The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 37
The Doctor and his Patient
The Doctor and his Patient.
Three faces wears the doctor: when first sought
An angels; and a god's the cure half wrought;
But when, that cure complete, he seeks his fee,
The devil looks less terrible than he.
This epigram of Codrus is illustrated by a conversation which passed between Dr Bouvart and a French Marquis whom he had attended during a long and severe indisposition. As he entered the chamber on a certain occasion he was thus addressed by his patient—page 42
"Good day to you, Monsieur Bonvart; I feel quite in spirits, and think my fever has loft me."
"I am sure of it," replied the doctor; "the very first expression you used convinces me of it."
"Pray explain yourself."
"Nothing more easy. In the first days of your illness, when your life was in danger, I was your ' dearest friend;' as you began to get better, I was your 'good Bouvart;' and now I am 'Monsieur Bouvart;' depend upon it you are quite recovered."
Bouvart's observation was grounded on a knowledge of human nature; every day's experience shows that "accipedum dolet" should be the medical man's motto, particularly the more laborious branches of the profession, whose remuneration comes when the impressions of fear, hope, and gratitude are almost effaced, and who are thus often paid with indifference, hesitation, reluctance, and reproach. (Wadd.)