Imágenes de páginas



stance, that none of these Mermen and Mermaids, seen so often, and in different places, should have been preserved, or that the one which is stated to have hung up, dried, for many years in a Council. house in Holland, should never have been noticed by ang naturalist. In the nature of things, their ex. istence could not be disproved ; but nothing has hitherto amounted to satisfactory evidence of their reality. The animal lately arrived in London may, probably, reprove either the credulity of past ages, or the scepticism of the present.'



(Concluded from page 330.) 6 Every moming while I was in the pit, tied a knot in the corner of my handkerchief, supposing that if I died there, and my body should be afterwards found, the number of knots would certify how many days I had lived. Almost the first question my friends asked me was, how long I had been in the pit. Immediately I drew my handkerchief from my pocket, and bade them count the knots. They found seven, the exact number of nights I had been there. We now hasted out of the wood. I could walk without support; but that was not allowed, each person present striving to show me how much they were rejoiced that they had found me alive and so well. They led me to the miller's house, where a great number of people were collected to see me. A gentleman, who had a country-house just by, very kindly, at my request, sent for a glass of white wine. I ordered a piece of bread to be toasted, which I soaked in the

[ocr errors]

wine, and ate. I now desired the miller's wife to make me up a bed, fondly thinking that nothing more was wanting than a little refreshing sleep to terminate my misfortune. But, alas ! I was still to undergo greater sufferings than I had yet endured. By the almost continual rains, together with the cold damp arising from the wet ground on which I lay, and not being able to take the least exercise to keep up a proper circulation of the blood, my legs were much swelled and benumbed. Some of my friends, observing this, proposed to send to Glasgow for medical advice. I at first declined it, and happy had it been for me if I had pursued my own inclinations; but, unfortunately for me, a physician and a surgeon were employed, both of them ignorant of what ought to have been done. Instead of ordering my legs into cold water, or rubbing them with a coarse towel, to bring on a gradual circulation, they applied hot bricks and large poultices to my feet. This, by expanding the bloodvessels too suddenly, put me to much greater torture than I ever endured in my life, and not only prevented my enjoying that refreshing sleep I so much wanted, but actually produced a 'mortification in both my feet. I do not mean, bò relating this circumstance, to reflect on the faculty in general at Glasgow ; for I was afterwards attended by gentlemen who are an honour to the profession. The same method was pursued for several days, without even giving me the bark till I mentioned it myself. This happily stopped the progress of the mortification, which the Doctors did not know had taken place till the miller's wife showed them a black spot, about as broad as a shilling, at the bottom of my left heel. In a day or two more the whole skin, together with all the nails of my left foot, and

[merged small][ocr errors]

three from my right foot, came off like the fingers of a glove.

6 Opposite the river on which the mill stood, there was a bleach-field. It is customary for the watchman in the night to blow a horn to frighten thieves. This I frequently heard when I was in the pit; and very often when I was in a sound sleep at the miller's, I have been awakened by it in the greatest horrors, still thinking myself in the pit; so that, in fact, I suffered as much by imagination as from reality.

66. I continued six weeks at the miller's, when the roads became too bad for the Doctors to visit me, so that I was under the necessity of being carried in a sedan-chair to my lodgings in Glasgow. By this time my right foot was quite well ; but in my left foot, where the above-mentioned black spot appeared, there was a large wound, and it too plainly proved that the os calcis was nearly all decayed; for the surgeon could put his probe through the centre of it. The flesh too at the bottom of my foot was quite separated from the bones and tendons, so that I was forded to submit to have it cut off. In this painful state I lay several months, reduced to a mere skeleton, taking thirty drops of laudanum every night; and though it somewhat eased the pain in my foot, it was generally three or four in the morning before I got any rest. My situation now became truly alarming ; I had a consultation of surgeons, who advised me to wait with patience for an exfoliation, when they had not the least doubt but they should cure my foot. At the same time they frankly acknowledged that it was impossible to ascertain the precise time when that would happen, as it might be six, or even twelve months, before it came to pass. In my emaciated condition I was certain that it was not possible for me to hold out half the time; and, knowing that I must be a very great cripple with the loss of my heel-bone, I came to a determined resolution to have my leg taken off, and appointed the very next day for the operation ; but no surgeon came near me. I sincerely believe they wished to perform a cure; but being, as I thought, the best judge of my own feelings, I was resolved this time to be guided by my own opinion ; accordingly, on the 2d of May, 1770, my leg was taken off a little below the knee. Yet, notwithstanding I had so long en. dured the rod of affliction, misfortunes still followed me. About three hours after the amputation had been performed, and when I was quiet in bed, I found myself nearly fainting with the loss of blood ; the ligatures had all given way, and the arteries had bled a considerable time before it was discovered. By this time the wound was inflamed; nevertheless, I was under the necessity of once more submitting to the operation of the needle, and the principal artery was sewed up four different times before the blood was stopped. I suffered much for two or three days, not daring to take a wink of sleep; for the moment I shut my eyes, my stump (though constantly held by the nerve) would take such convulsive motions, that I really think a stab to the heart could not be attended with greater pain. My blood too was become so very poor and thin, that it absolutely drained through the wound near a fortnight after my leg was cut off. I lay for eighteen days and nights in one position, not daring to move, lest the ligature should again give way; but I could endure it no longer, and ventured ta turn myself in bod contrary to the advice of my surgeon, which I happily effected, and never felt

[merged small][ocr errors]

greater pleasure in my life. Six weeks after the amputation, I went out in a sedan-chair for the benefit of the air, being exactly nine months from the day I fell into the pit. Soon after, I took lodgings in the country; where, getting plenty of warm new milk, my appetite and strength increased daily; and to this day, I bless God, I enjoy perfect health.” July, 1793.



No. XI. The love of pleasure is one disposition in which all mankind agree. All feel it, and all seek for its gratification in the way they think most likely to reward their pursuit. The Christian in his closet, praying to his FATHER who seeth in secret ;-the student in his library, surrounded by books and papers ;-the trifler in the ball-room, “crowned with young rose-buds before they be withered ;”-appear to be very different characters; yet the master-feeling is, in some sense, the same in each. The heart of man longs for pleasurable emotion, as naturally as the flower seeks for light. It is in youth, however, that this feeling is most keenly experienced, and that the greatest mistakes are made relative to happiness. Some of those mistakes are displayed in the following tale; which is recited not with the view of damping the bounding wishes of the youthful heart after en. joyment, but with the hope of convincing it, that there are pleasures which deserve to be sought, and which may be found, even in this world of " lamentation, and mourning, and woe.”

And yet who will profit by the experience of others! Who, but will run the race of agony, to reach the

« AnteriorContinuar »