« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
it utters the very thoughts which for the moment are moving in the popular mind. It is by such a comparison as the National Gallery now affords, that we can bring our English school to the test of history, and determine how far our English artists work upon those enduring principles which have been handed down by ages, and come with the sanction of an ancient wisdom. Some modern painters have presumed to scoff at the works and the practices of their great forerunners; but we tell these men plainly that, unless they build upon the experience of the past, unless they take the path trodden by the great artists of the olden times, their popularity will barely outlive the tenure of their lives; and, owing nought to ancestry, they can expect to claim nothing of posterity.
Our artists in the coming year will have to submit to another competition-not with the works of an ancient period, but with the schools of neighbouring nations. It will then be seen that our English painters have never been surpassed in works of pleasing pretty incident: scenes taken from our homes and homesteads; peasants in their humble cots, such as Wilkie loved to paint; or groups well dressed in drawing-rooms, such as Goldsmith
made to smile, or Sheridan stung with satire. It will then be proved, moreover, that our English artists have never been excelled upon flood or field, when Wilson, Gainsborough, Turner, and Stanfield essayed to paint our British mountains, lakes, and rivers, and with bold sweep of hand held the empire of the seas. It will be found, we say, in the great International Exhibition of 1862, that the British School of Painting is, at least in these directions, unrivalled. But then, likewise, in the words of Reynolds, it will also be discovered that "the value and rank of every art is in proportion to the mental labour employed on it, or the mental pleasure produced by it." Thus will be demonstrated the essential littleness of a small idea, the comparative worthlessness of those partial modes which command but passing popularity. Then it will be found that pictures which aspire to nothing higher than "the furnishing apartments with elegance" must take a low position in the great competition of thought and civilisation. And, before the assembled nations, honour will at last await those works of study and of genius that rest on truths which change not with the lapse of time, nor swerve to altered place.
EVERY one knows that dogs are liable to a terrible disease, which can be communicated to other animals and to man: a disease frightful in its symptoms, and fatal in its effects. But very few persons know what are the signs and symptoms
1. VULGAR ERRORS.
Under this head it will be necessary to include almost every single notion which is popularly held about mad dogs; for it is surprising that on a subject of this fatal interest the current ideas are not simply inaccurate: they are utterly and dangerously wrong. To begin with the one expressed in the name Hydrophobia, which means horror at water. This is not simply a misnomer, otherwise we should scarcely mention it, but a misdescription of a very serious kind. The name hydrophobia having been fixed in people's minds, and the idea that rabid dogs dread water having become part and parcel of the general belief, the sight of a dog eagerly lapping water, or willingly plunging into it, would naturally lead ninety-nine out of a hundred to exclaim-" He drinks, therefore there can't be danger.' The fact is, that a burning thirst is one of the characteristic symptoms of rabies, in its early stages. True it is, and very curious it is, that in man an indefinable dread of water, or any other liquid, does characterise the later stages of the disease; and for the disease in man the name of hydrophobia is not inappropriate. Of this we shall see examples presently. But in dogs, so far from a dread of water being a reliable symptom, it is a symptom which
of this disease; and since cure is impossible, prevention becomes tenfold more important. We propose, therefore, to treat this subject with the minuteness which its importance warrants.
does not show itself more than once in fifty cases. "Il est désormais acquis à la science," says the latest authority on this subject, “que c'est précisément un signe de la rage, lorsque la soif est trop ardente; et que jamais appellation plus fausse, plus absurde, et en même temps plus dangeureuse, ne fut appliquée à aucune maladie que celle de hydrophobie à la rage du chien.”*
Another popular error attributes the madness of dogs to the heat of the " dog-days." In July and August all kinds of precautions are taken, which no one thinks of for a moment in November and December. On the Continent, a paternal police is minutely solicitous in summer about the enforcement of its regulations. But the simple fact is, that the "dog-days" have no more to do with the rabies than the moon has to do with lunacy. Dogs are liable to attacks in every month of the year; but it so happens that July and August are precisely the months in which the fewest cases occur. Against the loose estimate of popular opinion, we can place the exact records of the veterinary schools of Alfort, Toulouse, and Lyons, and these show that it is not in the hottest months, but in the wettest months, that the great majority of cases are seen. In April, November, and
*SANSON: Le Meilleur Préservatif contre la Rage: Etude de la Physiognomie des Chiens et des Chats Enragés. 1860.
December, the recorded cases are double and triple those in June, July, and August.
That "heat of the weather" is not the cause of rabies, is strikingly proved by the fact that in hot countries the disease is rare, and in some even unknown. M. Du Chaillu notices that although "most of the West African villages are crowded with dogs, the natives do not know, even by report, of such a disease as hydrophobia." Dr Watson remarks that rabies is unknown in the Isle of Cyprus and in Egypt. "I fancy that South America is, or was, a stranger to it. It appears to have been imported into Jamaica, after that island had enjoyed an immunity for at least fifty years; and Dr Heineker states that curs of the most wretched description abound in the island of Madeira; that they are afflicted with almost every disease, tormented by flies, and heat, and thirst, and famine, yet no rabid dog was ever seen there. On the contrary, 1666 deaths from hydrophobia in the human subject are stated to have occurred in Prussia in the space of ten years."
Having attributed the disease to the "heat of the dog-days," men easily came to the conclusion that it was owing to intense thirst that the disease occurred. Inasmuch as this error has forced them to be more careful in attending to the wants of dogs, and secured access to water, it has been a beneficial error. But, viewing the matter scientifically, we are forced to say that thirst, however intense, is incapable of producing rabies. Dogs have been subjected to the cruel experiment of complete abstinence from water, when chained to a wall under a burning sun. They died from thirst, but showed no symptoms of rabies. Thirst will produce delirium in man; but delirium is not rabies, nor in any way related to it.
Another popular error is to suppose that mad dogs foam at the
mouth, and run about snapping wildly at man and beast, or at any rate manifest their madness by furious ferocity. But while healthy dogs often "foam at the mouth," it is only in one stage of the disease that the rabid dog shows any foam. And as to ferocity, most mad dogs are gentle and caressing to their masters and favourites, though they snap at other dogs. It is only the ferocious dog that shows great ferocity when rabid.
It is very generally believed that if a healthy dog should bite a man, and at any subsequent period become rabid, the man will also become rabid-no matter how many months or years may have elapsed. The consequence of this absurd prejudice is, that healthy dogs are frequently killed in order to prevent their becoming rabid. There was an example of this only a few weeks ago in London; and unhappily the bitten man died a victim to the terrors of hydrophobia. It was quite clear, from the symptoms, that he was not affected by hydrophobia; and the magistrate very properly expressed disapprobation at the folly of destroying the dog before it was evident whether or not it was rabid. The rule in such a case is perfectly simple. If the dog is suspected of being rabid, it should be kept chained up, out of the way of injury, until the disease declares itself. By this plan it may very soon be shown whether the suspicion was ill-founded, and whether the dog was or was not rabid. Such a proof would often greatly relieve the minds of the bitten man and his family, and remove that terrible anxiety which, in spite of every surgical aid, must for some weeks assail them.
Finally, we may remark that it is by no means true, as popularly supposed, that a man or animal bitten by a mad dog will certainly take the disease. The chances are very great against such an event, even if no precautions be taken.
* WATSON: Principles and Practice of Physic, vol. ii. p. 619.
Of course, no sane man would run the risk. But it is comforting to know, after surgical aid has been employed, that even without such aid the chances are against the disease being communicated.
The errors we have just noticed are pernicious in varying degrees, but mainly because they mask the real symptoms, which might otherwise call attention to the danger. And how great that danger is may be expressed in a single sentencethere is no remedy. The physician that cures is Death-ίατρος ἰᾶται
Man or beast, once infected with the poison, is doomed to a certain and horrible end. This infection may be prevented, even after the bite has been given, either by surgical aid, or by a natural indisposition of the organism to be affected by the poison; but the infection once established, no remedy avails. The records of medical experience contain numerous cases of harmless bites from rabid animals, but no single case of declared rabies having ever been arrested.
II.-HYDROPHOBIA IN MAN.
