BOOK II. CONTAINING SCENES OF MATRIMONIAL FELICITY IN DIFFERENT DEGREES OF LIFE; AND VARIOUS OTHER TRANSACTIONS DURING THE FIRST TWO YEARS AFTER THE MARRIAGE BETWEEN CAPTAIN BLIFIL AND MISS BRIDGET ALLWORTHY.
9. Chapter ix. A proof of the infallibility of the foregoing receipt...
Hence arose a dispute between the learned men, in which each delivered
the reasons of their several opinions. These were of such equal force,
that they served both to confirm either doctor in his own sentiments,
and made not the least impression on his adversary.
To say the truth, every physician almost hath his favourite disease,
to which he ascribes all the victories obtained over human nature. The
gout, the rheumatism, the stone, the gravel, and the consumption, have
all their several patrons in the faculty; and none more than the
nervous fever, or the fever on the spirits. And here we may account
for those disagreements in opinion, concerning the cause of a
patient's death, which sometimes occur, between the most learned of
the college; and which have greatly surprized that part of the world
who have been ignorant of the fact we have above asserted.
The reader may perhaps be surprized, that, instead of endeavouring to
revive the patient, the learned gentlemen should fall immediately into
a dispute on the occasion of his death; but in reality all such
experiments had been made before their arrival: for the captain was
put into a warm bed, had his veins scarified, his forehead chafed, and
all sorts of strong drops applied to his lips and nostrils.
The physicians, therefore, finding themselves anticipated in
everything they ordered, were at a loss how to apply that portion of
time which it is usual and decent to remain for their fee, and were
therefore necessitated to find some subject or other for discourse;
and what could more naturally present itself than that before
Our doctors were about to take their leave, when Mr Allworthy, having
given over the captain, and acquiesced in the Divine will, began to
enquire after his sister, whom he desired them to visit before their
This lady was now recovered of her fit, and, to use the common phrase,
as well as could be expected for one in her condition. The doctors,
therefore, all previous ceremonies being complied with, as this was a
new patient, attended, according to desire, and laid hold on each of
her hands, as they had before done on those of the corpse.