When David Faux (alias Edward Freely) attempts to manipulate his simple-minded brother Jacob with various threats and promises, the mordant and cynical narrator notes that David, 'not having studied the psychology of idiots, was not aware that they are not to be wrought upon by imaginative fears' (6). David's maladroit coaxing of Jacob later leads directly to the exposure of his dishonesty, although at the time he insists hypocritically that it is 'a duty to be good to idiots [...]. We might have been idiots ourselves—everybody might have been born idiots, instead of having their right senses' (28). None of the characters in the tale express any genuine sympathy for Jacob, and even his virtuous elder brother, Jonathan Faux, exclaims, 'A fine trouble and cost he is to us, in th' eating and other things, but we must bear what's laid on us' (30). The narrator also reflects on the effect which David's ornate confectionery shop has on the children of Grimworth: 'When I think of the sweet-tasted swans, and other ingenious white shapes crunched by the small teeth of that rising generation, I am glad to remember that a certain amount of calcareous food has been held good for young creatures whose bones are not quite formed' (15).
Transport, Railways, Progress, Conservatism, National Efficiency
Records that the 'turnpike-keepers['] [...] sovereignty of the roads, within fifty miles of London, came to an end, after a reign of five centuries, on the first day of the month of July of this present year, 1864' (54). Their function has now been 'superseded by the rail, without which progress would have been stayed, and we should have been far behind the world'. The 'deposed scarlet officials' may murmur 'reproachfully "They are making a gridiron of old England!". This "gridiron", however, has so increased the traffic in and about London, as to render the obstacles offered by venerable turnpikes intolerable nuisances'. (64)
Military Technology, War, Steamships, Race, Imagination, Theory
Gives an eye-witness account of the attack on Charleston by a Federal 'iron-clad fleet, armed with ordinance of prodigious force and calibre' in April 1863 (99). This 'armour-clad armada' inflicted enormous damage on both the Confederate defensive positions along the coast as well as on the heavily-populated town of Charleston itself (108), occasioning observations on the frantic reactions of the town's black population, with their 'easily excited [...] imaginations', to an 'undefined terror that literally blanched many a dusky visage' (100). Comments that the 'gallant commander' of the latest Federal ironside USS KeokukUSS Keokuk CloseView the register entry >>, 'relying on the reputation she had achieved theoretically, places her within seven hundred yards of the forts', but soon has to withdraw, 'evidently seriously crippled' (103–04). On inspecting the fortifications prior to the attack with the Southern General Roswell S RipleyRipley, Roswell Sabine
WBI CloseView the register entry >>, the author observes that 'in tow of an old steamer, goes an old hull, with some huge kind of cylinder pendent from its bows. The steamer stays her progress; the old hull swings round with the tide; a rattle of chain clangs over the harbour, followed by a dull plunge, and the cylinder has disappeared. It is a monster torpedo, containing two thousand pounds of powder, and is worked by a submarine batteryCSS H L Hunley CloseView the register entry >>. This terrible engine of destruction was one of the general's pet ideas, and as he followed my glance from the open window, he chuckled slyly' (100).
Responds to the findings concerning Eton CollegeEton College, Berkshire CloseView the register entry >> contained in the ReportReport of the Royal Commission on
Public Schools: Report of Her Majesty's Commissioners Appointed to Inquire into
the Revenues and Management of Certain Colleges and Schools and the Studies
Pursued and Instruction Given Therein, House of Commons Parlimentary
Papers, Session 1864, , 20, 1–956
CloseView the register entry >> of the Royal Commission on Public SchoolsRoyal Commission on Public Schools
CloseView the register entry >>, noting that Eton's failure to provide the Royal Commissioners with accurate calculations of the annual profit made by the school was 'possibly from an inaptitude and distaste for the exact sciences' (115). Notes that the 'mathematical, the modern-language masters, and the dames, are not allowed to take any part in the discipline of the school' (119), and reprints evidence given to the Commission by one witness who 'considered that the mathematical masters were placed in an inferior social position to the classical masters; that their teaching was consequently looked down upon and valueless, and that the boys craved for private instruction in mathematics rather from social than scientific objects—for the sake of meeting one another in class-rooms' (124). Also refers to the evidence given to the Commission 'at his own urgent request' by the former Etonian 'John WalterWalter, John
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, Esq., M.P., the influential proprietor of The TimesThe Times
Directory CloseView the register entry >>' (124–25), who denounced the 'charges for French and ordinary mathematics as "discreditable", and protest[ed] against the charge for extra mathematics as "an abuse"' (126). The headmasterBalston, Edward
WBI CloseView the register entry >> of Eton, however, 'throws heavy blame on parents', and contends that 'boys ought to be taught modern languages, grammar, and arithmetic thoroughly in their early youth, before they present themselves to him for admission' (122). A further witness to the Commission also alleged that 'scarcely any ancient and no modern geography is taught at Eton' (125).
