Sir Roderick and Sir Hampton-Smythe are seated in the wood-paneled drawing room at their London club.
Sir Roderick: I’m rather perturbed at this juncture.
Sir Hampton-Smythe: Why so, sir?
Sir Roderick: Sir, I have been thinking about this for some time and I now realise that I am correct; public disagreement is bad for the standing of our profession.
Sir Hampton-Smythe: Quite so, Sir. Do you have anything particular in mind?
Sir Roderick: Earlier this day, I was at the Learned Society presenting my bowel surgery compendium.
Sir Hampton-Smythe: The Learned Society is a public forum, sir. Its proceedings are a matter of public record. Your bowel surgery compendium is a marvel of practical knowledge and experience.
Sir Roderick: Quite so, sir. It is. And yet, as I was discussing my innovative approach to speeding-up entry to the colon, I was publicly attacked! I was abused, sir!
Sir Hampton-Smythe: No, sir! How disagreeable! How did this unfold?
Sir Roderick: Sir Barwick rose and suggested that I should be using an aseptic procedure. He claimed that, without asepsis, such surgery would be harmful.
Sir Hampton-Smythe: Disgraceful, sir! How did you proceed?
Sir Roderick: I was the very measure of a gentleman, sir. I do not stoop to such a level. I noted his view and I explained that I, too, use aseptic procedures on occasion, when my professional judgement is such that I find it proper and fitting. I explained that, as professionals, we should not be questioning the judgement of fellow professionals in such matters and that the manner in which Sir Barwick had proceeded had caused no small offence.
Sir Hampton-Smythe: And what was his response, sir?
Sir Roderick: He claimed that he was merely ‘disagreeing’ with me, sir. He asserted that he had a right to ‘disagree’.
Sir Hampton-Smythe: The sophist, sir! How ill-mannered!
Sir Roderick: Quite so, sir. On my way to this club, I recalled that the board of the Learned Society are introducing a new rule to prevent such abuse.
Sir Hamption-Smythe: Then you should report him to the board, sir!
Sir Roderick: I might, sir. You see, it is not myself for whom I hold concern. It is others who lack experience and who might read the proceedings. They might be influenced. They need protecting from this kind of thing.
Sir Hampton-Smythe: You are right, sir! Sir Barwick does not represent me! We need to speak honestly, politely and respectfully, sir, particularly when we are representing the profession. We must be optimistic. We must not seek to tear each other down.
Sir Roderick: Quite so, sir.