Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

terrier, ten years old, had been ill, of them to my cost.” We cannot, and refused all food for three days therefore, give the many minute inOn the fourth he bit a cat, of dications of the disease, which have which he had been unusually fond; been given of the dog. The first he likewise bit three other dogs. stage seems to be one of sullenness, Mr Youatt was sent for, and found and this would probably last till the dog loose in the kitchen, which death, unless the animal were promade him hesitate about going in; voked. “It would not, except in but after observing for a minute or the paroxysm of rage, attack any two, he thought he might venture. one; but during that paroxysm it The animal had a peculiarly wild knows no fear, nor has its ferocity and eager look, and turned sharply any bounds." When a cat is sullen round at the least noise; after and retires into a corner, from which watching the flight of some imagi- it cannot be coaxed by words or food, nary object, he pursued with the it should be destroyed. Mr Youatt utmost fury every fly he saw. “He once went to see a cat in this condisearchingly sniffed about the room, tion. “It was nearly dark when I and examined my legs with an eager- went. I saw the horrible glare of ness that made me absolutely trem- her eyes, but I could not see as much ble. His quarrel with the cat had of her as I wished, and I said I been made up, and when he was not would call again in the morning. I otherwise employed, he was eagerly found the patient on the following licking her and her kittens. In day precisely in the same situation, the excess or derangement of his and the same attitude, crouched upin fondness he fairly rolled them from a corner, and ready to spring. I was one end of the kitchen to the other. very much interested in the case; and With difficulty I induced his mas- as I wanted to study the countenance ter to destroy him.”

of this demon-for she looked like There is a caution it would be one I was foolishly and inexcusably well to impress on thoughtless and imprudent. I went on my hands and brutal men, who seem incapable knees, and brought my face nearly of passing a sleeping dog without on a level with hers, and gazed on throwing a stone at it, or in some those glaring eyes, and that horrible way disturbing its slumbers. This countenance, until I seemed to feel wanton exercise of the love of power the deathly influence of a spell stealis not unfrequently punished by the ing over me. I was not afraid, but dog's violently attacking the offen- every mental and bodily power was der; and should the sleeping dog be in a manner suspended. My counrabid, the consequences may be fatal. tenance, perhaps, alarmed her, for Often after a course of some hours she sprang on me, fastened herself the exhausted mad dog retires into on my face, and bit through both a corner or a ditch, and will sleep my lips. She then darted down for many hours. How can the stairs, and was never seen again. I passer-by tell that the sleeping ani- have always nitrate of silver (caustic) mal is not rabid ?

in my pocket. I washed myself and Little is known respecting the applied the caustic with some severbehaviour of the rabid cat. “For- ity to the wound. My object was tunately for us," says Mr Youatt, attained, although at somewhat too “the disease does not often occur; much cost, for the expression of that for a mad cat is a truly ferocious brute's countenance will never be animal. I have seen two cases, one forgotten.”

VI.—THE POISON, AND ITS HISTORY.