Medical Practitioners, Skill, Status, Feeling, Health
When Mr. Hall, long-established as the most 'skilful doctor' in Hollingford, begins to suffer from rheumatic gout, he attempts to find a new partner, despite the admonitions of his numerous patients, by 'advertising in medical journals, reading testimonials, [and] sifting character and qualifications' (148). He appoints Mr. Gibson, and the younger man soon establishes himself as the more favoured practitioner, especially with aristocratic patients. In fact, the 'respect shown for his professional skill' becomes 'a little too much for even the kind old doctor's good temper—Mr. Gibson had even been invited once to dinner at the Towers, to dine with the great Sir AstleyCooper, Sir Astley Paston, 1st Baronet
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, the head of the profession!'. (149) Gibson himself, whose 'slight Scotch accent' and dark French looks denote his acquaintance with Edinburgh and Paris, the leading centres of advanced medicine at the time the novel is set (149), soon finds the 'pairs of young men' who come to him for 'professional instruction' a constant 'incubus', but 'his reputation as a clever surgeon had spread so rapidly that his fees which he thought prohibitory, were willingly paid, in order that young men might make a start in life, with the prestige of having been a pupil of Gibson of Hollingford' (151). Gibson, whose first wife has died young, maintains 'rather a contempt for demonstrative people, arising from his medical insight into the consequences to health of uncontrolled feeling' (150–01).
Argues for the creation of a French-style state-endowed literary academy in Britain. Admits, however, that 'the highest reach of science is, one may say, an inventive power, a faculty of divination, akin to the highest power exercised in poetry: therefore, a nation whose spirit is characterized by energy may well be eminent in science—and we have NewtonNewton, Sir Isaac
DSB CloseView the register entry >>. [...] And what that energy, which is the life of genius, above everything demands and insists upon, is freedom; entire independence of all authority, prescription, and routine' (158). Nevertheless, on the Continent, where the intellectual authority of centralized academies has long existed, 'as a sort of counterpart to Newton, there was LeibnitzLeibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm
DSB CloseView the register entry >>; a man, it seems to me (though on these matters I speak under correction), of much less creative energy of genius, much less power of divination than Newton, but rather a man of admirable intelligence, a type of intelligence in science, if ever there was one. Well, and what did they each directly lead up to in science? [...] The man of genius was continued by the English analysts of the eighteenth century, comparatively powerless and obscure followers of the renowned master; the man of intelligence was continued by successors like BernoulliBernoulli, Daniel
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, EulerEuler, Leonhard
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, LagrangeLagrange, Joseph Louis
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, and LaplaceLaplace, Pierre-Simon, marquis de
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, the greatest names in modern mathematics' (159–60). Compares the general intellectual standards of Britain with those of France and Germany, and complains at 'the absence in this country, of any force of educated literary and scientific opinion, making aberrations like those of the author of The One Primeval LanguageForster,
Charles 1851–54. The One Primeval Language Traced
Experimentally Through Ancient Inscriptions in Alphabetic Characters of Lost
Powers from the Four Continents: Including the Voice of Israel from the Rocks
of Sinai; and the Vestiges of Patriarchal Tradition from the Monuments of
Egypt, Etruria, and Southern Arabia, 3 vols, London: Richard Bentley
CloseView the register entry >> out of the question' (162). Only the founding of 'influential centres of correct information will tend to raise the standard amongst us' and 'free us from the scandal of such [...] philological freaks as Mr. Forster'sForster, Charles
WBI CloseView the register entry >> about the one primeval language' (172).
