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Recollections Of A Physician

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(CONCLUDED.) It was eleven o'clock in the evening. Jogephine was watcliing by the si()e of li;r slceping sister; Mr. E. was snatching a few momenls' rest on a sof;i, in the apartment occupied by his suffering wife ; Mr. R., underthe care of two men, was reposing in the back parlor; and I had taken up my quarters in the front parlor, with a fresli lamp, and " Dun dy's Pihlusophy of Mystery," to while away an liour or twu, before returning home forthe night. I had a presentiment that something curious might transpire in relaïion to this cuse, ! and I endeavored to be, as much as possible, within rea e tl ; curiosity, as well as the hope of being servicable at such a time, furnuhing lts I fair proportion iif influence, 1 had been j ing the wild visión raUtetl l),y the student of medicine, whicli occurred jnst on the eve of ! hls presenting himsulf at the medical college for his diploma. The accumulation of rors, prouped with a Radcliffian pencil, had j exrited my imaginalion, and laytne the book j aside, I ullowed tlie train of thought thus voked to range without control. How long i this revery continued I am unable to say, for, if the truth must le told, it continued long ! ter nature had yielded to the soft stealings of i repose. My dreams partook of the speculations of the work I had been reading - phantoms of unnatural forms, faces of' ogres, ! pents hissing md gliding aronnd, then troops of wild animáis, ferouiousant] bent on miichief, ! and then spectral counlenütices glooiny and : sad, in mvriuds diinring beforo the visior;, amid ! the und nial ions of the throng. I occasionally j catight a glimpsu ofapallid face, with lineaments not iinlike those (if the slumbering j ant of the sick cliamber above. At length the liall door opened, and a youug man, with pale and nivsterions looks, holding high above his head a lamp, approached and beckonec] me to ! follow. As he carne in, the forms nhich had been gliding aroimd me instantly vanished, a9 if fnghteneil at his presence. I aróse from the chair : was this also a fantasy of the mind, i or was it real ] The evidences ofreality were not to be inistiiken. I i ;n I Treen awnkened by the ontrance of Mr. R., wlioso mind, severcly ] affocted Ijv the nffliciinn of Miss E., had been j quite unsettled by a powerful narcotic administered by Dr W. " Husli 1" saiil he in a subdued voice ; " don't frighten her ly speaking," and turning around he stolo sofily up stairs I followed, for fear of mischiet citlier lo himsolf or Miss E. He went directly to tlie door lea-Jing to her room, carefully oponed it, and stood on the thrcslmld. " ïhere she sleeps ! but she shall awake," he wliispered, as I stood beside him. Then, elevatini his voice to a pitch that might have aroused the neighbnrhood, he shouled, as he sprang forwariJ, dropping the lamp in his way - " Wake ! wake, Honoria ! WiU you sleep forever V' I jiist 8ucceeded in nrresting him, as he was about clasping Miss E. in his nrrns. The whole household was alarmed tlie servanls, who had slept while attending Mr. R, soon rnado their appearance, and he was taken back ti his room as quiet and peacable as if he liad been detected in soine glaring act of i'illy, leaving Jowphine and the a'.tendants present torribly frightoned. As I stood at the door of Mias E. 's room, the moment Sefore Mr. R. rushed forwanl, I thouglit that I saw a sudden miiveraent of lier hand. There was a flash which carne npparently from a hrilliant of much value, which liad not been removed from her fitiger. When Mr. R. liad retired. l rmlilly rebuked Josephitie for leaving her sister's hatid uncovered, as I liad given instructions that every tiun should bu observed lo keep the body j warm. She replied, that but a few minutes j before Mr, R. had entered the aparimcut, she had looked and her sisler's arm was then carefully protectod from the air, and she was greatly astonished to find the drapery had been disturbed If I had not seen the movement of hur hand before Mr. R. spring toward her, I almuld have attributed the alteiation in her posilion to h3 agency. Hcre, then was another gronnd for hope, strongar than any erto afforded ; but a doubt bnngon ihe wholn of thiá night's experience. The mysterious commingling of the ideal with the actual, strange viaions with yet stranger realities, following ill such rapid succession, that I was sorely puzzled lo draw the line of ' tion between the ore and the other ; bjt I went home with more encouragement than I had the previous evening. The fourth ond fifth days had pnssed away. Mr. R. hud measurably recovered from the sudden shock which the announcement of Miss E. 