Punch,  45 (1863), 95.

Miss Nightshade on the Philosophy of the Unutterable



Essay, Drollery


Medical Practitioners, Medical Treatment, Gender, Spiritualism, Observation, Charlatanry

People mentioned:

William Howitt

    This is written from the perspective of a nurse of limited literary ability, who introduces herself as 'a Nuss (privit not ospitl)'. She declares nursing to be the 'most onerable' 'Ov hall purfeshuns', although she considers that she has more 'oposishun too Kontend against' than does the Prime Minister Henry J Temple (3rd Viscount Palmerston). She proceeds to describe her attitude towards spiritualism, refusing to 'giv Kredens too hall the gost stories i eer', but admitting a belief in 'sperets Ginerally'. She supports her belief by highly dubious testimony, including her claim that 'many things [...] disappear most hunaccountably', that on one occasion she had 'been Takin sum port whine Negress' and 'Felt the ole room go round and round jest has it hapt to do wen There's a mediem in itt', and that on another occasion when her nurse friend Mrs Gingham allegedly awoke to find on her knee 'a kap belongin to her granmamar wot had bun Ded nerr upon aleven Yeers'. Concludes by wondering why 'sperets' should prefer to play accordions rather than fiddles.

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