Offers some 'observations [...] intended rather to be suggestive of thought in our readers than to convey exact rules' and 'by no means intended to cast a slight upon the sacred right of private judgement in matters of supply' (47). In particular, draws attention to the dangerous dietary habits of the kind of middle-class 'men who come home exhausted by a day's laborious work at chambers or counting-house' (41). Employing insights from the latest German researches on physiology, points to the role of insufficient and 'defective nutrition', especially the giving of 'artificial food' which presents a 'very violent change [...] from the elements of food which were provided in the first place by nature' (37), in the development of childhood diseases such as rickets, as well as mental ailments like epilepsy and 'St. Vitus' dance' (38). The problem is not confined to the poor, but may also affect 'the ranks of the wealthier' due to 'the extraordinary perversity and stupidity of nurses and mothers' (37). This 'homily of ours on the evils of starvation', however, is a 'mere prologue', and, in fact, the 'very opposite error' can be far more damaging to individual health (39). Warns that a lack of nutrition 'would be a far less calamity to many of our lazy gourmandizers than is the condition which they bring themselves to by fatiguing their organisms with continual over-doses of flesh-foods'. Offers practical advice on the correct amounts and kinds of food that should be taken for different occupations, and recommends the 'nutritive value' of 'Cheese and onions', 'two articles of so extremely plebeian a character that they are apt to be unjustly depreciated', which adequately nourish even the 'low-paid agricultural labourer' because they are both 'highly nitrogenous'. (45) Also censures the preference of the poor for 'the whitest sorts of bread' which contain little nitrogen. Suggests that the quantitative study of the 'excreta of the body', of which no mention is made in the present article, is 'likely soon to receive an important development from investigations now in progress in the hands of more than one accomplished physiologist'. (46)
At the annual 'show of fat beasts in London [...] a certain bullock exhibited by Lord de Guest was declared by the metropolitan butchers to have realized all the possible excellences of breeding, feeding, and condition. No doubt the butchers of the next half-century will have learned much better, and the Guestwick beast, could it be embalmed and then produced, would excite only ridicule at the agricultural ignorance of the present age; but Lord de Guest took the praise that was offered to him, and found himself in a seventh heaven of delight' (66). Looking upon 'the living beef by gaslight', Lord de Guest comments, 'Isn't he like his sire? [...] He has just got his sire's back and fore-quarters. Don't you see?', although his companion, John Eames, 'looked very hard, but could not see' (66–67).
Complains of the 'periodical writers, especially the writers in newspapers, who assume to themselves the right of speaking in the name of the nation at large' (83) and put forward the erroneous opinion that 'the English nation is not fitted for speculation—that it has little logical power—that it cares little for "theory"' (84). Rather, the 'alleged dislike of Englishmen to theory and speculation is, in reality, a dislike for falsehood and rashness' (87). Compares the 'notion that Englishmen are not speculative, because the practical results of their speculations are not simple' to the equally inaccurate 'notion that the propulsive force of gunpowder and the force of gravitation have no assignable direction, because it is a very difficult thing to trace accurately the course of a projectile'. Also notes that 'Great and well-deserved admiration has of late years been bestowed upon the wonderful engineering feats, of which the last two generations have witnessed so many. Most of them rested on speculations and theories of the most recondite and elaborate kind. Locomotive engines and their applications to railroads were theories long before they were translated into facts. So were the Atlantic steamers and the tubular bridges of which we have all heard so much. Can it be true that a nation which has taken the lead in such works as these should really be deficient in power of thought—in other words, in speculation?'. (89)
Objects to the large 'amount of hypocrisy' involved in maintaining the particular principles of etiquette observed by the different gentlemanly professions (104). A physician, for instance, will assist a man who has treated himself successfully with 'certain unrecognized remedies', but will nevertheless entreat the patient, 'don't tell of me, for the remedy, which, as you say, has got it out, is not recognized by the profession' (101). While the 'medical profession is, in its essence, entirely independent of all the variable parts of human affairs' and 'discharges the same functions, under analogous conditions, in every part of the world [...] it still has a considerable connection with the Government'. Indeed, the 'qualifications of medical men are ascertained by law, and bodies like the College of PhysiciansRoyal College of Physicians
CloseView the register entry >> and SurgeonsRoyal College of Surgeons
CloseView the register entry >>, and Apothecaries' HallWorshipful Society of Apothecaries of London—Apothecaries' Hall
CloseView the register entry >>, have a corporate existence and corresponding legal powers'. (102) Comments that, unlike law and medicine, 'Science, on the other hand, cannot, except in particular instances, be pursued as a regular occupation, unless those who pursue it are provided for by endowments, such as professorships, museums, or lectureships at scientific institutions' (103). Notes that it is among younger members of the medical and legal professions, desperate to get on in their careers, that the rules of etiquette are 'most frequently disregarded, and [...] cause the greatest amount of hypocrisy' (104). While the 'long list of idlers at the bar increases and multiplies', to 'be a doctor requires special tastes' and is not a suitable career for every wealthy young man (107).