Concedes that 'Statistics undoubtedly constitute a new instrument of scientific inquiry, and for the brief modern period in which it has been applied, it has already worked wonders', observing that 'Registrars-General have, indeed, become arithmetical diviners of a new-kind, arch-wizards of statistical magic, which enables them, by simply watching the rate at which events happen, to predict their recurrence, if not separately, at least in averages. Murder, it has in this way been discovered, is, in the gross occurrence, as much a matter of general law as are the fluctuations of heat' (218). However, while the 'averagarians usually give the statistics of murders, suicides, and (unhappy connection!) marriages, as proof of the periodic uniformity of events, which beforetime have been understood to depend on the will' (219), their findings can only ever be partial because the 'workings of the will are not adequately reported in the world of outer occurrences, and therefore must always remain cognizable only by the conscience' (221–22). Goes on to complain that amid the 'modern superstition of arithmetic', 'some few persons, led away by an enthusiasm for statistics, have applied logic to a matter outside the limits of proof' (224). Also notes that the 'natural complement of this discovery of statistical averages was the invention of insurance; and the moral effects of that practice [...] can scarcely be over-estimated' (222). Insurance encourages, amongst many other ills, an employer to treat his workers as 'merely mechanical automata against whose vagaries of forgery and embezzlement you have taken an assurance precaution', and it is also 'very unheroic, for it is a kind of "hedging" of your destiny, a slight taking of odds against yourself'. Nevertheless, the 'introduction of material forces into manufacturing processes has extended trade dealings far beyond all capabilities of individual powers and responsibilities', and, without the 'saving guarantee' of insurance, 'merchants would be driven mad by steam and electricity'. (223)
Remarks that the 'laws of chemistry and mechanics are not more exact and immutable than the laws of psychology, but our knowledge of the data from which we deduce those laws is in the first instance reasonably accurate; in the last, owing to secondary causes and disturbing influences, which we know absolutely nothing of, and could not control if we did, our ignorance is great, and what we learn avails not much. We can foretell an eclipse, we can predict the result of a chemical combination, but of the secret of love, of the rise or fall of a friendship or a creed, even those who know humanity best can only guess'. Even if one could 'bottle different solutions of humanity, and then suddenly [...] admit the outer air, that is, the laws of their condition to act on them', the results would never be 'as sure as algebra' and would remain 'not chance but mystery'. (299)
Observes that the 'German professorate comprises not merely an immense majority of all the eminent thinkers and writers, the learned and scientific in the country, but all such with very few exceptions' (342). Indeed, the 'twenty-eight universities of Germany (including German Switzerland) contain almost seventeen hundred professors, and the greatest names in history, science, law, theology, and medicine are found in the number', for instance 'LiebigLiebig, Justus von
DSB CloseView the register entry >> is ordinary professor of chemistry in the University of HamburgUniversity of Hamburg
CloseView the register entry >>' (342–43). The situation is very different in England, where at OxfordUniversity of Oxford
CloseView the register entry >> in 1860 'the most eminent Sanskrit scholar in England [i.e. Friedrich Max MüllerMax Müller, Friedrich
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>] stood for the Sanskrit chair [...] and was rejected by a vote of the whole body, and [...] one of the voters assigned as a reason that he "had always voted against the d—d intellect, and trusted that he always might"' (343). Notes, however, that the 'State patronage' afforded to German professors necessarily entails their being 'really under the absolute control of the Government', and it is 'but a few weeks ago since a professor of medicine at Köningsberg was deprived for presiding at a meeting which approved the address of the Chamber of the Deputies after the king had refused to receive it' (346).
The shy and ungainly Lord Hollingford returns to his ancestral home, the Towers, with 'scientific acquirements considerable enough to entitle him to much reputation in the European republic of learned men' (355). The inhabitants of Hollingford are 'proud of him' and 'point him out to strangers visiting the little town', knowing that 'he had made one or two discoveries, though in what direction they were not quite sure' (355–56). Mr. Hall, the town's elder doctor, is uncomfortable in the company of Lord Hollingford, and dines with him only 'if some great surgical gun (like Sir AstleyCooper, Sir Astley Paston, 1st Baronet
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>) was brought down from London to bear on the family's health' (356). The younger Mr. Gibson, on the other hand, fast becoming '"the doctor" par excellence at Hollingford', is 'perfectly presentable' at the Towers, and when there from 'time to time he met the leaders of the scientific world; odd-looking, simple-hearted men, very much in earnest about their own particular subjects, and not having much to say on any other' (356–57). Encouraged by these encounters with the scientific community, Gibson begins 'to send contributions of his own to the more scientific of the medical journals, and thus partly in receiving, partly in giving out information and accurate thought, a new zest was added to his life' (357). The brothers Osborne and Roger Hamley are both at CambridgeUniversity of Cambridge
CloseView the register entry >>, although their mother reflects that her younger son Roger 'is not likely to have such a brilliant career as Osborne. [...] Roger is not much of a reader [...]. He is so fond of natural history; and that takes him, like the squire, a great deal out of doors; and when he is in, he is always reading scientific books that bear upon his pursuits' (378). Squire Hamley, who has himself been 'plucked' from OxfordUniversity of Oxford
CloseView the register entry >>, likewise observes that, unlike the poetical Osborne, 'Roger knows a deal of natural history, and finds out queer things sometimes. [...] It is a pity they don't take honours in Natural History at Cambridge. Roger would be safe enough, if they did' (383).
