Doctors and Lawyers: Western View


Article No.1992

Compiled by London swaminathan

Date 13th July 2015

Time uploaded in London:  20-21

Following anecdotes will show how the lawyers and doctorswere projected in the western world 100 years ago. The anecdotes were taken from the Thesarus of Anecdotes.


A lawyer and a doctor having a dispute about precedence, referred it to Diogenes, who gave it in favour of the lawyer in these terms:

“Let the thief go before and the executioner follow.”

Diogenes: Greek Philosopher 412 BCE to 323 BCE



A certain lawyer had his portrait done in his favourite attitude, standing with one hand in his pocket. His friends that it was an excellent picture of him. An old farmer remarked that the portrait would have looked much more like the lawyer if it had represented him with his hand in another man’s pocket instead of his own.



A stranger, arriving in a small New England town, approached the first native he saw and asked:

“Have you a criminal lawyer in this town?”

“Well”, replied the native cautiously, “we think we have, but so far we can’t prove it on him.”



A Dublin Attorney died in poverty and many barristers of the city subscribed to a fund for his funeral. Toler, later Lord Chief Justice of  Orbury, was approached for a shilling. “Only a shilling?” said Toler. “Only a shilling to bury an attorney? Here is guinea; go and bury 20 of them”.

Old British Currency: One guinea= 21 shillings.



A man came to Newark (USA) one day and asked a landlord to direct him to a first rate lawyer

“Well”, said the landlord, “if you have a good cause, go to Frelinghysen; he is honest lawyer and never undertakes any other kind; but if you want a keen, sharp lawyer, who sticks at nothing, go to a lawyer So and so.”

He watched the stranger and he went straight to So and so.




In Kansas (USA) court a witness, a tall awkward fellow, was called to testify. The counsel for the defence said to him, “Now, sir, stand up and tell your story like a preacher”.

“No, sir”, roared the judge. “None of the; I want you to tell the truth”.



The coroner’s jury was pretty thoroughly baffled as to the cause of death in a certain case. Unable to come to any conclusion, they at last officially termed the case, “An act of God under very suspicious circumstances.”



The community was shocked by a killing in its midst, doubly shocked because of the fact that the killer was one of the most popular and well-liked men in the town. Realizing that the evidence against him was conclusive, the man entered his plea of guilty. No means of saving him from the electric chair could be seen.

But the jurors, all friends of his, determined to save him in spite of his plea of guilty. When, at the conclusion of the case, they were asked to give their verdict, it was “Not Guilty.”

“Now how in the world,” said the judge, “can you bring in such a verdict when the defendant pled guilty?”

“Well, your honour”, said the foreman of the jury, “the defendant is such a liar that we can’t believe him, even under oath.”


And the Doctors……………………………


Alexander Dumas, the French novelist, being the guest one day of Dr Gistal, an eminent doctor of Marseilles, was asked by his host after dinner to enrich his album with one of his witty improvisations.

“Certainly,” replied Dumas with a smile, and drawing out his pencil he wrote under the eyes of the doctor, the following lines:

“Since Dr.Gistal came to our town,

To cure diseases casual and hereditary,

The hospital has been pulled down” –

“You flatterer!”, exclaimed the doctor, mightily pleased.

But the poet went on —

“And we have made a larger cemetery.”



The patient was lying on the stretcher waiting to be pushed into the operating room. “I am so nervous,” he remarked to a sympathetic young woman standing by.

“This is my first operation.”

“So am I,” said the young lady, “my husband is the doctor and it is first too.”



Stephen Leacock tells this story:

“Years ago when I first got my Ph.D. degree, I was inordinately proud of it and used to sign myself ‘Dr.Leacock’ in season and out. On a trip to the Orient I put my name down that way on the passenger list of the liner (ship).

I was getting my things straight in my cabin when a steward knocked and said: Are you Dr.Leacock?

“Yes, I answered.”

“Well, the captain’s compliments, doctor, and will you please come and have a look at the second stewardess’s leg?”

I went off like a shot, realizing the obligations of a medical shot. But I had no luck. Another fellow got there ahead of me. He was a Doctor of Divinity.”




A doctor was aroused in the middle of the night by a phone call from a man whose family he had not had occasion to render medical services for some time.

“Doctor,” said the excited man, “please come over right away. My wife is in great pain and I am sure it is appendicitis.” The doctor had been sleepily mulling over the medical history of the family and said, “Well, now, it probably isn’t like anything like that. I will come around first thing in the morning. Don’t worry. Probably just indigestion.”

“But, doctor, you have got to come. I am positive it is appendicitis,” protested the alarmed the husband.

“Oh come, Mr.Johnson”, the doctor said, somewhat irritably, “I took your wife’s appendix almost two years ago. You know as well as I do that she hasn’t got another one.”

“That is alright”, said the husband, “but I have got another wife.”



Dr.Samuel Garth, the celebrated physician of Pope’s time, loved wine to excess. At a favourite club of which he was a member, he once remained to drink to a late hour. A companion said to him, ”Really, Garth, you ought to quit drinking and hurry off to your patients.”

“It is no great matter”, replied Garth, “whether I see them tonight or not.; for nine of them have such a bad constitutions that all the physicians in the world cant save them; and the other six have such good constitutions, that all the physicians in the world cant kill them.”



A certain person coming to a doctor said, “Sir, when I awake from sleep I have a dizziness for half an hour, and then I feel alright.”

“Get up after the half hour,” the physician replied.



Senator Beveridge told this story:

“I once saw two famous physicians introduced at a reception. They were deservedly famous, but they were of opposing schools; and the regular, as he shook the other by the hand, said loudly:

“I am glad to meet you as a gentleman, sir, though I cant admit that you are a physician.”

“And I”, said the Homoeopathist smilingly faintly, “am glad to meet you as a physician, although I cant admit you are a gentleman.”