"Such frankness, even over good tidings, was a further offense to Mr. Fremlin. He felt that it was casual and indecent. Like most countrymen, he had a great respect for traditional mysteries. A little skill decently wrapped up impressed him far more than twice the amount flung nakedly at his feet. Old Dr. Milsom had satisfied his sense of propriety. Never, never would he have told a patient whether or not she was going to live or die; the temperature was his secret, even the name of the complaint transpired only in dark hints. Standing by the bedside he would shake his head and purse his lips and consult his gold turnip-watch, so that you felt you were getting the benefit of a rare and esoteric wisdom.”
This is a quote from The Survivor, written back in 1940. It is in response to an excellent prognosis from a doctor. Except these folk refused to call him a doctor because he treated black people. However, the patient's family is happy that he has a beard, "because Mr. Fremlin thought well of beards in the learned professions."