[ocr errors]

I the street.

Here he met with the young man whom he had previously seen at the cottage, and found him to be of the medical profession. Vanderbrummer informed him, that his chief object in coming to England was to inquire into the state of medicine and medical practice there. "You will learn little that is to our credit," said his companion, whose name was Win*ter; "medical science is at a low ebb in this country. There is no such thing as theory now. When any dispute occurs, a man instantly refers you to his practice. When any of his prescriptions appear to produce good effects, he instantly sets them down as being suitable in all similar cases, and administers them accordingly, often to the cost and destruction of the patient, without knowing how, why, wherefore, or whether they are right or wrong. Dr L is one of the practitioners I have endeavoured to describe. Thank Heaven, I cannot be classed with them. I never was in an hospital in my life, yet I flatter myself I know more of medicine than hundreds of those who have the charge of such establishments."-"Theory is valuable," replied Vanderbrummer, "when a man is capable of applying it to practice. May I ask where you were educated?"-" At Edinburgh, sir," answered Winter. "There the science of medicine is taught in all its purity. I would strongly advise you to visit that city; you will find the medical students every way superior to what they are any where else."

Vanderbrummer now took leave of Mr Winter, but while walking back to the tavern, reflected upon what he had heard, and determined to go to Edinburgh. He accordingly engaged a place in the mail-coach that same night, and went off next morning.

After reaching Edinburgh, his first business was to deliver his letters of introduction, most of which were addressed to medical men. A young physician, named Dr Practic, volunteered his services in shewing him the University, and conducting him to the different Lecture-rooms.

During a visit to one of these, Vanderbrummer was a good deal astonished at the levity of deportment which the students exhibited, and which was a strong contrast to the solemnity and sedateness that characterized the same class of persons at Leyden. They

beat and shuffled with their feet, threw pieces of paper at each other, and leaped over the benches, while waiting for the entrance of the Professor. When he did appear, a general hiss took place. Vanderbrummer was hor ror-struck, and inquired of his companion what it meant. "Oh, this is nothing remarkable," replied Dr Prac tic. "They are offended at the Professor because he yesterday gave notice that he intended lecturing on Saturday, in order to enable him to complete his course within the prescribed time. The students conceive this plan to be an encroachment upon their hours of recreation, and express their resentment in the manner you have just witnessed." However, the tumult soon subsided, the Professor commenced his lecture, and his auditors drew out their paper books, to take such notes as they could. After the lapse of an hour, Vanderbrummer was startled by a loud ringing. All the students sprung from their seats by one impulse, clapped on their hats, run along the benches, and rushed out tumultuously towards the class-room door, near which they became so closely wedged, that no one could move faster than another; while occasional groans, screams, and exclamations, proved that some individuals were threatened with suffocation. "Dreadful! dreadful!” cried Vanderbrummer; "what can have happened. Is the building on fire?" No, no," returned Dr Practic, laughing, "don't be alarmed. Professor 's lecture commences at this hour, and the 'students are hurrying out, that they may secure front seats in his classroom." The two friends waited till the door-way became tolerably clear, and then went out. While passing through the area in front of the College, they observed a crowd of young men tumultuously encircling some one, and stretching out their arms as if they were aiming blows at him. He appeared to be driven from side to side, and forced to stagger along at the will of those who surrounded him, while he spoke at intervals in a tone of entreaty, which his persecutors entirely disregarded. "Incredible!" exclaimed Vanderbrummer; "are such inhuman assaults permitted within the courts of the University? What has the man been guilty of? Will no one step forward to his assistance?" Dr

Practic laughed again, and then told him, that the person for whom he felt so much concern, was a street porter in the act of distributing hand-bills among the students who encompassed


In the evening, Dr Practic carried Vanderbrummer to a meeting of the members of the Royal Medical Society, that he might shew him the state of medical disputation in Edinburgh. There were about ninety persons present, and the President sat in a sort of pulpit, holding a hammer in his hand. He proceeded to read an Essay that had been written by one of the members of the Society. Having fi nished it, he said he would be happy to hear observations upon the subject from any gentleman in the room. A dead silence ensued, and continued nearly half an hour. He then flourished his hammer, and cried, "I will be particularly happy to hear some observations upon this important subject." A tall young man then stood up, and having requested the indulgence of his auditors, proceeded, with a strong Irish accent, to criticize the production that had just been read. Several of his fellow members soon rose from their seats, and advanced to a table where a number of visitors' tickets lay, and each taking one, they returned to their places; they next pulled out their pen-, cils, and Vanderbrummer saw that they were preparing to take notes of what the speaker said. A long debate ensued, but those who engaged in it, generally wandered from the subject; while the President was evidently too ignorant to perceive this, or to correct them when they did so. All that was advanced by the disputants on either side of the question, had evidently been gleaned from books; and he who remembered most, enjoyed the reputation of speaking best. Vanderbrummer soon became tired of hearing plagiarisms, absurdities, and commonplace remarks, and left the Hall, accompanied by Dr Practic, who joined him in ridiculing the assembly in which they had spent the evening. "I am indeed a member of the institution," said the latter," but became so that I might have the use of its li-, brary." He had scarcely made this remark when a confused thundering noise struck their ears; and, next mo-, ment, twenty or thirty young men rush

ed impetuously past them.-"What can this mean?" cried Vanderbrummer; "I wish we had stopped one of them to inquire."-" He would not have answered you," returned Dr Practic. "These are members of the Medical Society. You must know, that, at the conclusion of the debate, the secretary calls over the names of all who ought to attend its meetings, and any one who is not present to answer is fined a sixpence. Those who lately passed us have been out amusing themselves. They now hurry. back to the Hall, that they may be in time to save their sixpences."-" I would rather pay many sixpences," said Vanderbrummer, "than again pass such a wearisome evening as this has been.' "All who can afford to do so will agree with you," returned his friend.


[ocr errors]

Next day was Saturday. In the forenoon, Dr Practic and Vanderbrummer walked along Prince's Street, and there met a young man genteelly dressed. He immediately entered into conversation with Dr Practic, and said, “I saw you at the Hall last night-What an excellent debate we had !—Chair well filled-many new theories started. Your friend must become one of us→→→ He shall have my interest."-"He is much obliged to you," returned Dr Practic; "but I believe he, at present, has no intention of soliciting for admission into the Medical Society."Indeed! why that's strange," cried the young man. "He must have heard of us abroad,—we made one of the most celebrated Dutch physicians an honorary member, and I wish you had seen his letter of thanks,-he was very grateful for the honour-but, good bye.-Will you and Mr Vanderbrummer sup with me on Monday night ?" Dr Practic had a previous engagement, but Vanderbrummer ac cepted the invitation." Behold a spe cimen of an Edinburgh medical student," said Dr Practic, when their ac quaintance had left them." He is miserably poor, but vain and assuming. While attending the classes during five days of the week, he dresses so shabbily that I am ashamed to speak to him; but this day being Saturday, he has got on his holiday clothes, and thinks himself a man of fashion. He now struts along the public walks, and courts the observation one f every

On Monday he will not be met with, except in back lanes and retired streets. I suspect he did not attend Professor 's lecture this forenoon, for the fear of getting dust upon his new pantaloons. I'm glad you accepted his invitation, for I'm sure you'll have some amusement at his lodgings."

On Monday evening, at the appointed time, Vanderbrummer set out for Mr Walnut's lodgings, and reached them after ascending half a dozen flights of dark stairs. The house-door was opened by an old woman, who ushered him into a small apartment, where he found Walnut sitting alone, reading the fourth volume of Peregrine Pickle. He had thrown off his coat from motives of economy, but apologized to his guest for having done so, and immediately put it on again. A violin with three strings hung in one corner of the room, and one number of Neil Gow's strathspeys lay upon a small side-table. Vanderbrummer began to speak of medical subjects, and inquired what theory of life was then most prevalent among Scotch physicians." To tell you the truth," replied Walnut," I know nothing about the matter.-I expect to learn all these things from my grinder.—I haven't read ten pages about medicine these six weeks past.-I have even ceased taking notes.-Confound the classes! -I wish the session were over!" Vanderbrummer was hesitating what reply he should make to these declarations, when his ears were assailed by a singuar noise which seemed to take place n the stair, out of doors. A tumult of voices echoed through its recesses, and regular concussions proved that omething was rolling down the steps. Presently two young men entered the com, and began to explain the cause of the disturbance, which was in conequence of their having, when near he top of the stair, come into collision with a servant girl who was carrying wo pitchers of water. The three inividuals had fallen above each other, nd received the contents of the pitchrs upon their clothes, and had get roken shins into the bargain. Walut affected to commiserate the conition of his guests, but all the while ade signs expressive of derision, to 'anderbrummer.

Supper being soon brought in, little onversation took place till it was re

moved. Vanderbrummer expected to hear some professional or scientific discussion; but his companions had no relish for any thing of the kind. They made their studies a subject of merriment-boasted of their medical ignorance-ridiculed the Professors-mentioned how often they slept during lecture, and censured many of the most eminent practitioners in the city. They at last became so noisy, and riotous, and disagreeable, that Vanderbrummer took leave of them and went home. Next morning he received a letter informing him that a change had taken place in his father's circumstances. He was desired immediately to return home, and, therefore, had suddenly to leave Edinburgh, and embark, at Leith, in a vessel bound for Amsterdam.

