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lowing description of his delirium-a passage exhibiting to us all his powers of minute observation; and, to the speculatist, how much our daily habits shape and tincture these cobwebs of the mind:

My dear George, my dearest Brother,—After seven days of delirium and great suffering, this is the first comfortable time in which I can round

my elbow into the writing posture. You think too deeply of this illness of mine-as to the delirium, for the first nights it was agreeable. A painter, with a look of self-gratulation, placed his picture on an easel before me; another, with an air of conscious superiority, displaced the first and substituted his own instead a third frowned and terrified the last, until in rapid succession I saw the finest pieces of history, the most romántic scenery, banditti, ruins, aqueducts ;--still I had self-command enough to know this was all an exuberant fancy which I indulged. Byand-by this same process of mind became less and less light in what it exhibited—I seemed to lie among legs and arms; my dressing-gown became a frowning figure-a fold of the bed-clothes a limb-to which I added what was necessary to make up the figure. Every absurdity of my imagination I observed to have a distinct origin in the impression on the senses. When the light was vivid, the candles and fire bright, the truth of sensation corrected all absurdities; in total darkness, I was free of all false perceptions; but in the obscurity of the rushlight, or that grey canvas which seemed to be drawn across my vision by the shutting of my eyelids—the reflex sensation perpetually exhibited the most romantic scenes, or the richest ornaments, or the gayest festoons of flowers. Such is the history of my delirium, which has given you, my dear brother, so great uneasiness. Illness, I think, makes me selfish; I have little warmth of feeling for any but yourself at this moment; but, as I never concealed a thought from you,

I say that I have a selfish fit. Biography is, beyond all other kinds of reading, delightful, and the proof of it is, the pleasure one has in perusing that long, garrulous narrative of Gibbon's life. May I not say I have been swayed and mastered by the same kind of ambitious desire of excelling; even in my present sickness I have been incessantly intent on the idea of some great work. Sometimes I think of finishing my “ Anatomy of the Muscles," or of painting in great style. I have had thoughts of entering on a great work on Pathology. The “Brain” I still wish to resume, after giving out a short account of my view, as taken from my lectures. It was this which I proposed to you to print in Edinburgh. In short, this inertia of the body has stirred up my ambitious projects.'

Accordingly in this year, 1810, Bell did send to his brother the • Idea of a New Anatomy of the Brain,' which he printed for distribution among his friends and the profession in 1811; the germ of all his subsequent discoveries, and we may add, his miseries. He freely offered his views to the world, inviting comment and craving for interest, but in vain. He was in advance of the age: neither friend nor foe criticised the first exposition of views which bid fair to revolutionize our knowledge of the most mysterious functions of life. At the end of ten years, indeed, he found


reason to regret the candour which had served only as a basis for groundless assertions tending to defraud him of his honours.

Though it was impossible for him to throw off the train of thought which Providence had destined he alone should mature, he felt deeply for a time his loneliness of mind. We find him no longer pursuing his one idea, but again flinging himself into a variety of pursuits, and seeking new interests in the active duties of life. Fortunately for him he had an opportunity of purchasing a share in the Hunterian School of Medicine in Windmill Street -one great object of his ambition-and so in 1812 he is devoting himself to perfecting the style and the matter of his lectures.

He had married in 1811, and had found a solace in one of the happiest and most graceful of homes which ever lightened toil or smoothened care. His country excursions now became frequent, and his exquisite pencil brought away many a remembrance of pleasant spots and hours; and it is not surprising that his lettersno longer teeming with the pain of an unfulfilled object, but ranging over a variety of trivialities, amidst which, says he, ' I am occasionally engaged in dissections of the brain and nerves '-let us know how nearly the thread of the greatest discovery in the science of life was lost.

His brother too seems to have urged him to resume the classics, but fortunately in vain.

• You have,' says Bell (July, 1813), to accompany the readings of our little friends; but I have higher objects—happy that I think so— I have fewer duties ; first to take care of this dear girl; in the next place, to see that in falling behind in the world I do not become a burden

But all these objects are embraced in that which is most wrought in my nature to be chief of my profession in character.?

