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ments, or superior intellect? Take one glance at them, and it will dispel such a vision for ever. A hundred trivial things may bring a man into favour, practice, and notoriety; and once there, all the world will run after him, and praise him, and worship him, and recommend him, and put their faith in him-even though he be but one remove from idiotcy! Do we not see this done every day of our lives?
Various and amusing are the methods employed by doctors to “get into practice.” One will boldly attack the front door, while another will go round to the back.
round to the back. One will ascend the scaling ladder to the nursery, and by the aid of lady's maid or nurse find his way to the mistress in the drawing-room. Another will descend the area steps, like a hungry policeman, and by the aid of coachman and cook find his way to the master in the dining-room. Some again will beat about and attack the outposts instead of storming the citadel. Thus one will secure the clergy, and take the churches and chapels by storm; another will surprise the congregations en route ; while another will attack the outlying pickets by dashing among them with smart equipage and livery; and some again will even condescend to practise a ruse, and send an ammunition-boy about from house to house with suspicious-looking canister directed to unknown military officers of various grades.
While sailing with the stream of life, we notice not its moving currents. We travel by a train, but never dream of the gigantic power which drags it on, nor of the signals which serve to guide its course.
But if a check occur, we then perceive what complicated cranks, and shafts, and wheels, and springs, contribute to its magic speed; and stand aghast to contemplate the mighty power which whirled us through the air. The fact is
we never pause, nor stop, nor turn to seek the motive power, until misfortune throws us out of gear; and then we scan the varied parts which make life's wheels revolve. Illness compelled me for a time to quit the whirling current of medical life; and I now stand again upon its brink, awaiting the rising of its tide to float me off
While gazing on its ever-restless wave, I have watched, with scrutinising glance, the
various means by which the tributary streams approach the boiling surge; how some will take a winding course, while others rush with noise on each impeding mass, and sweep it onward to the deep. Thus is the stream supplied which floats life's fragile bark, or sinks it in its depths.
It is now nearly thirty years since I entered the profession, and during that period I have seen the career of many a young doctor open brightly, and with every prospect of success. I have seen many disappointed, after toiling on for years. Many have I seen cut short in the flower of life, and just as they were rising to distinction. While others I have seen pursue a tortuous course, as if they had no goal in view. I have seen the young come in the old go out.
I have seen many who have achieved greatness, and many who have had greatness thrust
I have seen many who have risen on others' reputations. I have seen one reputation destroyed to make another. And I have seen men who have overshot their mark, and in attempting others' ruin ruined themselves.
I have seen many a practice made—many a one lost—and many a one transferred.
With such ample opportunities to judge of medical character, I have ventured to approach that much-debated subject—“ The Country Doctor's claims on public confidence.”
During the past three years I have resided near to town, and travelled much by rail; and scarcely has a day elapsed without hearing country surgeons derided and condemned. As I have ever found that public opinion when strongly expressed is more or less founded upon fact, I have determined to dissect the doctors and the doctored; and when my knife has “ laid the parts all bare," I will leave the public to decide the question for themselves, whether doctors are not more sinned against than sinning?
As the subject which I am about to dissect is not very fresh, many will deem it rather offensive, and prefer to let it rot in oblivion : but we owe a duty to others as well as to ourselves to remove as soon as possible contagious influence, for the body medical, like the body physical, will only grow the more corrupt; and as its functions are essential to the public weal, the sooner it “puts on incorruptibility the better for us all. In operating upon this unhealthy subject, I hope I have not been unmindful that “ Operators are liable to the same complaints as those upon whom they operate.” They should, therefore, cut tenderly, and with discretion. In using the knife, I have endeavoured to keep its point as much as possible from wounding neighbouring parts ; while in operating upon the upper or superior members of the body medical, I have been careful not to cut too deeply with the edge : but I have gone over the main features without sparing edge or point; and I have caustic'd some little bits of proud flesh with an unsparing hand. If in these random dissections I have inadvertently wounded a neighbour or a friend, I must crave indulgence on the score of maladroitness.