On arriving at Amsterdam, he found affairs even worse than he had expected. Total ruin had come upon the mercantile company in which his father was the chief partner; and the old man had been so much chagrined at this reverse of fortune, as to be seized with a lethargy or stupefaction, terminating in an illness of which he died. Vanderbrummer had lost his mother many years before, and only a few distant relations remained to him in Amsterdam. They condoled with him, and assisted him in gathering together whatever little remnants could be found of his father's property. These were sufficient to preserve him from want. But a different kind of grief seized the student on another account; for he had not in any degree forgotten his early attachment; but no longer stood in the same favourable circumstances for a suitor as at first. He visited the lady, and found that change which he expected. Although deeply wounded, he could not help admiring the propriety of her behaviour, and that compliance with the vicissitudes of the world which sits better upon women than upon men, since the female sex ought to be more in bondage to society. When he was shewn down stairs, he found, at the door, a carriage, from whence came a gallant and gaily dressed Frenchman, and passed Vanderbrummer with a look of perfect suavity. This was a more fortunate wooer going up to visit the young lady.

The friends of Vanderbrummer pity

ing him for the circumstances of his lot, advised him to retire from Amsterdam for some time, and to seek for a quiet residence in the country, where he would be more able to recover the equilibrium of his feelings. He, approving of their suggestion, sought for a place at a considerable distance from town, and hired a lodging in a small farm-house. Hither he conveyed his books, with his seldom-used case of instruments, and a few medicines,

which he meant to afford gratis if any illness should occur among the country people.

When settled in this place he recurred to his college habits of life. For, having no other thing to do, he was induced to occupy his time with study, which led him again into metaphysical thought. His mind became again interested in the old chain of argument which had formerly pleased him at Leyden,


THOU, mighty ocean, whom I now behold
Kissing, with murmur bland, thy shores of gold;
Often, at eve, as thus the vernal day
Closes its eye, and melts in peace away,
I love beside thy broad expanse to walk,
And hold with Meditation silent talk.

Fresh blew the matin breeze; and cloud on cloud
Veil'd the blue heavens with melancholy shroud;
Moaned the deep woods, as shower succeeding shower,
Bedim'd the glory of the noontide hour;
And, on thy breast, the bark was seen to brave
With difficult repulse the crested wave;
While, borne with fleet wing to its rocky home,
The wailing sea-bird shot athwart the foam,
And left to winds, and waves, and pelting rains,
The solitary shore, and joyless plains.

But now the breeze is calm'd; o'er cloudless skies,
The crimson Day smiles forth before he dies;
The vallies lie in peace and, on the hill,
Spreading their leafy arms, the woods are still.
From budding copse the blackbird's mellow lay,
With a deep tone far inland melts away;
And, yet remoter far, the cattle's low-
Mayhap from flowery meads returning slow ;
Hush'd is the landscape-still as still can be,
As if the eve held silent jubilee !

Why then, when Nature's pulse subsides to rest,
Sleep not the passions of the human breast?
Why does the throbbing sense of inward pain
Oppress the heart, or shoot athwart the brain?
Do Misery's clouds, with melancholy roll,
Float o'er, and shade the regions of the soul;
And visions crush'd, and hopes that wan'd to nought,
Disturb the spirit, and oppress the thought?

O! fragile man-thou pageant of a day,
Whose painted splendours dim, and die away;
Thou thing, whose grasping aspirations soar
To realms, where glory reigns for evermore;
But findest, yearning with a downcast soul,
Thy tiny means unfit to reach the goal.
Still in thy sight the rays of beauty flash,
Sublime thou listenest to the torrent's dash--

Pantest in dreams, still foil'd, and still renew'd
For perfect bliss, and unsubstantial good ;—
Till, finding hope a visionary gleam,

A rainbow light, the splendour of a dream,
Friendship a tie, that, prone a while to bless,
Yields to the wizard touch of selfishness;
And earth a home, where vice and sorrow meet,
The realm of shame, the palace of deceit→
Man views his brightest prospects melt in air,
Yields up his sinking bosom to despair;
And as he turns from earth with loathing eyes,
Proclaims that all-is vanity-and dies!

Yet droop not thou, my soul, but turn thine eye
Beyond this earth, that perishable sky,

And when the clouds come o'er thee dark and deep,
And melting sorrow veils her face to weep-
Let the celestial glow of upper spheres,
Gild with reflected light thine earthly years.

So, when the noon of life in toil and care
Hath pass'd, its evening may be soft and fair;
All thoughts unholy banish'd from the breast,
And every ill that presses, lull'd to rest-
Bright then, as July sunset, shall decay
The earth-born spark, and with as pure a ray,
Till vanishing on earth's extremest skies
It sets, in other worlds renew'd to rise!

[blocks in formation]

And there, methought, with bashful pride, And there was pleasantness to me

She seem'd to sit and look

On her own maiden loveliness,

Pale imaged in the brook.

In such belief-cold eyes

That slight dear Nature's loveliness
Profane her mysteries.

[blocks in formation]

*The flowers of the Osmunda Regalis, or flowering-fern, are set like two rows of jewellery on the under sides of the leaves. This elegant plant blows in July and August, and is generally found on or about the boles and twisted roots of old trees.


3 S

« VorigeDoorgaan »