We have already intimated that in man the disease is characterised by a singular dread of water; and that this is an invariable symptom. Happily the cases are rare; and as even experienced physicians seldom have the opportunity of witnessing one, we shall briefly state what are the observed symptoms. Dr Watson, in his Principles of Physic, and Romberg, in his Diseases of the Nervous System, will furnish examples:
A coachman was brought to St Bartholomew's Hospital on a Tuesday. It was stated that, some ten weeks before, the back of his right hand had been struck by the teeth of a terrier, but no wound had been made, no blood drawn, nor was the skin broken-there was merely a mark of the animal's teeth. On the Thursday preceding his appearance at the hospital, his hand had become painful, and swelled a little. On Friday the pain extended into the arm, and became more severe. His wife stated that he had been in the habit of sponging his head and body every morning with cold water, but on this morning he refrained from doing so on account of some feeling of spasm about the throat. His own remark on this was, that he "couldn't think how he could be so silly." On Saturday, the extent and severity of the pain had increased. He got no
sleep. He felt ill and drowsy on Sunday, but drove the carriage to Kensington Gardens: he was obliged, however, to hold both whip and reins in his left hand. The pain extended to his shoulder. He was then bled. This relieved the pain. But the next day he complained of feeling very ill all over; and he told his medical attendant that he could not take his draughts because of the spasm in his throat. That gentleman, suspecting the true nature of the disease, pretended that it was the nasty taste of the physic which gave the spasm, and told him to drink some water. But there was the same difficulty with the water. The next day he came to the hospital. When there, water was placed before him in a basin, for the alleged purpose of allowing him to wash his hands. It did not seem to disturb him, nor to excite any particular attention. Water was then offered to him to drink, which he took and carried to his mouth, but drew his head from it with a convulsive shudder. After this, on the same morning, he was much questioned by several persons about the supposed cause of his illness; and water was again brought to him, which agitated him, and he became exceedingly distressed and unquiet, complaining of the air which blew upon him. Dr Watson saw him soon
after this, and describes him as "to all outward appearance well, lying on his back without spasm, without anxiety-his face somewhat flushed. He said he had a little headache, but no pain in the arm. His pulse was 132, full and strong; his tongue moist and slightly furred. He appeared to be a very quiet, goodtempered man; and smiled generally when he was spoken to."
In the evening Dr Watson found him tranquil. Gruel was mentioned, and then he sighed deeply two or three times, but sat up, and after a moment's look of serious terror, took half a spoonful of the gruel in a hurried gasping manner, and said he would not take more at a time, lest the sensation should come on. He was desired to take the last portion of the gruel from the basin. He accordingly seized it with hurry, carried it to his mouth with an air of determination, and then a violent choking spasm of the muscles about the throat ensued. Most of the gruel was spilled over his chin; and he observed that he should have managed it had he not been in too great a hurry. He was quiet, rational, and calm, except when endeavouring to take liquids. On Wednesday, at noon, he was much in the same state, but said he was better. Some morsels of ice had been given him during the night he swallowed two or three with considerable effort; the third or fourth caused so great a spasm that he was forced to throw it out of his mouth by a strong resolution, however, he seized it again, and finally succeeded in swallowing it. He now complained that his mouth was clammy, and he champed much. He requested that a straitwaistcoat might be put on, that he might injure no one. He assisted in putting it on, and was perfectly calm.
Whenever he attempted to swallow liquid in the smallest quantities, it was always with sobbings and hurried inspirations, precisely resembling those we make when first wading in cold water. While taking the basin of gruel in his
hand, he drew back his head to a distance, apparently involuntarily. The next day he was composed, yet more easily irritated, and had lost the power of moving his left arm. His pulse was 140, and much weaker than before. His mental powers were failing. During the last hours of his life, he moaned and tossed from side to side. He sank gradually, and died in the evening.
Dr Watson, in the course of his very extensive practice, both in private and in the hospitals, has only seen four cases of hydrophobia, which proves that the disease must be rare. One of these was owing to the bite of a cat, on the 1st of January 1855 (not by any means one of the dog-days"). A lady, aged thirty-two, hearing from her brother that a white cat belonging to the stables had been quarrelling with a terrier the day before, and afterwards fighting with another cat, supposed it might be ill, and desired it to be brought to her. She placed it on her lap. It there bit her finger. Had the lady been aware of the suspicious nature of such an act, she would at once have sent for the surgeon. But few people remember that cats are as liable to madness as dogs; otherwise we should not have the many absurd police regulations respecting dogs in the summer months, and complete disregard of cats all the year round. Still fewer are impressed with the necessity of ascertaining what has been the behaviour of an animal that has bitten them. The cat now in question was destroyed, but not before it had scratched the gardener's child, flown furiously at a man, and bitten a whip with which it had been attacked. From the 1st January to the 14th March no alarming symptoms disclosed themselves, but on the 14th the lady began to feel generally unwell. On the 16th, pain ran from the bitten finger along the arm and across the chest. This pain did not last long, nor did it recur. On the 17th she found a difficulty in swallowing. Dr Todd visited her in