BOOK V. CONTAINING A PORTION OF TIME SOMEWHAT LONGER THAN HALF A YEAR.
7. Chapter vii. In which Mr Allworthy appears on a sick-bed.
In which Mr Allworthy appears on a sick-bed.
Mr Western was become so fond of Jones that he was unwilling to part
with him, though his arm had been long since cured; and Jones, either
from the love of sport, or from some other reason, was easily
persuaded to continue at his house, which he did sometimes for a
fortnight together without paying a single visit at Mr Allworthy's;
nay, without ever hearing from thence.
Mr Allworthy had been for some days indisposed with a cold, which had
been attended with a little fever. This he had, however, neglected; as
it was usual with him to do all manner of disorders which did not
confine him to his bed, or prevent his several faculties from
performing their ordinary functions;--a conduct which we would by no
means be thought to approve or recommend to imitation; for surely the
gentlemen of the Aesculapian art are in the right in advising, that
the moment the disease has entered at one door, the physician should
be introduced at the other: what else is meant by that old adage,
Venienti occurrite morbo? "Oppose a distemper at its first
approach." Thus the doctor and the disease meet in fair and equal
conflict; whereas, by giving time to the latter, we often suffer him
to fortify and entrench himself, like a French army; so that the
learned gentleman finds it very difficult, and sometimes impossible,
to come at the enemy. Nay, sometimes by gaining time the disease
applies to the French military politics, and corrupts nature over to
his side, and then all the powers of physic must arrive too late.
Agreeable to these observations was, I remember, the complaint of the
great Doctor Misaubin, who used very pathetically to lament the late
applications which were made to his skill, saying, "Bygar, me believe
my pation take me for de undertaker, for dey never send for me till de
physicion have kill dem."
Mr Allworthy's distemper, by means of this neglect, gained such
ground, that, when the increase of his fever obliged him to send for
assistance, the doctor at his first arrival shook his head, wished he
had been sent for sooner, and intimated that he thought him in very
imminent danger. Mr Allworthy, who had settled all his affairs in this
world, and was as well prepared as it is possible for human nature to
be for the other, received this information with the utmost calmness
and unconcern. He could, indeed, whenever he laid himself down to
rest, say with Cato in the tragical poem--