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Page:New observations on inoculation - Angelo Gatti.djvu/63

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RULE II.The patient's mind must be diverted as much as possible.

Strange as this rule may appear, it is of the utmost importance. We all know what influence the affections of the soul have upon the disorders of the body; and in none is this so conspicuous as in the small-pox. From the apprehensions of the patient, his fate is often pronounced; hence great care is commonly taken to conceal from him the nature of his ailment; and many people decline inoculation, from a persuasion that they should not be terrified by the natural small-pox; so well is every one convinced that fear constitutes the greatest danger of this disorder.

If we examine things narrowly, and analyse the sensations of the mind in the first period we shall find some other feelings, which cannot come under the denomination of fear. A dejection will be observed, a sadness, an uneasiness and anxiety; these symptoms more or less apparent, seem to indicate that the active principle which presides over our preservation, is threatened with some imminent danger, and as it were feels the presence and influence of a cause ready to attack health and life in a manner the more alarming, as it shews itself less by external signs. Indeed as to the pain, or heat, the hardness or quickness of the pulse, by which we commonly judge of the intenseness of other disorders, they are very far from keeping pace with the lowness of spirits, weariness and uneasiness, so often observable in this.