We sat there for half - an - hour, describing to each other our maladies.
I explained to George and William Harris how I felt when I got up in the morning, and William Harris told us how he felt when he went to bed; and George stood on the hearth - rug, and gave us a clever and powerful piece of acting, illustrative of how he felt in the night. Poppets knocked at the door to know if we were ready for supper.
I agreed with George, and suggested that we should seek out some retired and old - world spot, far from the madding crowd, and dream away a sunny week among its drowsy lanes - some half - forgotten nook, hidden away by the fairies, out of reach of the noisy world - some quaint - perched eyrie on the cliffs of Time, from whence the surging waves of the nineteenth century would sound far - off and faint. He said he knew the sort of place I meant; where everybody went to bed at eight o'clock, and you couldn't get a REFEREE for love or money, and had to walk ten miles to get your baccy.
You start on Monday with the idea implanted in your bosom that you are going to enjoy yourself.
I sat for awhile, frozen with horror; and then, in the listlessness of despair, I again turned over the pages.
I came to typhoid fever - read the symptoms - discovered that I had typhoid fever, must have had it for months without knowing it - wondered what else I had got; turned up St.
I felt rather hurt about this at first; it seemed somehow to be a sort of slight. I reflected that I had every other known malady in the pharmacology, and I grew less selfish, and determined to do without housemaid's knee. As a boy, the disease hardly ever left me for a day. Medical science was in a far less advanced state than now, and they used to put it down to laziness.
Gout, in its most malignant stage, it would appear, had seized me without my being aware of it; and zymosis I had evidently been suffering with fr om boyhood. And they didn't give me pills; they gave me clumps on the side of the head.
I forget which was the first distemper I plunged into - some fearful, devastating scourge, I know - and, before I had glanced half down the list of "premonitory symptoms," it was borne in upon me that I had fairly got it.The diagnosis seems in every case to correspond exactly with all the sensations that I have ever felt.I remember going to the British Museum one day to read up the treatment for some slight ailment of which I had a touch - hay fever, I fancy it was.Cholera I had, with severe complications; and diphtheria I seemed to have been born with. I made it a hundred and forty - seven to the minute. But I will tell you what is NOT the matter with me. Why I have not got housemaid's knee, I cannot tell you; but the fact remains that I have not got it. Then he opened me and looked down me, and clutched hold of my wrist, and then he hit me over the chest when I wasn't expecting it - a cowardly thing to do, I call it - and immediately afterwards butted me with the side of his head.I plodded conscientiously through the twenty - six letters, and the only malady I could conclude I had not got was housemaid's knee. After a while, however, less grasping feelings prevailed. After that, he sat down and wrote out a prescription, and folded it up and gave it me, and I put it in my pocket and went out. From my earliest infancy I have been a martyr to it.There were no more diseases after zymosis, so I concluded there was nothing else the matter with me. I thought what an interesting case I must be fr om a medical point of view, what an acquisition I should be to a class! And, strange as it may appear, those clumps on the head often cured me - for the time being.Students would have no need to "walk the hospitals," if they had me. All they need do would be to walk round me, and, after that, take their diploma. I have known one clump on the head have more effect upon my liver, and make me feel more anxious to go straight away then and there, and do what was wanted to be done, without further loss of time, than a whole box of pills does now.The steward recommended the latter course, as it would come so much cheaper.He said they would do him for the whole week at two pounds five. He didn't feel so hungry as he thought he should, and so contented himself with a bit of boiled beef, and some strawberries and cream. George said he should be all right, and would rather like it, but he would advise Harris and me not to think of it, as he felt sure we should both be ill.There were four of us - George, and William Samuel Harris, and myself, and Montmorency.We were sitting in my room, smoking, and talking about how bad we were - bad fr om a medical point of view I mean, of course.