It is quite unnecessary to detail here the mass of evidence which

supports the conclusion, that the saliva of the rabid animal occasions

the poison of rabies, and this only. The same is true of the serpent's Unlike the poison of smallpox, bite : fatal on the naked flesh, it is rabies is not communicable by con- generally harmless through the boot tagion, but only by inoculation or clothes. We must remember, howUnless it enter the system it is ever, that not only may the bite be powerless; once there, it works its rendered innocuous because the deadly way. Remember, therefore tooth may be wiped clean, but also that it is the saliva, not the bite, because the organism of the bitten which is dangerous, and you will man or animal may be such as to understand that it is as bad to be resist the poison. We know that licked by a rabid animal as to be there are human beings quite inbitten, if the part licked be a wound, susceptible of certain diseases, who or an open surface, or even a mucous pass unscathed through the severmembrane. A woman once died est trials. They take no contagion. from hydrophobia after having suf- They resist inoculation. And this fered a dog to lick a pimple on her seems to be true of the poison of chin. Horses are said to have died rabies. John Hunter says that he mad after eating hay upon which knewan instance in which, of twentyrabid pigs had died. Mr Gilman, one bitten persons, only one had hyin his pamphlet on Hydrophobia, drophobia. Nay, even the dog, which quotes the case of a man whose face seems so peculiarly liable to this diswas licked, while asleep, by a rabid ease, is not always susceptible; many dog ; and he died, although the escape after having been bitten. At strictest search failed to discover Charenton there was a dog which the smallest scratch upon the skin. seemed to have this immunity ; it On the other hand, Mr Youatt de- was contrived that he should be bitclares, and the experience of every ten by thirty different rabid dogs, veterinary surgeon will confirm it, yet he showed no symptom of having that no amount of saliva on the un- been affected. It is this frequent broken skin has the slightest effect. immunity which tends to keep up His own hands have been repeatedly the reputation of charlatans who covered with the foam of rabid dogs. pretend to have a remedy for the It is true that in the first of the disease. They can always cite excases we have quoted from Dr amples where the remedy has been Watson, the skin of the hand is taken, and the patient escaped. If said not to have been broken, yet the patient dies, it is because the unequivocal hydrophobia ensued. remedy was not taken in time, or There is, however, great doubt per- not properly managed. Now we missible here. It is also possible cannot too loudly protest against that, when the teeth of the terrier this notion of specific remedies, behad struck the coachman's hand, the cause, unhappily, the only possible pain may have caused him, by a preventive being one which is very common and almost automatic ac- painful, and still more alarming to tion, to raise his hand to his mouth. the ignorant-namely, cutting or This much is certain, that while burning out the bitten part-there nothing is easier than to inoculate is a natural tendency to shrink from an animal by introducing the saliva this, and to take refuge in the pleaof a rabid dog into a wound, no one santer specific. But now that chlohas been able to effect this by merely roform beneficently shields us from placing the saliva on the bare skin. the pain of operations, it would be

It is not, therefore, the mere bite madness to trust to anything short we have to regard. Many a man, of the surgeon's aid. and many an animal, has been bitten The poison, then, being thus clearby a rabid dog without harm. The ly ascertained, we must now follow woollen clothes, or the thick coat its course. It is deposited on or of the animal, had wiped the tooth near the surface, and there it reclean before it penetrated the flesh. mains for an indeterminate period. The wound heals, just as the wound disturbance. On the third day afterfrom a perfectly healthy dog would wards the quarrelsome hound was unheal. Days, weeks, and sometimes equivocally mad; and he died on the months, pass on without any indica- fifth. Hereupon the whole pack was tion of danger. The first sign is an separated, and watched. Six of the itching about the scar. This is call- dogs became rabid ; but at the foled the commencement of the recru- lowing different intervals from the descence. It is generally followed 8th of June-23 days, 56, 67, 88, by inflammation round the scar, with 155, and 183 days. The Comité Conpain, swelling, or numbness, spread- sultatif d'Hygiène Publique, in its ing towards the trunk. Soon after report on this subject, thus divides this the paroxysms begin. It is 147 cases : In 26 cases 1 month held by some eminent surgeons, that elapsed ; in 93 the period ranged supposing the bitten part had not between 1 and 3 months ; in 19 beoriginally been cut out, life might tween 3 and 6 months, and in 9 cases be saved if the excision were per- between 6 and 12. Romberg says formed immediately the period of that, of 60 cases, the shortest period recrudescence began. No precaution was fifteen days, and the longest of the kind should be avoided, and from 7 to 9 months; the average yet it is right to add that the symp- being from 4 to 7 weeks. toms of recrudescence may easily be What becomes of the poison all mistaken ; for Mr Youatt says, “I this time? Is it slowly propagating have been bitten much oftener than itself in the blood, or is it imprisoned I liked by rabid dogs, but proper in the wound or scar, remaining there means being taken, I have escaped; till the period of recrudescence, when and yet often, when I have been it is absorbed into the system? This over-fatigued or a little out of tem- is a question of high scientific interper, some of the old sores have est, and one also having a practical itched and throbbed, and actually interest of great importance. For become red and swollen."

