Harper's New Monthly Magazine,  8 (1884), 160–62.

Editor's Drawer



Regular Feature—Anecdote, Drollery


Medical Practitioners, Medical Treatment, Pharmaceuticals, Quackery

    Relates a droll fable of a doctor who built up 'probably the greatest reputation of any living physician' by basing his treatments on just 'three drugs—camomile, sweet-oil, and camphor', which he employed in varying proportions, the details of which he kept secret. The patients who flocked to his practice were drawn 'more to the novelty of his treatment than to the number of his cures', and after his death it was revealed that initially he had used only those three drugs because his 'means were at that time narrow', and because he was 'modestly aware of the danger which [his] patients must incur from [his] insufficient knowledge of medicine'. The fable is 'something pleasant and useful for the doctors' and 'teaches us how to make a virtue of necessity'. (161)

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