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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
gnomad Conan Doyle re Chanties (22) RE: Conan Doyle re Chanties 16 Dec 12

I suspect that the position of ship's surgeon to a whaler of the time would be a somewhat ambiguous one, status-wise. The calling of surgeon would be in change from the dreaded barber-surgeons of the 18th century to the respected professional of today.

His acceptance in post after just 3 years as a student, and in hurried replacement for another student at that (Part-qualified? I suspect this would be out of an intended 4 or 5 years, followed by supervised practice) suggests to me that only fairly basic surgical skills would be expected of him.

In the rough conditions pertaining on a 19th century whaler one might expect scant respect to be paid to an evidently fit young man if he failed to demonstrate his manliness, whatever his inclination.

Interesting to speculate, though, and a side of ACD of which I was previously unaware. Shows one reason why I still come here.

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