Physicians in China





Caleb Colton, nephew of the late Sir George Staunton,
gives in a recent publication the following anecdote:--"My late uncle, Sir

G. Staunton, related to me a curious anecdote of old Kien Long, Emperor of

China. He was inquiring of Sir George the manner in which physicians were

paid in England. When, after some difficulty, his majesty was made to

comprehend the system, he exclaimed, 'Is any man well in England that can

afford to be ill? Now, I will inform you,' said he, 'how I manage my

physicians. I have four, to whom the care of my health is committed: a

certain weekly salary is allowed them; but the moment I am ill the salary

stops till I am well again. I need not tell you that my illnesses are

usually short.'"





Zimmerman, who was very eminent as a physician, went from Hanover to attend

Frederick the Great in his last illness. One day the king said to him, "You

have, I presume, sir, helped many a man into another world?" This was

rather a bitter pill for the doctor; but the dose he gave the king in

return was a judicious mixture of truth and flattery: "Not so many as your

majesty, nor with so much honour to myself."





Montaigne, who is great upon doctors, used to beseech his friends that if

he felt ill they would let him get a little stronger before sending for the

doctor.





Moliere, when once travelling through Auvergne, was taken very ill at a

distance from any place where he could procure respectable medical aid. It

was proposed to him to send for a celebrated physician at Clermont. "No,

no," said he, "he is too great a man for me: go and bring me the village

surgeon; he will not, perhaps, have the hardihood to kill me so soon."





Louis XIV., who was a slave to his physicians, asked Moliere one day what

he did with his doctor. "Oh, sire," said he, "when I am ill I send for him.

He comes; we have a chat, and enjoy ourselves. He prescribes;--I don't take

it, and I am cured."





General Guise going over one campaign to Flanders, observed a raw young

officer, who was in the same vessel with him, and with his usual humanity

told him that he would take care of him, and conduct him to Antwerp, where

they were both going, which he accordingly did, and then took leave of him.

The young fellow was soon told by some arch rogues, whom he happened to

fall in with, that he must signalise himself by fighting some man of known

courage, or else he would soon be despised in the regiment. The young man

said he knew no one but Colonel Guise, and he had received great

obligations from him. "It is all one for that," said they, "in these cases.

The Colonel is the fittest man in the world, as everybody knows his

bravery." Soon afterwards the young officer accosted Colonel Guise, as he

was walking up and down the coffee room, and began, in a hesitating manner,

to tell him how much obliged he had been to him, and how sensible he was of

his obligations. "Sir," replied Colonel Guise, "I have done my duty by you,

and no more." "But Colonel," added the young officer, faltering, "I am told

that I must fight some gentleman of known courage, and who has killed

several persons, and that nobody"--"Oh, sir," interrupted the Colonel,

"your friends do me too much honour; but there is a gentleman (pointing to

a fierce-looking black fellow that was sitting at one of the tables) who

has killed half the regiment, and who will suit you much better." The

officer went up to him, and told him he had heard of his bravery, and that

for that reason he must fight him. "Who?--I, sir?" said the gentleman;

"why, I am the _apothecary_."





Dr. Moore, author of "Zeluco," used to say that at least two-thirds of a

physician's fees were for imaginary complaints. Among several instances of

this nature, he mentions one of a clothier, who, after drinking the Bath

waters, took it into his head to try Bristol hot wells. Previous, however,

to his setting off, he requested his physician to favour him with a letter,

stating his case to any brother doctor. This done, the patient got into a

chaise and started. After proceeding half way, he felt curious to see the

contents of the letter, and on opening it, read as follows:--"Dear

Sir,--The bearer is a fat Wiltshire clothier: _make the most of him_." It

is almost unnecessary to add that his cure was from that moment effected,

as he ordered the chaise to turn, and immediately proceeded _home_.





Sir Charles Wager had a sovereign contempt for physicians, though he

believed a surgeon, in some cases, _might_ be of service. It happened that

Sir Charles was seized with a fever while he was out upon a cruise, and the

surgeon, without much difficulty, prevailed upon him to lose a little

blood, and suffer a blister to be laid on his back. By-and-bye it was

thought necessary to lay on another blister, and repeat the bleeding, to

which Sir Charles also consented. The symptoms then abated, and the surgeon

told him that he must now swallow a few bolusses, and take a draught. "No,

no, doctor," says Sir Charles, "you shall batter my hulk as long as you

will, but depend on it, you shan't _board_ me."





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