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One of the most notable characters that adorned the University of Cambridge at the time when my residence there commenced, was the late Dr. Glynn, who, venerable for his years, and still more so on account of his many virtues, was calmly approaching the horizon of this mortal life, beneath which he was soon to disappear, leaving streaks of heavenly light behind him.
I regret that I am acquainted with but a comparatively few of the many striking peculiarities of this most excellent and amiable man, to whom and to Alma Mater I may be said to have been introduced on the same day; for my brother, who was then Fellow and Tutor of Pembroke College, required his assistance immediately on our arrival at Cambridge. He had been suffering, for some time previously, from ague; and as these Recollections are intended to record such professional
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notices as may happen to fall in with the current of my thoughts, I may commence them by mentioning that, prior to visiting his friends in Cornwall, in the latter part of the summer of 1794, he had been for a short time in Lincolnshire; but no symptom of disease made its appearance till a month or six weeks subsequently. We left Truro early in October; and at Exeter he was taken so ill that a medical gentleman, recommended by the mistress of the inn, was sent for; who, finding the patient in a high state of fever, set to work like a man of business, and prescribed for him so skilfully, that on the following day he was sufficiently convalescent to admit of our preparing to leave Exeter the next morning in the Bath mail, not forgetting to take with us the prescription for the draught, &c, which had wrought such an expeditious cure. But our joy was of very brief duration. The disorder proved to be a regular tertian ague, in accordance with the stern laws of which, as we were travelling midway between Exeter and Bath, there was a second terrific attack of fever, and nothing could be more wretched than the latter part of our day's journey. On getting to Bath, we immediately sent for the late Mr. Tickel, who long enjoyed great celebrity as an apothecary in that city, and was much consulted by invalids coming from Cornwall. Like our Exeter friend, he was a man of business, but, for obvious reasons, was enabled to form a more correct opinion of the nature of the complaint. Accordingly, he gave us to understand that any attempt to drive out the enemy again by a coup-demain would fail; so the Exeter recipe, notwithstanding the stamp of " probatum " which it bore upon it, was returned to the pocket-book, and the conduct of the siege left entirely to Mr. Tickel, who certainly seemed to carry on his operations very methodically. He maintained that the whole biliary apparatus was greatly out of order, and must be put in thorough repair before the Demon of the Fens could be effectually exorcised. The consequence of this circumspection was, that several alternate days were allowed to pass in no inconsiderable misery; till finding, I suppose, that there was no chance of making the breach through the biliary ducts more practicable, the reserve of Peruvian bark was brought up, and with so much success that we were soon enabled to leave Bath, taking a supply of the specific with us. But its regular administration having probably been neglected, either on the road or during our short stay in London, symptoms of returning ague, upon our arrival at Cambridge, obliged us, as I have said, to call in our friend Dr. Glynn.
He proceeded very cautiously with the examination of the case, committing the answer to writing of nearly each question, without any passing hints. At length, after conning over his notes, he proceeded to prescribe bark, with little regard to the performances of the liver. In fact, he seemed to hold Mr. Tickel's practice, under this head, rather cheap; and he likewise threw out some hints that the medical gentlemen of Bath were apt to rely so much on he salubrity of their springs, that their acquaintance with the virtues of the Materia Medica generally was not a little cramped thereby. That it is not so, however, I can venture to affirm; for I do not believe that more enlightened members of the medical profession are to be met with anywhere; and I remember that, when speaking of Dr. Glynn, some years afterwards, to the late Dr. Parry, and mentioning to him jokingly the above conversation, he replied by referring to his pocket-book, which contained such an array of patients then under his care, with notes of their complaints and remedies, as he might well have been proud of; but, to the best of my recollection, not a single case did there happen to be among them, for which it had been thought proper to recommend the Bath waters exclusively. This was singularly fortunate as a refutation of Dr. Glynn's notion; but the truth is, that there are no remedies so efficacious in certain states of exhaustion of the powers of the stomach as these cordial waters, none more beneficial in a great variety, particularly of arthritic and cutaneous diseases, than the same waters externally as well as internally applied.
Dr. Glynn soon set my brother up, and as usual refused to take a fee of a patient with whose father he had been well acquainted, and who was moreover a Cornishman, which of itself was quite enough, for it was his invariable rule never to take a fee of a Brother-Cornishman, nor of an Etonian. It was, in consequence, facetiously said of three contemporary Physicians at Cambridge, that one never took a fee, another never refused a fee, and the third never had a fee offered him. But there was in this too much latitude of assertion, for Dr. Glynn certainly did not refuse to receive fair remuneration for his attendance beyond the pale of his exceptions. It would have been an act of injustice to others more dependent on their profession than himself, not to have done so. He was, however, exceedingly careful not to make his attendance unnecessarily expensive, and usually preferred being paid by the College Tutor, in order to avoid the risk of a profusion of generosity on the part of any too liberal young Gownsman; but if he had a manner of his own of doing things, his peculiarities were of the most inoffensive kind, whilst his unostentatious charity must have been unbounded, as may fairly be inferred from the small store of wealth he left behind him, compared with his inexpensive mode of living, and his ample private and professional income. The following interesting and characteristic little anecdote occurred during my first year at Cambridge, and well deserves to be recorded.
The good old Doctor attended, through a long illness, a poor man, of whose family party a talkative Magpie made one; and as he had been invariably observed to take notice of this bird when visiting his patient, the good people of the house took it into their heads that he would probably like to possess it. Accordingly, when the sickness ended favorably, and their gratitude was overflowing, with no money to offer, they thought that they could not do better than make their kind friend a present of the Magpie; and, sure enough,