Arthur Conan Doyle: Beyond Baker Street

By Janet B. Pascal | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4
[A CAPRICIOUS
CREATURE WHO
FREQUENTLY
GROWLS]

Standing on the deck of the Mayumba in a raging storm, Conan Doyle had considered his future and decided that this would be his last sea voyage. Despite the sharks, fevers, and fires, his reason was that life as a ship's doctor was too easy. He believed that [one or two more such voyages would sap my simple habits and make me unfit for the hard struggle which any sort of success would need.]

With no money to buy a medical practice (as was customary at the time), and no contacts to help him get started, he had a difficult road ahead. Now the fame and influence of the Doyle family could be of real use to him. He was summoned to London to face the family council. They were not in a position to help him financially, his aunts and uncles told him, but they would be happy to recommend him as a doctor to important Catholic authorities. With a few well-placed words, he could count on having most of the Catholic community anywhere he wished as his patients. Now Conan Doyle faced a moral dilemma. If he accepted this offer, he could easily set himself up anywhere in England and be confident of success. But he had ceased to accept the Catholic religion, and he was too honest to

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