The Doctor's Dilemma
The studio. The easel is pushed back to the wall. Cardinal Death, holding his scythe and
hour-glass like a sceptre and globe, sits on the throne. On the hat-stand hang the hats of
Sir Patrick and Bloomfield Bonington. Walpole, just come in, is hanging up his beside
them. There is a knock. He opens the door and finds Ridgeon there.
WALPOLE. Hallo, Ridgeon!
They come into the middle of the room together, taking off their gloves.
RIDGEON. Whats the matter! Have you been sent for, too?
WALPOLE. Weve all been sent for. Ive only just come: I havnt seen him yet. The
charwoman says that old Paddy Cullen has been here with B. B. for the last half-hour.
[Sir Patrick, with bad news in his face, enters from the inner room]. Well: whats up?
SIR PATRICK. Go in and see. B. B. is in there with him.
Walpole goes. Ridgeon is about to follow him; but Sir Patrick stops him with a look.
RIDGEON. What has happened?
SIR PATRICK. Do you remember Jane Marsh's arm?
RIDGEON. Is that whats happened?
SIR PATRICK. Thats whats happened. His lung has gone like Jane's arm. I never saw
such a case. He has got through three months galloping consumption in three days.
RIDGEON. B. B. got in on the negative phase.
SIR PATRICK. Negative or positive, the lad's done for. He wont last out the afternoon.
He'll go suddenly: Ive often seen it.
RIDGEON. So long as he goes before his wife finds him out, I dont care. I fully
SIR PATRICK [drily] It's a little hard on a lad to be killed because his wife has too high
an opinion of him. Fortunately few of us are in any danger of that.
Sir Ralph comes from the inner room and hastens between them, humanely concerned,
but professionally elate and communicative.