Dr. James Ripley is a lucky man. His father is a doctor, too. They share their patients together. Later, his father moves to London and Dr. James Ripley has all the patients now. He is the only doctor in Hoyland. He earns a lot of money, but he has horses and he takes care of them.
Dr. James Ripley is 32 years old. He hasn’t got a wife. He can go dancing or on a picnic, but women need him when they have problems with their health. The doctor prefers reading books about medicine. He wants to learn more and more. He wants to be very smart and helpful. His job is a hobby for him, which he really loves.
There are three more doctors in this village. The first doctor treats only himself, because he is ill. It is really sad, but he is a bad doctor. His only patient dies. The second doctor is too lazy to study. He buys a degree and moves to a new place. The third doctor takes everything from the house where he lives and runs away.
One day Dr. James Ripley sees that a new doctor is here. He is very shocked. It’s very interesting for him to meet this stranger. It can be really bad for Mr. James Ripley, because he doesn’t want to share his patients. He is the best doctor here.
A new doctor’s name is Verrinder Smith. He works in universities in Edinburgh, Paris, Berlin and Vienna. He is very smart. Why does this doctor want to work in this small village? Mr. James Ripley wants to visit him. They can make friends.
The house where Verrinder Smith lives is very clean. There is an umbrella and a woman’s hat! The doctor has a wife! Oh, they can’t be friends. There is a bookcase with a lot of books. They are in French and German.
Then he sees a woman in the house.
“Good afternoon, Dr. Ripley,” the woman said.
“Good afternoon, lady,” the doctor said. “I see that your husband isn’t at home now.”
“I haven’t got a husband, she said.”
“I’m sorry. Is Verrinder Smith here?” The doctor asked.
“I’m Verrinder Smith,” she said.
Mr. Ripley is so shocked that his hat falls on the floor.
“How?” He asked.
He always thought that women can’t be doctors.
“I’m sorry I’m not a man,” the woman said.
“Oh… Nice to meet you. So, good-bye then,” he said.
“Do you think women can’t be doctors?” She asked.
“I don’t want to argue, Miss Smith,” he said.
“Doctor Smith,” she said.
“Okay, Doctor Smith, men are better doctors than women”, Mr. Ripley said.
“Oh… We can’t be friends. I’m sorry”, Doctor Smith said.
“Good-bye”, Mr. Ripley said. He goes to the door.
“I am reading your article now. You are very talented Mr. Ripley.”
“Thank you very much,” he said and smiled.
“But you’re wrong. The information is wrong in your article,” she said and smiled.
“I took the information from a book from 1890,” he said. He is very angry now.
“I’ve got a new book from 1891. The information is different here,” Doctor Smith said. She is so happy now.
Mr. Ripley takes the book and throws it. He goes to the door. He is upset. Then he sees a devil in the window of that house. The devil laughs. Oh… it’s Doctor Smith.
Verrinder Smith is smarter than Mr. Ripley. It makes him sadder. She is about 30 years old and pretty. She can’t be a doctor!
She can be a doctor. She has got some patients who need her help. Doctor Smith has got new instruments. She is a good doctor. One farmer is ill, but she gives him some medicine and now he is fine. Doctor Smith becomes the most popular doctor in this village.
When they meet, Mr. Ripley is polite to her. He hates her so much. It is difficult for him to hide his emotions. All his patients visit Doctor Smith. Now Dr. Ripley hasn’t got any patients. She can help everybody. Dr. Ripley is shocked again. He is afraid to do operations, so he sends his patients to London. Miss Smith can do everything. He has a chance to see how she does operations. She is a professional, but he is not. She is the smartest, but he is not. She is the best, but he is not.
One winter evening, the richest man in Hoyland needs his help. His daughter burnt her hand. He also asks Doctor Smith for help. He needs the fastest doctor there is. Mr. Ripley is crazy now, he wants to go faster than his enemy.
Mr. Ripley is closer to the house. It is great! He is lucky today. But his carriage falls and horses run away. Why today? He looks at his leg and it is broken. He is so upset. He is not lucky today. Many things happen tonight and the doctor faints.
When he opens his eyes, he sees Doctor Smith.
“I’m so sorry that your leg is broken. I can help you,” she said.
She gives him some medicine and he falls asleep.
Now Mr. Ripley is in bed. He sees Doctor Smith again.
“Now you are awake! How are you? Doctor Horton can help you,” Miss Smith said.
“Can you help me? I want to be your patient. Now you have all my patients and me,” he said and laughed.
Miss Smith is not angry now, she is really sad.
Mr. Ripley has got a younger brother. His name is William. He works as a doctor in a hospital in London. William comes to his brother as he is really worried about him.
“I’m surprised! Is she… a doctor?” His brother asked.
“She helps me with my leg,” Mr. Ripley said.
“I don’t think she is a good doctor,” William said.
“She is a professional,” the doctor said.
“I don’t believe you. Women can’t be doctors,” his brother said.
“I think we are wrong,” he said.
“Let me look at your leg. I want to check everything,” William said.
“Don’t touch it. I trust her,” he said.
His brother is so angry that he goes back to London.
When Miss Smith helps him, he learns a lot about her. She is very friendly and helpful. He is very bored in bed. He is alone, so he is really happy when he sees his doctor. They can talk about everything.
“Doctor Smith, I’m really sorry,” he said. “I am wrong.”
“About what?” She asked.
“I thought that women can’t be beautiful when they are doctors. It’s not true. You can”, he said and smiled.
“Thank you for the compliment, Mr. Ripley,” she replied. “I’m happy that you see it now.”
He is upset again, because his leg is fine. Doctor Smith visits him today for the last time. He is so nervous today. He thinks that he wants to be with this woman. He is in love with her.
“Will you marry me?” He asked.
“Your proposal makes me happy, but I can’t,” she said.
He knows that she won’t change her answer.
“I’m sorry. I don’t want to make you unhappy,” she said. “There are many women who want to get married, but I don’t. I want to study medicine and work as a doctor. I don’t want to have a family. I have a job in a new place. I’m going there soon and you can work with your patients again. Thank you for our short friendship.”
He understands everything. He doesn’t ask her again.
Mr. Ripley is the only doctor in Hoyland. He is the smartest. He is the best here. After Miss Smith goes away he gets old very fast. He always looks sad and bored. He never goes dancing or on a picnic.