's death-like condilion had produced. He was now calin, but with scarcely a vestige of expectüiiim that she would reiiover. The medical board held a sitting daily al. noon, but no alteraiwn in the trestnwnt appearod to be called for, as no change had laken place in her condition. There nppeared lo be a reü.ince oti wh'it some have laiely harped upon as folly, the Vis Medica trix Natura, for restoration ]t was about four o'clock in the afternoon of the sixth day, wlien a messenger, nearly out of breath, dosired my instant attcindance at the house of Mr. E. I was at dinner when he arrived, and without the least delay, hstened to accompany him. When I reached the sick room, 1 found Miss E. propped up with pillows, and the whoie household, with the exception of her mother, nround her. Her eyes were open, and she was brpathing vitb considerable effoit. Her faiher had 'he point of his finger on her temple, from which place a streain of blood had run down, covering that i.le of her face, and deluging the pillow.- The decisión and energy of her father had favad her life, aftr tha fettere wh-ch bd held her so long in tlieir death Üke embraces had given way ; for, with the first pulsa'ion, tlio vilal current spouted forlli f rom tlio incisión maile in the temporal artery by Dr. W. at tlio tirne of the exhtbition of the Chloroform. I scalterod the concourse, wlio, in tlieir anxiety lo be useful, vvere depriving Miss E. of pure air, and administered a full doje of the aromatic spirits of ammoniii, whicli slie svvallowed without much difficulty. Huving despatcked i messenger lof Dr. W. I applii'd ii compress ti) the wound in tlie temple, and relieved Mr. E. irom his tring situaiion, who left the room to CRrty tlie joyful ititclligence to his anxions wifo, who irom g'-eat prostration of ïtrenglh had been prevented ('rom visiting the bedside of lier danghter since the first duy of lier afflietion. Miss E. 's pulse was at first a mere fluttering under the finger, bnt in 8 few minutes after the administraron of the stimulating drau;ht they became more regular and decidedly increased in tone. Yet they were weak, which to my mind was a favorable symptom. I was fearful that the force of the circulation might increase as in numerous cases on record of re8Uscitation frorn asphyxia, induced by the in halation of the carbonic and sulplmrated hydrogen gases, or by hanging ordrowning, and finally terminated in congestión, defeating all our efïo"ts at sa ving life, and 1 therefore wit'iheld tlie use of all further stimnlants. In half an hour after my arrial Miss E. feil off into an easy slnmber, aiul 1 recommended perfect silence, in the hope that nature, refreshed by i sleep, would rally without the further use of i toriics of nny kind. Nor was I disappoimed ; for ufter sleeping about two hours, she awoke perfectly sell'possessed and free from any unpleasant symptom, wilh the exceplion of a glight feel'ng of lassitude. Dr. W. had arrived during her sleep, and we were discussing the features of her case. when she awoke. " Why, Dr. W.," said she, in rather feeble ! tones, '■ have you finished the operation 1 I don't ft;el ar;y pain." "Oh, yes," replied Dr. W, "The operation ia sll finished ; we have gone on improving in surgery, Miss Ii., until the use of the knife no longer produces pain." It was evident that Miss E. had no knowledsre of the interval of ne.irly a week thnt had el;i)sed, since the Chloroform was admiuisterud. "And here is Dr. B.," she continúen1. - "When did you come, Doctor? 