Among the many fascinating responses I had to the article was an enthralling letter from a retired Scottish doctor, Professor James Williamson, who revealed that he had treated Orwell in Hairmyres hospital in 1948, politely correcting a misconception I'd repeated about the use of streptomycin in Orwell's treatment.
Williamson's letter gave an Edinburgh phone number, so I rang him at home, on spec. He turned out to be almost 90, but an eager informant, as sharp as a tack, and full of good recollections about his days as a junior doctor.
He could not, in all honesty, say that Orwell had made a great impression, though he had seen him every day for several months to administer his medication. "He was rather quiet, and very polite," he remembered. But he did recall two things. First, the strong aroma of Orwell's roll-up cigarettes and, second, the sound of Orwell's typewriter going at all hours.
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