Scientism, Methodology, Psychology, Laboratories, Physiological Chemistry, Pharmaceuticals, Ancient Authorities, History of Science
Reflects that the 'application of Science, and above all of scientific scepticism, to History, has yet to be made; [but] it will be fruitful in results'. Even such a 'keen-sighted' historian as Barthold G NiebuhrNiebuhr, Barthold Georg
CBD CloseView the register entry >> was 'as obtuse as his predecessors in all that related to psychology; and not being versed in science, was unable to detect fictions which any scientific sceptic would at once expose'. (113) Insists that the historian must become a 'scientific sceptic' because the 'mere possession of knowledge does not suffice to shake off that lethargy of credulity which oppresses the faculties of men whenever they pass beyond the laboratory into the wide spaces of History. They forget the lessons they have so laboriously learned, and so sedulously practised [...]. In Science we are forced to be vigilant' (114). Complains that 'our enlightenment is rarely brought to bear upon the past', and that while 'No physiologist of the present day would listen without a smile to people who assured him that Louis NapoleonNapoleon III, Emperor of France (originally
Louis Napoléon (Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte))
CBD CloseView the register entry >> preserved himself by antidotes against attempts at poisoning [...] even physiologists read statements of this nature in history in passive acquiescence' (117). Even 'one of the first toxicologists of our day [i.e. Alexander W M van HasseltHasselt, Alexander Willem Michiel van
RLIN CloseView the register entry >>]' in his 'elaborate treatise on poisonsHasselt,
Alexander Willem Michiel van 1862. Handbuch der Giftlehre;
für Chemiker, Ärzte, Apotheker und Gerichtspersonen. Nach der 2.
Aufl. aus dem Holländischen frei bearb. und mit Zusätzen Versehen,
von J. B. Henkel, 2 vols,
Braunschweig: Friedrich Vieweg und Sohn
CloseView the register entry >>' repeats arrant nonsense concerning the poisonings carried out by Roman Emperors (118). It is preposterous for such historical accounts of poisoning to rely upon 'the ancient idea of antidotes when chemistry was not in existence, and when toxicology was undreamed of', and to assume that the Romans were somehow able to 'anticipate the discoveries of chemistry' (121).
As with an earlier description of Tito Melema's amoral psychology [see [George Eliot], 'Romola Ch. 6–10', Cornhill Magazine, 6 (1862), 145–86], the narrator employs a physiological metaphor to depict Romola's mind as 'the emotions that were disengaged from the people around her rushed back into the old deep channels of use and affection' (137).