The ambitions of his mind were sobered, but not subduedwere mingled with the bitterness of the past and the uncertainties of the future; with the cravings of the carcase for provision obtainable alone through pursuits distasteful to the spirit imprisoned within it; and so we have in Bell's letters the unlearnt, though oft-told, tale of life, with its chequerings of sunshine and shadow, and the vain chace after something more real or blessed than hope.—In the same year


says: “There seems nothing betwixt me and heaven; you do not comprehend that. I converse more with God than man. I have nothing of the interests of the world, as boys, and girls, and fortune, to think of. I feel this more and more, and it is with something like pity that I see you all labouring for the generation to come. with all this is the desire of reputation! I could conquer it if it were right—if it were not the only hold society has on me—to keep me among you. For I know without it I could give myself up to indolent contemplation and relaxation, and live upon a trifle; but Į have begun and

on you.

How strange


am far- advanced in a plan of life that must be continued with consistency and perseverance; yet I stand very much alone; I feel that I do. The crowd are all going a different way; it is not pride which impels me differently, but I have no business in the direction they hold.'

Somewhat later he writes :

Here I sit as the time when I wạs wont to turn to you; and feel as I felt when I thought all was going on well in Edinburgh-when you recollect my class was ninety. It was a reverse to come down to three and six. I am again at ninety, but I shall not rest until I have 150. But of this be assured—Windmill Street is what it ought to be. I gave my

lecture yesterday so as to please myself; you were always a great advocate for pleasing one's self. However, I am not so buoyed up with the promise of success as I was in former days. The mind is changed; I am more prepared for disappointments and better able to bear them.”

In April, 1814, he was elected, by a large majority, surgeon to the Middlesex Hospital, a position which furnished ever to his hand the most important cases for operation, without the necessity of seeking for them; and at once we find Bell throwing in all his energies to elucidate the great points of practice. It is not too much to say that it was through him that the Middlesex Hospital became what it was.

The influence of his name was soon seen in the audience. Both his matter and manner in lecturing proved attractive, not only to students but to men holding such a position in the scientific world as to have a right to guide the opinions of the day. Sir James M Gregor, the head of military surgery, and many of the seniors of the staff, were attendants; and we well remember the crowds which flocked to the exposition on the nervous system, and to that on the treatment of gunshot wounds. His style of lecturing was not, like Abernethy's—a fund of humour and pathos, garnishing simple principles clearly laid down; nor like Cooper's—conveying with fluency and ease a mass of practical detail, interlarded with many of the coarser traits of human life; but it was thoughtful and eminently suggestive, forcing the mind to work out and finish the sketches which he presented. It was truly original and profound, as we now discover, though then it was too often talked of as ingenious, or poetical, or theoretical, or anything which suited the fancy of men unprepared for receiving his truths. His was the eloquence of matter rather than of words—thinking aloud rather than framing sentences-a defect which he traced to a neglected education, though he felt that whatever "educes the faculties in harmony and strength is education, and that the contemplation of nature may evolve as sound a logic as the canons of Bentley or Porson. On the whole he was very successful in this situation.

* In 1836 Bell writes :- I leave the Middlesex Hospital enlarged with additional wings, full wards, and 120,0001. in the funds. When I entered, a third part of the old Hospital was an asylum for poor Frenchmen, and dear John Shaw was the only dresser.'