Mrs. Hamley assures her husband that their younger son Roger is 'always far too full of his natural history and comparative anatomy, and messes of that sort, to be thinking of falling in love with Venus herself. He has not the sentiment and imagination of Osborne' (389). However, the name of Osborne, the Hamley's favoured elder son, 'only appeared very low down in the mathematical tripos' at CambridgeUniversity of Cambridge
CloseView the register entry >> (391), and his lowly position 'among the junior optimes' is the source of much unhappiness for his parents (393). The widower Mr. Gibson becomes 'far too busy in his profession to have time for mere visits of ceremony' when 'the district of which he may be said to have had medical charge' is hit by 'a bad kind of low fever, which took up all his time and thought'. The pitiful state of Gibson's domestic arrangements are brought home to him by 'an impromptu visit of Lord Hollingford's' (who has recently installed a 'new laboratory at the Towers' ), during which the two men 'had a good deal to say to each other about some new scientific discovery, with the details of which Lord Hollingford was well acquainted, while Mr. Gibson was ignorant and deeply interested'. (405–06) Gibson, unable to offer the scientific peer even a proper luncheon, determines to find himself a new wife.
Insists that 'Arithmetic and geography are more feasible and more interesting to a boy who has ideas than to one who has not', and suggests that such ideas can be fostered through the 'habit of strenuous work' inculcated by the 'thorough study of those grand old languages and their literature' presently undertaken in middle-class grammar schools (415).
Rhapsodises over the vast fields of flowers in the South of France, where the 'soil, so marvellously adapted to flowers, has the reputation of being singularly adapted to man, and mud-baths are in great request'. Notes that 'M. Septimus PiessePiesse, George William Septimus
WBI CloseView the register entry >>, the well-known perfumer, who is an expert chemist, has analyzed this soil', and gives a breakdown of its chemical constituents. (428) Observes that 'Man is nasal; and the imperiousness of the Schneiderian membrane demanding scents for its gratification, and partly, also, for the suppression or mitigation of stinks, has, in all ages and among all tribes, forced the genius of man to extract perfumes from flowers'. The 'nose having its needs and luxuries, Commerce is but too happy to pander to it'. The processes of producing perfume from flowers are 'partly chemical, partly agricultural: the laboratory stands in the midst of the flower farms. Just as the farmer and the gleaner carry their corn to the miller to have it ground, the landholders carry their flowers to the laboratory'. (431) These processes, however, 'depend on a fact unknown in this country, at least unpublished, until M. Septimus Piesse brought out his work, "The Art of Perfumery"Piesse, George William
Septimus 1855. The Art of Perfumery and the Methods of Obtaining
Odours of Plants, London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans
CloseView the register entry >>. We allude to the property which pure oil, butter, grease, and fat, have of absorbing the fragrant principle from flowers in contact with them. Fats absorb odours, as a sponge absorbs water. If the fat, thus impregnated, be placed in pure alcohol, or any other spirit, the fragrant principle quits the fat, and we have then the scented spirit which perfumers sell' (432).
