The Algerine captive; or, The life and adventures of Doctor Updike Underhill: six years a prisoner among the Algerines. [Three lines from Shakespeare] : Vol. I[-II]. : Published according to act of Congress.
Tyler, Royall, 1757-1826., Humphreys, David, 1752-1818, dedicatee.
Page  132

CHAP. XIX.

Here phials, in nice discipline are set,
There gallipots are rang'd in alphabet.
In this place, magazines of pills you spy;
In that, like forage, herbs in bundles lie;
While lifted pestles, brandish'd in the air,
Descend in peals, and civil wars declare.

GARTH.
ARGUMENT.

The Author encountereth Folly, Ignorance, Impudence, Imbecility, and Quacks: The Characters of a Learned, a Cheap, a Safe, and a Musical Doctor.

AT length, I fixed my resi|dence in a town, where four physicians were already in full practice, of such con|trariety in theory, that I never knew any two of them agree in any practice, but in abusing me, and decrying my skill. It was however four months before I had Page  133 any practice, except the extracting of a tooth, from a corn fed girl, who spun at my lodgings, who used to look wistfully at me, and ask, if the doctorer did not think the tooth ache a sign of love? and say she felt dreadfully all over; and the application of a young virgin, in the neigh|bourhood, who wished to be favoured with a private lecture upon the virtues of the savin bush. I verily believe I might have remained there to this day unemployed, if my landlord, a tavern keeper, finding my payment for board rather tardy, had not, by sometimes send|ing his boy, in a violent haste, to call me out of meeting, and always vowing I was cute at the trade, at length drawn the at|tention of the people towards me.

I had now some opportunity of in|creasing my information, by inspecting the practice of my seniors. The principal physician had been regularly educated. As I had been likewise, he affected to pay Page  134 me some attention, on purpose to mortify those three quacks, who, he said, had picked up their knowledge, as they did their medicine, by the way side. He was a very formal man, in manners and prac|tice. He viewed fresh air highly noxious, in all diseases. I once visited a patient of his, in dog days, whose parched tongue and acrid skin denoted a violent fever. I was almost suffocated, upon entering the room. The windows were closed, and the cracks stuffed with tow; the curtains were drawn close round the patient's bed, which was covered with a rug, and three comfortable blankets; a large fire was made in the room; the door lifted, and the key hole stopped; while the Doc|tor gravely administered irritating stim|ulants to allay the fever. He car|ried a favourite practical author, in his bags, and after finding the patient's case, in the index, pulled out a pair of money scales, and, with the utmost nicety, Page  135 weighed off the prescribed dose, to the decimal of a drachm. He told me, as a great secret, that about thirteen years and one day past, he had nearly destroyed a patient, by administering half a drachm of pill cochia more than was prescribed in the books. He was called the learned doctor.

The practice of the second town phy|sician was directly opposite. He pre|scribed large doses of the most powerful drugs. If he had been inclined to weigh his medicine, I believe it would have been with gross weight, rather than troy. He was an untaught disciple of the Eng|lish Ratcliffe, careless, daring, and often successful. He was admirable in ner|vous cases, rose cancers, and white swell|ings. Upon the first symptoms of these stubborn disorders, he would drive them, and the subjects of them, to a state of qui|escence. He was called the cheap doctor; because he always speedily cured or—killed.

Page  136 The third physician dealt altogether in simples. The only compound he ever gave, or took, was buttered flip, for a cough. It was said, that, if he did no good, he never did any harm. He was called the safe doctor.

The fourth physician was not celebrat|ed for being learned, safe, or cheap; but he had more practice than all the other three together, for he was a musical* man, and well gifted in prayer.