Referring back to an article in the previous number of the Cornhill [see [J Fitzjames Stephen], 'Professional Etiquette', Cornhill Magazine, 8 (1863), 101–11], claims that the unique 'esprit de corps which unites medical men' derives from the 'grand distinctive feature of medicine', which is that 'it is at once an inexact science and one which is absolutely necessary to the wants of humanity'. Because medical men can offer only 'systems of treatment which often rest upon inductions which they well know are neither as numerous nor as carefully made as they should be', the observance of strict 'rules of medical etiquette' provides the 'best preservatives against the evils which such uncertainties might give rise to'. (154) Medicine is indeed 'an empirical science' according to 'a most eloquent living physician—M. TrousseauTrousseau, Armand
WBI CloseView the register entry >>', although he uses the word to signify 'Experiment independent of all theory' and holds that medicine is 'an art, rather than a deductive science' (154–55). As such, it 'demands, in those who practise it, an unusual amount of some uncommon virtues' such as 'a courageous and clear-sighted honesty' (155). A medical man must give evidence of having undertaken the 'enormously expensive and troublesome' studies which 'can only be carried out by means of the association of students in a hospital school, such as exist in our metropolitan and some of our provincial cities' (158). But beyond this he must also 'be able to prove that he is acting in good faith', often by means of good etiquette, and the 'essence of all quackery, properly so called, is the absence of a bona fides' (157). Condemns those practitioners who remain 'blind to the progress of science and [...] continue obstinately to stick fast super antiquas vias, in the bad sense', even though 'this sort of negative conservatism is rather encouraged than otherwise by one class of patients, and the men who practise it sometimes obtain a large business and a high social consideration'. Amongst this class of doctors and patients, medical etiquette comes to 'resemble the vexatious frivolity of a Spanish code of ceremony'. (158) In asserting that, even when dealing with the dying, 'the doctor is no theologian, that is, no decider of theological questions', insists on 'putting aside altogether the question of supernatural influence, as a topic unfit for discussion here' (159–60). Concludes by denouncing the increasingly common practice by which a 'merchant dares to offer a bribe to the scientific man', who, after 'quieting his first qualms of conscience with the fallacious truism that the goods really are excellent, reports accordingly, with all due flourish of scientific trumpets' (162). There is, for instance, the case of 'a well-known analyst [who] declares (with such emphasis that one could fancy tears of gratitude standing in his eyes) that B— and Co.'s London stout is a pure, a wholesome, a nourishing, a life-giving drink' (161).
Refuses to apply the name 'farmer, "pure and simple"' (166) to that growing 'class of persons who, if they farm at all, really do it either as an amusement or a scientific experiment' (167). The true 'farmer, in spite of all that chemistry and machinery have done for him, is still much of the terræ filius' (169). Observes nostalgically that 'an increased rental and scientific agriculture' is not 'a romantic exchange for that personal service which it was always supposed that the tenant [farmer] would willingly have rendered' (167). Warns that when 'the smart young tenant, in his turn-down collar, red scarf, and large pin, begins to talk upon professional subjects, such as stock, breeding, manure, and the like topics of elegant conversation, his remarks very often show more science than delicacy' (171). After recounting the words of a farmer who considered that a flood that prevented his sheep from grazing was a result of 'those mysterious and occult forces which were what people meant [...] by nature, providence, or fate', notes that the 'utilitarian and materialistic spirit which is characteristic of farmers is counteracted' by a 'strong natural conservatism' (170). Unlike urban areas, the countryside is not 'undergoing [the] perpetual transformation' which 'breathes of progress, invention, expectation, and the greatness of what is to be', and remains a place of 'repose, antiquity, immobility, and the sanctity of what is' (170–71).
Language, Comparative Philology, Anthropology, Race, Human Species, Progress, Nomenclature
Describes the 'latest claim' that a particular race 'speak the primeval language—the language of Adam and Eve in Paradise'. John RaeRae, John
WBI CloseView the register entry >> has lately 'put forward [...] the Hawaiian, or the language of the Sandwich Islands, as being that from which the venerable Sanskrit and all its descendants are derived'. (197) Remarks that, with the exception of 'Tea', 'scarcely a single word' of 'the Hwan-hwa, the classic speech of China [...] has made its way to the vocabularies of civilization', and finds in this 'an evident proof that the language of those remote regions had not a common origin', thereby refuting theories advanced by the 'advocates of a single primitive tongue'. Also notes that 'In languages, as in races, the law of progress prevails. What is imperfect perishes. The strong, the intellectual, supersede the barbarous and the weak. No dialectic of antiquity can compare in strength and variety with those which represent modern civilization [...] and it may be doubted whether an inhabitant of ancient Athens or Rome would understand many of the adaptations from Greek and Latin, of which modern science has availed itself'. (199) Primitive language 'only represented objects visible or tangible to the external senses. Inward emotions displayed themselves in the changes of countenance (such as animals exhibit, but which appear in man with vastly superior power of expression)', and 'All languages retain these, with much similarity and even identity of character'. Concludes that the 'migration of words affords as various and as wide a field for study as that of seeds, or fishes, or birds, or beast, or men' (202).
