THE PHYSIOLOGY OF THE LONDON MEDICAL STUDENT.
II.—THE NEW MAN.
Embryology precedes the treatise on the perfect animal; it is but right, therefore, that the new man should have our attention before the mature student.
No sooner do the geese become asphyxiated by torsion of their cervical vertebrae, in anticipation of Michaelmas-day; no sooner do the pheasants feel premonitory warnings, that some chemical combinations between charcoal, nitre, and sulphur, are about to take place, ending in a precipitation of lead; no sooner do the columns of the newspapers teem with advertisements of the ensuing courses at the various schools, each one cheaper, and offering more advantages than any of the others; the large hospitals vaunting their extended field of practice, and the small ones ensuring a more minute and careful investigation of disease, than the new man purchases a large trunk and a hat-box, buys a second-hand copy of Quain’s Anatomy, abjures the dispensing of his master’s surgery in the country, and placing himself in one of those rattling boxes denominated by courtesy second-class carriages, enters on the career of a hospital pupil in his first season.
The opening lecture introduces the new man to his companions, and he is easily distinguished at that annual gathering of pupils, practitioners, professors, and especially old hospital governors, who do a good deal in the gaiter-line, and applaud the lecturer with their umbrellas, as they sit in the front row. The new man is known by his clothes, which incline to the prevalent fashion of the rural districts he has quitted; and he evinces an affection for cloth-boots, or short Wellingtons with double soles, and toes shaped like a toad’s mouth, a propensity which sometimes continues throughout the career of his pupilage. He likewise takes off his hat when he enters the dissecting-room, and thinks that beautiful design is shown in the mechanism and structure of the human body—an idea which gets knocked out of him at the end of the season, when he looks upon the distribution of the nerves as “a blessed bore to get up, and no use to him after he has passed.” But at first he perpetually carries a
[Illustration: “DUBLIN DISSECTOR”]
under his arm; and whether he is engaged upon a subject or no, delights to keep on his black apron, pockets, and sleeves (like a barber dipped in a blacking-bottle), the making of which his sisters have probably superintended in the country, and which he thinks endows him with an air of industry and importance.
The new man, at first, is not a great advocate for beer; but this dislike may possibly arise from his having been compelled to stand two pots upon the occasion of his first dissection. After a time, however, he gives way to the indulgence, having received the solemn assurances of his companions that it is absolutely necessary to preserve his health, and keep him from getting the collywobbles in his pandenoodles—a description of which obstinate disease he is told may be found in “Dr. Copland’s Medical Dictionary,” and “Gregory’s Practice of Physic,” but as to under what head the informant is uncertain.