1 did not gee you before. Excuse me for not speaking. As I told you that Dr. V. was to opérate I lny, you carne, I presume, because 1 [ ed you. It was kind in you, Doctor. I am j truly glaii to see you. You are so candid." . i I emleavored to e.scuse inyself from t!ie impropruitv of making a visit unsolicited, hut would haVé niade poor work of it, if Dr. VV. had uot interfured by ïnforming Miss E. that he had met wilh me in consultation, a practice frequent between us. Tlie remark was satisfactory, and Miss E. was previiiled upon not to altempt to converse any furthe r at present, on the grotiru! that uny excïtement miglit prove prejudicial and retard the healing of ihe wound. Noles were forthwith Iransmilled to our medical fnends vvho liad met willi us daily in consultation, informingthem of the sudden recovery of our inleresling patiënt, and requesting them not to meet on the following day, as their presence might prove a source of excitement. Miss E. rapidly recovered, and in a week, was apparently in the enjoyment of her usual energiea. Great precaution had lieen used to keep profoundly secret all the circnrnstances connecled with her long and peaceful sleep, and the family flatered themselves on their success in thus coverino; mi the frihtful hiatus in her history - with what reason the reader wil] Boon luarn. Having sume previous association wilh her circle, I visited Miss K. undt-r lhis sanclion as a friend, in order to ob serve the progress of her cnnvnlescence bijt in conversation studiously aviided any allusion to her case. Il was uurin the last visit 1 intended to make that she, with gaiety ev idently assumed, suddenly changed the conversation l)y asking mi! if I had paid any attunlion to the study of mental philosophy 1 I replied that a knowledge of medicine ïnvcilved many subjects which had been classed under the head of sciences collateral, and all enlightened praclilioners of medicine must, of necessity, be acquainted with the laws regulaling the human muid. " VVell, Doctor," she continued, "I have been musing and reviving recollections for the past few days, and I will unburden my thonghts to you, for 1 am unused to mystery, and your silence for the past week leads me to believe you havo been playing a part." I pretended t be greiitly surprised at this broad iinputation of insincerity, but in trath I feit that 1 was fairly convicted. "Doctor," she resurned, "you may look vvise ; it is said to beloriü to the craft, but it won't answer on this occasion. I understand itall; I am satisfied that 1 havo been under the influence of that intoxicating Chlorofo-m for some time - huw iong l know nfit ; and if you will relate what transpired from the timo Dr. W. finished his preparations for the operation until 1 became conscious, I, in turn, will enlighten you with my perceptions in the spirit world." Amiizod at this announccment, and knowingthut further re?rrvo was useless, 1 recounted briefly all that had passed during the period of her unnatural sleep. Afïer pondering some time on my recital, she gave the following relntion : " 1 was greatly agitated when I took the seat, and hardly kneu' what my fe;lings were, or how 1 acted. Suddenly a veil appeared to be thrown over every obji'ct in the room, and I fancicd that my powers of lile were fast sinking. Sight soon füiled, and the last I heard dtslinctly was Dr. W.'s remarU that ihe Chloroform had taker t'ull effect. My sonses une afler the othcr appeared to die. Hearing was the last to yield, and llien I feit as if locked motionless in the grasp of some unknown and relentlcss power. Utterly dirk and noiseless as the vacaricy of uncreati'd spece, the solitndu ■round was nr; of earth, but of that vast abvs bevond the boundaries of time. 1 feit the heart's last thrill in the abortivo cffort to send the vital current coursing on as in health, and then I thought that as that tremor passod off that death, with his palsying touch, had come, atd tbet all of ear'b wan forever pone. Still I liad not mucli fear. Tlie dread of duath liad 2ven way to curiosity ; the desire to look upnn the worlcl beyond the grave, to explore that wonderful fulure 60 fu II nfawe to the living and the dving. overeóme all nnxiety.