Mental Illness, Medical Practitioners, Crime, Hospitals, Architecture, Gender, Temperance
Acknowledges that the 'question, What constitutes insanity, is one of the most troublesome in the whole scope of jurisprudence, civil and criminal', and also notes that 'whether rightfully or wrongfully [...] there does seem to be a great deal of prejudice against the doctors whenever they appear in lunacy cases'. Medical men are accused of either being 'bent on placing under restraint every individual on whose sanity they are called to decide', or of wanting to 'obtain the acquittal of every murderer, garotter, or miscreant of any kind on the plea of insanity'. (448) Describes a visit to Fisherton House AsylumFisherton House Asylum, Salisbury CloseView the register entry >> near Salisbury, which is 'like a village' and 'comprises many houses [...] separated by high walls, so that the patients may be divided according to their cases' (449). The place has 'more the appearance of a well-regulated hospital than that of either a prison or a lunatic asylum' (453), and, as the principal, John A LushLush, John Alfred
WBI CloseView the register entry >>, announces proudly, there is 'not a pair of handcuffs, or a lock-up cell, or any instrument of punishment whatever, in the whole establishment' (451). Rather, order is maintained 'Principally by kindness, and a very powerful staff of warders', and if a 'man misconducts himself' the warders 'do not allow him to attend the balls' that are held every week (451–52). Recounts conversations with several inmates, many of whom appear initially quite sane but then betray their insanity through their failure to feel contrition for their crimes. Lush then draws attention to the peculiar fact that while there are many 'flowers and shrubs in the airing-ground of the dangerous male convicts', the 'women destroy every one the moment it shows its head above the ground', and he attributes it 'possibly to that reversion of feeling and natural tastes that insanity so frequently causes' (457). Another doctor, identified only as 'X', contends that 'frequently there is a great affinity between bad temper and insanity', and, when asked whether he can 'maintain such a theory seriously', he produces a female patient to prove his point (457–58). The doctor also recounts the case of a patient who 'suffers from dipsomania, or thirst madness, and when he feels the fit coming on he requests permission to reside here till it is over' so as to 'keep him from obtaining spirits'. Concludes that although the visit has afforded 'but little scientific information', it has at least shown clearly that 'every male prisoner' held in the asylum is 'properly deprived of his liberty'. (460)
When Allan Armadale (née Allan Wrentmore) arrives at the Baths of Wildbad he is unable to respond to the inquiries of a German doctor, and 'Nothing spoke for him now but the shock that had struck him with the death-in-life of Paralysis. The doctor's eye questioned his lower limbs, and Death-in-Life answered, I am here. The doctor's eye, rising attentively by way of his hands and arms, questioned upward and upward to the muscles round his mouth, and Death-in-Life answered, I am coming' (517). After attending to the needs of the dying man, the doctor recounts to another patient, Mr. Neal, how Armadale has lived 'a wild life and a vicious life, by his own confession' in the West Indies, and how shortly 'after his marriage—now some three years since—the first symptoms of an approaching paralytic affection [probably syphilis] began to show themselves, and his medical advisers ordered him away to try the climate of Europe' (519). Lying on his death-bed, Armadale also tells of having suffered from an earlier illness in the West Indies, when his 'life was saved by my old black nurse; and [...] the woman afterwards acknowledged having used the known negro-antidote to a known negro-poison in those parts' (533).
Comments that the women of the generation educated before the Napoleonic wars 'thought they could have been close to an eclipse by sailing in the clouds, and [...] supposed EuclidEuclid
(fl. 295 BC)
DSB CloseView the register entry >> to be a Latin poet'. At the same time, however, the 'health and soundness of their neighbourhoods were sustained very much by the knowledge and skill of women who really understood the qualities and uses of vegetable medicines, and who could practise simple surgery', and these female practitioners were 'held in high respect' by the 'doctors of those days'. (550) Despite numerous changes to the educational opportunities available to middle-class girls since the beginning of the century, their education still remains far inferior to that of boys. At the '"genteel" schools', which provide inferior imitations of more exclusive girls' schools for the daughters of wealthy commoners, 'fathers who would grudge good teaching in Latin or geometry to their daughters [...] pay more than can be saved in such ways for the uniform and other fantastic devices of the school' (555). Similarly, girls' boarding schools are full of the 'almost universal crooked spines that Dr. Andrew CombeCombe, Andrew
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> wrote of, in the warning book which first astonished parents into attending to the physical part of education. That book told of girls' boarding-schools, very large and of high reputation, where scarcely one, or not one, spine was entirely straight' (556). In some agricultural districts, skilled female teachers have founded village schools where the teaching of the girls was aimed at 'fitting them for the business of life as helpers of their parents—as writing a good hand, arithmetic, and book-keeping, and such study of Natural Philosophy and Natural History as will at once make them more sensible women generally, and operate favourably on their special objects, improving their dairy produce, and their poultry, and their honey', yet 'such a school as this goes a-begging' because the parents are unwilling to pay for their daughters' education (557–58). In North America, on the other hand, the Albany Female AcademyAlbany Female Academy, Georgia CloseView the register entry >>, according to the account of George CombeCombe, George
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> in his Notes on the United StatesCombe, George
1841. Notes on the United States of North America: During a Phrenological
Visit in 1838–39–40, Goldsmiths'-Kress Library of Economic
Literature (no. 31924), 3 vols, Edinburgh: Maclachlan, Stewart, &
CloseView the register entry >>, offers subjects like 'Mathematics, astronomy, physics, chemistry and physiology [...] taught by professors', and the 'girl-students solve very advanced mathematical problems [and] have gone as deep as the popular science of their time in physiology' (562). The example of North America also shows that 'ladies who obtain their diploma as physicians, [...] and who thoroughly understand the Differential Calculus are as dextrous in making beds, and in turning out a good batch of bread and pies [...] as ever their grandmothers were' (564). Happily, in Britain too the 'resources for female education are extending' at the present time, and scientific subjects have begun to be taught to girls at the Scottish InstitutionScottish Institution, Edinburgh CloseView the register entry >> in Edinburgh, and there is now 'an ascending scale of examinations' open to female students, 'till we arrive at that professional testing from which Miss GarrettAnderson (née Garrett), Elizabeth
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> has come out qualified and certified as a medical practitioner' (567).