Natural History, Ornithology, Animal Behaviour, Anthropomorphism, Ancient Authorities, Nutrition, Medical Treatment, Astronomy, Comparative Anatomy
Observes that there are 'certain animals [...] in the lower orders of creation, who, by the general, nay the almost universal, assent of mankind, have obtained, and often very undeservedly, the character of being, beyond their fellows, silly and foolish', and defends geese, those 'luckless creatures', against this erroneous charge. Although this 'despised and decried bird' is 'judged of by the world [...] —with the same injustice which condemned SocratesSocrates
CBD CloseView the register entry >>', it has not always been viewed in this way, and the ancient authority 'PlinyPliny (Gaius Plinius Secundus)
DSB CloseView the register entry >> observes that modesty is the attribute which, in the view of many persons, is most conspicuous in this maligned biped, and, from his mode of expressing himself, one might almost infer the old naturalist shared in this belief'. (203) Cites a wide variety of sources, including 'Batchelor'sBatchelor, Thomas
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>BedfordshireBatchelor,
Thomas 1808. General View of the Agriculture of the County of
Bedford: Drawn up by Order of the Board of Agriculture and Internal
Improvement, London: R. Phillips
CloseView the register entry >>', which seem to suggest that 'a goose can cure hydrophobia' and do 'a great deal more than our faculties of medicine have ever yet achieved with all their efforts'. Also states, 'In the Philosophical TransactionsPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society
CloseView the register entry >> it is asserted that, of all animals the goose is most prescient of earthquakes—all animals, of course include astronomers royal and their assistants, so let Mr. AiryAiry, Sir George Biddell
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> and Mr. GlaisherGlaisher, James
DSB CloseView the register entry >> look to it; what prescience have they of earthquakes?'. (205) Referring to certain 'Writers on psychology [who] lead us to believe that animals greatly given to sleep are usually inferior in sagacity', comments that 'Amongst the lower animals the monkey has been considered the most closely to approximate to man in his organisation, and, as man is the least sleepy of all animals, so in a minor degree is the monkey less prone to slumber than most other animals'. In the light of these findings, the 'proverbial [...] wakefulness of the goose' affords 'an additional reason for our protest against the calumnies to which the highly gifted and singularly endowed subject of these remarks has been ruthlessly exposed'. (206)
Medical Treatment, Medical Practitioners, Quackery, Amateurism, Expertise, Heterodoxy
After an altercation on the platform of the Great Western Railway Station between John Eames and Adolphus Crosbie, the latter's eye becomes 'swollen and closed, and [...] in another hour it would be as black as his hat'. He is helped to his feet by 'a benevolent medical man who was proposing to him an immediate application of leeches'. (212) When Crosbie reaches his home, however, the housekeeper, Mrs. Phillips, advises him, 'They do say that a bit of raw beef is about the best thing', and as 'Anything would be better than leeches, which tell long-enduring tales [...] Crosbie sat through the greater part of the morning holding the raw beef to his eye' (214). Mrs. Phillips, 'who would seem to have been the wife of a prize-fighter, so well was she acquainted with black eyes', later remarks, 'I never knew leeches do any good' (215).
Disease, Neurology, Exhibitions, Medical Practitioners, Reading
Notes that in 1847 the German poet Heinrich Heine 'had a kind of paralytic stroke. His malady proved to be a softening of the spinal marrow: it was incurable: it made rapid progress [...] but his disease took more than eight years to kill him. For nearly eight years he lay helpless on a couch, with the use of his limbs gone, wasted almost to the proportions of a child, wasted so that a woman could carry him about; the sight of one eye lost, that of the other greatly dimmed, and requiring, that it might be exercised, to have the palsied eyelid lifted and held up by the finger; all this, and suffering, besides this, at short intervals, paroxysms of nervous agony' (239). Also cites Heine, 'in 1855, the year of the Great ExhibitionExposition Universelle (1855), Paris CloseView the register entry >> in Paris', declaring, 'my nerves are of that quite singularly remarkable miserableness of nature, that I am convinced they would get at the Exhibition the grand medal for pain and misery'. Heine 'read all the medical books which treated of his complaint. "But", said he to someone who found him thus engaged, "what good this reading is to do me I don't know, except that it will qualify me to give lectures in heaven on the ignorance of doctors on earth about diseases of the spinal marrow"', at which Arnold comments, 'What a matter of grim seriousness are our own ailments to most of us! yet with this gaiety Heine treated his to the end'. (240)
Reflects that 'Before me lies a coin bearing the image and superscription of King George IV., and of the nominal value of two-and-sixpence. But an official friend at a neighbouring turnpike says the piece is hopelessly bad; and a chemist tested it, returning a like unfavourable opinion'. Then asks rhetorically, 'You dare to forge your Sovereign's name, and pass your scoundrel pewter as her silver? [...] This forgery is so complete that even now I am deceived by it—I can't see the difference between the base and sterling metal. Perhaps this piece is a little lighter;—I don't know. A little softer:—is it? I have not bitten it, not being a connoisseur in the tasting of pewter or silver' (250).
