Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine,  2 (1817–18), 310–11.

Letter from Dalkeith

Helen Fig


Letter, Spoof


Metaphysics, Anatomy, Nomenclature, Surgery, Mineralogy

    A wife writes to complain of her husband's interest in anatomy, due to his recent acquaintance of a 'Dr Scalpal'. With reference to his use of Latin or Greek terminology states: 'I believe this divine science, as Scalpal calls it, has completely turned his head. The whole strain of his conversation is changed, as he is perpetually making use of words which no human creature can understand'. Later relates that 'the human body now goes by the name of "the system," the arms are "the superior extremities," or "the organs of apprehension," and the legs are the "inferior extremities," or "the organs of escape"'. Beseeches the editor to publish an article on the subject of anatomy, 'and pray tell him, that when he cuts a slice of bread for me at breakfast he need not take up the knife, and "proceed to operate"'. A postscript relates that Mrs Fig has just been told her diamond ring is 'nothing better than a bit of charcoal!'. (311)

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