Review: Horror Story: "The Thunder-Struck and the Boxer" by Samuel Warren
April 6, 2017 8:44am CST
One hot summer in 18—, a nasty thunderstorm rocked London. Some had it that the world would end on Tuesday (really), so people figure the thunderstorm was just the beginning of the end. This story follows two people whose lives were affected by lightning strikes and attended by the diarist/(fictional) doctor. The first is a Miss P—, a visitor who was staying at the doctor’s house. During the storm, she ran upstairs to her bedroom. She’s later found there in what appears to be some sort of seizure, standing upright, rigid and unresponsive. The first thing the good doctor does it to put her to bed, forcing her limbs down. He then yells at her, hoping for an answer. Her eyes are open, but her pupils do not expand or contract when light is brought around or withdrawn. The good doctor pulls a knife and feints a stab at her eye. Nothing. Much to his sorrow, he’s called away to attend to a boxer in rooms at a public house, a drunk brute of a man who seems to have broken his ankle when his horse threw him, having been scared by lightning. He tells his wife that he needs surgeon, not a physician. The boxer curses his wife, curses his horse, but “the impious wretch” really gets in hot water when he shakes fist at the lightning and yells, “d—it!” Suffice it to say he’ll have hard time thumping on his wife from that day forward. But back to Miss P—. The tender physician continues his ministrations: he sticks his knife under her fingernail, he shouts in her ears. He calls in experts. Other things tries include “galvanism,” i.e., applying electric current to various parts of her body. He sends his wife out the room for this because he’s never known a woman who can stand watching galvanism. Sustaining is it one thing, watching it is an entirely different matter, apparently. He applies irritants to her feet and down her spine. And she doesn’t come out of her coma. The experts tell him to make sure not to bury her without being sure she’ really dead. People in these states can wake up. Sometimes, they remember everything that’s been said around them. (Like advice against premature burial?) In the meantime, the doctor has sent letters to her fiancé and her mother, letting them know they should come with all haste. When I read the torture applied—with a perfectly straight face—to the poor girl, I began to wonder if this weren’t satire. They did everything but set her hair on fire. But apparently this is serious. A note to time travelers to the early nineteenth century: don’t get sick. And if you do, for the love of all you consider holy, don’t let yourself be treated by a physician. On a side note, this story made great reading while I was at the dentist the other day. The only place I could find this was in google books. Since is a screenshot rather than text, you probably won’t be able to open it, Scott. So I’ll leave you some AC/DC instead: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPzSGxVy1GA ____ Title: “The Thunder-Struck and the Boxer” Author: Samul Warren (1807-1877) First published: in Blackwood’s Magazine as part of series of stories “Passages from the Diary of a Late Physician.” The articles were all published between 1830 and 1837. Can’t narrow it down closer than that. Source: notes in the anthology I read it in
MoreEven more from GoogleSign inHidden fieldsBooksbooks.google.comhttps://books.google.com/books/about/Passages_from_the_diary_of_a_late_physic.html?id=jRnfvwP-k6MC&utm_source=gb-gplus-sharePassages from the diary of a late physician by Samuel Warren, F.R.
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