Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

the benefit of his medical advice. Dr. Good's mind had evinced some aberrations on account of the fever and the intense pain which he suffered; but at the time this request was made known to him, he experienced less pain, and was tolerably composed. He therefore agreed to see her, with Mr. Cooper, one of his own medical attendants. The young lady was accordingly conducted to his bed-side, and after he had made the usual inquiries, with his wonted acumen, consideration, and kindness, he conferred with Mr. C. on her case. He proposed a complete, and, as the event proved, for a season, a very beneficial change in the treatment: he wrote a prescription, which bears the usual character of his hand-writing, and I am assured is marked by the peculiar elegance which always distinguished his pharmaceutic formulæ.

Those habits of order, the formation of which constituted a part of his education, and the consolidation of which was so greatly aided by the circumstances of his apprenticeship, were evinced through life. The arrangements of his wardrobe, his books, his accounts, his papers, his manuscripts, his time, all bore the stamp of this peculiarity. Giving, as he did, from principle, to his medical engagements his first thoughts and chief care in the arrangements of each day, and finding, from the very nature of the profession, that it presented hourly interruptions to his best-formed schemes; still he had the power of smoothing down the irregularities thus incessantly occurring, and of carrying on his various pursuits with the order to which I have more than once adverted. After his decease, the effects of this love of method and orderly arrangement were more than ever evinced. For though

his professional and other occupations continued to employ him daily, until the very eve of his journey to Shepperton; yet, when his papers came to be examined, they were found with labels and indorsements, describing the nature of each packet,—which was of little, which of much, which of immediate, which of remote consequence, which related to his profession, which to his banker, which to the concerns of his daughter Mrs. Neale, which to any of his friends, which to proposed new editions of some of his works, which to a work just ready for the press—as completely assorted, described, and specified, as if for the last six months of his existence he had neglected every thing else, and acted with unremitting reference to the injunctionSet thy house in order, for thou shalt die and not live."

The happy effects of his love of order, and delight in occupation, and of his cheerful flow of spirits, were indeed uniformly and almost constantly manifest, and especially in his deportment in domestic life. Many men of great research cannot experience interruption of any kind without obvious discomposure and irritation; but this was never the case with Dr. Good. For though occupation was his element, and he was always remarkable for the diligent employment of every minute which he could devote to literature or to the study and practice of medicine; yet from these he always passed to social enjoyments, whether with his friends or the members of his family, with the utmost facility, and a corresponding relish. With this ability to free himself from incessant absorption of thought, his society was usually productive of pleasure to those who enjoyed his acquaintance; but most of all to Mrs. Good and

his daughters, with whom he delighted to engage in instructive cheerful conversation, and to whom he would often (much more often, indeed, than they who knew the variety and the pressure of his engagements would think possible) read any new and interesting work which they were anxious to know, expatiating upon its beauties or defects as he proceeded.

But, without trusting myself to enter into minutiæ, I shall assist the reader in forming his estimate of the private character of my deceased friend, by inserting a few passages from a letter which I have received from his eldest daughter, Mrs Neale.

“ You will doubtless have learnt much from my mother and sister, of my dear father's affectionate deportment in his family, and especially of his parental kindness; yet I cannot avoid mentioning one way in which, during my childhood, this was frequently manifested towards myself. My dear father, after a hurried meal at dinner, occupying but a very few minutes, would often spend a considerable portion of what should have been his resting time, in teaching me to play at battledore, or some active game, thinking the exercise conducive to my health."

“I never saw in any individual so rare a union as he possessed, of thorough enjoyment of what are usually termed the good things of this life, with the most perfect indifference respecting them, when they were not within his reach. In the articles of food and drink he always took, with relish and cheerfulness, such delicacies as the kindness of a friend, or accident, might throw in his way; but he was quite as well satisfied with the plainest provision that could be set before him; often, indeed, seeming unconscious of the differ

ence. His love of society made him most to enjoy his meals with his family, or among friends; yet as his employments of necessity produced uncertainty in the time of his return home, his constant request was to have something set apart for him, but on no account to wait for his arrival.

“I perhaps am best qualified to speak of his extreme kindness to all his grandchildren. One example will serve to shew that it was self-denying and active. My fourth little one, when an infant of two months old, was dangerously ill with the hooping-cough. My father was informed of this. It was in the beginning of a cold winter, and we were living sixty miles from town, in a retired village in Essex. Immediately on receiving the news of our affliction, my father quitted home; and what was our surprise, at eleven o'clock on a very dark night, to hear a chaise drive fast up to the door, and to see our affectionate parent step out of it. He had been detained, and narrowly escaped an overthrow, by the driver having mistaken his way, and attempting to drive through rough ploughed fields. We greatly feared that he would suffer severely from an attack of the gout, to which he had then become seriously subject, and which was generally brought on by exposure to cold and damp, such as he had experienced; and we urged, in consequence, the due precautions; but his first care was to go at once to the nursery, ascertain the real state of the disease, and prescribe for the infant.

“Strangers have often remarked to me, that they were struck with the affectionate kindness with which he encouraged all my dear children to ask him questions upon any subject, and the delight which he

exhibited when they manifested a desire to gain knowledge. Indeed I do not once remember to have heard them silenced in their questions, however apparently unseasonable the time, in a hasty manner, or without some kind notice in answer. He never seemed annoyed by any interruption which they occasioned, whether during his studies, or while he was engaged in that conversation which he so much enjoyed. Whenever he silenced their questions by the promise of a future answer, he regarded the promise as inviolable, and uniformly satisfied their inquiries on the first moment of leisure, without waiting to be reminded by themselves or others, of the expectations which he had thus excited. These are simple domestic facts; not perhaps suited to every taste. But as they serve to illustrate character, I transmit them, to be employed or not, as you may think best.”

Having presented these outline sketches from the hand of a daughter, I cannot better terminate this portion of my labour than by introducing another from the hand of a friend.*

“I had long the happiness and honour of being ranked among Dr. Good's intimate friends; but our intercourse was distinguished by no occurrences of importance enough to be recorded. During our intimacy he was always busily engaged in some intellectual or active employments for the benefit of humanity, without neglecting any of the hourly calls upon his friendship, his feeling, and his courtesy. I hardly believe there has existed the person who, in the midst of studies so severe, has maintained so kind a temper,

* Mr. Roberts, Editor of the British Review, &c.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »