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having been of service to others conveys a feeling which only Shake. speare can express : 'It comes over the heart as soft music does over
· Like the sweet south
That breathes upon a bank of violets.'' Even considered in that point of view in which alone these volumes inspire interest, that is, as a collection of curious and entertaining anecdotes, we cannot bestow upon them unqualified praise. That the author bas read many books, consulted a great number of authorities, and brought together a great quantity of information, we readily admit, but it is equally evident that he has not taken time to select, digest, and compress what is said. Even in the anecdotes there is little attempt to separate what is apocryphal or traditional, from what is matter of authentic history; in one case we observe that the very same anecdote is told of two individuals, namely of Abernethy and Sir Richard Jebb; while the most thread-bare and oft-repeated stories, instead of being merely adverted to as well known to every body, are related with as much circumstantiality and diffuseness as if they were now given to the public for the first time. We will not be, however, so ungrateful as to deny that, considered as a collection of anecdotes and personal incidents, the volumes have afforded
some entertainment, and if these portions of them had been compressed and published in one volume of moderate size, we think we might have predicted for it a considerable sale.
Having spoken so fully and so freely of our author's faultsthough neither more freely nor more fully than our convictions of what is due to critical honesty force us to do - we think it but just to furnish our readers with a few specimens of the more amusing matters which he has collected togother.
In our selection of anecdotes we shall choose not always those which are the most amusing, as these have been often related before, but those which are the least hackneyed. Take the following of the celebrated Dr. Mead.
• Mead dabbled considerably in the stocks. One day prior to his visiting his patients, he received intelligence that the stocks had suddenly fallen. At this moment he was sent for, in a great hurry, to visit a lady who was represented to be very ill. Having considerable property in the funds, the news made so strong an impression upon his mind, that, whilst he was feeling the patient's pulse, he exclaimed, • Mercy upon me, how they fall ! lower! lower ! lower!' The lady, in alarm flew to the bell, crying out, 'I am dying! Dr. Mead says, my pulse gets lower and lower; so that it is impossible I should live!'
You are dreaming, Madam,' replied the physician, rousing himself from his reverie, Your pulse is very good, and nothing ails you : it was the stocks I was talking of.''-Vol. ii. pp. 15, 16.
* Mead calling one day on a gentleman who had been severely afflicted with the gout, found, to his surprise, the disease gone, and the patient rejoicing on his recovery over a bottle of wine. • Come along, doctor,' exclaimed the patient, ‘you are just in time to taste this bottle of Madeira ; it is the first of a pipe which has just been broached.' • Ah!' replied Mead, 'these pipes of Madeira will never do; they are the cause of all your suffering. Well, then,' rejoined the
gay incurable, 'fill your glass, for now we have found out the cause, the sooner we get rid of it the better.''--Ib.
18. The next shall be of the late Dr. Baillie, one of the royal physicians. The last anecdote is beautiful.
'During Baillie's latter years, when he had retired from all but consultation practice, and had ample time to attend to each individual case, he was very deliberate, tolerant, and willing to listen to whatever was said to him by the patient; but, at an earlier period, in the hurry of great business, when his day's work, as he used to say, amounted to sixteen hours, he was sometimes rather irritable, and betrayed a want of temper in hearing the tiresome details of an unimportant story. After listening, with torture, to a pressing account from a lady, who ailed so little that she was going to the opera that evening, he had happily escaped from the room, when he was urgently requested to step up stairs again ; it was to ask whether, on her return from the opera, she might eat some oysters. · Yes, Madam,' said Baillie, 'shells and all.”-Ib. pp. 41, 42.
Notwithstanding Dr. Baillie's general amiability of character, the multiplicity of his professional concerns would often betray him into an irritability of temper. He frequently came home, after a day of great fatigue, and held up his hands to his family circle, eager to welcome him home, saying, Don't speak to me;' and then, presently, after a glass of wine, and when the transitory cloud had cleared away from his brow, with a smile of affection, he would look round him, and exclaim, * You may speak to me now.”-Ib.
43. The following retort of the eccentric Dr. Mounsey is pretty good.
We are afraid of you, doctor, you come from a sick-room,' exclaimed the petit maitre. You often make me sick,' replied Mounsey, ' but never afraid."'-Vol. i. p. 57.
The anecdotes told of the eccentric Dr. Radcliffe and the equally eccentric John Abernethy, have been for the most part retailed a thousand times. The following story of the latter is, however, not quite so hackneyed as some others.
Of Mr. Abernethy's independence, and strict regard to what is right, we have many examples. Among others, the following is characteristic. A certain noble personage, who at that time enjoyed a situation of great responsibility in the sister kingdom, had been waiting
for some time in the surgeon's anteroom, when seeing those who had arrived before him, successively called in, he became somewhat impatient, and sent his card in. No notice was taken of the hint ; he sent another card-another-another—and another; still no answer. At length he gained admission in his turn ! and full of nobility and choler, he asked rather aristocratically, why he had been kept waiting so long? •Wh—ew?' replied the professor, because you did not come sooner, to be sure.''- Ib.
The following of Garth are not bad.
Garth, one Sunday, stumbled into a Presbyterian church, to beguile a few idle moments, and seeing the parson apparently overwhelmed by the importance of the subject, he observed to a person
who stood near him, what makes the man greet ?' •By my faith,' answered the other, ‘you would, perhaps, greet too, if you were in his place, and had as little to say.' Come along and dine with me, my good fellow,' said Garth, 'I perceive you are too good a fellow to be here.''-Ib. p. 217.
• Many amusing anecdotes are recorded of this eminent poet and physician. On one occasion when he met the members of the celebrated Kit-Kat Club, he declared that he must soon be gone, having many patients to attend ; but on some excellent wine being placed on the table, and the conversation becoming interesting and animated, the doctor soon forgot his professional engagements. His friend, Sir Richard Steel, however, thought it his duty to remind the doctor of his poor patients. Garth immediately pulled out bis list, upon which were fifteen names. It is no great matter whether I see them to night or not,' said he, ‘for nine of them have such bad constitutions, that all the physicians in the world cannot save them ; and the other six have such good constitutions, that all the physicians in the world can't kill them.''-lb.
Of Dr. Walcot, the celebrated Peter Pindar, we find the following too characteristic anecdotes : all but the last, however, are tolerably well known.
· His writings were very productive. Those who condemned his satire purchased his works to laugh at his wit. An old acquaintance once remarked, when the doctor offered him his hand, that he hardly knew how to take it, he felt so angry with him for abusing the king. • Pooh ! pooh !' said Peter, · I bear no ill-will to his majesty-God bless him! I believe him to be a very good man, but I must write upon characters that the world are interested in reading about, I would abuse you, but I should get nothing by it !
Walcot always declared that the booksellers had been cheating him publicly for years, and that at last he got the best side of them by stratagem. He had offered to sell the copyright of all his works for a life-annuity. The negociation took place in the month of November,
and the doctor always appointed the evening for the time of meeting the booksellers. He had an habitual cough, and walking out in the evening fog increased it. When he arrived at the place of his destination he could never speak until he had taken a full glass of brandy, and then remarked, that it made little difference what the annuity was, as it would soon be all over with him. They were of the same opinion. The bargain was made, and,' continued Peter, after I mixed water with my brandy, the spring came on, and I lost my cough. This always pleased him to the end of his very lengthened life; and after he had signed the very last receipt, he observed, he was sure they had wished him at the devil long ago, and he should have done the same had he been in their place.”'-Ib. P. 289, 290.
* Having called upon a bookseller in Paternoster Row to inquire after his own works, he was asked to take a glass of wine. Dr. Walcot consented to accept of a little negus, as an innocent morning beverage, when instantly was presented to him a cocoa-nut goblet, with the face of a man carved on it. Eh! eh !' says the doctor, • what have we here?' A man's skull,' replied the bookseller ; 'a poet's for what I know. Nothing more likely,' rejoined the facetious doctor, ‘for it is universally known that all booksellers drink wine from our skulls !''-Ib. p. 292.
We must close these anecdotes of the medical profession by the following of the eminent and amiable Quaker physician Dr. Fothergill.
"A Quaker apothecary meeting Dr. Fothergill, thus accosted him, Friend Fothergill
, I intend dining with thee to-day.' 'I shall be glad to see thee,' answered the doctor, “but pray, friend, hast thou not some joke?' •No joke, indeed,' rejoined the apothecary, ' but a very serious matter. Thou hast attended friend Ephraim these three days, and ordered him no medicine. I cannot at this rate live in my own house, and must live in thine. The doctor took the hint, and prescribed handsomely for the benefit of his friend Ephraim, and his friend Leech the apothecary!''-Ib. pp. 349, 350.
• We have already stated that charity was a predominant feature in Dr. Fothergill's character. It is stated that during the summer he retired to Lea Hall, in Cheshire. He devoted one day in every week to attendance at Middlewick, the nearest market town, and gave his gratuitous advice to the poor. He assisted the clergy not merely with his advice, but on numerous occasions, with his purse. On one occasion he was reproved by a friend for his refusal of a fee from a person who had attained a high rank in the Church. I had rather,' replied the doctor, ‘return the fee of a gentleman whose rank I am not perfectly acquainted with, than run the risk of taking it from a man who ought, perhaps, to be the object of my bounty.”'-Vol. ii. pp. 29, 30.
The following story told in the chapter on. Quackery,' appears almost incredible, and yet after the extraordinary proofs we have
had and still have of human credulity on this point, we can believe that there have been fools weak' enough to be imposed upon even by such absurdities. At all events, it is excellent satire on the knavery and impudence of Quacks, and the ignorance and gullibility of their victims.
Some time since a soi-disant quack doctor sold water of the pool of Bethesda, which was to cure all complaints, if taken at the time when the angel visited the parent spring, on which occasion the doctor's bottled water manifested, he said, its sympathy with the fount, by being thrown into a state of perturbation. * Hundreds of fools were induced to purchase the Bethesda water, and watched for the commotion and the consequence, with the result to be expected. At last one, less patient than the rest, went to the quack, and complained that though he had kept his eye constantly on the water for a whole year, he had never yet discovered any thing like the signs of an angel in his bottle.
“That's extremely strange,' exclaimed the doctor, 'what sized bottle did you buy, Sir?'
Patient. • A half-guinea one, doctor.' • Doctor. “Oh, that accounts for it. The half-guinea bottles contain so small a quantity of the invaluable Bethesda water, that the agitation is scarcely perceptible ; but if you buy a five guinea bottle, and watch it well, you will in due time, see the commotion quite plainly, sympathizing with that of the pool when visited by the angel. The patient bought the five guinea bottle as advised, and kept a sharp look out for the angel until the day of his death.''
-Vol. i. pp. 327, 328. Upon the whole, it will be seen that we are very far from being able to approve of these volumes, and that we cannot altogether condemn them. There is much in them to amuse, but little to instruct. They may be taken up to while away an idle hour, but this is the best that can be said of them.
Art. III. 1. The Voluntary System, a Prize Essay, in reply to the
Lectures of Dr. Chalmers on Church Establishments, By JOSEPH
Angus, M.A. London: Jackson and Walford. 2. National Establishments of Religion, considered in connexion with Justice, Christianity, and Human Nature.
By John TAYLOR. London : Smallfield and Son.
E confess that we have no sympathy with those weak-hearted
well-meaning christians who deprecate controversy. are indebted to it for our first and greatest reformation ; and we