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her will, consented. “True,” said the doctor ; " it is very high ; worth at least ten francs"; taking which sum out of his pocket, he made it over to the deprecating old dame. He is alleged to have given away the tenth of his receipts to his patients.
But enough of exemplification, however exemplary. A word or two however, in conclusion, on the practical truism that very many a patient who is most impatient of medical aid till peril encompasses him is then most eager for it. The doctor summoned in haste, post haste, and appealed to by piteous looks as well as earnest words, when perhaps too late, might deliver himself in the style of Shakspeare's repudiating prince,
“Why do you bend such solemn brows on me?
Think you I bear the sheers of destiny?
Have I commandment on the pulse of life?" La Bruyère derides those who deride the faculty, as themselves furnishing the means by which the faculty flourishes. “Les railleurs eux-mêmes fournissent l'argent. Tant que les hommes pourront mourir, et qu'ils aimeront à vivre, le médecin sera raillé et bien payé.” When Tickler, in the Noctes Ambrosiana, ridicules the portentous gravity of the doctors, when preparing to prescribe for your inside, of which the chance is that they know no more than of the interior of Africa,—“And yet, and yet, my dear Tickler," interposes Christopher North, “when old fellows like us are out of sorts, then, like sinners with saints, we trust to the sovereign efficacy of their aid, and feel as if they stood between us and death.” 1
In the same
1 It is not only for the sick man, says Mr. Thackeray, it is for the sick man's friends that the doctor comes: his presence is often as good for them as for the patient, and they long for him yet more eagerly. “Over the patient in a fever, the wife expectant, the children unconscious, the doctor stands as if he were Fate, the dispenser of life and death; he must let the patient off this time, the woman prays so for his respite!” And the author of Pendennis can readily fancy, and eloquently he gives language to the fancy, how awful the responsibility must be to a conscientious man: how cruel the feeling that he has given the wrong remedy, or that it might have been possible to do better : how harassing the sympathy with survivors, if the case has a bad ending-how immense, on the other hand, the delight of victory. The Dr. Goodenough of Pendennis is no fancy sketch.
stanza in which Byron jests about the way in which physicians end or mend us, secundum artem, he adds a but,
although we sneer
Without the least propensity to jeer:
To be filled up by spade or mattock,'s near,
We tease mild Baillie, or soft Abernethy.”, M. Frédéric Soulié avows that twice in his life had the doctors saved it for him, saved as it were by the skin of his teeth ; yet can he not resist a sally at their expense as soon as ever he is well. “Deux fois en ma vie la médecine empressée et savante m’a arraché à la mort qui me tenait par le bout du doigt. Et voyez cependant comme la nature humaine est mauvaise. A peine arrive-t-il que je me porte bien, que voilà que je taquine rnédecin et médecine, que je m'ingénie à les trouver en défaut. Et Dieu sait que je m'en moquerais impitoyablement si j'avais un tant soit peu du génie de Molière ou de Lesage.” Even Molière's Malade imaginaire has some reason on his unreasonable side when he warns a lusty kinsman that dans la maladie, tout le monde (lusty kinsman included) a recours aux médecins. In a later scene, says Argan sententiously, "Il est aisé de parler contre la médecine, quand on est en pleine santé": an apophthegm shrewdly versified, hardly diversified, in Crabbe's couplet :
“When men in health against physicians rail,
They should consider that their nerves may fail.” Molière's Lisette is warned by M. Tomès, “ Ecoutez, vous faites la railleuse ; mais vous passerez par nos mains quelque jour." Lisette's retort is, "Je vous permets de me tuer lorsque j'ai recours à vous.” Methinks the lady doth protest too much; unless, indeed, the vous be meant as an insult to the person addressed, not a comprehensive defiance of the cutting, slashing, and poisoning profession at large.
When Enıily Brontè lay a dying, she persistently declared, until the very last, that “no poisoning doctor" should come
Her resolution relaxed but when it was too late. The morning of her last day upon earth was nearing noon, and Emily was worse, and could now only whisper in gasps. And “now, when it was too late, she said to Charlotte, ' If you will send for a doctor, I will see him now.' About two o'clock she died.”
Savillon, in Mackenzie's tale, records of his moribund uncle, in a confidential letter : “I have sent for a physician, without letting him know; for it was another effect of his good constitution to hold the faculty in contempt. At present, I am sure he will thank me in his heart for my precaution.” The squire in Silas Marner is described as regarding physic and doctors as many loyal churchmen regard the church and the clergy-tasting a joke against them when he was in health, but impatiently eager for their aid when anything was the matter with him.
