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“ Doctor,” said he, “ you observe what a sallow, emaciated being I am-yet I was once stout, healthy, and florid; fond of, and constantly engaged in field-sports. The breeze then blew fresh and kindly in my face; the note of the fox-hound was the most cheering music to my ear; the hospitality of my hall, an old English pile, which has been centuries in our family, was my delight and boast; and all around me were objects of interest, and contributing to my happiness. Now, interest in every thing has ceased; both pleasure and hope have vanished; the present appears to me only full of misery and suffering, and a dark and gloomy cloud seems settled upon the future. Such is the condition of my mental feelings: my bodily sufferings are as insupportable. I feel almost constant giddiness, confusion of ideas, and pain in my head, palpitation of my heart, and an uneasy wearing dull soreness under the left breast; a transitory, but severe pain between my shoulders, oppression of the breathing, with a constant inclination to sigh, distressing flatulence after every meal, general languor, with the greatest aversion from rising in the morning, and a most disagreeable taste, and foul tongue on first awaking. So acute are my sen. sations, that I am often tempted to wish that I were dead; yet, although so weary of life, I cling to it pertinaciously, and dread death.
"I have been told," continued the unhappy invalid, “ that all these symptoms depend on the state of my stomach, and that my complaint is indigestion ; but I cannot understand how my bodily pains should be caused by mere grief, although that was the apparent origin of all that I have suffered, and that I am suffering. I ain naturally a person of keen sensibility, and being an only son, and early coming into the possession of a large estate, my mind had been too little disciplined to bear calmly any rude shock, such as that which it sustained. But I need not trouble you with the details of it, as they cannot elucidate the subject. I concealed my feelings ; which made them work upon my nerves like slow poison; and, at length, they produced those symptoms which have puzzled all the doctors to whom I have applied for their removal. The worst of the evil is, that my irritability, peevishness, and constant complainings, have brought my sister, the lady you saw with me, nearly into the same state.”
As the poor gentleman concluded, his countenance expressed the severest anguish. It seemed to supplicate at least an explanation of his sufferings, if the listener could not suggest a remedy. Like all mental dyspeptics, however, to have a patient listener to his tale of misery was evidently to him a consolation of great moment. The doctor endeavoured to comply with the request of the poor invalid, by detailing to him, in as intelligible language as possible, the powerful influence of mind upon body; and that when disease is set up in the nervous system by mental causes, it will continue to derange the whole frame, in spite of all medical means, for many years. He explained to him that deep anxiety, or a fit of severe grief, will suspend altogether the powers of the stomach, and excite irritation of the nerves of the organ, which will continue, sometimes, long after the mental cause has ceased to operate.
Such a state was very likely to occur in him from the sensitive temperament inherent in his constitution. He endeavoured, however, to console him with the fact, that the just view which he had taken of the source of his malady, together with his re
solution to withdraw from the scene of his anxieties, and completely to break the chain of diseased associations by travelling, were the best means of regaining the health which he had lost; and that such a step, combined with a strong determination to shake off the languor and the desire for inactivity, two of the striking characteristics of his complaint, were as essential for his cure as refraining from improprieties in diet, and adhering to the strictest rules of teinperance.
The poor gentleman listened to his remarks with the greatest attention; and to prove that he had profited by them, the doctor found him on deck next morning at six o'clock, gazing} upon the town of Flushing, as the steamer entered the Scheldt. As the vessel ascended the river, although his aches and pains ever and anon formed much of his discourse, yet he was evidently amused by the novelty of the scenery, which the banks of the river, and the windmills, and the village spires, peering out from behind the banks, presented. This arrestment of his attention was particularly obvious when the tower of the splendid cathedral of Antwerp first caught his eye, about an hour before the vessel reached the quay, and its living freight encountered the clamorous importunities of the agents of the hotels who awaited its arrival.