Disease, Medical Practitioners, Status, Class, Expertise
When Jane, the parlour-maid at the small house, fell ill 'the village doctor [...] expressed an opinion that the girl's ailment was certainly scarlatina', but Mrs. Dale was 'not satisfied with this [...] having herself maintained an opposition of many years' standing against the medical reputation of the apothecary' (263), and 'had almost made up her mind that the malady of her favourite maid was not scarlatina' (264). However, when Dr. Croft arrived from Guestwick on the following day, he 'pronounced as a fact that it was scarlatina', and the narrator comments, 'Village apothecaries are generally wronged by the doubts which are thrown upon them, for the town doctors when they come always confirm what the village apothecaries have said' (274).
Claims that, contrary to the public perception of painting, other 'profound studies, as, for instance, chemistry or mathematics, are seen to be difficult by every one, and persons who have not studied them, never labour under the illusion that they know all about them' (335). Indeed, 'Men devoted to pure science, as for instance mathematicians, are spared [the] unpleasant necessity' of informing a popular audience of their ignorance of the subject and thereby of seeming to exhibit a 'contempt for the public' ('An accusation often brought against Mr. RuskinRuskin, John
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>'). After all, 'no one who has ever learned mathematics ever dreams of setting himself up as a judge of merit in mathematicians' (335–36). Also states that 'There is a vast critical movement in our age, the general object of which may be defined as the emancipation of the living intellect from the tyranny of the dead. Nothing whatever is safe from this movement [...] no dead natural philosopher will pass conjecture for experiment, for the human race is advancing to ripe years, and no longer accepts as infallible the authorities that governed its infancy' (338–39).
Population, Medical Practitioners, Status, Patronage, Pharmaceuticals
Considers the 'desperate struggle for subsistence supposed peculiar to this high-pressure generation' (358), and suggests that the last resort of 'family charity is very much after the fashion of the new Poor Law; they will take you into the House, but fight against all out-door relief' (360). Recounts the case of 'my friend the doctor—Dr. Slop (we will call him)', who one day 'called together his butcher, his grocer, his daughter's schoolmistress, and other long-suffering creditors, and said, "My debts are 1,500l., my goods and chattels are assigned under a bill of sale, and if you put in an execution, a big white jar of leeches, with drugs and gallipots, are all you will get; but, per contra, I have a fluctuating estate in mumps, measles, and midwifery cases, that averages 800l. a year. But all this requires that I should still keep up appearances, and your security will vanish unless you leave me 600l. a year to go on with"' (358).
Medical Practitioners, Status, Education, Nomenclature, Class
The proposed marriage of the country doctor James Rich and the society beauty Horatia Berners is greeted with concern by their friends and relatives. Horatia's aunt, Lady Winston, exclaims, 'He is not an M.D. though he calls himself a doctor. [...] These sort of people must be kept down' (372). Dr. Rich 'had been a surgeon on board ship, he had been to India and back [...] he had been at death's door once or twice', and 'If years and experience; if rubbing up against people of every degree, from savages without any clothes at all, to lords and ladies in silken gear; if a good heart, if good wit, and good education do not make a gentleman after twoscore years, it is hard to say what will' (374). He nevertheless tells his future spouse that as a country doctor's wife 'you will have to be really a woman of the working classes' (383).
