Dr Barrère's medical career had had two false starts, but now he is settled in Poolborough and doing well. And he is engaged to be married and looking forward to the future. "When the untoward incident occurred in Poolborough which cut short his career there he was universally well thought of and looked upon as a rising man." With this sentence Margaret Oliphant launches one of her most suspenseful tales.
Biographical and other notes
The character Jim is reminiscent of Margaret Oliphant's brother Willie who was an alcoholic all his life. The fictional town of Poolborough is based on Liverpool, where Margaret Oliphant (née Wilson) spent the second half of her childhood.
British publishing information
Periodical: English Illustrated Magazine Dec 1885
First edition: Macmillan and Co (collected in That Little Cutty) 1898