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preserved what is seldom long left in the constant presence of misery, an earnest sympathy for the affliction with which he has to deal; which sympathy however, though it may thicken his voice and even bring a dimness to his eye, when he relates to wife or friend some scene of pain or sorrow that he has witnessed, never touches eye, hand, or heart in the moment of duty, never shakes the composed firmness with which he discharges his task.) Over and over again is repeated in family life, as well as in literary history, the homage Béranger pays to le célèbre docteur Dubois, to whom “l'auteur de ces chansons ne peut témoigner trop de reconnaissance, et en qui les qualités du cœur égalent la science et l'étonnante habileté.”
Hardly a letter in the alphabet but would have a beloved physician's name to show. Abercrombie, unequalled by repute among the Scottish physicians of his day, and long to be remembered for his piety and benevolence. Armstrong, so
1 “He was idolised by the poor. . . . His skill could be but partially recognised by this class, but they could understand his never varying kindness, his respect for their households, for themselves, and even for their prejudices and superstitions.”
This is said of a country doctor, and certainly the surgeon may become, in spite of his steel instruments and caustics, beloved, even as, and equally with, the physician. A distinguished American M.D. combats the averment that the art of healing makes men hard hearted and indifferent to human suffering, though he is willing to own that there is often a professional hardness in surgeons, "just as there is in theologians." He owns too that it does not commonly improve the sympathies of a man to be in the habit of thrusting knives into his fellow creatures, and burning them with red hot irons ; owns even that a delicate nature will not commonly choose a pursuit which implies the habitual infliction of suffering, so readily as some gentler office. Yet while he is in the act of penning this concession, he sees passing by his window “a surgeon of skill and standing, so friendly, so modest, so tender hearted in all his ways, that if he had not approved himself at once adroit and firm one would have said he was of too kindly a mould to be the minister of pain, even if it were saving pain.” And Dr. Wendell Holmes is assured, and would have us quite sure, that some men, even among those who have chosen the task of pruning their fellow creatures, grow more and more thoughtful and truly compassionate in the midst of their cruel experiences ; become less nervous, but more sympathetic ; have a truer sensibility for others' pain, the more they study pain and disease in the light of science. Not these the men, like Wordsworth's intellectual all-in-all, to peep and botanise upon their mother's grave.
kind and attentive to his patients, and so amiable in private life; Babington, so widely and deeply lamented ; Baillie, whose generosity was only matched by the delicacy with which he exercised it; Brocklesby, the munificent dispenser of health and wealth, the friend and physician of Dr. Johnson, whom he attended to his death with unremitted affection and care. 1 But the A B C method will be too exhaustive, to the reader at least. Glance onwards then at Falconer, gratuitously prescribing for all the needy; and at the unwearied benevolence with which John Fothergill distributed the fruits of his labours, nearly a quarter of a million sterling, it is said ; well might he be one of the people called Friends; and the great world of outsiders, beside the little inner circle of Quakers, found that in him a friend in need was a friend indeed. John Gregory is another of the excellent of the earth, sweet blooded, large hearted. Moir has a name to live for extreme kindness and assiduity. Pringle won a whole army's love by his benign temper and his exemplary zeal. Benjamin Rush left as his last injunction to his son the precept he had himself so notably observed : “Be indulgent to the poor.” Sir Hans Sloane, during the thirty years he was physician to Christ's Hospital, never kept his salary, but expended it in charity. The German Wedel was renowned for his kindness to the poor, to whom again Tronchin devoted two precious hours each day, and by whom Willan was emphatically beloved. The last letter in the alphabet, so many in which we have had to skip, is worthily represented in Zimmermann, whose cheery kindness in managing his patients wrought wonders for them and for him.
The obligations of literature, testifies Mr. Robert Bell, to the enlightened sympathy and consoling friendship of the medical profession, are interwoven with every page of its history. Between no two professions, another man of letters affirms, has a more liberal and cordial intimacy been maintained than between
1 Towards the close of Johnson's life, when it was supposed that his circumstances were not quite easy, Dr. Brocklesby generously pressed him, says Croker, to accept an annuity of one hundred pounds.
literature and medicine. Theocritus addresses to his friend Nicias his story of Polyphemus, which Leigh Hunt recognises as the earliest evidence of “that particular personal regard for the medical profession, which is so observable in the history of men of letters; for Nicias was a physician.” “At once physician, and beloved by all the Nine."]
Familiar to general readers is Dryden's record of his obligations to Gibbons and Hobbs, to which individual tribute the wider acknowledgment is added : “The whole faculty has always been ready to oblige me.”
Pope's apostrophe to Arbuthnot is a classical commonplace :
“Friend of my life! (which did not you prolong,
The world had wanted many an idle song.)” And further on, where he speaks of the muse as helping him through that long disease, his life,
" To second, Arbuthnot, thy art and care,
And teach the being you preserved to bear.”