After recovering from her illness, the mischievous Lily Dale asks Dr. Croft, 'Who is ever grateful to a doctor? He only cures you that he may triumph over some other doctor, and declare, as he goes by Dr. Gruffen's door, "There, had she called you in, she'd have been dead before now; or else would have been ill for twelvemonths". Don't you jump for joy when Dr. Gruffen's patients die?'. To which the doctor replies ironically, 'Of course I do,—out in the marketplace, so that everybody shall see me'. (407)
Compares 'the monsters of the deep now in fashion' with the more nimble vessels with which naval battles were fought in the days before steam (422). Predicts that 'The Trafalgars of the future will be fought with steamers—iron plated steamers, too'. Although the most important factor in naval warfare in the future will be 'the quality of the steamers each nation builds', it is nevertheless 'not improbable that steam warfare may give rise to a school of naval tactics more fertile in combinations than that of the Hosts and Clerks' of old, and the 'skill [...] known as seamanship will simply have to be employed under new conditions'. (428) Indeed, 'Is steam a more potent force in Nature than Genius; or iron harder than the pluck of the British tar? Whom will these great demons serve faithfully but the wizards who best know how to bring them under control?', and this fact 'ought to stimulate us to hopeful ingenuity' (427). Boasts that because 'England [...] builds the largest number' of 'war-steamer[s]', 'one condition of the warfare of the future is very much under her own control'. Claims that the 'AdmiraltyAdmiralty
CloseView the register entry >> ought to form an iron-clad squadron, and exercise it as a squadron for experiment's sake', but concludes that 'these speculations are for professional men', the article having been written merely to 'give a popular account' of naval warfare. (428) Also cites the opinion of the Classicist William RamsayRamsay, William
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> that 'In no one of the arts which have been practised by mankind [...] was the inferiority of the ancients to the moderns more conspicuous than in navigation', an advance which means that 'Our sea-life to-day commands the whole planet, and ranges over regions compared with which the Mediterranean is only a pleasant lake' (410).
Replies to two articles in the Saturday ReviewSaturday Review
Directory CloseView the register entry >> concerning the view of spiritualism expressed previously by Stephen in the Cornhill [see [J Fitzjames Stephen], 'Spiritualism', Cornhill Magazine, 7 (1863), 706–19]. Defends his sceptical position against the charge that it would 'have discredited every invention of modern times' and that the 'results produced by steam engines, electric telegraphs, the use of chloroform' are 'as great a shock to all antecedent experience as any sensible phenomena which it is possible to imagine'. Taking the example of the telegraph, asks, 'Why do you or I believe that it is possible to transmit messages across thousands of miles in a moment of time?' (442). After all, if 'credible witnesses had asserted that they went into a room in London, and that a man sitting there told them that a number of facts were then happening at Constantinople, of the occurrence of which satisfactory evidence afterwards arrived in the due course of the post, I should not have believed their statement, just as, at present, I do not believe the statements about Mr. HomeHome, Daniel Dunglas
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> flying round the room' (442–43). But, unlike spiritualism, the facts of telegraphy accord with 'some general theory which reconciles and explains a great number of familiar facts [...] and the difficulty of believing [is] removed'. In the case of telegraphy, 'I am told on good authority that there is an invisible and imponderable agent in nature which is called electricity and this is illustrated by a number of sufficiently familiar facts and experiments. By degrees I am taught to see that currents of electricity may by appropriate means be transmitted instantaneously to remote places, and so, step by step, I am led up to the electric telegraph, and when the matter is so put before me, I believe it as firmly as any one'. (443)
Plantagenet Palliser has learned the 'art of startling the House of Commons and frightening the British public by the voluminous accuracy of his statistics', but he does not know 'what to say to a pretty woman' and ends up talking to the 'very handsome' Lady Dumbello about 'the sugar duties' (518–19). However, when he was told that 'Lady Dumbello smiled upon him', Palliser 'certainly thought more about her smiles than had been good for his statistics'. Also comments that 'We are not content in looking to our newspapers for all the information that earth and human intellect can afford; but we demand from them what we might demand if a daily sheet could come to us from the world of the spirits. The result, of course, is this,—that the papers do pretend that they have come daily from the world of spirits'. (520)
Observes that the 'social life of a steamer is a very different thing, as we all know, from that of a railway. In a steamer you make acquaintances, you chat with everybody'. One of the passengers on the journey to Holland is 'a commercial man who had just swinged a railway company for three thousand pounds on account of an accident'. (540) After considering the regular flooding of Rotterdam, remarks, 'No wonder that the Dutch are good water-engineers. The country is kept safe and sound, and comfortable, by dint of engineering, and a college for training the State engineers, who look after the dykes, exists at Delft' (546).
