Once in the evening, three friends were sitting smoking at Jay in the evening and were discussing the diseases from which they suffered terribly. They came to the conclusion that all their troubles due to overwork and they urgently need a vacation. After a long discussion vacation in the countryside and the sea walk were rejected. In the end the friends decided to go up the Thames by boat from Kingston to Oxford, breaking camps for the nights. Departure was scheduled for next Saturday. George on this day was at work, so Jay and Harris have went to Kingston by train. At Waterloo station they can not find the right train, so they had to bribe the engineer, so he sent his train is in Kingston. There they hired boat were waiting for them. Later Gorge joined them and the journey began.
There were four of us – George, William Samuel Harris, myself (my friends call me J), and Montmorency. We were sitting in my room and were smoking and talking about our bad health.
We were all feeling very ill, and we were unhappy about it. Harris said he felt dizzy sometimes. George felt dizzy, too.
My big problem was my liver. I knew I had a bad liver. I had read about all the symptoms of liver disease in a book. I had every symptom that was written.
Every time I read about an illness, I realise that I have it.
One day, I had a little health problem. I went to the British Museum Library to read about it. After some time, I began reading about another illness. I don’t remember the name now, but it was something terrible. I knew I had that terrible illness, too.
I began reading the book from the letter ‘a’ to the letter ‘z’ I had the symptoms of all the diseases in the book, except for one!
I didn’t have housemaid’s knee. This made me a bit unhappy. Why didn’t I have housemaid’s knee, too?
With all the diseases I had, I knew my life was short. I tried to examine myself. I tried to feel my heart. I tried to look at my tongue. When I had walked into the library, I had been a happy, healthy man. When I left it, I was a very ill man.
I went to see my doctor. He is an old friend. Whenever I think I am ill, he examines me and says I am fine. A doctor really must have practice! This time, I thought, he will get more practice with me than with a thousand normal patients. After all, normal patients have only one or two diseases each.
‘Well, what’s wrong with you?’ he asked.
I said, ‘If I tell you what is wrong with me, you will die before I finish. Life is too short! I’ll tell you what is not wrong with me… I don’t have housemaid’s knee. But I have everything else.’
I told him about what I had read at the library.
He looked at me carefully. He listened to my heart and looked at my tongue. After that, he wrote a prescription I and gave it to me. I put it in my pocket and went out.
I didn’t read the prescription. I took it to the chemist’s and gave it to him. He read it and gave it back to me. He said, ‘I don’t have the things on the prescription…