To the Fountain Club St. Bartholomew’s Hospital


Kipling was taken as a guest to the Christmas meeting of the Fountain Club, a dining club associated with St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, by Gerald “Peter” Stanley, an English doctor who had married Francis Park, daughter of the Kiplings’ old friend Julia Catlin Park Depew Taufflieb.

A desmoid cyst is a non-malignant, fibrous “tumor-like lesion of subcutaneous tissues or of muscle.”


Mr Kipling addressed the Club “Worshipful Master and Brethren.” He said that although members of the Club might be called to operate on the spur of the moment, it was not done in civil life especially after a good dinner.

Firstly he said he felt honoured (in the words of Abernethy) to come have a liddle-by at the Fountain. Secondly he thanked the club for the goodwill and kindness extended to him, and thirdly, in view of what he was about to say he was glad to see that the cutlery had been removed,—a small point but one never knew. He thought he had now established his immunity and was at liberty to make a few remarks about the medical profession. He first dealt with Surgeons from the days of the Barber-Surgeons and Public Executioners up to the present day, pointing out how, in the past, boiling tar was used by them as an antiseptic, and pain was alleviated by the use of alcohol, opium and other shock absorbers.

He then told how Physicians compiled their Pharmaeopia by mixing and decanting anything they could get hold of, thus steadying the death rate. Lastly turning to the Physicist, whom he described as the accoucheur of new ideas, he predicted he would, in due course, short circuit both the Physician and Surgeon. After a detailed description of a Desmoid Cyst, and the theory of its formation, Mr. Kipling concluded the speech which received great applause from all present.
—Minute Book, Fountain Club, St. Bartholomew’s Hospital.