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see what else it could be.[1] But when it remains long in the gall-bladder it undergoes changes, and in some cases of vomiting that I have seen the vomited matters have been of a bright grass-green color. When examined, also, after death, the bile in the gall-bladder is not unfrequently found of a dark color, and the same is probably the case when it is retained in the gall-bladder for any length of time during life. How the Greeks arrived at the notion of giving the name "melancholy," i. e., black bile, to depression of spirits, we do not quite know, but certain it is that depression of spirits is very often associated with indigestion, and, moreover, that the form of indigestion with which we find depression of spirits associated is not so much gastric as intestinal, or, more probably, hepatic. According to Herbert Spencer, we require rapid evolution of nervous energy in order to have exhilaration of the spirits, and depression of nervous energy is associated with melancholy. Now, the effect of bile-acids circulating in the blood, as shown by physiological experiments, is to depress the reflex function of the spinal cord, the functions of the brain also, producing drowsiness ending in coma, and also weakening the circulation by paralyzing the cardiac ganglia.[2] Such a combination of actions is just the one required by Mr. Spencer's hypothesis to produce melancholia, and here we find ancient notions joining hands with modern science.—Practitioner.


By S. AUSTEN PEARCE, Mus. D., Oxon.

INNUMERABLE questions arise in the mind whenever that mysterious art, called music, occupies our thoughts—questions respecting its source, its course or development in various epochs, its laws, object, action, limitations, and influence. These are not easily answered satisfactorily, and appear to have been as great problems to the ancients as they are to ourselves. For, attempting to penetrate the thick mists that veiled their past, they failed to discover the origin of any one musical instrument; and being completely baffled in their researches concerning the inception of musical systems, and also unable to account for the remarkable sway that their art-works exercised over hearers, they contented themselves with conserving these systems and art-works in their entirety, for the benefit of posterity.

We, who are always ready to invent theories for the explanation of phenomena, find ourselves extremely perplexed in accounting for various musical facts that at first sight seem simple and easily understood.

  1. Brunton "On Digitalis," p. 67.
  2. Vide Wickham Legge, "Bile, Jaundice, and Bilious Diseases," pp. 207, 216, 217.