Tales of Mystery
2. The Beetle-hunter
A curious experience? said the Doctor. Yes, my friends, I have
had one very curious experience. I never expect to have another,
for it is against all doctrines of chances that two such events
would befall any one man in a single lifetime. You may believe
me or not, but the thing happened exactly as I tell it.
I had just become a medical man, but I had not started in
practice, and I lived in rooms in Gower Street. The street has
been renumbered since then, but it was in the only house which has
a bow-window, upon the left-hand side as you go down from the
Metropolitan Station. A widow named Murchison kept the house at
that time, and she had three medical students and one engineer as
lodgers. I occupied the top room, which was the cheapest, but
cheap as it was it was more than I could afford. My small
resources were dwindling away, and every week it became more
necessary that I should find something to do. Yet I was very
unwilling to go into general practice, for my tastes were all in
the direction of science, and especially of zoology, towards which
I had always a strong leaning. I had almost given the fight up and
resigned myself to being a medical drudge for life, when the
turning-point of my struggles came in a very extraordinary way.
One morning I had picked up the Standard and was glancing
over its contents. There was a complete absence of news, and I was
about to toss the paper down again, when my eyes were caught by an
advertisement at the head of the personal column. It was worded in
"Wanted for one or more days the services of a medical man. It
is essential that he should be a man of strong physique, of steady
nerves, and of a resolute nature. Must be an entomologist--
coleopterist preferred. Apply, in person, at 77B, Brook Street.
Application must be made before twelve o'clock today."