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  146


For man's relief the healing art was given;
A wise physician is the boon of heaven.


A Medical Consultation.

A MERRY incident gave a perfect insight into the practice of the sev|eral physicians I have just eulogized. A drunken jockey, having fallen from his horse, at a public review, was taken up senseless, and extended upon the long ta|ble of the tavern. He soon recovered his breath, and groaned most piteously. As his head struck the ground first, it was apprehended by some, unacquainted with its solidity, that he had fractured his skull. The faculty hastened, from all quarters, to his assistance. The learned, scrupu|lous physician, after requesting that the doors and windows might be shut, ap|proached Page  147 the patient; and, with a stately air, declined giving his opinion, as he had unfortunately left at home his Pringle on contusions.

The cheap doctor immediately pro|nounced the wound a compound fracture, prescribed half a dose of crude opium, and called for the trepanning instruments.

The safe doctor proposed brown pa|per, dipped in rum and cobwebs, to staunch the blood. The popular physi|cian, the musical doctor, told us a jovial story; and then suddenly relaxing his fea|tures, observed, that he viewed the groan|ing wretch as a monument of justice: that he, who spent his days in tormenting horses, should now, by the agency of the same animal, be brought to death's door, an event, which he thought ought to be set home upon our minds by prayer.

While my new pupil, pressing through the crowd, begged that he might state the case to the company; and, with an audi|ble Page  148 voice, winking upon me, began. The learned doctor Nominativo Hoc Caput, in his treatise on brains, observes that, the seat of the soul may be known, from the affections of the man. The residence of a wife man's soul is in his ears; a glut|ton's, in his palate; a gallant's, in his lips; and old maid's, in her tongue; a dancer's, in his toes; a drunkard's, in his throat. By the way, landlord, give us a button of sling. When we learned wish to know if a wound endangers life, we consequently inquire into the affec|tions of the patient, and see if the wound injures the seat of his soul. If that es|capes, however deep and ghastly the wound, we pronounce life in no danger. A horse jockey's soul—gentlemen, I wish your healths, is in his heel, under the left spur. When I was pursuing my studies, in the hospitals in England, I once saw seventeen horse jockies, some of whom were noblemen, killed by the fall of a Page  149 scaffold in Newmarket, and all wounded in the heel. Twenty others, with their arms, backs, and necks broken, survived. I saw one noble jockey, with his nominati|vo caret, which is Greek for a nobleman's head, split entirely open. His brains ran down his face, like the white of a broken egg; but, as his heel was unhurt, he survived; and his judgment in horses is said not to be the least impaired. Come, pull off the patient's boot, while I drink his better health. Charmed with the har|rangue, some of the spectators were about following his directions, when the other doctors interfered. They had heard him, with disdainful impatience, and now each raised his voice, to support his particular opinion, backed by his adherents. Bring the brown paper—compound fracture—cobwebs I say—hand the trepanning in|struments—give us some tod, and pull off the boot, echoed from all quarters. The landlord for bad quarrelling in his house. Page  150 The whole company rushed out, to form a ring on the green, for the medical pro|fessors; and they to a consultation of fif|ty cuffs. The practitioner in sheep, horses, and cattle, poured a dose of urine and mo|lasses down the patient's throat; who soon so happily recovered as to pursue his vo|cation, swop horses three times, play twenty rubbers of all fours, and get dead drunk again before sunset.