« 上一頁繼續 »
tation is a common quality, but it is a sickly one; it produces but little effect in actual life, and that effect is scarcely capable of transfer to the drama, where character is almost incident. The subject of "The School for Scandal" was, on the contrary, palpably pregnant with dramatic power; scandal, the most pertinacious, cutting, universal, and characteristic of all the evils of civilized society.
Sheridan wrote some of those com
positions which are called for by the chances of the Theatre. "A Monody on Garrick's Death," in 1779, a feeble and tedious production, prologues, epilogues, &c. From the specimens given by Mr Moore, he would have been popular in the latter style, if his general dislike for exertion had not so soon led him to abandon everything that belonged to a career for which he was more eminently marked out by nature than any man of his century.
THE QUARTERLY REVIEW OF DR MACMICHAEL ON CONTAGION AND THE
THE number of the Quarterly Review which is just published, contains an article on the contagiousness of the plague, which professes to be a review of Dr Macmichael's "Brief Sketch of the Progress of Opinion upon the Subject of Contagion," but which says nothing about him or his book. This is not fair, particularly as the reviewer, in that part of his article in which he destroys the authority of the anticontagionists, by showing their ignorance of facts, derives his most powerful argument from Dr Macmichael. The Westminster Review had said, if the plague had been contagious, it would have been so manifest that it never could have been doubted, for no one ever doubted that the small-pox was contagious. To this assertion Dr Macmichael's pamphlet is an unanswerable refutation. He shows, that as late as the great English Hippocrates, Sydenham, physicians were not aware that the small-pox was contagious, but attributed it to other causes, particularly unhealthy states of the air, and that the notion of contagion, so far from being obvious and manifest even in those diseases in which it is now the most certain, as small-pox, measles, and scarlet fever, was arrived at very slowly and gradually. When Dr M'Lean was examined on the subject of contagion by a committee of the House of Commons, he was asked how he explained the fact, that people who shut themselves up in a house, while the plague was raging about, escaped the disease? His answer was, that their safety depended on the air in which the house is situated, on its elevation from the ground-on shutting the windows at the most dangerous periods of the day, so as not to
allow a draught of air from the town. On this Dr Macmichael's remark is very striking,
"Now it may be worth while to inquire, what is the exact situation of those Frank inhabitants of Constantinople, who, during the height of the plague in that city, shut themselves up and adopt the precautions of a voluntary quarantine; and I will select the residence of the British embassy, which is usually called the English palace, as an example. It is situated in Pera, and stands in the centre of a large garden, which is surrounded by high walls. It immediately adjoins a Turkish cemetery, where multitudes are buried daily during the season of pestilence. All the windows of the apartments usually inhabited look to the south and south-west; they are almost always kept open, and the freest ventilation constantly maintained. The inmates of the palace take exercise in the garden, which is of several acres extent, at all hours, and expose themselves without the slightest reserve, to every change of temperature; in short, the only precaution they adopt is to remain within their walls, and avoid the possibility of touching any one infected with the plague. If it were possible that the disease should be excited by the air, what could save the English residents from its attacks? They are as much exposed to the influence of the atmosphere, particularly to the pestilential blasts from the south, as if they were walking the streets of Constantinople, and yet they uniformly escape. But it may be observed, that the wind here blows generally from the east or west, that is up or down the channel of the Bosphorus, and when it sets in from
the west, which is often the case, the gales are charged with the effluvia from the city of Constantinople. Nor is the assertion true, that the Turks themselves have no idea of the infectious nature of the plague; many of them believe it to be so, and the most enlightened of them all, the Pasha of Egypt, adopts a quarantine for his own security. When the plague is at Cairo, he either retires to a garden situated about two leagues from the city, and surrounds himself by his troops, or he shuts himself up in a fortress on the other side of the Nile at Gizeh,"
In the statements of the anti-contagionists, there are some instances of fraud and of folly which it is utterly astonishing that the reviewer should have overlooked. Can it be believed that the Westminister reviewers have quoted Dr Russell as an authority for the uncontagiousness of the plague, although, in point of fact, he is the greatest authority for the opposite opinion. No man ever brought to bear upon the subject such a combination of all the requisites for a right judgment about it, namely, great experience of the disease, great reading about it, and great judgment. "Dr Russell," says the Westminster Reviewer, "has recorded a fact in confirmation of the non-contagious nature of this malady, which, for the singular completeness of the proof it af fords, is of extraordinary value."
Who would not believe, from the foregoing passage, that Dr Russell, for many years physician to the British factory at Aleppo, living in the thick and thin of the plague-who, that did previously know otherwise, would not believe that he was an anti-contagionist? When I first read the above passage, it led me into this error. I have shown it to several persons, and all have acknowledged, that if they had not previously known to the contrary, it would have led them to suppose that Dr Russell was an authority for the non-contagious nature of the plague.
