Category Archives: Hilton, James

The humane, reassuring family doctor

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 22.21.08Dalrymple draws attention to a passage in James Hilton’s 1934 novel Goodbye, Mr. Chips. Mr Chipping’s doctor, Merivale,

visits him every fortnight or so and drinks a glass of sherry with him. Dr Merivale is the epitome of the reassuring family doctor:

My dear fellow, you’re fitter than I am. You’re past the age when people get these horrible diseases; you’re one of the few lucky ones who’re going to die a really natural death. That is, of course, if you die at all. You’re such a remarkable old boy that one never knows.

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 22.47.42But when Mr Chipping has a cold or it is very windy, Dr Merivale sometimes takes Mrs Wickett (Mr Chipping’s landlady) aside in the lobby and whispers:

Look after him, you know. His chest… it puts a strain on his heart. Nothing really wrong with him — only anno domini, but that’s the most fatal complaint of all, in the end.

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