The poor invalid and his sister, as well as the doctor and his party, being settled in comfortable apartments in le Grand Laboreur, the physician next day persuaded him to accompany him to the cathedral. As the invalid was a man of good taste, he was much struck, as every one must be, with the incomparable picture of Rubens, the Descent from the Cross; and he descanted ably for a few minutes on the richness of the colouring, the exquisite grouping, and the wonderful expression of each of the figures in the most perfect accordance with its occupation. But even in the midst of the criticism, whilst remarking on the destitution of every vestige of muscular energy, and the wonderful appearance of real death which the body of our Savionr displays in the picture, he suddenly discovered that the large vault of the building felt damp, and struck a hazardous chill over him. The doctor, nevertheless, prevailed on him to ascend the tower with hiin. He had scarcely, however, cast his eyes upon the extensive inundations which are seen from its gallery, than the dread of malaria seized him, and he hurried back to the hotel.
The two following days found a considerable amendment in the poor gentleman. He visited the ancient Bourse, the church of Saint Jacque, which contains the tomb of Rubens; also St. Pauls, with its singular and vile representation of Calvary, purgatory, and the tomb of Christ; and the museum in which is the best portrait in the world, that of the burgomaster Rockax, by Rubens. The bead speaks, and the whole figure is expressive of vitality and intellect. The interest which he took in all these things was obviously most beneficial; nothing could be more demonstrative of the power of abstracting the attention from self, for allaying the morbid irritability of the nervous system; the greatest in the train of evils which follow the steps of the dyspeptic. As he was proceeding to Ghent, and the doctor to Brussels, they parted; but, before the latter bade adieu to the poor invalid, he tendered to him his opinion of the manner in which he should conduct himself, both with regard to diet and regimen, as well as amusement. He endeavoured to convince him that, as the operations of the imagination are most extensive, affording materials both for pleasure and for pain; directing intellectual processes, and producing sensible impressions on physical organs, it was most essential to divert this mighty power from himself; for, unless thus directed, its faculty of exaggeration, and its exquisite refinement of feeling, could only be productive of misery. cautioned him against trusting too much to medicines.
Three weeks after they parted; when the physician and his party, travelling between Freyburg and Schaffhausen, left their carriage to walk up the steep hill between Lenzkirch and Bondorf, they saw a carriage toiling up the ascent, at some distance above them, and a gentleman and a lady walking in advance of it. On overtaking them, to the surprise and pleasure of all, they recognised the poor invalid and his sister. Nothing could be more astonishing than the change which so short a period had produced upon both of them. His countenance had lost much of its sallow hue, and anxious expression ; and his cheeks were already beginning to fill up, and to shorten the melancholy length of visage, which was before so strikingly characteristic of the state of mind under which he was labouring. He was almost a new man; and although still somewhat taciturn, yet, he conversed upon the scenery and condition of the country over which he had travelled; and did not once refer to his complaints. The recognition was indeed delightful on both sides, and both only regretted they were again obliged to separate.
The parties met for the last time, two months afterwards, at Rotterdam : the invalid was then in excellent health and spirits ; and the doctor, who was also renovated, had the gratification of receiving most cordial and grateful thanks for the plan which he had chalked out for the dyspeptic, and which the patient had pursued with such complete success.