it is obvious that if the poison lies The period that may elapse be- imprisoned and inoperative in the tween the bite and the outbreak of wound, it may be removed by exdisease is, as we have said, indeter- cision any time between the bite minate : the age, condition, and and the period of recrudescence ; if nature of the animal accelerate or not, every hour that elapses after retard it. The usual time is from the bite renders the remedy of exthree weeks to seven months. In cision less secure. The scientific the dog, Mr Youаtt has never seen question is one which we venture to a case of plain and palpable rabies think could be solved at any veteriwhich occurred in less than fourteen nary college by a competent experidays after the bite. In three months menter, who might rigorously dehe would consider the animal toler- termine, 1°, whether the poison were ably safe. In his own experience, contained in the saliva, as it is in he only knew two cases when the the venomous liquid of the viperperiod exceeded three months : in a poison therefore solely dependent one it was five, and in the other on the chemical composition of the seven months. How greatly the saliva itself; or, 2°, whether-as we period may vary, is evident from the are strongly disposed to believefollowing:-On the night of the 8th the poison is developed in the tissue June 1791 the man in charge of Lord itself by some chemical combination Fitzwilliam's kennel was much dis- with the saliva. Let the saliva of a turbed by fighting among the rabid dog be injected into a venous hounds, and got up several times to trunk. If in itself it is a poison, it quiet them. On each occasion he will act like every other poison : found the same dog quarrelling; at that is to say, it will lodge itself in last, therefore, he shut that dog up some particular organ, and forthwith by himself, and there was no further begin to trouble the functions of

that organ; or it will be rapidly cast of these causes Dr Hamilton estiout of the system altogether. No mates the chance of infection at 1 in poison remains in the blood. Those 25; John Hunter specifies his, 1 poisons which remain in the system case in 21; Mr Youаtt affirms that have specific and constant results in dogs three out of four, but in after definite periods. Here then human beings not more than one in we have a means of ascertaining four, would be affected. But the whether the saliva itself is the poison. researches of M. Renault at Alfort If this be proved not to be the case, are the most extensive. He says we shall be driven to the conclusion, that between the years 1827–37, no that the saliva of rabid animals, when less than 244 dogs entered the hosimprisoned in the living tissues, un pital having been bitten by dogs, dergoes some chemical change-pro- either rabid, or reputed so; all these bably from assimilating certain ele- dogs were kept over two months ments of the tissues—which devel- without any treatment whatever, ops the poisonous qualities,

and closely watched. Of this numAnd this, indeed, is the opinion ber only about a third (74) became which best accords with the pheno- mad; the rest showed no symptoms. mena, and which, until decisive ex. Of course we must deduct from this periment be brought to bear on the a large number of cases where the point, we must hold to be the only rabies was purely hypothetical to physiological explanation. In those begin with ; the popular notions of organisms which resist the influence what constitutes “mad-dog” being of rabies, we must suppose the far from accurate. The same must chemical conditions necessary for be said of Hertwig's tables, drawn the development of the poison are from the Berlin veterinary school. absent. In those cases where the He makes the proportion 1 in 8 of period of incubation has been un- dogs which have become rabid after usually short or unusually long, we having been brought to him under must suppose some acceleration or suspicion. In France, out of 99 perretardation of these chemical con- sons bitten by rabid animals only ditions, dependent on the general 41 were subsequently affected ; but, state of the organism.

