MEDICAL STUDIES 23
While I was still a young boy, my father contrived that I should see something of a laboratory attached to the shop of the principal chemist in Birmingham ; again, during one of our summer visits to the seaside, he discovered a needy foreign chemist who agreed to take me in hand, at a rather high charge. All I clearly recollect of him now was, that he seemed obsessed with the idea of making some wonderful compound out of succinic acid, which is derived from amber, and that he spent all his spare shillings in buying bits of amber and burning them. I learnt nothing from his tuition ; on the other hand, certain recollections of the chemist's laboratory still form part of my stock of mental imagery.
The step most momentous to myself was taken by my father in 1838, of removing me at the age of sixteen, and in no ways against my will, from Dr. J.eune's school.
A little after, while I was at Leamington, my father asked our medical attendant there, Mr. P., to show me an example of the medical work I should be engaged, in before I was plunged wholly into it. That first experience is very memorable to me. It occurred; on a night chilly out of doors, while indoors our family party were assembled in cosy comfort at dessert, after a good dinner, with a brightly burning fire, shining mahogany table, wine, fruits, and all the rest, when a servant brought a note from Mr. P. awaiting an answer. It was to the effect that a housemaid had suddenly died at Lord -'s house, and that he, Mr. P., was about to make a post-mortem examination would I like to come ? Oh, the mixture of revulsion, wonder, interest, and excitement ! I changed clothes and went, entering the house by a