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A study in scarlet

In the year 1878 I took my degree of Doctor of Medicine of
the University of London, and proceeded to Netley to go
through the course prescribed for surgeons in the army.
Having completed my studies there, I was duly attached to
the Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers as Assistant Surgeon. The
regiment was stationed in India at the time, and before I
could join it, the second Afghan war had broken out. On
landing at Bombay, I learned that my corps had advanced
through the passes, and was already deep in the enemy's
country. I followed, however, with many other officers who
were in the same situation as myself, and succeeded in
reaching Candahar in safety, where I found my regiment,
and at once entered upon my new duties.
The campaign brought honours and promotion to many,
but for me it had nothing but misfortune and disaster. I was
removed from my brigade and attached to the Berkshires,
with whom I served at the fatal battle of Maiwand. There I
was struck on the shoulder by a Jezail bullet, which shattered
the bone and grazed the subclavian artery. I should have
fallen into the hands of the murderous Ghazis had it not been
for the devotion and courage shown by Murray, my orderly,
who threw me across a pack-horse, and succeeded in
bringing me safely to the British lines.
Worn with pain, and weak from the prolonged hardships
which I had undergone, I was removed, with a great train of
wounded sufferers, to the base hospital at Peshawar. Here I
rallied, and had already improved so far as to be able to walk
about the wards, and even to bask a little upon theverandah, when I was struck down by enteric fever, that
curse of our Indian possessions. For months my life was
despaired of, and when at last I came to myself and became
convalescent, I was so weak and emaciated that a medical
board determined that not a day should be lost in sending
me back to England. I was dispatched, accordingly, in the
troopship "Orontes," and landed a month later on Portsmouth
jetty, with my health irretrievably ruined, but with permission
from a paternal government to spend the next nine months
in attempting to improve it.

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