When Colonel Newcome has made an innocent little jest at the expense of a fashionable doctor, the simple-hearted old soldier, thinking the joke too severe upon Sir Danby and the profession, forthwith apologises by narrating many incidents he knew to the credit of surgeons. How, when the fever broke out on board the ship going to India, their surgeon devoted himself to the safety of the crew, and died himself, leaving directions for the treatment of the patients when he was gone; and again, what heroism the doctors showed during the cholera in India, and what courage he had seen some of them exhibit in action, attending the wounded men under the hottest fire, and exposing themselves as readily as the bravest troops. “What chaplets are woven for men of slaughter," exclaims the historian of a feather, who by preference elects to venerate “ the race of Lintleys, the men who, like minor deities, walk the earth, and in the homes of poverty, where sickness falls with doubly heavy hand, fight the disease beside the poor man's bed, their only fee the blessing of the poor, Mars may have his planet, but give me what in the spirit of the old mythology might be made a star in heaven, the night lamp of apothecary Lintley." Mr. Dickens, in one of his later
books, sketches as “physician, a composed man, who performed neither on his own trumpet nor on the trumpets of other people. Many wonderful things did he see and hear, and much irreconcilable moral contradiction did he pass his life among; yet his equality of compassion was no more disturbed than the Divine Master's of all healing was. He went, like the rain, among the just and unjust, doing all the good he could, and neither proclaiming it in the synagogues nor at the corners of streets.” Hippocrates speaks of four qualities as indispensable in every good physician-learning, sagacity, humanity, and probity. Dr. John Brown claims for Sydenham the dignity of furnishing in himself an exemplar of these qualifications to the full; his personality giving a constant charm to everything he writes, so genially and congenially is the warmth of his large, humane, practical nature felt throughout. To Sydenham is accorded the distinction of having possessed, in rare acuteness, that sense of the value of what was at stake, and that gentleness and compassion for his suffering fellow men, without which, affirms his like minded critic and fellow labourer, no man, be his intellect ever so transcendent, his learning ever so vast, his industry ever so accurate and inappeasable, need hope to be a great physician.” Quite another John Brown-but the John Browns are so many—is he to an edition of whose works Dr. Beddoes, of Bristol, prefixed an essay wherein occurs a classification of physicians, according to the Linnæan method, as the “canting doctor,” the "wheedling doctor," the “Adonis doctor," and the “bully quack doctor.” The author of Biographia Borealis is for adding to the list the Quaker philanthropist doctor ; such a one as John Fothergill, who rather lives in the gratitude of mankind for the good that he did than in the archives of science for the facts he discovered, the phenomena he explained, or the theories he constructed. In Hartley Coleridge's classification of the faculty, the fourth place is assigned to "the philanthropists, to whom knowledge is only a secondary object, valued as it is the means of abating pain and preserving life-correlative to those Christian teachers and pastors who are animated with the true
and faithful love of souls.”1 Seeing much of that distress which would fain hide itself, and which should therefore be relieved in secret, they perform, he says, “ many good deeds which others do not, not from disinclination to well doing, but because the occasions do not cross their paths.” But few indeed, it is (in Fothergill's favour) contended, are those who will, like him, hunt misery out of its lurking places into the light of consolation. And then Fothergill “was not only beneficent; he was munificent." The alleged expenditure, previously mentioned, of his vast earnings, warrants the dual epithet to the full.
The lines that follow, if not in his most vigorous, are in Crabbe's most feeling, style ; and Crabbe himself, be it remembered, had been doctor before he turned divine, though doctor of divinity he never became. Among his whilom brethren of the art of healing he recognises, as worthy of all recognition,
“Men who suppress their feelings, but who feel
The painful symptoms they delight to heal;
* Just as the medical loungers are said to be correlative to “ the gentlemen in orders, and the drudging curates, ,-a very unprofitable race when gentlemen, a very unhappy and mischievous one when otherwise”; while the doctors who pursue their trade eagerly and diligently for money or advancement are said to correspond to the preferment hunters of the Church, and the popular preachers and Tartuffes of all denominations; the votaries of medical science again having their analogue in the class of speculative theologians, and students of religious learning.