Dr Cue

An important person in the village, because he has been everybody’s doctor for the last fifty or sixty years. Small, stout, not unpleasant to look at, but distinctly off-putting as soon as he opens his mouth. Unmarried; the classical tyrant.

He summoned me to his house where he lives with his even older sister, in order to be enlightened about some German stamps. He feels strongly about village life and village community and has in fact produced a book about Green Hamlet. Had I read it, was the first question   he asked , and then cross-examined me on my views about life in Green Hamlet. He much regretted that village life was no longer what it used to be. I told him I had no complaints. He was glad to hear it. Did I miss a shop ? I said “no”. He mused about this.

He spoke slowly, making many pauses between sentences so as to let sink in their whole impact, fixing me with his eyes, visibly wondering what sort of an unwilling person I was. Why had I not read his book ? “It has never come my way.” He could not argue that. Did I mind if he smoked ? I minded very much, but told him that he could please himself. He lit a cigarette and told me that he had given up his bridge club because of the terrible smoking all the time. I hastened to support him by saying that I detested smoke. His sister brought two cups of coffee and a few biscuits. I told them that unfortunately I could not have coffee and did not feel like biscuits either. He sent one cup back into the kitchen. Then he had his coffee and no more cigarettes. After that we looked at some stamps before I left his house, vowing never to put my foot back into it.

A few days later I told a friend that I had been to see Dr Cue.  She misinterpreted my meaningful look and said :”Oh, he’s sweet !”.