Statistics, Entropy, Gender, Theory, Phrenology, Christianity, Education, Medical Practitioners, Darwinism, Descent, Evolution, Fear
Already depressed by the prospect of the 'speedy exhaustion of our coal-pits', the narrator, Mr. Byng, returns home during the birth of his ninth daughter (569). That night, Byng's concerns at having failed to produce even a single son occasion a dream in which he and his statistically-minded friend Mr. Croaker are 'at the bottom of an exhausted coal-pit, both starving with hunger, when suddenly out of the darkness rustled legions of monstrously crinolined women', who throw screaming female babies at the starving men (570). The following day, Byng and Croaker meet and discuss the current 'increase of women' over men, which, in the likely event of 'a general European war', will produce a 'disproportion' that will 'eventually grow to two and one-eighth to one' (572–73). While other cultures would simply do away with 'the surplusage of our female infants', the two men agree that, as Christians, they 'must not interfere with the course of nature, however strange and vexatious it may be' (572). Instead, they consider how women could be made less dependent upon marriage by improved female education, especially in medicine. Croaker, however, protests that, in his experience, medical students do not do 'anything but smoke and drink. [...] How any man in his senses would put his daughter into such a profession as this, I can't conceive'. He also goes on to observe that 'it takes three medical students and a half to make one doctor. [...] It is a case of natural selection, and as this is an age in which life is impossible without self-confidence, it is only those mailed in "triple brass" that can fight their way through. Now, is this a prospect enticing to the candidate female doctor?'. (577) Croaker then insists that 'talk about women's rights [...] is so degrading to the sex. Most degrading. You are all trying to make her out the missing link between the gorilla and man'. He suggests that with the argument that 'different circumstances and a different education would make a woman more masculine; and that the more masculine a woman is, the more perfect' an 'opportunity arises in our time for giving Mr. Darwin'sDarwin, Charles Robert
DSB CloseView the register entry >> theory a trial. There comes a great plenty of women, and a great dearth of womanly employment. Press as many as are qualified into male employments, you cry. Then, if natural selection only acts as Mr. Darwin promises, the weak, puling, dependent class of women perish, and the strong-minded, enterprising heroine will have the honour of transmitting to posterity a very much improved type; so that, if all goes well, we shall travel in a circle, and get round to the amazons again' (578–79).
While returning from the meadows near his home, where he 'had been out dredging in ponds and ditches, and had his wet sling-net, with its imprisoned treasures of nastiness, over his shoulder', Roger Hamley encounters Molly Gibson, who is distressed by the news that her father is to marry again (591). That evening, Roger 'adjusted his microscope, and put the treasures he had collected in his morning's ramble on a little table; and then asked his mother to come and admire. Of course Molly came too, and this was what he had intended. He tried to interest her in his pursuit, cherished her first little morsel of curiosity, and nursed it into a very proper desire for further information. Then he brought out books on the subject, and translated the slightly pompous and technical language into homely every-day speech. Molly had come down to dinner, wondering how the long hours till bedtime would pass away [...]. But prayers and bedtime came long before she had expected; she had been refreshed by a new current of thought, and she was very thankful to Roger' (596). It is 'pleasant to the wisest, most reasonable youth of one or two and twenty to find himself looked up to as a Mentor by a girl of seventeen', and for Roger and Molly the 'bond between the Mentor and his Telemachus strengthened every day. He endeavoured to lead her out of morbid thought into interest in other than personal things; and, naturally enough, his own objects of interest came readiest to hand. She felt that it did her good, she did not know why or how; but after a talk with him, she always fancied that she had got the clue to goodness and peace, whatever befell' (607–08).