The second case may be more briefly related. The professional assistance of a physician was requested by a lady who had come from Scotland, and had several years been labouring under a severe dyspeptic complaint, accompanied with hypochondriasis. On investigating her complaints, the doctor was anxious not to take the entire responsibility of the case on his own shoulders; he therefore requested the assistance of another distinguished Æsculapius. They attended her together for several months, without any beneficial result being obtained ; indeed, on the contrary, so excessive was the morbid sensibility of her nervous system, that they could not enter her room, which was always darkened, without incasing their feet in list shoes. As they found that medicine was of no avail, they suggested the experiment of travelling but a difficulty arose respecting the manner in which that advice could be followed under the existing condition of the patient. One of the physicians having withdrawn, the other, some weeks afterwards, ventured to propose to the husband of his patient, that he should fit up his care riage with a kind of litter for the accommodation of his wife ; and that she should be forcibly removed from her bed to it, and travelling begun and continued without stopping more than a day at any place. The doctor was fully aware of the difficulty of accomplishing this point, and anticipated the accusations of cruelty which his friend must be prepared to bear from his wife; but, as the experiment was intended for her benefit, he urged him to be regardless of her transient displeasure, and firmly to adhere to his purpose. It required some strength of mind to comply with this advice; but, after a few days consideration, the husband screwed up his courage to the event, and carried off the lady in the manner which had been advised. The experiment completely succeeded. They rattled on to Woburn; left behind them Leicester; dashed through Derby : and stopped for two days at Matlock; whence, changing their course, they passed to Birmingham, thence to Gloucester; and as Mr. A. wrote to his medical friend every three or four days, in less than ten days afterwards, in a letter from Bath, he informed him that Mrs. A., had walked out, and was in other respects greatly improved. Whilst the summer lasted, and in the early part of autumn, the invalid travelled through the whole of the west of England and Wales with decided advantage, and as the winter approached, she was nearly in a state of convalescence. The doctor, however, urged the parties to persist in the plan laid down, and to proceed into Italy. The last letter which he received from his friend, on the subject of his wife's health, was from Florence, on his way home. It assured him that Mrs. A— was now perfectly well, and that her spirits were as much renovated as her bodily powers. The doctor saw Mrs. A-two years afterwards in London, in excellent health and spirits; instead of the thin, sallow, mummified, irritable person, whom he had so long attended, she was then an elegant, graceful, old lady, full of cheerfulness and amiability, and rather corpulent than otherwise.
I have little to add to these cases as demonstrative of the influence of travelling in dyspeptic affections, more especially those which derive their origin from mental causes. But although medicine can do little in this disease, yet, I am willing to admit the salutary aid, which may be derived from it. The condition of the intestinal canal must never be overlooked ; it is always essential to watch and to correct its irregularities, but that must be the work of the physician. remark here that the proper adıninistration of mild chalybeates, the cold affusion to the head, and of the shower-bath to the body, are of the utmost benefit, even when the tongue is in that state which, in the opinion of many physicians, contra-indicates their employment. But still we must recur to the moral treatment, namely, breaking the chain of diseased associations, and no method so effectually accomplishes this as travelling
I must acknowledge, however, that this remedial agent is expensive, and can only be employed by the opulent; but, it is in that class of society that moral or mental indigestion chiefly occurs. It is to be lamented that the remedy is beyond the reach of many; this, however, forms no argument against its efficiency. When it is not within the means of the patient, other methods must be adopted. Exercise in the open air, athletic sports of various kinds, reading where there is a taste for it, avoiding solitude, cultivating agreeable society, and engaging in occupations, sufficient fully to employ, but not to fatigue the mind; are the most likely to prove
successful. “Idleness of mind,” says Burton in his Anatomy of Melancholy, " is the badge of gentry, the bane of body and mind, the nurse of naughtiness, the stepmother of discipline, the chief author of all mischief
, one of the seven deadly sins, the cushion upon which the devil reposes, and a great cause of melancholy.”
A. T. T. 14th December, 1839.
I will only
THE HARE WITH MANY FRIENDS.
A PINDARIC ODE.
BY THE AUTHOR OF RATTLIN THE REEFER,'
HOMEWARD BOUND,” &c.
of his eyes,
There was a master's mate who, on the ocean,
Not with deep sighs
-A rough old sailor he-
Therefore it was laid down by logic clear,
A mere “young gentleman" he needs must be, Embark’d, like many more, to swim or drown, And eke, to tremble at the skipper's frown.
That skipper fierce was a taut officer!
Orders are sometimes foolish, sometimes wrong; But wrong or foolish, if you dared to scoff his, sir,
The ship would prove too hot to hold you long, So, overboard, at once, and bless your
By such a start, You had escaped his all-consuming ire ;
Thus leaping, as it were
With a judicious care,
This haughty captain's name was Torrabello,
The frigate he commanded, the Tornado,
Smash. A harum-scarum renegado,
Add to these virtues a most hungry blade, 0.(For rhyme, I bagg'd that 0.) When straits environ Your verse, 'tis well to copy from Lord Byron.
Well—the Tornado, just from a long cruise
At single anchor swung:
And of the crew the hungriest, Mr. Smash.
Crunching salt junk, and biscuit hard as Aint, (Fresh prog to buy, alas! he wanted cash) Whilst under the cool half-deck, there daintily hung