His style of operating was also universally acknowledged to be most dexterous. The same delicate hand which guided his pencil and his etching-point never failed him in the use of the scalpel. In truth, Bell was vain of his powers of minute vision and steadiness of hand; and, although it is not too strong an expression to use that he suffered agony of mind previous to undertaking a great operation, yet his . System of Operative Surgery'* was what it professed to bem-grounded on his own experience, and not compiled from books, containing no description of an operation which he had not himself performed, from bleeding in the arm to lithotomy with the knife alone—from tying the umbilical chord to the Cæsarian section.' In more than one instance foreigners of rank came to him—and from each of the Emperors of Russia, Alexander and Nicholas, he received rings of value for services rendered to some favourite general. In 1816 he writes :

“What I feel chiefly dwelling on my mind are my claims on military surgery. I shall make them out in some way, but how I know not. I feel that I am entitled to the merit of settling the grand questions of practice, particularly in regard to the deep incisions on bones, and the operation for the extraction of the head of the humerus. But I am very doubtful of myself, and I find a hostile feeling to me very general in the profession.'

We have already glanced at a feature which often in those days exposed him to the sneers of his brethren. His humanity of heart—his exquisite pain in the sight of suffering made him averse to all experiments on living animals; and to these he never resorted unless he had exhausted every other mean of arriving at his wished result. In the midst of some very curious researches, he says to his brother :

• I should be writing, but I cannot proceed without making some experiments, which are so unpleasant to make that I defer them. You will think me silly, but I cannot perfectly convince myself that I am authorized in nature or in religion to do these cruelties--for what ?- for a little egotism or self-aggrandisement:and yet what are my experiments in comparison with those which are daily done for nothing ?"

In 1814, however, we find him making experiments confirmatory of those which he had published in 1811 in his “Idea of an Anatomy of the Brain ;' but these were painless :

I am chiefly employed in trying, through the galvanic apparatus, how far the action of the nerves and muscles will agree with the divisions of nerves which I had made by dissections. The apparatus I use is very simple. I have a zinc probe and a silver probe : by placing these in contact with the nerve and the muscle, and bringing their ends

* The first edition of this valuable book was in 1807. It has gone through three editions.


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together, the part is convulsed. Now you know what I hope to prove is, that there are two great classes of nerves distinguishable in function --the one sensible, the other insensible.'

It is provoking to find how much of his disputes—or rather the disputes about him-originated in his loose manner of writing, of which the last sentence is an instance-whence the physiologist might infer that Bell had divided the nervous system under the heads of sensible and insensible, were it not clearly set down in the Idea,' printed in 1811, that the real division was into nerves of sensation and nerves of motion.

The battle of Waterloo once more gave Bell an opportunity of witnessing the effects of gunshot-wounds, and his thirst for knowledge did not allow him to hesitate a moment about leaving London, and seeing with his own eyes the Brussels of June 1815. His journal deserves to be published at length-exhibiting as it does many of those qualities of mind by which Bell traced the past in some slight hint of the present: but we can only give room for a fragment of his visit to the field of battle:

‘From the farm of Hougoumont we rode over rising ground covered with standing corn, and through the field we could still observe the movement of the columns of French, making streets through the fields, leaving the corn neat cut, as it were, no straggling. They must have moved on in deep columns, and in numbers, completely to beat the corn into the ground. About half a mile of ascent brought us to the position of Buonaparte. This is the highest ground in the Pays-Bas. À noble expanse is before the eye; and the circumstance of the ground being still imprinted with the tyrant's foot—the place where the aides-de-camp galloped to and fro-the whole extent of this important field under the eye-fills the imagination.

'I climbed up one of the pillars as I was wont to do after birds' nests, but I found me more heavy. We got a ladder from the Farm Court-it reached near the first platform; I mounted, and climbed with some difficulty; none of the party would venture, so I feel rather youthful. The view magnificent! I was only one-third up the machine, yet it was a giddy height. Here Buonaparte stood surveying the field—what name for him but Macbeth ? a man who stands alone.

There is some
thing magnificent in this idea. There exalted to a giddy height; and
how much farther to descend than to the ground ! his friends dispersed,
his squadrons broken ; and well he knew--for he seems to know man-
kind-well he knew the consequence.

What soldiers ?
Servant. The English force, so please you.

This push
Will cheer me ever, or disseat me now.
I have lived long enough. .
Honour, love, obedience, troops of friends,
I must not look to have; but, in their stead,


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