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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 48.djvu/903

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QUACKS AND THE REASON OF THEM.

man himself. Glacial geology also, with its vast contribution to our knowledge of the earth, past and present, supplies one of the best illustrations of the new geography in its fellowship with geology. Glaciation is mainly a matter of climate and topography, with perhaps a measure of cosmic influence; in short, it is an affair of geography. Of that keen scrutiny of surface forms carried on by glacial science the new geography has largely been born. Some will ask what economic value accrues with this vast devotion to scientific geography which the next generation will see. Surely no field of science will yield a larger intellectual harvest, and the economic significance of pure science, though sometimes out of sight, is never far away.

 

QUACKS AND THE REASON OF THEM.
By Dr. A. CARTAZ.

THE story is told in Joubert's Popular Errors concerning Medicine, published at Bordeaux, France, in 1579, that one Gonelle, a jester at the court of the Duke of Ferrara, insisted once upon a time that the trade which had the most followers was that of doctor. To prove his assertion, he left his home one morning to go to the palace with his nightcap on and his jaws wrapped up. The first person he met stopped him with the question, "What is the matter with you, Gonelle?" "A terrible toothache." "Oh, is that all? I'll tell you what will cure it." And every person he met had some advice to give him. When the jester reached the duke's chamber, the same question and answer were repeated. "Ah," said the prince, "I know of something that will take the pain right away." Gonelle instantly threw up his kerchief, saying: "And you too, monseigneur, are a doctor; I have only passed through one street in coming from my house to you, and have counted more than two hundred of them. I believe I could find ten thousand in the city." Whether the story is true or false, it could be told again in our days, and Gonelle would win his wager without dispute. Everybody has had opportunities to try the experiment; and there is probably no one who has not permitted himself to give friendly counsel to an ailing person in passing—good advice: "Such a person was cured by such a remedy; try it"; and to jeer at the doctors, who know nothing about the matter.

It is not strange, in view of this instinctive tendency to sympathize in the sufferings of another and to assist as far as possible in curing them, that false doctors, charlatans, should have had their day, even if only briefly at a time, in all ages and in all