as M. Renault observes, these figures In the absence of direct experi- are of little value. How many ment, however, it is of little avail to human beings have been bitten, and speculate as to the origin of the poi have escaped without surgical aid ? sonous qualities. Let, us therefore, There is no reliable evidence to pass on to a question of some in- guide us to an answer. All we can terest, inasmuch as it relates to the say is that M. Renault's conclusion, anxiety inevitably hovering over from an immense induction, is, that every dubious case. We mean, what only one-third of the bitten animals chance has the bitten man, oranimal, ever manifest rabies; and we are of escaping the disease, quite inde- warranted in drawing some such pendent of surgical aid? This is conclusion with respect to man. worth knowing, because minds of But because, on a calculation of an apprehensive disposition may chances, it is two to one that a man find some relief from their vague will suffer nothing from the bite fears that perhaps the surgical pre- of a rabid animal, this knowledge cautions have been insufficient, if should only be employed to allay they remember that, even without anxiety, never to warrant the risk. such precautions, the chance of in- The surgeon at once—that is the fection is but slight. There are two plain command in every suspicious sources of immunity: first, the organ- case. We have only mentioned ism may be insusceptible; second, what is the calculation of chances, the saliva may have been wiped off because it is desirable in every way the tooth of the dog before the flesh to calm the natural terrors of the was pierced. From one or the other patient : these terrors are sometimes

ILTERS

[ocr errors]

F

as dangerous as the actual infection. could never afterwards endure the To show how they may affect even sight of a rabid dog-nay more, he the mind most familiar with all the suffered inexpressible uneasiness if symptoms of the disease, and the the very name of the disease were certainty of surgical cure, we may mentioned in his hearing. One mention that the late M. Vatel, pro- day, in 1847, relates M. Renault, fessor at the Veterinary College of he was passing along the Boulevard Alfort, having once been bitten by Saint Martin, when he perceived a a dog, and having had the wound crowd ; on inquiry, he learned that carefully cauterised, although no a child had just been bitten by a symptom of rabies declared itself in mad dog. Forgetting-or conquerthe dog, and although M. Vatel him- ing his terrors, he jumped from his self remained perfectly well, so hor- carriage, pushed aside the crowd, rible had been the shock of his first took up the child in his arms (which terror that he never fairly overcame the crowd bad left sobbing on the it. From that moment it was im- ground, without venturing to its possible for him to see a dog un- assistance), and, carrying it to the chained within his reach without nearest chemist's shop, he there a painful uneasiness, which no effort thoroughly cauterised the many of his mind could subdue. Another wounds. After this he conducted veterinary surgeon, “ solidement the child to its parents, prescribed trempé au physique et au moral," what was to be done, and disappearM. Barthélemy, was one day bitten ed without giving his name.“ All by a mad dog under his care. In this time,” said his servant, “master spite of immediate cautery, he was as pale as death.”

ANOTHER MINISTER'S AUTOBIOGRAPHY.

CHARGES of literary imitations are been gathered to the dust the two more easily made than established. autobiographies are published, the The world of thought and fact is open one within a month or two of the to all men, and any two may take other. Of all the unreasonable the same path through it without charges of literary imitation that the one being either beholden to the ever have appeared before the world, other, or liable to be ordered off the it surely would seem the most prepremises by him. Nothing is more posterously unreasonable, that 'an likely than that the same conjunc- authentic autobiography of a man tion of events will set two men to several years in his grave having the same kind of literary task; and been published in the month of Dein the next place, nothing is more cember, and had a run of popularilikely than that, on its completion, ty, an imitation should be got up there will be some elements in com- in the shape of another long-demon in the two works. The author ceased clergyman's autobiography, who is first in hand is apt in such a and published two months aftercase to say, “That's mine;” but if wards. Still, nevertheless, anon and he do so, he will generally be wise notwithstanding, as old folks used to to keep his own counsel, for it will say, we are minded that the My own be difficult to prove the ownership; Life and Times by the Reverend and indeed from rash assertions of Thomas Somerville was written in this kind we have known deplor- imitation and rivalry of the Autoable results, what seemed last being biography of Carlyle. shown to have been first.

That any two authors professing Of two clergymen who have long to interest the general public should

My own Life and Times, 1741-1814. By Thomas SOMERVILLE, D.D. Edinburgh : Edmonston & Douglas. 1861.

« НазадПродовжити »