The Arthur Conan Doyle EncyclopediaThe Arthur Conan Doyle EncyclopediaThe Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
22 May 1859, Edinburgh M.D., Kt, KStJ, D.L., LL.D., Sportsman, Writer, Poet, Politician, Justicer, Spiritualist Crowborough, 7 July 1930

Conan Doyle's First Client

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

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Conan Doyle's First Client is an article written by "Beveren" published in The Sketch on 2 january 1924.

Conan Doyle's First Client

The Sketch (2 january 1924, p. 14)

Sir A. Conan Doyle seems to be becoming more and more devoted to Spiritualism. He is the type of man whose personal sincerity cannot be questioned. And no one doubts the robustness of his general outlook. Conan Doyle started life as a medical practitioner at Portsmouth. The monotony of waiting for clients in those early days was relieved in a very unusual way. The Doctor was walking near his house one evening when he came upon a powerful-looking navvy beating his wife. The Doctor remonstrated with him. The only result was that the man, with a tremendous oath, began attacking the future biographer of "Sherlock Holmes." He was no match, however, for the tall, athletic Doctor, and after a few heavy blows on either side the navvy slunk away.

Next morning the man was shown into Conan Doyle's surgery. Conan Doyle recognised him as his antagonist of the night before. The navvy, not knowing him again, explained that he had sprained his wrist. "Had a drop too much last night, Doctor; got into a row with the Missus, and some big bloke interfered."

Conan Doyle bandaged the wrist, good-humouredly advised the man not to get drunk and quarrel with his wife again, and then refused to accept any fee for attendance.

This, I am told, was almost the first, if not the first, client Conan Doyle had in the early professional days.