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his sighing that he was still alive, they came presently for my assistance, who, understanding what had happened, hastened to him with such necessaries as I thought I might have occasion for; and coming to the bed-side, found a stream of blood running thence to the farther end of the chamber." Then acquainting us with the manner of his stitching up the wound, he proceeds: "while this was doing, he fetched, as we say, several sighs; and having cleaned him, and put him on a fresh shirt, we attempted to get down two or three spoonfuls of wine, but could not, at least as I perceived. I then called to him, and desired, if he could not speak, that he would make some sign by lifting up his hand to mine; at which he stared like one amazed, but could do neither, Wherefore it was thought necessary to secure his chamber-fellow, who freely surrendered himself, without offering an escape, but readily assisting us all the time, there being none but these two in the room; and not certain but that the old man had been assassinated, nothing being found in his pockets more than would pay for a night's lodging, although his habit was very decent, but plain, like that of a country yeoman of the inferior rank. It was truly my opinion that the case was suicide, the other poor man calling out for help, instead of making his escape,
which he never attempted: but, how innocent so ever, he was committed to the Compter in the morning. Having left orders with the chamberlain for his farther management, till a nurse could be provided, I went home with great concern for the poor traveller, who was like to be sent to Newgate; yet upon search had only two shillings with some farthings found upon him: but, in a few hours after, was earnestly entreated to go back, for they had heard him speak. Being well pleased at the news, for the satisfaction of my own mind, I hastened to him again, and calling aloud (for I understood by the people of the inn, that he seemed to them a little deaf over night), asked him how the accident came, and whether he had not cut his throat, or somebody else? He answered very low and faintly, it was the devil had done it. I then ordered the servants to come close to the bed-side, when I again put the question, that if the devil had done it, whether the razor was not his, and held in his own hand when the wound was made? He replied, Yes. I then desired he would tell us, if the stranger, who lay in the bed just by him, had any hand in the action, because he was brought into trouble on this occasion, and might be hanged for him: upon which he answered, with great concern, and as loud as he could, No,
no, no. Whereupon drawing up a small writing, in the form of an affidavit, for each witness to sign, together with one I made myself before the magistrate, I went the same day, and procured the poor fellow's release: but this as foreign (for which you will, I hope, pardon me) passing by." Then our author returns again to the case, and, with the help of several minute circumstances, and proper remarks, in about four pages concludes. Now, had Hippocrates been to relate this case, we had never been entertained with the episode of the chamberfellow's being sent to the Compter; the many useful remarks and cautions of the doctor; nor twenty little circumstances, which render so melancholy a history more diverting than could have been imagined.
•The marvellous is a kind of style greatly to be esteemed for its use in creating our surprise, as well as in giving us instruction. The ingenious Dr. Nicholas Robinson has an excellent talent at this. He tells us * of a young gentleman, who was naturally very silly; but it so fell out, as he was one night returning from a ball, that a young gentleman tript up his heels, and gave him such a bang upon the skull, as shoved his
* New System of the Spleen and Vapours, p. 70.
brain right, and recovered some glimmerings of wit and genius to him that was born but one degree from a natural." When I read this, I could not help being under the greatest uneasiness, lest our author should happen to have his heels tript up; which might shove his brain wrong, and spoil so towering a genius! I could wish the doctor would oblige us with a treatise expressly on these shoves of the brain, as a learned divine of your Society did formerly on shoves of the crupper. He seems to be exceedingly well skilled in the rationale of them, if we may judge by his reasoning on the case now before us.* "This shock or fall gave him some glimmerings of that light, which, according to the original constitution of his organs, he could never naturally enjoy in this meridian of his being; and if the blow had been a little stronger, and struck the seat of the common sensorium a little more askew, or parallel to the axis of the several organs of the senses, who can doubt but that his reasoning faculties would have shone out in their fullest lustre? But then the fine deportment of his carriage, the graceful mien of his person, and former obliging air, in all likelihood would have been greatly disconcerted,
* New System of the Spleen and Vapours, p. 72.
and suffered in the change." No less marvellous is another story, related by the same author,* of a madman," who, in one of his frantic fits, flung himself out of a window three stories high; but accidentally pitching upon a drawwell, he fell plum down into the water; and being taken up, was perfectly recovered to the use of his senses again. It was computed he fell near thirty fathom before he came to the surface of the water, and the well was about six fathom deep under water." Sure nothing can be more surprising than this, if we consider either the length or the manner of the fall! We may allow thirty feet from the window to the mouth of the well; then there will remain about 150 feet for him to fall within the well, before he reached the surface of the water; and the force his body must by this time have acquired, would, I think, plunge him pretty deep into the water. Now, dear sir, do but reflect on the lucky hit of falling plum into the well; then of the providential escape of beating out his brains in banging from one side to the other, before he reached the water; but, above all, the miracle of getting out again; and I am sure you will agree with me, 'that it is as marvellous a case as ever appeared
*New System of the Spleen and Vapours, p. 399.