Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

such a representation, nor has it been my good fortune to see a comedy of more than three acts. The present state of the stage here is what it always must have been in its infancy, before it became polished, and whilst the audience were a rude and illiberal people; that is to say, the principal entertainments seem to arise from double entendres and blunders, mistaking one word for another, and even from dirty actions, such as spitting or blowing the nose in each other's faces; just as we see still practised in England by Merry Andrews, on the stage of mountebanks, and on the outside of the booths in Bartholomew Fair; but what appears most essential to the delight of a Neapolitan audience, are two or three characters, such as Punch and the Doctor's man, who speak the dialect of the lower people, which is unintelligible to a foreigner, however well he may understand pure Italian ; and it is chiefly by these characters that the company is recreated, not only with the poet's obscenities, but also as many loose jokes of the actors, as their extemporary wit and humour can suggest.'

This is indeed a pretty just picture of the Italian comedy at Naples ; but, as it is calculated merely for the entertainment of the very lowest class of people, it were as unjust from thence to form our ideas of the Italian drama, as it were to judge of ours from the Bartholomew representations above mentioned. Italians are possessed of several regular comedies of five acts, par -ticularly those of Goldoni, some of which have considerable meTit. These comedies have, within these few years, been frequently acted in different parts of Italy.

• There are, says our Author in his 29th letter, three days in the year, the 16th of December, the 4th of May, and I think the 19th of September, that the miracle of the liquefaction of St. Januarius's blood is performed in this city. I had the pleasure of going through the ceremony this morning at the cathedral. It is contained in two different phials, one of which holds very near an ounce of the liquor, the other only a few drops. Both the phials very much resemble the ladies smelling-bottles for falts, the larger being a depressed spheroid ; the smaller a narrow cylindrical one: they are contained in a golden cafe betwixt two circular glasses of about three inches diameter, by which means, when it is held up against the light, or a candle is placed behind, the spectator sees clearly the bottles and their contents. Mr. Addison, speaking of this miracle, says, it is a bungling trick, but not entering into any explanation how it is done, or in what consists the clumsiness of the performance, we are left either to believe in or ridicule the miracle, just as we are educated. For my part, I do not treat it as an imposture which re. quires no dexterity nor science; because unbelieving Protestants, and scoffers, have not very clearly demonstrated how the fra

is carried on. That it is a congealed substance, not unlike a Jump of Spanish snuff, which melts either from the heat of the hand, the candles, or the atmosphere, is most probable; though it is possible that it may be of a nature to be liquefied by some chymical Auid poured upon it a few minutes before it is exposed to the public. The operation of liquifying is generally executed in eight, ten, fifteen, or twenty minutes ; to day it was above an hour and a half; and as I find by the thermometer, it was colder this morning than it has been any day during the whole winter, I am inclined to judge that the liquefaction is owing to the heat of the atmosphere.'

Probable as this conjecture may seem from the extraordinary coldness of the day, we cannot help differing from Mr. Sharp in our opinion concerning the cause of this liquefaction ; for if it were owing to the heat of the asmosphere, it would be imposfible, in the month of May, ever to thew it in a solid or congealed form. Besides, all the heat which it could posibly receive from the atmosphere, would be communicated in much less time than an hour and a half.

• We live in a quarter of the town called St. Lucia, a faint as the legend informs us, who in the persecution of the Christians, under Dioclefian, had her eyes torn out by the executioner ; which circumstance has given her a great reputation for working miracles on every species of blindness. Her chapel is close to our house, and the day before yesterday was her anniversary. I attended the service both morning and afternoon, to see the method of cure. In the midst of the chapel is a paultry wooden image of her saintship, with a platter in her hand, containing the representation of two eyes. All the patients pass their hands over these eyes, and immediately rub their own, before the virtue exhales. There is also a small piece of bone, fet in silver, (a silver arm) which they pretend to be a relic of the saint; this they kiss, which likewise operates miraculously ; but I believe most of the patients take the advantage of both methods.' It is said to have been a practice among the heathens, not only to upbraid, but even to chastise their gods, when they were not propitious to their prayers; the same thing is said of the lower class of people amongst the Neapolitans. If a Madona, or any particular saint upon whom they depend, does not answer their expectations, they will sometimes behave very rudely on the occasion. I cannot say I have seen any instance of this grossness; but surely if ever a faint deserved punishment, it is this fame St. Lucia. Had you beheld the infinite number of blind people I did that day in the neighbouring streets, who have come from year to year for her succour, I do not doubt but you would have cudgelled her, like the medicin malgrè lui,

into the exertion of her powers ; I mean, upon a supposition that you were one of this sort of Catholics.'

(To be concluded in our next. ]

Consultations on most of the Disorders that require the Asistance of

Surgery. By H. F. Le Dran, Master in Surgery, Senior Disector of the Royal Academy of Surgery at Paris, &c. Translated by Alexander Reid, Affiftant-Surgeon to the Royal Hospital at Chelsea. 8vo. 6 s.

8vo. 6s. Hortfield, T is generally believed, at least in this kingdom, that our

I

these few years, that the English furgeons, at present, excell those of every other nation. Be it so: but, though this may be true in general, we must not stretch our vanity lo far as to imagine, that there is no surgeon on the continent capable of instructing us.

