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In the year 18I settled as a physician at
one of the wealthiest of our great English towns,
which I will designate by the initial L——. I
was yet young, but I had acquired some
reputation by a professional work which is, I believe,
still amongst the received authorities on the
subject of which it treats. I had studied at
Edinburgh and at Paris, and had borne away from
both those illustrious schools of medicine whatever
guarantees for future distinction the praise
of professors may concede to the ambition of
students. On becoming a member of the College
of Physicians, I made a tour of the principal
cities of Europe, taking letters of introduction
to eminent medical men; and gathering from
many theories and modes of treatment, hints to
enlarge the foundations of unprejudiced and
comprehensive practice; I had resolved to fix my
ultimate residence in London. But before this
preparatory tour was completed, my resolve was
changed by one of those unexpected events which
determine the fate man in vain would work out
for himself. In passing through the Tyrol, on
my way into the north of Italy, I found in a small
inn, remote from medical attendance, an English
travellerseized with acute inflammation of the
lungs, and in a state of imminent danger. I
devoted myself to him night and day, and, perhaps,
more through careful nursing than active remedies,
I had the happiness to effect his complete
recovery. The traveller proved to be Julius Faber,
a physician of great distinctioncontented to
reside, where he was born, in the provincial city of
L——, but whose reputation as a profound and
original pathologist was widely spread; and whose
writings had formed no unimportant part of my
special studies. It was during a short holiday
excursion, from which he was about to return with
renovated vigour, that he had been thus stricken
down. The patient so accidentally met with,
became the founder of my professional fortunes.
He conceived a warm attachment for me;
perhaps the more affectionate because he was a
childless bachelor, and the nephew who would
succeed to his wealth evinced no desire to
succeed to the toils by which the wealth had
been acquired. Thus, having an heir for the
one, he had long looked about for an heir to the
other, and now resolved on finding that heir in me.
So when we parted Dr. Faber made me promise to
correspond with him regularly, and it was not long
before he disclosed by letter the plans he had
formed in my favour. He said that he was growing
old; his practice was beyond his strength;
he needed a partner; he was not disposed to put
up to sale the health of patients whom he had
learned to regard as his children; money was no
object to him, but it was an object close at his
heart that the humanity he had served, and the
reputation he had acquired, should suffer no loss
in his choice of a successor. In fine, he proposed
that I should at once come to L—— as his partner,
with the view of succeeding to his entire
practice at the end of two years, when it was his
intention to retire.

The opening into fortune thus afforded to me
was one that rarely presents itself to a young
man entering upon an overcrowded profession.
And to an aspirant less allured by the desire of
fortune than the hope of distinction, the fame of
the physician who thus generously offered to me
the inestimable benefits of his long experience,
and his cordial introduction, was in itself an
assurance that a metropolitan practice is not
essential to a national renown.

I went, then, to L——, and before the two
years of my partnership had expired, my success
justified my kind friend's selection, and far more
than realised my own expectations. I was fortunate
in effecting some notable cures in the
earliest cases submitted to me, and it is everything
in the career of a physician when good
luck wins betimes for him that confidence
which patients rarely accord except to lengthened
experience. To the rapid facility with which
my way was made, some circumstances apart
from professional skill probably combined. I
was saved from the suspicion of a medical adventurer
by the accidents of birth and fortune. I
belonged to an ancient family (a branch of the
once powerful border clan of the Fenwicks),
that had for many generations held a fair estate
in the neighbourhood of Windermere. As an
only son I had succeeded to that estate on
attaining my majority, and had sold it to pay off
the debts which had been made by my father,
who had the costly tastes of an antiquarian