Friday, 22 May 1992

Dicky's Pain

Fiction ~ short story
First published in the Windsor Magazine, April 1927
Collected in Desirable Residences and Other Stories, 1991
Approx. 4,200 words
(First read 22/05/1992) 

Like The Case of Bertram Porter (1911) in this same collection, Dicky's Pain is a tale of acute progressive hypochondria.  Unlike poor Bertie's, Dicky's outcome is a happy one, though.  After consulting a clutch of doctors (one of whom bears the bizarre name Janitor), and being recommended a different course of 'treatment', mainly dietary, by each, and having finally been advised that his mystery ailment is all down to his teeth so he ought to have them all out, Dicky decides to have one last blow-out before his gnashers go to meet their maker.  The one last blow-out turns into a couple of blow-outs, then a week of blow-outs, and eventually he slips back out of hypochondria.  And his teeth are saved ~ yay!
Certainly more fun than its thematic predecessor, but kind of instantly forgettable too.  

As is fairly often the case with these 'throwaway' stories, the set-up in the first paragraph is the most memorable.  Extract:
Dicky Pepys, up to the age of fifty, had lived an extremely happy, selfish, and innocent life.  He had lost two tiresome parents while he was yet in his 'teens, and at the age of twenty-one had come into a very ample fortune, unencumbered with the wretched hardships of rank and of land-owning, except for that portion of the earth's surface upon which stood his charming house in Berkeley Square. 

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