LETTER No. II.—(Copy.)
MY DEAR FATHER,—You will, I am sure, be delighted to learn that I have gained the twenty-ninth honorary certificate for proficiency in anatomy which you will allow is a very high number when I tell you that only thirty are given. I have also the satisfaction of informing you that the various professors have given me certificates of having attended their lectures very diligently during the past courses.
I work very hard, but I need not inform you that, with all my economy, I am at some expense for good books and instruments. I have purchased Liston’s Surgery, Anthony Thompson’s Materia Medica, Burns and Merriman’s Midwifery, Graham’s Chemistry, Astley Cooper’s Dislocations, and Quain’s Anatomy, all of which I have read carefully through twice. I also pay a private demonstrator to go over the bones with me of a night; and I have bought a skeleton at Alexander’s—a great bargain. This, when I “pass,” I think of presenting to the museum of the hospital, as I am under great obligations to the surgeons. I think a ten-pound note willl clear my expenses, although I wish to enter to a summer course of dissections, and take some lessons in practical chemistry in the laboratories with Professor Carbon, but these I will endeavour to pay for out of my own pocket. With my best regards to all at home, believe me,
Your affectionate son,
As soon as the summer course begins, the Botanical Lectures commence with it, and the polite Company of Apothecaries courteously request the student’s acceptance of a ticket of admission to the lectures, at their garden at Chelsea. As these commence somewhere about eight in the morning, of course he must get up in the middle of the night to be there; and consequently he attends very often, of course. But the botanical excursions that take place every Saturday from his own school are his especial delight. He buys a candle-box to contain all the chickweed, chamomiles, and dandelions he may collect, and slinging it over his shoulder with his pocket-handkerchief, he starts off in company with the Professor and his fellow-herbalists to Wandsworth Common, Battersea Fields, Hampstead Heath, or any other favourite spot which the cockney Flora embellishes with her offspring.
The conduct of medical students on botanical excursions generally appears in various phases. Some real lovers of the study, pale men in spectacles, who wear shoes and can walk for ever, collect every weed they drop upon, to which they assign a most extraordinary name, and display it at their lodgings upon cartridge paper, with penny pieces to keep the leaves in their places as they dry. Others limit their collections to stinging-nettles, which they slyly insert into their companions’ pockets, or long bulrushes, which they tuck under the collars of their coats; and