Very much puzzled with
a new Patient, nevertheless take my degree
at fifteen as an M.D.; and what is still more acceptable, I pocket
The departure of Mr Brookes, of course, rendered me more able to follow up with Timothy my little professional attempts to procure pocket-money; but independent of these pillages by the aid of pills, and making drafts upon our master’s legitimate profits, by the assistance of draughts from his shop, accident shortly enabled me to raise the ways and means in a more rapid manner. But of this directly.
In the meantime I was fast gaining knowledge; every evening I read surgical and medical books, put into my hands by Mr Cophagus, who explained whenever I applied to him, and I soon obtained a very fair smattering of my profession. He also taught me how to bleed, by making me, in the first instance, puncture very scientifically, all the larger veins of a cabbage-leaf, until well satisfied with the delicacy of my hand, and the precision of my eye, he wound up his instructions by permitting me to breathe a vein in his own arm.
“Well,” said Timothy, when he first saw me practising, “I have often heard it said, there’s no getting blood out of a turnip; but it seems there is more chance with a cabbage. I tell you what, Japhet, you may try your hand upon me as much as you please, for two-pence a go.”
I consented to this arrangement, and by dint of practising on Timothy over and over again, I became quite perfect. I should here observe, that my anxiety relative to my birth increased every day, and that in one of the books lent me by Mr Cophagus, there was a dissertation upon the human frame, sympathies, antipathies, and also on those features and peculiarities most likely to descend from one generation to another. It was there asserted, that the nose was the facial feature most likely to be transmitted from father to son. As I before have mentioned, my nose was rather aquiline; and after I had read this book, it was surprising with what eagerness I examined the faces of those whom I met; and if I saw a nose upon any man’s face, at all resembling my own, I immediately would wonder and surmise whether that person could be my father. The constant dwelling upon the subject at last created a species of monomania, and a hundred times a day I would mutter to myself, "Who is my father?" indeed, the very bells, when they rung a peal, seemed, as in the case of Whittington, to chime the question, and at last I talked so much on the subject to Timothy, who was my Fidus Achates, and bosom friend, that I really believe, partial as he was to me, he wished my father at the devil.