- Gradually the gloom appeared to part. and I saw my ovn figure extended on a couch decked in the habiiiments of the grave. All else was impenetrable night. The strange wish to see my foriher home óf intellect and thoughl was scarcely formed before it was accomplished, nnd I was looking through the decaying portal which, during life, had been the only Í avenues for the trtinsmission of'every image of nam or pleasuro, and 1 saw, not the confined nnd uneven walls of a human skull. but a vast temple, illuminated with numberless lamp, and seemingly endless vistas stretching off in everv direclion. It appeared rs tliong' I had entered tliis mighty temple with power to explore its mysterious recesses and lofty, vaulted avenues. The firgt of these passages that I was permitted to enter had few of the erablems of vitaliiy ; the vegitntion had a faded hue, and the trees, if not leafless and naked, were dry and blighted. A few green spots only, with an occusional clump of wild fiowers, were visible, and fewer still, and at great intervals, were shrnbs of ever-green, and scarcely enough of all to giv relief to a wiihered prospect. Occasionally a grave, with signs of care and preservation, was passed, but oftener they were seen bearing all the marks of '■ forgetfulness and decay. Now and then a I pure ray of sunshine feil along the way, mnrkjing holy places where the hand of friendship had heen kindly given, but these briglit guerdons of faith, the evergreen, the flower, and [ sunshine, were seldom met with. This was, in sooth, a dreary road, and when I read the tablet at the entrance, inscribed, " To the lost things of Earth," I knew at once that it was the vale of memory. Another vista stretching I far beyond the strength of mortal sight bore few and simple tokens of vpneration and worship. In the distance was a church of simple architecture, with a spire pointing heavenward, the top of which seomed bathed in tho silver light of eternity. " liehgious faith," in characlers of lame, was stamped upon the entrance. Another, broad, high, and apparently interminable, bore the inscriptions of 'Poelry. Music, eauty and Love.' 1( the sight of the mild radiance which illumiuated this iiiiry region had been vouchs.ifed, to artists, it would have thrown Claude of Lorraine i uto ecstacies, I and his glowing landscapes would have shamed I the purple blushes seen in Italian skies. The air wfis laden with fragrant odors, exhaling ! from flowers springing on every side, and the i elements of poetry and music, the langyage land voice of love, were tliickly strewn about. Young romances were budding and blossom ing in every nook, and mirth at:d delight held high carnivai amid the harmony of numberi, the undulations of music and thu waving lines of beauty. It was while lingering in this paradise of pleasures, that a shock, like that of electricity, dispelled the enchantment, and I ! w;is once more in the daikness and unbroken solilude oflhe spirit world. Then a sensation of motion, as if the wheels of life had been unchained, followed by intense agony, as one sense aftur anotiier resumed its wonted powers, and I was again with the living;'' The recital of Miss E. made a deep impression on my mind at the time, and has led to much speculation since, as to the probabUity of' premature interments in several instances where death has been recorded as resnlting from the use of this new agent to quiet pain, How horrible must be the idea that, at the close of such a visión as that related by Miss E., some unfortunate sufferer from Chloroform might awake to consciousness within the prison-house of the grave, where, for the few moments life migh' struggle on, the soul wo'd be exercised by the direst despair ! That such an awakeiniig has taken place in the charnelhouse there is no longer room to doubt, nnd that the numbor will be greatly multiplied if the use of Chloroform beconies very general is pqually certain. About three woeks after my last visit to Miss E., as recordi'd above, I received a note, very tasiefully done up, requesting my attendance at her residnce on a particular evening, not, as formerly, to consult on matters involving life and death, but to be present at the marriage ceremony, wh'ch was to unite my Chloroform patiënt with the occasional madman, Mr. R., who has bien sane enough since the night when, at the request of Dr. W., he indnlged in the use of opium. I attended the wedding, nnd assisted, to the best of my ability, in shedding a light of joy over a fesMvi'y so deeply hallovved by recent events. My partinr advice, given at a late hour to Mr, R., was, ncver to burj bis bride until furnished, by me, with a certifícate for that purpose, in accordance with the requirements of the city ordinances.