If this is not intentional fraud, it is a curious accident in composition, and puts me in mind of the mistakes in tradesmen's bills, which always happen to be in their own favour. Now for an instance of indisputable folly. The Westminster Reviewers, after writing two long articles to prove that the plague and all other fevers are never propagated by contagion, relate the following case.-A poor family, consisting of four persons, were attacked with malignant fever; they all lay in the same bed in an exceedingly close and dirty apartment, where they were visited by two physicians; the one, whenever he entered the room, went to the window, threw it open, observed the sick at a distance, and staid a short time-he escaped the disease. The other took no precaution, examined the skin of the patients closely, and inhaled their effluvia and breath. He was seized with the disease, and died of it. This case might be supposed to be decisive of the question; but no, say they, it proves that the disease is not a contagious, but a contaminative fever. The disease, it is true, was communicated from the patient to the physician, but not by a specific contagion generated by the body of the patient, but by the exhalations from his body, rendered poisonous by being concentrated. In short, the fever was not a contagious, but a contaminative disease. It is plain, however, that it was a communicable one, and that is the practical question.
"O that such difference should be 'Twixt tweedledum and tweedledee." A pretty consolation this to a person who had been induced, by the previous argument, to expose himself without precaution to the plague, or typhus, to tell him, "True it is you have caught the plague from the patients whom you have approached, but be of good cheer, for I am happy to tell you that you are dying, not of a contagious, but of a contaminative dis
TO MY BIRDIE.
you an' me, Birdie-here's onlie you an' me! An' there you sit, you humdrum fool, Sae mute and mopish as an owl,
sang, Birdie-lilt up a
Sing me a little
The lee lang day.
An' now we're onlie twa, Birdie—an' now we're onlie twa!
Ye ken, when folks are pair'd, Birdie-ye ken, when folks are pair'd,
Maun a' be shared
An' shared wi' lovin' hearts, Birdie—wi' lovin' hearts an free,
We've a' our cares an' crosses, Birdie-we've a' our cares and crosses!
Ye'er clipt in wiry fence, Birdie—ye're clipt in wiry fence;
Wi' friens far hence.
But what's a wish? ye ken, Birdie !-but what's a wish? ye ken!
Wha "darnit" wi' the auld weird wife
Flood, fell, an' fen.
'Tis true, ye're furnish'd fair, Birdie-'tis true, ye're furnish'd fair,
Wad lift ye, where yon lav'rock sings,
But then that wire sae strang, Birdie-but then that wire sae strang!
Whar fain I'd gang.
An' say we'd baith our wills, Birdie-we'd each our wilfu' way!
Whar wishes stray.
An' ae thing, weel I wot, Birdie-an' ae thing, weel I wot,
Wha guards the crowned King, Birdie-wha guards the crowned King,
An' taketh heed for sic as me,
Sae little worth-an' e'en for thee,
Puir witless thing!
let's baith cheer up, Birdie !-an' sin' we're onlie twa,
To ding that crabbit, canker'd pest,
Dull Care, awa.
I was in the gallery of the House of Commons on the night when the late Mr Grattan made his first speech in the English Parliament. The subject was Catholic Emancipation; the question was opened by Mr Fox. I went at eight in the morning, waited at the door of the gallery, till twelve, and then had my ribs nearly broken in a squeeze to get in. The House met at four; at five Mr Fox rose; he spoke till after eight in a way which I need not describe. He was followed by Mr Percival, then by Dr Duigenan, and then Mr Grattan rose. It was a striking sight and moment. The lower part of the House was crammed with Members, so that numbers could find room only in the upper side galleries. The fame of his eloquence had raised great expectations, yet repeated instances of the failure of Irish eloquence, when transplanted into England, caused considerable anxiety, especially among the Irish, of whom there were numbers in the Strangers' Gallery, and still more at the outer door, waiting to hear the success of their champion. After a pause of dead silence he began. He was dressed if my eyes did not deceive me, in black, with yellow gloves-his queer person his large red face, his limbs thrown about in a most rapid and graceless way-his pronunciation, which to my ear sounded less like the brogue of an Irishman, than like the broken English of a foreigner-his plunging headlong into his subject without any of the introductory remarks which are so common in English oratory, and his epigrammatic sentences, altogether produced a sensation so totally new to the English House of Commons, that for many minutes it was doubtful, among the best judges of Parliamentary eloquence, whether it would not terminate in a complete failure. During this interval of suspense, I have heard on good authority the following incident. Mr Pitt, who was sitting next Mr Canning, manifested the greatest possible anxiety; he seemed to shrink every now and then when the effect of what was said bordered on the offensive: but a few minutes passed-Grattan became accus
tomed to the House, the House to him -the orator, though singular, became successful and brilliant in the highest degree; and at the moment when it was plain that all was safe, Mr Pitt turned round to Mr Canning, and clapping him on the knee, and with a strong expression of delight in his countenance, exclaimed, "It will do !" He was too great himself to be jealous of another, even of one who was to be his political opponent.