Agriculture, Darwinism, Nomenclature, Animal Behaviour, Morality, Sex
Observes that 'in the long and weary "struggle for existence" there are many trials and difficulties common' to both English and Scottish farm labourers (614). Describes the '"Feeing Markets", or "Hiring Fairs"' common to agricultural districts in Scotland, and claims that 'nothing can be more calculated to lower the moral position of the agricultural labourer than these degrading exhibitions', where 'the labourers who thus exhibit themselves, like oxen, are judged like oxen by their physical appearance only. The long day done, the thoughtless lads and lasses compensate themselves for the tedium of the morning by evening orgies, which many of the women, at least, may have life-long cause to regret' (619–20).
Mental Illness, Disease, Medical Practitioners, Colleges, Error
Ozias Midwinter (née Allan Armadale) is found by some Somersetshire farm labourers in 'a disordered state of mind, which looked to their eyes like downright madness', and the 'doctor, on seeing him, [...] pronounced that he was suffering from fever on the brain, and that his removal to the nearest town at which a hospital or a workhouse infirmary could be found to receive him, would in all probability be fatal to his chances of recovery' (647). Ozias is left to recover at a local inn, where a letter is found on him which explains that after being employed as an usher at a school he 'had been turned adrift in the world, at the outset of his illness, from the fear that the fever might be infectious, and that the prosperity of the establishment might suffer accordingly' (648). Mrs. Armadale, however, considers that Ozias might be feigning his illness for a dishonest purpose, and the 'whole College of PhysiciansRoyal College of Physicians
CloseView the register entry >> might have certified to the man's illness, and, in her present frame of mind, Mrs. Armadale would have disbelieved the College, one and all, from the president downwards' (651). Later, Mrs. Armadale suffers 'an alarming nervous attack'. The local surgeon does 'all that was needful' for her, and has 'no apprehension of any dangerous results'. (657) Her close friend Decimus Brock nevertheless attempts 'to induce her to see another medical man', suggesting that 'her own medical attendant' would be 'assisted by the best professional advice', and her son, the other Allan Armadale, 'telegraph[s] [...] to Bristol for medical help'. When the help arrives, Brock's 'worst fears' are realised, for the 'village surgeon had fatally misunderstood the case from the first, and the time was past now at which his errors of treatment might have been set right. The shock of the previous morning had completed the mischief. Mrs. Armadale's days were numbered'. (659)
Molly Gibson excitedly tells her old friends the Miss Brownings of Roger Hamley's 'wisdom in natural science, and some of the curiosities he had shown her', but is somewhat disconcerted when they remark knowingly that she has been seeing 'a great deal of Mr. Roger' (704). Roger later arrives bearing 'a wasps'-nest as a present from himself' (716), and explains that there 'has been no lack of such things this year; we've taken seventy-four on my father's land alone; and one of the labourers, a poor fellow who ekes out his wages by bee-keeping, has had a sad misfortune—the wasps have turned the bees out of his seven hives, taken possession, and eaten up the honey'. When one of the Browning sisters exclaims of the wasps, 'What greedy little vermin!', Molly notices how 'Roger's eyes twinkle at the misapplication of the word'. (717) At a further meeting, Roger asks Molly, 'how are you getting on with HuberHuber, François
WBI CloseView the register entry >>; don't you find him very interesting?', to which she 'penitently' replies, 'I'm afraid [...] I haven't read much' (720).
Relates how, after leaving school, the late comic artist John LeechLeech, John
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> was 'bent on entering a profession which was indicated to him by his surname' and began to 'study medicine; but these were days when even the best medical education which London could afford was not of a very high order, and when it was more common than it is now to train the young student by an apprenticeship to some general practitioner—in short, by a system of fagging' (744). The young Leech first began to show his talent for drawing while 'attending the anatomical lectures of Mr. StanleyStanley, Edward
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>', and 'his fellow-students in St Bartholomew's HospitalSt Bartholomew's Hospital
CloseView the register entry >> still remember how he amused them with his sketches' (745).