Proper Doctor


Isolated examples may survive in remote parts of Scotland.

One of the strangest varieties of all, Proper Doctor only existed in one sex and did not have adolescent stages (vide Goat Woman). Proper Doctor simply appeared as an adult male aged 45 with his Gladstone bag already battered. In daylight, he would often wear plus-fours and a tweed jacket with leather elbow patches (vide Schoolmaster). If he came to see you at night, he would be dressed in black tie and dinner jacket.

Proper Doctor’s role was one of reassurance and confidence building. He was not familiar with the panoply of new drugs and tended to believe that illness should be carefully watched but allowed to run its course, with a little doctoral steering and an aspirin. He looked after his own health with Player’s Navy Cut (ready rubbed) and regular doses of Highland Park, or Laphroig if he was feeling coldy.

When he went to the shop in the morning for his newspaper, mints and matches, any locals in front of him would step aside deferentially. At the lodge and the golf club he was well liked and referred to as Doc.

At the age of 65 he would retire to a country cottage, having rarely interfered drastically with anyone’s life although he would have been greatly appreciated at the beginnings and the ends.

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