Cornhill Magazine,  5 (1862), 641–64.

The Adventures of Philip on His Way Through the World; Shewing Who Robbed Him, Who Helped Him, and Who Passed Him By Ch. 37–38  [18/20]

[William M Thackeray]


Novel, Serial


Mental Illness, Medical Practitioners, Hospitals, Class, Medical Treatment, Anaesthesia, Professionalization

    Begins by asking whether 'the respected reader', when 'you talk with [...] a madman', 'has not [...] sometimes reflected, with a grim self-humiliation, how the fellow is of our own kind; and homo est?'. Those 'outside [...] the asylum' ought to be 'thankful that we have to pay the barber for snipping our hair, and are entrusted with the choice of cut of our own jerkins'. (641) Mrs Brandon visits the chambers of Dr Goodenough after he has been 'visiting his hospital and his fifty patients, among whom [...] there were more poor than rich' (652). After once more lambasting that 'immortal scoundrel Brummell Firmin', he nevertheless tells his visitor, '"by the way, in two more cases at the hospital I have tried that——". And here the doctor went off into a professional conversation with his favourite nurse, which I could not presume to repeat to any non-medical man' (653). Having seen chloroform used by 'hospital surgeons [...] under her eye', Brandon herself later uses the 'bottle which she had received from America not long since' to anaesthetize the violent Tufton Hunt, and burns the unpaid bill with which he had threatened to bankrupt Philip Firmin (659). She afterwards recalls that 'she never should have thought about that Chloroform, but for her conversation with Dr. Goodenough, that evening, regarding a case in which she had employed the new remedy under his orders' (660).


Thackeray 1862

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