Cornhill Magazine,  3 (1861), 229–49.

Horace Saltoun. Part I.—Early Days with Grind and Grinders  [1/3]

[Coke Richardson]


Short Fiction, Serial


Education, Analytical Chemistry, Microscopy, Medical Practitioners, Heredity, Temperance, Mental Illness, Lecturing, Psychology

    Although he is dull and ponderous as a child, Horace Saltoun grows to become 'one of our most rising analytical chemists, and had distinguished himself in microscopic investigations [...] the result of which had been to bring him under the favourable notice of some of the leading scientific men of the day' (230). He becomes both 'an active surgeon' and 'a popular lecturer' (243), turning down a professorial chair and instead lecturing to a motley collection of rejects from established medical schools, because, as he declares, 'I don't like binding myself down to any particular views' (246). Saltoun, however, suffers from an inherited 'morbid propensity to drink anything', which has previously proved fatal to his grandfather, and forces him to abjure alcohol (233). His sister's 'attack of delirium tremens' (239–40) is treated by the narrator, Saltoun's closest friend, who is the superintendent of an 'establishment for the insane' and has devoted himself 'entirely to the psychological branch of [his] profession' (234).

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