Crime, Disability, Medical Practitioners, Expertise
During the 'now notorious tribunal' of a paymaster in the '6th Inniskilling Dragoons' held at Mhow in Central India in the spring of 1862 (556), it was urged that one of the chief witnesses should be 'disqualified from giving evidence by reason of his notorious blindness' (568). When called to give his evidence, however, the witness 'explained that there was not, and never had been, any foundation for the assertion that his eyesight was defective' (576), and he produced a letter from 'W. R. WildeWilde, Sir William Robert Wills
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, Surgeon Oculist in Ireland to Her Majesty', which certified that the patient had been 'carefully examined and tested' and was found to be 'not short-sighted, nor in any way affected with defective vision' (576n.).
Recalling certain meals that were particularly memorable, asks, 'Why is it that no bacon has since had that aroma, and that penetrating flavour? Or was the effect purely subjective? [...] Or was there some subtle physiological preparation of conditions, making the palate unusually sensitive? These be questions. An inconsiderate reader will answer that the whole mystery lies in youth and appetite; and in this answer the reader displays his imperfect induction' (616). Claims that the 'reader is a philosopher, and with that restless curiosity which is always prying behind facts in the hope of detecting the strings of the puppets, wishes to discover the First Principles [...] of this subject', and notes, 'If the reader can see his way to a solution, I can't. I believe it is a first truth'. Inquires, 'Can Science teach us to recover and multiply' the 'higher raptures of Flavour' which occur all too rarely? (618) Also recalls 'the lingering remembrance of that horrible steamer, quivering, shivering, groaning, moaning, and pitching' (617).
The retrospective first-person narrative begins when Paul Manning starts work as 'a clerk under the engineer who had undertaken to make the little branch line from Eltham to Hornby', a situation got for him by his father, who had been 'a mechanic by trade, but [...] had some inventive genius, and a great deal of perseverance, and had devised several valuable improvements in railway machinery'. John Manning, who comes from Birmingham, 'did not do this for profit', but 'worked out his ideas because, as he said, "until he could put them into shape, they plagued him by night and by day"', and, as his son notes, 'it is a good thing for a country where there are many like him'. (619) When his work on the Eltham to Hornby railway line is halted because 'the shaking, uncertain ground was puzzling our engineers—one end going up as soon as the other was weighted down', Paul grudgingly visits some distant relations of his mother (622). There he becomes 'all aglow with shame' (630) because of the difference in accomplishments between 'railway gentlemen' (628) and his psalm-singing country cousins, with their knowledge of 'dead-and-gone languages' (631). He is 'half offended' by their silence when he inquires if they have heard of his father's 'discovery of a new method of shunting?', and exclaims, 'It was in the Gazette. It was patented. I thought everyone had heard of Manning's patent winch'. The Reverend Ebenezer Holman, however, observes that he has 'heard of him once before; and it is not many a one fifty miles away whose fame reaches Heathbridge'. (632) Holman reveals his 'prodigious big appetite' for all reading, including 'a volume of stiff mechanics, involving many technical terms, and some rather deep mathematics' which 'seemed easy enough to him' (633). He asks Paul to recommend a 'small book on dynamics that I could put in my pocket, and study a little at leisure times in the day', explaining that 'now that the railroads are coming so near us, it behoves us to know something about them' (633–34).