Mons. le Dran's abilities are universally acknowledged; his opportunities have been very great ; and his practice is of no less than fixty years duration. This volume is his sixth and last work, and may therefore be supposed to contain his final opinions; and hence it cannot fail to be a very acceptable present to those for whose instruction it is particularly intended. Mons. le Dran's age reminds us of the longevity of that famous surgeon and anatomist, Heister, who died a few years ago ; and that the great Morgagni, and the celebrated Monro of Edinburgh, are both at this time very old, and very hearty. The illustrious Haller also must be pretty far funk into the vale of years: and yet perhaps no five men in the world have ever diffected more dead bodies, and those generally morbid. Does not this seem to contradict the supposition, that this employment is unwholesome ?

These Consultations, we learn from the Author's preface, were formed from a collection of observations which he made for the benefit of his pupils, to whom it was his cuítom to describe diseases, and to demand, from each pupil, a written opi. nion concerning the method of treatment; which opinions he afterwards corrected as the cafe required. The consultations therefore are imaginary, though the cases are real. The se. veral diseases are supposed to be described in letters from surgeons living at a distance from the metropolis, and the answers are such as he would return being thus consulted. The cases are, in general, such as frequenily occur, and are on that account more universally useful. The Author's manner and abi. lities will best appear from the following examples :

« An Abscess under the Os Maxil'are. A vey fat man, thirty-five years of age, was attacked in the night with fo considerable a fluxion on his cheek, that in

the

the morning he could not open his jaw; the swelling in a short time extended from his eye to his throat, yet the patient felt very little pain, only a kind of uneasy sensation. 'Notwithstanding the use of emollient and resolvent cataplasms frequently renewed, all the side of his face grew considerably hard. It has continued a month much in the same state as at present, except that there seems to be a very deep fluctuation under the jaw, near the 3d and 4th of the dentes molares, and another as doubtful near the angle of the jaw. How should this disease have been treated at the beginning ? and how ought this abscess to be opened? Is it a proper time to open it, the patient having very little fever? Note, he now feels and has felt very little pain.

Answer. The patient ought to have been bled once or oftner, in the beginning of the disease, on account of its violence, and his full habit ; for probably that might have prevented the forming of matter. It was right to make use of emollient cataplasms; but nevertheless I think that when the matter began to form, maturative cataplasms should have been ufed to allist nature. The matter which you think you feel Auctuate, is more likely the consequence of a putrefaction of the obstructed cellular membrane, than of a fermentation of the stagnated Auids; as he has never had, and has now, but very little pain. However this matter should be discharged by a proper operation, provided you are certain of its existence. The abscess, therefore, must be opened, and the extent of the cavity containing the matter, will determine the direction and extent of the incision; for when you have made an opening large enough to admit your finger, you must introduce it into the wound ; and feeling the extent of the cavity, you may conduct the bistoury by it, either to lengthen the incision, direct its course, or make a counteropening, if necessary, near the angle of the jaw. Besides, with the finger you will be able to distinguish the pulsation of an artery, which otherwise might be cut; and is what every surgeon should be attentive to, before he makes a deep incision, especially in the neck, because an hæmorrhage there is very difficult to be stopped.

The Surgeon's account of the Progress of the Disease. • I opened the abscess its whole extent, and likewise made a counter opening near the angle of the jaw, to prevent the matter lodging in a finus, which I found there. The wound went on well, and the counter-opening, which discharged a great deal of matter,

was closed in three weeks. But the large wound, the edges of which are contracted and funk in, without filling up from the bottom, threatens to become fistulous. In proportion as the wound has digested, all the hardness has in a

manner

manner dissolved, and the jaw begins to open just enough to admit the end of the little finger. What is to be done to prevent its becoming fiftulous ?

Answer. As the jaw can be a little opened, the teeth on that side should be examined, by striking them one after another with a thick probe. If the stroke is more sensibly felt by one than by another, that tooth is certainly damaged, though it has rever been painful, and consequently should be drawn.

The Event. · The patient coming to Paris, I founded his teeth in the manner proposed, and caused a Night sensation in the fartheft dns molaris, next the angle of the jaw. I therefore had it drawn. The tooth was not carious, only changed in its colour, being yellower than the others. I concluded this was the cause of the disease, and so it proved; for in about three days, the motion of the jaw became quite free, and in about ten, the orifice, which had remained fiftulous, was closed up.'

A IVound in the Fore-arm, by a Sword. A man received a wound by a sword, in the middle and outside of the fore-arm, which passed upwards to the bending of the elbow without going through. The wound bled a great deal, and there is a kind of thrombus formed at the bending of the arm, which is grown bigger, and has something of a pulsation in it. Half an hour after the accident, being sent for, I thought it necessary to dilate the entrance of the wound, and stopped the bleeding with dry lint. It is about twenty-four hours since; the lower arm is a little swelled, and the thrombus something increased. What am I to think of it? What should I do more than I have done already ?

Answer. From the account given, I make no doubt, but there is an artery at the bend of the arm pricked, or perhaps divided; and the wound being narrow, there is not a free and sufficient par-fage for the flux of blood, for probably the sword passed between the two bones, through the aponcurosis that connects them together. The small Auctuation and pulsation at the bend of the arın, are convincing proofs of it.

You have acted right in dilating the entrance of the wound, and if

you had been certain, that an artery was opened at the bending of the arm, I do not doubt but

you

would have made a fufficient preffure to prevent the thrombus that has happened. I once saw the brachial artery opened in a wound given by a sword in the middle of the arin, where the blood was stopped by compredion, which was continued for several months, by the help of à bandage made on purpose; the coagulum of blood formed at

the

« AnteriorContinuar »