Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

On the skill of physicians

“I am not partial to physicians myself. In minor matters a proper diet is better than a doctor; in major matters they do not seem to have much skill. No doctor has yet learnt to cure a broken neck. However, they have their place, like others in the world. No duel should be fought without a surgeon in attendance . . . ”

Lady Osborne in The Watsons by Jane Austen, continued and completed by John Coates, p. 246, Thomas Y. Crowell Co., New York.

Jane Austen, a woman in blue seated and looking up and to the left Cover of The Watsons by Jane Austen Manuscript

Jane Austen
Courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, University of Texas at Austin

Hand-written manuscript


Jane Austen began writing The Watsons about 1803 and probably abandoned it after her father’s death in January 1805, so that it is an unfinished fragment of less than 18,000 words. The surviving untitled manuscript is in Jane Austen’s hand, written onto sheets of paper and folded to form homemade booklets. It reads like the beginning to a novel and was given its title in 1871. Several authors have continued and completed the novel, including John Coates in 1957, from whose text the above quotation is derived.



Spring 2012  |  Sections  |  Literary Vignettes

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