34 MEMORIES OF MY LIFE
could be compiled truthfully, it would be an excellent guide to those who wanted a doctor but were doubtful whom to consult. A high index of curative skill would serve as a measure of merit, and the fee to the doctor might be regulated by its height.
I threw myself into my duties with zeal, and loved
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clerk had a dressing board, supported against his body by a strong band passed over his neck: its ends were fixed to the board. Lint, plaister, scissors, forceps, probe, and a few other simple surgical instruments completed the outfit. There was much bleeding from the arm, especially of out-patients; there were also cuppings and insertion of issues and of setons. All these I could soon do creditably; I was fairly good even at tooth-drawing. I set broken limbs, at first under strict supervision, but was latterly allowed much freedom. I had also occasionally to reduce dislocations of the arm, and once at least of the thigh. The mechanism of the body began to appear very simple in its elementary features. At one time no less than sixteen fractures, dislocations, or other injuries to the arms, or parts of them, were practically under my sole care all at the same time. Of course my proceedings were carefully watched.
The following incident in those pre-chloroform days set me thinking. A powerful drayman was brought in dead drunk, with both of his thighs crushed and mangled by a heavy waggon. They had to be amputated at once. He remained totally unconscious all the time, and it was not until he awoke sober in the morning that he discovered that his legs were gone. He recovered completely. The question that