MONTPELLIER, November 12.
DEAR DOCTOR - I flattered myself with the hope of much amusement during my short stay at Montpellier. - The University, the Botanical Garden, the State of Physic in this part of the world, and the information I received of a curious collection of manuscripts, among which I hoped to find something for our friend Dr. H - r; all these particulars promised a rich fund of entertainment, which, however, I cannot enjoy.
A few days after my arrival, it began to rain with a southerly wind, and continued without ceasing the best part of a week, leaving the air so loaded with vapours, that there was no walking after sun-set; without being wetted by the dew almost to the skin. I have always found a cold and damp atmosphere the most unfavourable of any to my constitution. My asthmatical disorder. which had not given me much disturbance since I left Boulogne, became now very troublesome, attended with fever, cough spitting, and lowness of spirits; and I wasted visibly every day. I was favoured with the advice of Dr. Fitzmaurice, a very worthy sensible physician settled in this place: but I had the curiosity to know the opinion of the celebrated professor F - , who is the Boerhaave of Montpellier. The account I had of his private character and personal deportment, from some English people to whom he was well known, left me no desire to converse with him: but I resolved to consult with him on paper. This great lanthorn of medicine is become very rich and very insolent; and in proportion as his wealth increases, he is said to grow the more rapacious. He piques himself upon being very slovenly, very blunt, and very unmannerly; and perhaps to these qualifications be owes his reputation rather than to any superior skill in medicine. I have known them succeed in our own country; and seen a doctor's parts estimated by his brutality and presumption.
F - is in his person and address not unlike our old acquaintance Dr. Sm - ie; he stoops much, dodges along, and affects to speak the Patois, which is a corruption of the old Provencial tongue, spoken by the vulgar in Languedoc and Provence. Notwithstanding his great age and great wealth, he will still scramble up two pair of stairs for a fee of six livres; and without a fee he will give his advice to no person whatsoever.
He is said to have great practice in the venereal branch and to be frequented by persons of both sexes infected with this distemper, not only from every part of France, but also from Spain, Italy, Germany, and England. I need say nothing of the Montpellier method of cure, which is well known at London; but I have some reason to think the great professor F - , has, like the famous Mrs. Mapp, the bone-setter, cured many patients that were never diseased.
Be that as it may, I sent my valet de place, who was his townsman and acquaintance, to his house, with the following case, and a loui'dore.
Annum aetatis, post quadragesimum, tertium, Temperamentum humidum, crassum, pituitarepletum, catarrhis saepissime profligatum. Catarrhus, febre, anxietate et dyspnoea, nunquam non comitatus. Irritatio membranae piuitariae trachaealis, tussim initio aridam, siliquosam, deinde vero excreationem copiosam excitat: sputum albumini ovi simillimum.
Accedente febre, urina pallida, limpida: ad akmen flagrante, colorem rubrum, subflavum induit: coctione peracta, sedimentum lateritium deponit.
Appetitus raro deest: digestio segnior sed secura, non autem sine ructu perfecta. Alvus plerumque stipata: excretio intestinalis minima, ratione ingestorum habita. Pulsus frequens, vacillans, exilis, quandoquidem etiam intermittens.
Febre una extincta, non deficit altera. Aliaque et eadem statim nascitur. Aer paulo frigidior, vel humidior, vestimentum inusitatum indutum; exercitatio paulullum nimia; ambulatio, equitatio, in quovis vehiculo jactatio; haec omnia novos motus suscitant. Systema nervosum maxime irritabile, organos patitur. Ostiola in cute hiantia, materiei perspirabili, exitum praebentia, clauduntur. Materies obstructa cumulatur; sanguine aliisque humoribus circumagitur: fit plethora. Natura opprimi nolens, excessus huius expulsionem conatur. Febris nova accenditur. Pars oneris, in membranam trachaealem laxatam ac debilitatam transfertur. Glandulae pituitariae turgentes bronchia comprimunt. Liber aeri transitus negatur: hinc respiratio difficilis. Hac vero translatione febris minuitur: interdiu remittitur. Dyspnoea autem aliaque symptomata vere hypochondriaca, recedere nolunt. Vespere febris exacerbatur. Calor, inquietudo, anxietas et asthma, per noctem grassantur. Ita quotidie res agitur, donec. Vis vitae paulatim crisim efficit. Seminis joctura, sive in somniis effusi, seu in gremio veneris ejaculati, inter causas horum malorum nec non numeretur.
Quibusdam abhinc annis, exercitationibus juvenilibus subito remissis, in vitam sedentariam lapsum. Animo in studia severiora converso, fibre gradatim laxabantur. Inter legendum, et scribendum inclinato corpore in pectus malum, ruebat. Morbo ingruenti affectio scorbutica auxilium tulit. Invasio prima nimium aspernata. Venientibus hostibus non occursum. Cunctando res non restituta. Remedia convenientia stomachus perhorrescebat. Gravescente dyspnoea phlebotomia frustra tentata. Sanguinis missione vis vitae diminuta: fiebat pulsitis debilior, respiratio difficilior. In pejus ruunt omnia. Febris anomala in febriculam continuam mutata. Dyspnoea confirmata. Fibrarum compages soluta. Valetudo penitus eversa.