Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/166

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Within the last few years, a form of Perkinism, or rather "metallic medicine," has appeared in Paris, clothed in the garb of science, and under the protecting influence of the great M. Charcot. Gold, silver, and other metals, in the form of coins, are applied to relieve the manifestations of the graver forms of hysteria. It has become quite the 'mode' to visit the Hôpital de la Salpêtrière, and witness the sensational cures performed publicly on the victims of hystero-epilepsy. This notoriety is both pleasing to the patients and the public. If a nervous disease is treated by unusual methods, it becomes common; hysterical subjects having always a morbid desire to make themselves remarkable, and so be the center of attraction, it pleases their vanity and self-love. The consequence of the introduction of metallo-therapy into Parisian hospitals as a mode of treatment is, that in Paris and its neighborhood an enormous number of these rarer forms of hysteria and hystero-epilepsy have been, so to speak, created, and the wards of some of the hospitals there are crowded with female patients, eager to be treated in a sensational and novel manner. They certainly derive benefit from the treatment, because, as a writer in the "Lancet" has said: "The symptoms for which metals are applied can not be ascertained without calling the patient's attention to their existence; the strange and unusual remedy of application of a string of coins can not be adopted without exciting expectation of a local result—an expectation which it has been often demonstrated is sufficient to determine the disappearance of local symptoms in this remarkable disease."

My paper would be very incomplete should I fail to mention the most successful quack this century has produced, John St. John Long. He was the son of an Irish basket-maker, and was born near Doneraile. In his boyhood he assisted his father, but, soon tiring of rush weaving, being a clever, pushing youth, he attached himself to a Dublin portrait-painter, from whom he obtained some knowledge of painting. When next we hear of him he is starring the provinces as an historical and portrait painter, and an instructor in the art of painting in oils. It was at this time that he adopted the name St. John. With the Limerick gentry he was a great favorite, because of his entertaining manners, and his ability to ride straight across country. Becoming disgusted with provincial life, and feeling that his talents could be more profitably employed in a larger sphere, he went to London. Here, by his pleasant address and persuasive tongue, he managed to get introductions into several respectable houses, and was elected a member of the Royal Society of Literature and of the Royal Asiatic Society. But he could not live on these honors, and was glad to color anatomical drawings for the lecturers and students at the various schools of anatomy. In this way he learned something about the human frame, and before many months had passed he proclaimed to the world the discovery of a wonderful liniment, which, when applied