her small son's mind with tales of chivalry, and he grew up dreaming of knights, sacrifice, and battle, and being aware that he must always follow the code of a chivalrous knight: fight for what is right and defend the weak.
When he wrote his autobiography, Memories and Adventures, although he was obviously anxious not to appear vain, he could not resist beginning with an outline of his illustrious ancestry. [One has, therefore,] he remarked diffidently, [some strange strains in one's blood which are noble in origin and, one can but hope, are noble in tendency.] As an adult he used his middle and last names, Conan and