DUKE OF WELLINGTON.
I have heard Lord Wellesley talk about his brother, the Duke of Wellington-about his military career, and about the peculiarities of mind which led to his splendid successes, and enabled him to conquer the conqueror of the world. He said that he was the opposite to a cunning man—that he had done all by simple manly heroism; and that he could not define his character better than by the following lines in Milton's "Samson Agonistes,' which ought to be placed at the foot of his pictures :
He all their ammunition
MOST OFFENSIVE OF MONUMENTS.
Passing through Brussels on my way to the Rhine, we of course paid a visit to the plains of Waterloo. On our way we stopped at an ugly red brick church, on the right side of the road, where there are monuments to many of the English officers who fell on this occasion. We were conducted by a grey-haired old man into the chapel, and there, on both sides along the walls are inscriptions to the memory, of not single individuals, but whole companies. The thought that this splendid victory was purchased by the lives of so many in the flower of their age, full of life, and joy, and heroism oppresses the heart. With this mournful feeling we left the chapel, and were conducted through a dirty lane into a little shabby garden, to see a large black stone, sacred to the memory of whom ?-the Marquis of Anglesea's leg-I had almost written his toe. The bathos is not merely ridiculous-it is disgusting. If the
living owner of the leg did not direct it, he might have prevented it. Some one has written below
Here lies the Marquis of Anglesea's limb; The devil will have the remainder of him.
The origin of this substance is involved in complete obscurity. All that we know of it is, that it is most commonly found in lumps floating on the ocean, sometimes adhering to rocks, sometimes in the stomachs of fishbut whence does it come? by what process is it formed? Everybody knows the history of that greasy substance called Adipocire-that on digging up the bodies in the cemetery of St Innocent's at Paris, many of them were found in part converted into a substance resembling spermaceti; and that it has since been ascertained, that if the flesh of animals, instead of undergoing putrefaction in air, undergoes the slower changes which take place under water, in a running stream, it is gradually converted into this substance. It is not an improbable conjecture, that Ambergris is the flesh of dead fish which has undergone this change that is marine adipocire. And this conjecture is corroborated by a fact which was lately stated in one of the American newspapers. A marine animal of gigantic size has lately been discovered and dug up in the neighbourhood of New Orleans, in the groove of one of whose bones was found a matter closely resembling Ambergris. This animal, which is supposed to be extinct, had been buried for an incalculable time.
During the great Plague in London, in 1665, Dr Hodges was one of the persons appointed by the College of Physicians to visit the sick. The great Sydenham quitted London to avoid the contagion, but at length returned, apparently ashamed of his cowardice. Many physicians volunteered their services on this occasion: among those was the celebrated Dr Glisson. Out of the number employed in this benevolent task, nine perished. Hodges survived, and has given the following account of the means by which he believes he preserved himself from the infection. As we shall most likely have the Plague in Eng
land-thanks to the wrong-headedness of some of our physicians, and the supineness of others-it is worth while knowing the means which he employed. "As soon as I rose in the morning early, I took the quantity of a nutmeg of the anti-pestilential electuary; then, after the dispatch of private concerns in my family, I ventured into a large room, where crowds of citizens used to be in waiting for me, and there I commonly spent two or three hours, as in an hospital, examining the several conditions and circumstances of all who came thither, some of which had ulcers yet uncured, and others to be advised under the first symptoms of seizure; all which I endeavoured to dispatch, with all possible care to their various exigencies. As soon as this crowd could be discharged, I judged it not proper to go abroad fasting, and therefore got my breakfast; after which, till dinner time, I visited the sick at their houses; whereupon, entering their houses, I immediately had burnt some proper thing upon coals, and also kept in my mouth some lozenges all the while I was examining them. But they are in a mistake who report that physicians used on such occasions very hot things, as myrrh, zedoary, angelica, ginger, &c. for many, deceived thereby, raised inflammations upon their tonsils, and greatly endangered their lungs. I further took care not to go into the rooms of the sick when I sweated, or was short-breathed with walking, and kept my mind as composed as possible, being sufficiently warned by such who had greviously suffered by uneasiness in that respect. After some hours visiting in this manner, I returned home. Before dinner, I always drank a glass of sack to warm the stomach, refresh the spirits, and dissipate any beginning lodgement of the infection. I chose meats for my table that yielded an easie and generous nourishment, roasted before boiled, and pickles not only suitable to the meats, but the nature of the distemper (and, indeed, in this melancholy time, the city greatly abounded with variety of all good things of that nature). I seldom, likewise, rose from dinner without drinking more wine. After this, I had always many persons who came for advice; and, as soon as I could dispatch them, I again visited till eight or nine at night, and then