MEDICAL STUDIES 35
then presented itself to me was, 11 Why could not people be made dead drunk before operations? Could it not be effected without upsetting their digestion and doing harm in other ways? The subsequent discovery of inhaling, instead of drinking the intoxicating spirit, whether it be chloroform or ether, solved that quest % most Q10y.
The cries of the poor fellows who were operated on were characteristic ; in fact, each class of operation seemed to evoke some peculiar form of them. All this was terrible, but only at first. I t seemed after a, while as though the cries were somehow disconnected with the operation, upon which the whole attention became fixed.
It was obvious that different persons felt pain with very different degrees of acuteness. I may here go quite out of chronological sequence, and refer to an experience in 1851, when I was on the point of starting from a mission station on my exploration of Damara Land, then wholly unknown but now a German possession. It will be again alluded to in a later chapter. A branch missionary outpost, twenty miles off, had lately been raided, and most of the people, other than the missionaries themselves, murdered. Of those who escaped, two women, each with both of their feet hacked off, made their way to the station, at which I saw them. The Damara women wear heavy copper rings on their ankles, put
on when they are growing girls that the rings may
not slip over their feet when they are adult. These coveted treasures can therefore be obtained only by the summary process of cutting off the feet. In this horribly mutilated state the two women crawled the