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Doctor Victoria
by George Gardiner Alexander

The best is the best whether it exhibits itself before the world in pantaloons or petticoats.

George Gardiner Alexander (1821–1897) can only be called the very model of a modern Major-General. He began life in the Marine Artillery—a branch of the armed forces in which promotion had always been merit-based—and saw service on various continents, retiring in 1867 with the rank of Major-General.

Along the way he became fluent in Chinese; today he is best known for his work on Confucius. He also wrote a play, Dimetri, set in 17th-century Russia. Doctor Victoria, published when he was sixty years old, is his only novel. That’s a shame. He’s got a lively and entertaining prose style; I’d have liked to see more of it.

About the Text

Doctor Victoria had no illustrations whatsoever. But if you are reading this on anything larger than a smartphone, the decorations along each side of the page are the endpapers of the printed book. The design is almost pretty enough to make up for the lack of illustrations.

One minor character in the book is unfortunately named Fitz-Jones. Unfortunately for the author, that is, because by Volume II he has entirely lost his grip on the name. For the remainder of the book, Mr. Fitz will be variously known as “Fitz-Jones”, “FitzJones” (no hyphen), “Fitz Jones” (two words), and “Fitzjones” (lower-case “j”).

The author seems to like using commas for emphasis instead of the customary italics: “But you, may dream as much as you like” or “what should we, do” where another would say “But you may dream” or “what should we do”.

publisher’s device: ST: Mind is stronger than matter
Formalities

This etext is based on the 1881 Samuel Tinsley (London) edition: Volume I, Volume II, Volume III.

Typographical errors are marked with mouse-hover popups and are listed again at the end of each chapter. The word “invisible” means that the letter or punctuation mark is missing, but there is an appropriately sized blank space.

DOCTOR VICTORIA.

A PICTURE FROM THE PERIOD.

BY
MAJOR-GENERAL G. G. ALEXANDER, C.B.

“Fiction is a fabric woven by Fancy with threads of Truth.”

IN THREE VOLUMES.

publisher’s device: ST

London:
SAMUEL TINSLEY & CO.,
31, SOUTHAMPTON STREET, STRAND.
1881.
[All Rights Reserved.]

Notes and Corrections: Title Page

“Fiction is a fabric woven by Fancy with threads of Truth.”
[In spite of the quotation marks, I suspect it’s more of a para­phrase.]

Dedication.

Critic. A doctor heroine! Sir, it will not do.

Besides, the story is all tags and shreds:

It wants in sequence; fits not with the taste

Of modern readers, who must need have food

That pricks the palate—toothsome and well spiced.

Take my advice: it will not suit the trade.

Author. Ah, there the note which gives the key to all

Which forms our judgment: Will our action pay?

“It is in tatters”? So is each man’s life,

And but for patches, small man’s moral gear.

“It wants in sequence”? Being thus, most true;

And morbid mouths may mumble it in vain,

To find the flavour fits their appetites.

But, as it is, so every word shall stand;

For he who fears the verdict writes in chains:

And without freedom, nothing worth remains.

So to the Public I now dedicate

This pen-sketched picture: in their hands its fate.

Gratefully Enscribed

to
SARAH BECK HARVEY,
whose friendship and rare gifts
have brought me so many
hours of pleasure.

Contents

Volume I
CHAPTER PAGE
I. THE END OF A SHORT LIFE 1
II. TWENTY YEARS AFTER 10
III. “HOME” 21
IV. AN AFTERNOON “TEA” IN BELGRAVIA 30
V. THE HEAD OF THE HOUSE 44
VI. A FEW PAGES FROM A JOURNAL 57
VII. DEEPDALE AND ITS INMATES 77
VIII. CUPID SHOOTS HIS SHAFTS 92
IX. MIDSUMMER-EVE 107
X. WAITING FOR THE VERDICT 117
XI. RIGHT OR WRONG? 129
XII. OUT IN THE RAIN 144
XIII. THE MAJOR’S “LITTLE GAME” 161
XIV. IN THE COUNTRY 183
XV. MID AUTUMN LEAVES 101
XVI. WORKING FOR THE WORLD 212
XVII. “DEAD AT LAST” 227
XVIII. BEER WINS 235
Volume II
I. “A GOOD CHRISTIAN” 1
II. TRANSFORMATIONS 10
III. A FOOTSTEP ON THE STAIRS 31
IV. WOMEN IN COUNCIL 42
V. MUSINGS BY THE WAY 64
VI. THE BELLE OF THE SEASON 93
VII. THE TURN OF THE TIDE 123
VIII. WRECKAGE ON THE SHORE 160
IX. MADGE 186
X. POPS IS JEALOUS 201
XI. FRIENDS IN NEED 228
Volume III
I. MR. MONTJOY MORTIMORE MAKES AN ASS OF HIMSELF 1
II. THE CUP DAY AT BOWOOD 28
III. SUNSHINE AND GLOOM 56
IV. LOST AND FOUND 77
V. A LOAD OFF A LOVING HEART 109
VI. REVELATIONS 119
VII. A DAY WITH THE HOUNDS 135
VIII. “OH, THAT I COULD BUT SEE!” 155
IX. “AND THERE WAS LIGHT” 175
X. GROUPED ON THE LAWN 198
POSTSCRIPT 223