1 Scarcely a book of Mr. Leigh Hunt's, and the books he wrote were many, but contains some utterance of fervid acknowledgment to the faculty. Referring to Dr. Brocklesby, he says in one of his chatty travels about town: “Physicians of this class may, par excellence, be styled the friends of men of letters. They partake of their accomplishments, understand their infirmities, sympathise with their zeal to do good, and prolong their lives by the most delicate and disinterested attentions.” In his Feast of the Violets he appends a footnote to the line which records Apollo's recognition of certain then living M.D.'s: “ To Knighton, Smith, Elliotson, specially nodded,” to pay homage to the middle name of the three in particular. And in another poem he hails him by name as
" — Southwood Smith, physician of mankind,
Bringer of light and air to the rich poor
Of the next age;” while in a letter penned in the first gush of affliction at the death of his wife, the same author addresses the same physician as “ Dear, very dear doctor,-her and my most kind friend, and prolonger of her existence...For what did you not do for her, and for so many years ? Come from a distance to her at any call, and through all obstacles ; deliver her from racking pains ; strengthen her through long tranquil intervals to bear more ; : .. do all which skill and zeal could possibly do for her at the last ; and all this with the wonted beautiful liberality of your profession to literature out of suits with fortune. Well might she think of you as she did, and you know what that was.”— Letters of Leigh Hunt, ii. 277.
What though Cowper, in satirical mood—and Cowper was a master of refined satire-talks of doctors lengthening out, not the life, but the disease ? he is prompt to make that very charge the occasion of affectionate homage to his own beloved physician, the kind and judicious Cotton, to whose intelligent and loving care he owed his recovery, under God, to sanity of body and mind :
“ Perhaps a grave physician, gathering fees,
Punctually paid for lengthening out disease ;
That make superior skill his second praise.” Arbuthnot had Swift to thank him in metre, as well as Pope, -short metre, Swift's, as the manner of the man was. It is where he writes in sickness from Ireland in 1714, and gloomily broods on his isolation and friendlessness, even anticipating that “those with whom I now converse, without a tear will tend my hearse.
“Removed from kind Arbuthnot's aid,
Before his credit or his fee.” Fielding commemorates in his masterpiece that “sergeantsurgeon to the king," who “had the first character in his profession ”—“a very generous, good natured man, and ready to do any service to his fellow creatures.” Richardson, in his masterpiece, makes one of his characters, a satirical man of the world too, pay fervent homage to a “most indulgent and humane physician,"—till he met with whom he professes to have ever “ held it for gospel” that friendship and physician were incompatible things; little imagining that a man of medicine, when he had once given over his patient to death, would think of any visits but those of ceremony, that he “might stand well with the family, against it came to their turns to go through his turnpike.” Lady Mary Wortley Montagu is enthusiastic in her correspondence, on the subject of a kind doctor, unnamed, (but “ the seventh doctor of his family, in a direct line,”) whom she describes as no less regular in his attendance on the poorest peasant, from whom he can never receive one farthing, than on the richest of the nobility ; and who, “whenever he is wanted, will climb three or four miles on the mountains, in the hottest sun, or heaviest rain, where a horse cannot go, to arrive at a cottage, where, if their condition requires it, he not only gives them advice and medicines gratis, but bread, wine, and whatever is needful.”l Rousseau pays special footnote honour to Parisot, the Lyons surgeon, as a tender and generous friend, never to be forgotten by those who, like Jean Jacques himself, had been honoré de ses bienfaits. The éloges on Vicq d'Azyr fully vindicate his claim to have had what the Duc de Levis, in a piquant chapter on the French doctors in vogue a century ago, calls an indispensable requisite in a great physician,-namely un cæur sensible. Eminently distinguished in this respect was that Dr. Mead of whom Theodore Hook says that his income might have been so much larger, had he not, upon every occasion when “by a benevolent curiosity” he discovered the slenderness of a patient's means, forborne to accept the fees that could ill be spared. “In his manners mild and soothing, in his conversation unaffected and intelligent, his study appeared to be to 'minister to the mind diseased,' as well as to the body;" and his approach to the sick room is said to have been hailed by the watchful invalid rather as a relief from pain and suffering in itself, than as the mere business visit of a professional man, coming in the ordinary routine of duty to inquire and prescribe.
Dr. Veron bears witness to Recamier, one of the most celebrated teachers of modern times, as remarkable for his goodness of heart and his charity. Visiting an old woman, for instance, to whose garret he had to toil his long way upwards, arriving tired and out of breath, he soon silenced her apologetic outburst in respect of her altitude, to which her poverty, not
1 " There never passes a week without one or more of these expeditions. His last visit is generally to me. I often see him as dirty and tired as a footpost, having eaten nothing all day but a roll or two that he carries in his pocket, yet blessed with such a perpetual flow of spirits he is always gay to a degree above cheerfulness.”—Lady M. W. Montagu to the Countess of Bute (from Louvere), June 23, 1752.