| mutual good feeling. Indeed, in
the present state of things, this second gentleman is nearly as essential
to the perpetuity of a family as is the husband himself.
The 'Physician' speaks of the mutual attachment created
between the practitioner and patient, by his attendance on her through "this
scene of suffering and danger." The truth of this statement may be
illustrated by an incident related in connection with the explosion and
wreck of the steam-packet 'Pulaski,' on the coast of North Carolina, a few
years since. The gentleman, concerned in the incident was a Mr. Ridge, of
New Orleans, the lady a Miss Onslow, from one of the southern states.
By the frightful explosion the vessel was shattered;
many of the passengers and crew went down; others remained on the wreck
or took to the boats and planks. Mr. R. had secured himself upon some floating
body. He saw the young woman struggling in the waves, and instantly rescued
her. Again the surge broke over and separated them; again his strength and
intrepidity saved her from the devouring sea. Some days and nights they
were together on their frail raft amid the perils of the deep. At length
they drifted ashore, nearly exhausted by watching, and hunger, and exposure.
He was an ordinary man, and the wreck had made him a beggar. She was an
accomplished young lady, and an heiress to an immense fortune. Yet such
was her feeling of gratitude, affection, love, for him, that she married
him; though he protested against making his services any claim for such
Now, take the parallel case of a woman rescued from a
still more horrid death, by the physician's wonderful skill and devoted
endeavors, as she naturally supposes. Perhaps, as in some of the cases given,
he has constantly hung over her, or been by her, one, two, or three, days
and nights; and at length, worn and exhausted with watching and suffering,
"they all come safe to shore." Is there not deep gratitude, and,
as the 'Physician' says, "affection," and if cherished by continued
kindness and intimacy, may it not grow into love? It would be unnatural
if it should not. Then farewell to domestic bliss!
So in cases of protracted illness, where professional
duty brings physician and patient together daily for weeks and months. Women,
like men, when they are sick, are feeble, irresolute, sensitive, susceptible;
and they appreciate kindess from whatever source it comes. The following
sweet and truthful
sentence is taken from the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, in which
it stands as a quoted item: "There is, perhaps, no quality attached
to a correct professional character, more fascinating to the gernerality
of mankind, than a bland, gentle, humane mode of examining and prescribing
for the sick. It steals like the sweetest notes of music into the bosom
of the unhappy sufferer, and imparts a presentiment that all will go well."
Now, this 'fascinating' attention does not "steal
into the bosoms," and steal out of the hearts, of females alone.
Men yield to the potent spell when it is exerted by the opposite
sex. It is said that Howard, the philanthropist, under the influence of
this fascination, married the nurse who had attended him through a season
of sickness. To avoid harm, then, great prudence should be observed when
either party is under previous contract!
It is not to be supposed that, in a Christian community,
every woman will allow herself to fall in love with every ill-looking
doctor; or, if she should, that she will allow any symptoms of it to appear.
But such is the tendency of the system, and the legitimate effects
will appear, unless they are counteracted by stronger influences.
Virtue and morality may regualte the conduct, but moral sentiments
cannot restrain the spell-bound affections from going where they ought
not. The Needle may not bolt form its pivot, but it will assuredly turn
towards the object of attraction.
These confidential and affectionate feelings are very
proper to exist between the parturient woman and an assistant of her own
sex; but it is contrary to reason and scripture that they should exist
between one man's wife and another woman's husband. The Bible commands,
"Let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own
husband." Not the body alone, but the soul. These customary improprieties
at home, doubtless, are to many a husband a plausible excuse for going
abroad. Mrs. P., a midwife in East Boston, said she formerly resided in
the city proper, and someties acted as an assistant to women attended
by doctors; and, after the child was born and the woman comfortably in
bed, she had in several instances seen physicians take leave of the lady
by an affectionate kiss.
Now, this was a very kind and innocent act in itself,
but kisses have a language; and for that reason non-professional gentlemen
are liable to heavy damages for kissing other people's wives. And if these
ladies, who received