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inclined to gabble on in that strain length I found myself knocking at for-some minutes longer. “ What's my friend's door, fully prepared for the matter with your master, sirrah, some specimen of amusing ecceneh?" I inquired, jerking his strip- tricity-for the thought now crossed ed morning jacket.
my mind, that he might be really ill. “Oh, Docta! Docta ! Com-a- Nambo instantly answered my sumMassa den bad! Him say so ! mons, and, in a twinkling, conductHim head turned ! Him head turn- ed me to his mas bed-room, ed "
It was partially darkened, but there « Him what, sirrah ?” said I, in was light enough for me to discern amazement.
that there was nothing unusual in “ Him head turned, Docta—him his appearance.
The bed was head turned,” replied the man, much tossed, to be sure, as if with slapping his fingers against his the restlessness of the recumbent, forehead.
who lay on his back, with his head Oh, I see how it is, I see ; ah, turned on one side, and buried deep yes,”' I replied, pointing to my fore- in the pillow, and his arms folded head in turn, wishing him to see together outside the counterpane. that I understood him to say his His features certainly wore an air master had been seized with a fit of of exhaustion and dejection, and his insanity.
eye settled on me with an alarmed “ Iss, iss, Docta—him Massa expression from the moment that he head turned-him head turned ! ” perceived my entrance.
“ Where is Mr. N-Nambo, “Oh, dear doctor !-Isn't this eh ? »
frightful -Isn't it a dreadful piece “ Him lying all 'long in him bed, of business ?” Massa. But him 'tickler quiet “Frightful!-dreadful business!" him head turned.
I repeated, with much surprise, I felt as much at a loss 28 " What is frightful ? Are you illever ; it was so odd for a gentle- have you had an accident, eh?” man to acknowledge to his negro “Ah-ah !-you may well ask servant that his head was turned. that !” he replied ; adding, after a “ Ah!” he's gone mad you pause,
“ it took place this morning mean, eh-is that it ? Hem! Mad about two hours ago ! -is it so ?” said I, pointing, with “ You speak in parables, Mr, a wink, to my forehead. “No, no, N! Why, what in the world doctor — him head turned !- him is the matter with you ?” kead," replied Nambo; and raising “ About two hours ago-yes,". both his hands to his head, he seem- he muttered, as if he had not heard ed trying to twist it round! I could me. “ Doctor, do tell me truly now, make nothing of his gesticulations, for the curiosity of the thing, what so I dismissed him, telling him to did you think of me on first entertake word, that I should make his ing the room ? - Eh? - Feel inmaster's my first call. I may as clined to laugh, or be shocked well say, that I was on terms of which ?" friendly familiarity with Mr. N “ Mr. N I really have no and puzzled myself all the way I time for trifling, as I am particularly went, with attempting to conjecture busy to-day. Do, I beg, be a little what new crotchet he had taken into more explicit! Why have you sent his odd--and, latterly, I began to for me? - What is the matter with suspect, half-addled — head. He you ?" had never disclosed symptoms of “Why, God bless me, doctor!" what is generally understood by the he replied, with an air of angry surword hypochondriasis ; but I often prise in his manner which I never thought there was not a likelier saw before, “ I think, indeed, it's subject in the world for it. At you who are trifling! Have you
66 Once more,
lost your eye-sight this morning ? adopt an expression which I several Do you pretend to say you do not times heard him use_" I saw what see I have undergone one of the o'clock it was, and set my watch to most extraordinary alterations in the time.” appearance, that the body of man “Oh-well !-) now how is capable of such as never was matters stand !—The fact is, I did heard or read of before ?"
observe the extraordinary postare Mr. N—," I re- of affairs you complain of—immepeated, in a tone of calm astonish- diately after I entered the roomment, “be so good as to be expli- but supposed you were joking with cit. What are you raving about ?” me, and twisting your head round
“Raving !-Egad, I think it's in that odd way for the purpose of you who are raving, doctor !” he hoaxing me ; so I resolved to wait answered l; or you must wish to and see which of us could play our insult me! Do you pretend to tell parts in the farce longest Why, me you do not see that my head is good God! how's all this, Mr. turned ?”—and he looked me in the N ?-Is it then really the case? face steadily and sternly.
-Are you-in-in earnest-in hay“Ha-ha-ha!-Upon my ho- ing your head turned ? "_" In ear. nor, N-, I've been suspecting nest, doctor !” replied Mr. N-, as much for this last five or ten in amazement. “Why, do you minutes ! I don't think a patient suppose this happened by my own ever described his disease more will and agency ? — Absurd!”accurately before !"
“Oh, no, no-most assuredly not" Don't mock me, Doctor it is a phenomenon-hem! hem!replied NS sternly. “By G-, a phenomenon - not unfrequently I can't bear it! It's enough for me attending on the nightmare," I anto endure the horrid sensations I swered, with as good a grace as do !!
possible. “ Mr. N-, what do you” “ Pho, pho, doctor !-Nonsense!
Why, Doctor - ! you'll drive - You must really think me a child, me mad-Can't you see that the to try to mislead me with such stuff back of my head is in front, and my as that! I tell you again I am in as face looking backwards ? Horri- sober possession of my senses as ble !" I burst into loud laughter. ever I was in my life ; and, once
" Doctor it's time for you more, I assure you, that, in truth and me to part-high time,” said and reality, my head is turned he, turning his face away from me. literally so.” “ I'll let you know that I'll stand Well, well !-So I see !-It is, your nonsense no longer! I called indeed, a very extraordinary caseyou in to give me your advice, not a very unusual one ; but I don't, to sit grinning like a baboon, by by any means, despair of bringing my bedside ! Once more,-finally: all things round again !- Pray teli Doctor, are you disposed to be me how this singular and afficting serious and rational ? If you are accident happened to you ? " not, my man shall show you to the Certainly,” said he, desponddoor the moment you please.” He ingly. “ Last night, or rather this said this in such a sober earnest morning, I dreamed that I had got tone of indignation, that I saw he to the West Indies—to Barbadoes, was fully prepared to carry his an island where I have, as you threat into execution. I determined, know, a little estate left me by my therefore, to humor him a little, uncle, C; and that, a few moshrewdly suspecting some tempo- ments after I had entered the planrary suspension of his sanity-not tation, for the purpose of seeing the exactly madness—but at least some slaves at work, there came a sudden extraordinary hallucination. To hurrioane, a more tremendous one
than ever was known in those parts; “Oh, God be praised !-Dear - trees - canes - huts all were dear doctor !-if you do but sucswept before it! Even the very ceed, I shall consider a thousand ground on which we stood seemed pounds but the earnest of what I whirled away beneath us! I turned will do to evince my gratitude !” my head a moment to look at the he exclaimed, squeezing my hand direction in which things were go- fervently. “ But I am not absoing, when, in the very act of turn- lutely certain that we shall succeed," ing, the blast suddenly caught my said I cautiously. “We will, howehead, and—oh, my God !--blew it ver, give the medicine a twentycompletely round on my shoulders, four hours' trial ; during all which till my face looked quite—directly time you must be in perfect repose, behind me-over my back! In vain and consent to lie in utter darkness. did I almost wrench my head off my Will you abide by my directions ?” shoulders, in attempting to twist it Oh, yes — yes — yes ! dear round again ; and what with hor- doctor !-What is the inestimable ror, and — and altogether - in remedy ? Tell me-tell me the short, I awoke - and found the name of my ransomer.
I'll never frightful reality of my situation ! divulge it-never !” Oh, gracious Heaven !” continued “ That is not consistent with my Mr. N-, clasping his hands, and plans, at present, Mr. N-"Í looking upwards, what have I replied, seriously'; “but, if sucdone to deserve such a horrible cessful of which I own I have visitation as this?"
very sanguine expectations - I Humph! it is quite clear what is pledge my honor to reveal the sethe matter here, thought I ; so as- cret to you.” “Well-but-at least suming an air of becoming profes- you'll explain the nature of its opesional gravity, I felt his pulse, beg- ration-eh? Is it internal-exterged him to let me see his tongue, nal—what ?” The remedy, I told made many inquiries about his him, would be of both forms; the general health, and then proceeded latter, however, the more immedito subject all parts of his neck to a ate agent of his recovery ; the most rigorous examination ; before, former, preparatory-predisposing. behind, on each side, over every I may tell the reader simply what natural elevation and depression, my physic was to be : three breadif such the usual varieties of surface pills (the ordinary placebo in such may be termed, did my fingers pass; cases) every hour ; a strong lauhe, all the while, sighing, and curs. danum draught in the evening; and ing his evil stars, and wondering a huge bread-and-water poultice for how it was that he had not been his neck, with which it was to be killed by the “ dislocation !” This environed till the parts were suffilittle farce over, I continued silent ciently mollified to admit of the neck's for some moments, scarcely able, being twisted back again into its the while, to control my inclination former position ; and, when that to burst into fits of laughter, as if was the case -why-to ensure its pondering the possibility of being permanency, he was to wear a broad able to devise some means of cure. band of strengthening plaster for a
“Ah,—thank God I have it, week !! This was the bright de. I have it”.
vice, struck out by me
mail at a “ What !-what-eh? - what is heat; and, explained to the poor it?"
victim with the utmost solemnity “I've thought of a remedy, which, and deliberation of manner-all the if-if-if anything in the world can wise winks and knowing nods, and bring it about, will set matters right hesitating “hems” and “has” of again-will bring back your head to professional usage-sufficed to inits former position."
spire him with some confidence as
to the results. I confess I shared -he” he chuckled, in a sort of the most confident expectations of sotto voce, “him massa head turned ! success. A sound night's rest— -him back in front ! him waddle ! hourly pill-taking--and the clammy -he-he-he!”-and he twitched saturating sensation round about his clothes-jerking his jacket, and his neck, I fully believed would pointing to his breeches, in a way bring him round :—and, in the full that I did not understand. On enanticipation of seeing him disabus- tering the room where N—, with ed of the ridiculous notion he had one of his favorite silent smoking taken into his head, I promised to friends, (M—the late wellsee him the first thing in the morn- known counsel,) were sitting at ing, and took my departure. · After breakfast, I encountered a spectaquitting the house, I could not help cle which nearly made me expire laughing immoderately at the re- with laughter. It is almost useless collection of the scene I had just to attempt describing it on paperwitnessed ; and Mrs. M who yet I will try. Two gentlemen sat happened to be passing on the opposite each other at the breakfast other side of the street, and observ- table, by the fire : the one with his ed my involuntary risibility, took face to me was Mr. M-; and occasion to spread an ill-natured N- sat with his back towards rumor, that I was in the habit of the door by which I entered. A making myself merry at the expense glance at the former sufficed to of my patients !”– I foresaw, that show me, that he was sitting in should this “crick in the neck” tortures of suppressed risibility. He prove permanent, I stood a chance of was quite red in the face—his fealistening to innumerable conceits of tures were swelled and puffy-and the most whimsical and paradoxical his eyes fixed strainingly on the kind imaginable for I knew fire, as though in fear of encounN-'s natural turn to humor. tering the ludicrous figure of his It was inconceivable to me how friend. They were averted from such an extraordinary delusion could the fire, for a moment, to welcome bear the blush of daylight, resist my entrance—and then re-directed the evidence of his senses, and the thither with such a painful effortunanimous simultaneous assurances such a comical air of compulsory of all who beheld him. Though it seriousness--as, added to the preis little credit to me, and tells but posterous fashion after which poor small things for my self-control, I N— had chosen to dress himself cannot help acknowledging, that -completely overcame me. The at the bedside of my next patient, thing was irresistible ; and my utwho was within two or three hours terance of that peculiar choking other end, the surpassing absurdity sound, which indicates the most of the “turned head” notions glar- strenuous efforts to suppress one's ed in such ludicrous extremes be- risible emotions, was the unwitting fore me, that I was nearly bursting signal for each of us bursting into a a blood-vessel with endeavors to long and loud shout of laughter, suppress a perfect peal of laughter! It was in vain that I bit my under
About eleven o'clock the next lip almost till it brought blood, and morning, I paid N a second that my eyes strained till the sparks visit.
The door was opened as flasbed from them, in the vain atusual by his black servant, Nambo ; tempt to cease laughing ; in full by whose demeanor I saw that before me sate the exciting cause of something or other extraordinary it, in the shape of N-, his head awaited me. His sable swollen supported by the palm of his left features, and dancing white eye- hand, with his elbow propped against balls, showed that he was nearly the side of the arm-chair. The bursting with laughter. “He-he knot of his neck-kerchief was fied,
with its customary formal precision, tested that the laws of locomotion back at the nape of his neck; his were utterly inexplicable to him coat and waistcoat were buttoned a practical paradox ; that his volidown his back ;-and his trowsers, tions as to progressive and retromoreover, to match the novel fash- gressive motion neutralized each ion, buttoned behind, and, of course, other; and the necessary result the hinder parts of them
bulged out was, a cursed circumgyratory moridiculously in front !—Only to look tion--for all the world like that of a at the coat-collar fitting under his hen that had lost one of its wings ! chin, like a stiff military stock—the That henceforward he should be four tail buttons of brass glistening compelled to crawl, crab-like, conspicuously before, and the front through life, all ways at once, and parts of the coat buttoned carefully none in particular. He could not over his back-the compulsory han- conceive, he said, which was the diwork of poor Nambo!
nearest way from one given point to N-perfectly astounded at our another ; in short, that all his sensuccessive shouts of laughter-forsations and perceptions were disorwe found it impossible to stop- dered and confounded. His situasuddenly rose up in his chair, and, tion, he said, was an admirable comalmost inarticulate with fury, de- mentary on the words of St. Paul-, manded what we meant by such ex “ But I see another law in my traordinary behavior. This fury, members warring against the law of however, was all lost on me; I my mind.” He could not conceive could only point, in an ecstacy of how the arteries and veins of the laughter, almost bordering on fren- neck could carry and return the zy, to his novel mode of dress-as blood, after being so shockingly my apology. He stamped his foot, twisted—or “how the wind-pipe uttered volleys of imprecations went in,” affording a free course to against us, and then ringing his the air through its distorted passage. bell, ordered the servant to show us In short, he said, he was a walking both to the door. The most violent lie! Curious to ascertain the cone emotions, however, must in time sistency of this anomalous state of expend their violence, though in the feeling, I endeavored once more to presence of the same exciting cause; bring his delusion to the test of and so it was with Mr. M and simple sensation, by placing one myself. On seeing how seriously hand on his nose, and the other on affronted N-was, we both sat his breast, and asking him which down, and I entered into examina- was which, and whether both did tion, my whole frame aching with not lie in the same direction. He the prolonged convulsive fits of irre- wished to know why I persisted in pressible laughter.
making myself merry at his expense. It would be in vain to attempt a I repeated the question, still keeprecital of one of the drollest conver- ing my hands in the same position ; sations in which I ever bore part. but he suddenly pushed them off, N—'s temper was thoroughly and asked me, with indignation, if I soured for some time. He declared was not ashamed to keep his head that my physic was all a humbug, looking over his shoulder in that and a piece of quackery ; and the way - accompanying the words “d-d pudding round his neck," with a shake of the head, and a sigh the absurdest farce he ever heard of exhaustion, as if it had really of; he had a great mind to make been twisted round into the wrong Nambo eat it, for the pains he had direction. “ Ah!” he exclaimed, taken in making it, and fastening it after a pause, “ if this unnatural on-poor fellow !
state of affairs should prove permaPresently he lapsed into a me- nent—hem !—I'll put an end to the lancholy reflective mood. He pro- chapter ! He-he-he! He-he