CHAPTER I.Three invalids.-Sufferings of George and Harris.-A victim to one hundredand seven fatal maladies.-Useful prescriptions.-Cure for liver complaintin children.-We agree that we are overworked, and need rest.-A week onthe rolling deep?-George suggests the River.-Montmorency lodges anobjection.-Original motion carried by majority of three to one.There were four of us-George, and William Samuel Harris, and myself, andMontmorency. We were sitting in my room, smoking, and talking about howbad we were-bad from a medical point of view I mean, of course.We were all feeling seedy, and we were getting quite nervous about it.Harris said he felt such extraordinary fits of giddiness come over him attimes, that he hardly knew what he was doing; and then George said that_he_ had fits of giddiness too, and hardly knew what _he_ was doing.With me, it was my liver that was out of order. I knew it was my liverthat was out of order, because I had just been reading a patentliver-pill circular, in which were detailed the various symptoms by whicha man could tell when his liver was out of order. I had them all.It is a most extraordinary thing, but I never read a patent medicineadvertisement without being impelled to the conclusion that I amsuffering from the particular disease therein dealt with in its mostvirulent form. The diagnosis seems in every case to correspond exactlywith all the sensations that I have ever felt.[Picture: Man reading book] I remember going to the British Museum oneday to read up the treatment for some slight ailment of which I had atouch-hay fever, I fancy it was. I got down the book, and read all Icame to read; and then, in an unthinking moment, I idly turned theleaves, and began to indolently study diseases, generally. I forgetwhich was the first distemper I plunged into-some fearful, devastatingscourge, I know-and, before I had glanced half down the list of"premonitory symptoms," it was borne in upon me that I had fairly got it.I sat for awhile, frozen with horror; and then, in the listlessness ofdespair, I again turned over the pages. I came to typhoid fever-read thesymptoms-discovered that I had typhoid fever, must have had it for monthswithout knowing it-wondered what else I had got; turned up St. Vitus'sDance-found, as I expected, that I had that too, -began to get interestedin my case, and determined to sift it to the bottom, and so startedalphabetically-read up ague, and learnt that I was sickening for it, andthat the acute stage would commence in about another fortnight. Bright'sdisease, I was relieved to find, I had only in a modified form, and, sofar as that was concerned, I might live for years. Cholera I had, withsevere complications; and diphtheria I seemed to have been born with. Iplodded conscientiously through the twenty-six letters, and the onlymalady I could conclude I had not got was housemaid's knee.I felt rather hurt about this at first; it seemed somehow to be a sort ofslight. Why hadn't I got housemaid's knee? Why this invidiousreservation? After a while, however, less grasping feelings prevailed.I reflected that I had every other known malady in the pharmacology, andI grew less selfish, and determined to do without housemaid's knee.Gout, in its most malignant stage, it would appear, had seized me withoutmy being aware of it; and zymosis I had evidently been suffering withfrom boyhood. There were no more diseases after zymosis, so I concludedthere was nothing else the matter with me.I sat and pondered. I thought what an interesting case I must be from amedical point of view, what an acquisition I should be to a class!Students would have no need to "walk the hospitals," if they had me. Iwas a hospital in myself. All they need do would be to walk round me, and, after that, take their diploma.