Begins with a quotation from Alfred TennysonTennyson, Alfred, 1st Baron Tennyson
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, and then gives a 'a list of some of the most remarkable and beautiful binary stars within reach of telescopes of moderate power', which is provided for the 'convenience of those of our readers who may desire to view these objects, and who possess charts of the heavens, or celestial globes' (680). After rejecting the idea that the often complementary colours of double stars are produced by 'merely the effect of contrast' (681) and proposing instead that these colours are 'inherent in the separate members' of a system of stars, insists that there can be 'little doubt that these systems [...] are engirdled about by planets, which, in their turn, are the abodes of living creatures'. Although refusing to enter 'on the vexed question of the plurality of worlds', asserts that 'no trick of logic will convince the reflective mind that the myriads of bright orbs visible to the eye, or revealed by the telescope [...] speed in their orbits through a gigantic solitude—that from no spot in the illimitable universe but the speck that we inhabit arises the voice of adoration or of prayer'. Considers the effect of the diversity of the colours of surrounding stars on the 'nature of beings inhabiting such planets', and advises, 'It is sufficient that we know that their Almighty Creator has, with infinite wisdom and mercy, adjusted their nature and their powers to the situation in which He has placed them'. (682) Describes the 'experiments tried on the railway uniting Utrecht and Maarsen' involving a group of static musicians and another group on a moving train which showed that a sound is subject to modification by the velocity of the individual hearing it or the source of the sound itself, an investigation that 'will enable the reader to anticipate' the parallel 'theory of M. DopplerDoppler, Johann Christian
DSB CloseView the register entry >> on the colours of double stars' (684). Doppler's theory urges that 'all the stars are white, or nearly so', but seem to exhibit particular colours according to the velocity with which they are approaching ('violet, indigo, blue, or green') or moving away ('red, orange, or yellow') from the observer (685). However, the 'prevalence of colours from the red end of the spectrum' in actual observation seems, in Doppler's understanding, 'to suppose an expansion, or, as it were, an unwinding of our galaxy' which has not been suggested elsewhere (686). Concludes that the reliability of Doppler's theory will 'be established or confuted by the observations of the next few years', including the 'investigations of star spectra, now occupying the attention of the Astronomer RoyalAiry, Sir George Biddell
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>' (687).
When John Manning visits Eltham to see his son and to 'consult Mr. Holdsworth about the improvement which has since been known as "Manning's driving wheel"', the latter praises him 'as having the same kind of genius for mechanical invention as that of George StephensonStephenson, George
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>' (692), and declares of him, 'Here's a Birmingham workman, self-educated, one may say—[...] working out his own thoughts into steel and iron, making a scientific name for himself—a fortune, if it pleases him to work for money' (697). Although Edward Holdsworth is a Southerner who has received 'an expensive schooling' with 'heaps of scientific books' (697), he nevertheless 'served his apprenticeship' in 'the same great machine-shop' where Manning was employed, and the two men share 'many mutual jokes about one of these gentlemen-apprentices who used to set about his smith's work in white wash-leather gloves, for fear of spoiling his hands' (Manning's hands, his son notes, are 'blackened beyond the power of soap and water by years of labour in the foundry') (692). Manning reports to his son Paul that 'Some folk are making a deal of my new machine', and tells him that he is to form a partnership with 'Mr. Ellison the Justice!' of 'the Borough Green Works' which will provide Paul with an 'opening' and 'fortune' that will enable him to marry his cousin Phillis Holman (694). When Paul and his father visit their rural relations in Heathbridge, the 'totally dissimilar lives' of John Manning and the Reverend Ebenezer Holman are at once forgotten, and the railway engineer eagerly takes down notes on 'the points of a cow' in a 'little book that he used for mechanical memoranda and measurements' while the minister-farmer is fascinated with a 'new model of turnip-cutting machine' proposed by Manning (692–93).
Observes that 'Dispensing and receiving hospitality in the country to the extent to which it is now carried may be classed among the institutions which have grown out of railway travelling. Distance is, now-a-days, the one thing never dreamt of as an excuse either for not inviting or for declining' (710), and exclaims, 'Railways! I thank you!' (711). Describes the frustration of modern young men at 'being kept long in the dining-room after the fair objects of their aspirations have left', depicting 'Fitz-Romeo [...] trying to mesmerise by his vacant stare the topmost plum of the pyramid before him' (712).
Complains that many modern actors have lost their 'dramatic and emotional temperament' and should strive to be 'less sophisticated and less civilized', noting that the 'plays brought out and revived at our theatres of late years bear doleful witness to this. We have in them archæology, ethnology, history, geography, botany (even to the curiosity of ascertaining the Danish wild-flowers that Ophelia might twist with her mad straws) [...] everything, in short, but acting, which it seems we cannot have' (734). Insists that the essential spontaneity of 'dramatic art has neither fixed rules, specific principles, indispensable rudiments, nor fundamental laws; it has no basis in positive science' (736).