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as was his custom when he had once noticed intrinsic talent, he entered into familiar conversation with him, observing that he had missed him for some time in the dissecting room. The young man, with tears in his eyes, told him he was involved in debt, and that his parents, overtaken like himself by the shafts of adversity, could not grant him the necessary supplies. “ To what amount are you in debt ?" “ About £80 sir,” answered the poor bankrupt. “Well,” said Mr. A., "call at Bedford-row to-morrow morning at ten o'clock, and I will see what can be done for you." The young man was obedient to the wishes of his kind instructor, when a letter sealed up was put into his hand, on opening which he discovered a cheque for ninety pounds! This young man was seen at the grave of his late benefactor completely grief-stricken.
Poor John Abernethy was facetious to the very last. He exhibited the ruling passion strong in death.* A short period before his death his legs became ædema
* Instances of the ruling passion strong in death are numerous. Stories of Rabelais' sportiveness and wit to the last are familiar to every one; such as his dressing himself in a domino, a short time before he died, and sitting in it by his bedside, in order, when asked why he committed so ill-timed an extravagance, he might reply, “Beati qui in Domino moriuntur.” An anecdote of Malherbe, who was "nothing if not critical,” is not perhaps so well known as those relating to Rabelais. An hour before his death (says Bayle), after he had been two hours in an agony, he awakened on a sudden to reprove his landlady, who waited upon him, for using a word that was not good French; and when his confessor reprimanded him for it, he told him he could not help it, and that he would defend the purity of the French language tous; and upon some one inquiring how he was, he replied, “Why, I am better on my legs than ever : you see how much stouter they are!" His hobby retained full possession of his mind to the end of his life. He attributed his disease to the stomach. He said, " It is all stomach; we use our stomach ill when we are young, and it uses us ill when we are old.”
It is singular that he left express commands that his body should not be opened after his death.
until death. When his confessor painted the joys of Paradise with extraordinary eloquence, and asked him if he did not feel a vehement desire to enjoy such bliss, Malherbe, who had been more attentive to the holy man's manner than to his matter, captiously replied, "Speak no more of it; your bad style disgusts me.” He was critical to the last gasp. Poor Sheridan, like Rabelais, in the midst of all his miseries preserved his pleasantry and his perception of the ridiculous, almost as long as life lasted. When lying on his death-bed, the solicitor, a gentleman who had been much favoured in wills, waited on him : after the general legatee had left the room another friend came in, to whom the author of the School for Scandal said, “My friends have been very kind in calling upon me, and offering their services in their respective ways; Dick W. has been here with his will-making face.”
EARLY STRUGGLES OF EMINENT MEDICAL MEN.
Dr. Baillie-Dr. Monro-Dr. Parry-Medical Quackery-Sir
Hans Sloane-An Episode in Real Life-Dr. Cullen-Dr. T. Denman-Mr. John Hunter-Dr. Armstrong-Ruling Passion strong in Death-Dr. Brown.
SMOLLETT says, in a letter to his friend David Garrick, “I am old enough to have seen and observed that we are all the mere play-things of fortune, and that it depends upon something as insignificant as the tossing up of a halfpenny, whether a man rises to affluence and honour, or continues, to his dying day, struggling with the difficulties and disgraces of life.”
The author of "Roderick Random," spoke feelingly; he was a medical man, and knew, by painful experience, the peculiar difficulties with which every medical aspirant has to contend.
The Roman satirist has expressed, in the wellknown ode, commencing,
“ Justum et tenacem propositi virum,
his high gratification at the sight of a “brave man struggling with the storms of fate.”
It is difficult, however, to induce the combatant to take the same philosophic view of the matter, or to say, with a sage of antiquity, “that he delighted to create difficulties in order to experience the high enjoyment of overthrowing them.”
“Can anything,” says an eminent writer, “ be conceived more dreary and disheartening than the prospect before a young London physician, who, without friends and fortune, yet with high aspirations after professional eminence, is striving to weave around him, what is technically called, a connexion ?"*
It is true, that the members of the medical profession have to go through the same ordeal which other professional men have to encounter; and therefore, it may be urged, they have no just ground of complaint. But many
of the obstacles with which the medical man has to contend are of a peculiar nature. No other men have to combat with more heart-rending trials and disappointments. How many spirits are broken in endeavouring to stem the torrent to which the great majority of practitioners in early life, are exposed ! He who enters the ranks of medicine must prepare his mind to encounter impediments and mortifications of no ordinary character; he must subdue his own prejudices--the prejudices of his patients, their relations, and contend also against the ill-office of opposing interests; for it unfortunately happens, “ that the only judges of his merit, are those who have an interest in concealing it.”+
Success in no profession is so uncertain as in that
• Diary of a Physician.
+ Dr. Gregory
of physic. Prejudice and caprice are capable of conferring a name on those who can produce no solid claims to distinction and pre-eminence, and the popular physician of the day is often indebted for his celebrity to a fortunate concurrence of circumstances, in which merit can boast no share. The difficulties of advancement in other professions are certainly diminished by the influence of favour and patronage ; yet even these advantages are of no permanent utility, unless merit and talent conspire to maintain us in that elevation, which we at first owe to casual means and fortuitous circumstances. But in the medical profession, we have daily opportunities of seeing men brought into notice by the zeal of their friends, family connexion, the recommendation of the great, and the caprices of fashion, whilst those without these advantages, are generally uncountenanced and neglected.
Sir Hans Sloane was accustomed to relate of himself, that the first circumstance which introduced him to practice, was his being engaged at a whist table with a lady of quality, who had, fortunately for him, a return of an ague fit. He prescribed for her, and his remedy was effectual; and this case, he acknowledged to be the first foundation of his celebrity.
It is told by Steele, that the celebrated Radcliffe used to advise parents, to avoid, of all professions, choosing that of medicine for their children; and if they should be resolved, notwithstanding, to devote a favourite boy to physic, he would persuade them, as the first step to his future eminence, to send the young student to a fencing-master, and a dancing