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failing, his bank is breaking, his wife is not to him what she used to be, his daughter has made a most imprudent engagement, his theological opinions assume the severest type, the country, generally speaking, is going to the dogs, because there has not been enough oil in the salad, or there has been too much in the entremets. And when a little rest and treatment have set a man perfectly to rights, he suddenly gets a span of felicity, and all things bear that aspect of goodness and beauty which they ought to bear to the man of sane mind and body. But frequently it happens that a man is unable exactly to spot the malady under which he suffers; he does not know, indeed, whether it be of the mind or of the body, and he settles down into a morose and evil-conditioned being, who feels very uncomfortable, and is a source of exceeding discomfort to all around him.
Of late years an extraordinary impetus has been given to the study of medicine. The advance has been immense, and perhaps hardly duly noted, in medicine, considered both as a science and as an art, both in its principles and in its facts. The old problem, dato morbo quæritur remedium, was never more incessantly agitated than is the case at the present time. Dyspepsia has received at least its full meed of attention. A very curious incident greatly facilitated the study of the subject. There was a man called Alexis St. Charles, who, in consequence of a gunshot injury received in early life, had a free communication between the abdomen and the outside of the body. A series of observations, many of them possessing a very high degree of value, have been made through him on digestion. We have before us three works of great value published on the subject by distinguished men.1 On literary grounds, we first mention Dr. Chambers's work, which is a very intelligible and exceedingly animated book.
He has thrown a strong personal interest into an immense number of his cases, written with clear caustic description, and often very dramatically set forth. Dr. Habershon's work is remarkable for its grasp of broad, philosophical principles; indeed, we are not sure that an excessive love of generalisation has not rather misled this accomplished and thoughtful author; but, as St. Paul says, 'we speak as a fool,' and do not venture, è cathedra, to
, criticise his medical reasoning. Dr. Pavy's work, we need hardly say, is of a highly careful and scientific character. All these writers, in fact, are distinguished by that accurate observation, that careful induction of facts, and that spirit, both penetrating and most humane, which reflect such endless honour upon medical science.
It is of no use our entering upon obscure cases that i The Indigestions, etc. Second edition. By Thomas King Chambers, M.D.-On Diseases of the Stomach, Varieties of Dyspepsia, etc. By S. O. Habershon, M.D.-A Treatise on the Functions of Digestion. By F. W. Pavy, M.D.
would require, what we cannot give, abstruse medical discussion, or those cases in which suffering is not blended with any obvious blame or cause on the side of the patient. Dr. Chambers, however, has a chapter, exceedingly instructive and amusing, on ‘Habits of Social Life leading to Indigestion,' from which some interesting matter may be culled. It is not the case, as he points out to us, that dyspepsia is always connected with the remorse of a guilty stomach.' He points out some very bad cases which have arisen from abstinence. Fasting is not so common as feasting, but still it is not uncommon. Partly the old mediæval notion of fasting still lingers even in an exaggerated shape, and partly there is a heresy abroad that abstinence is a cure for every ill. It is hardly too much to say that every medical man, being necessarily brought at some time or other into contact with the extreme poor, knows how much indigestion is produced by enforced abstinence. Dr. Chambers mentions the case of one clergyman who, for a whole year, lived upon bread and water; and of another whose whole notion of the connection between the soul and the body was that the latter should be knocked down and kept down. It required a whole year's rest, with plenty of quinine and strychnia, before the latter gentleman was fit to do his duty in the state of life to which he had been called. He mentions a case in which excess of eating arose from excess of virtue. 'I was requested to visit a lady past middle life, who, when I entered her library, certainly looked the picture of robust bloom. " Dr. Chambers," said she, "what is a British matron to do
" who habitually eats too much ?” The question suggested the shortest of replies. Ay, it's very easy for you to say 'Don't!' but if I didn't, I should be a widow in a week. You know how old and infirm Lord - is? He has always been used to feed highly, and if I cut the dinner short, or did not encourage him by my example, it would be his death.”' The interesting patient was furnished with a dinner-pill of as much niceness as it is the nature of a pill to admit. Dr. Chambers meets the case of over-eating by the excellent advice of advising people to make frequent and light meals. There is something almost sensational in the way in which he describes the case of a patient who could not be persuaded to surrender his love of a hearty dinner, although he clearly perceived the true pathology of his case.
The doctor had a letter from the son, saying that his father had eaten heartily of an indigestible dinner, and lay back in his chair dead. Dr. Chambers has some strong things to say on the subject of tight lacing. He saw a beautiful face where the beauty was notoriously helped by art. Hiram Powers was there; and the artist necessarily knows anatomy. 'I want to know,' said Hiram
Powers, where Lady puts her liver?' To
Το the knowing artist, anything that harms the health must be a hindrance to beauty.
There is a great deal that can be gathered from these medical works. The fact is insisted on how important it is that men should retain simple and refined tastes even in the busiest period of life, that they may have resources within themselves when their active career is over. On the one hand, a great diplomatist has so much freshness of mind that he begins to learn Italian at sixty; and, on the other hand, a great physician can only moodily look upon the trees in his park, and declare his conviction that he will one day hang himself from one of them. When a man's mind is thus ill-furnished, he is at the mercy of his gastronomic tastes and of the dyspeptic fears which may thence result, either in fancy or reality. Some of the practical hints given cannot fail to be useful. We have the usual medical denunciations of tobacco and snuff-taking, and also of the excessive use of tea, which may be at least equally pernicious. We are advised that it is best to dine cheerfully and leisurely; and this is one of the best arguments for frequent dinner-parties. There are also hints which will be useful in the leisure time of the year to muscular Christians, and especially to that important subdivision of them, the Alpine climbers. Certain types of disease assume a preva