Cornhill Magazine,  6 (1862), 1–43.

Romola Ch. 1–5  [1/14]

[George Eliot]


Novel, Serial


Medical Practitioners, Quackery, Physiognomy, Descent

    Guiding Tito Melema through the busy streets of fifteenth-century Florence, Nello the barber reflects on a 'druggist's shop [...] that pretends to rival mine', commenting, 'what sort of inspiration, I beseech you, can be got from the scent of nauseous vegetable decoctions?—to say nothing of the fact that you no sooner pass the threshold than you see a doctor of physic, like a gigantic spider, disguised in fur and scarlet, waiting for his prey; or even see him blocking up the doorway seated on a bony hack, inspecting saliva [...]. Besides, your druggist, who herborises and decocts, is a man of prejudices: he has poisoned people according to a system, and is obliged to stand up for his system to justify the consequences'. In the skilful hands of a barber, however, 'by diligent shaving, the nether region of your face may preserve its human outline, instead of presenting no distinction from the physiognomy of a bearded owl or a barbary ape'. (27)


Eliot 1863

© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020

Printed from Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical: An Electronic Index, v. 4.0, The Digital Humanities Institute <> [accessed ]