Henry Fielding. (17071754). The History of Tom Jones.
The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction. 1917.
Book VIII. Containing about Two Days
III. In Which the Surgeon Makes His Second Appearance
BEFORE we proceed any farther, that the reader may not be mistaken in imagining the landlady knew more than she did, nor surprized that she knew so much, it may be necessary to inform him that the lieutenant had acquainted her that the name of Sophia had been the occasion of the quarrel; and as for the rest of her knowledge, the sagacious reader will observe how she came by it in the preceding scene. Great curiosity was indeed mixed with her virtues; and she never willingly suffered any one to depart from her house, without enquiring as much as possible into their names, families, and fortunes.
She was no sooner gone than Jones, instead of animadverting on her behaviour, reflected that he was in the same bed which he was informed had held his dear Sophia. This occasioned a thousand fond and tender thoughts, which we would dwell longer upon, did we not consider that such kind of lovers will make a very inconsiderable part of our readers. In this situation the surgeon found him, when he came to dress his wound. The doctor perceiving, upon examination, that his pulse was disordered, and hearing that he had not slept, declared that he was in great danger; for he apprehended a fever was coming on, which he would have prevented by bleeding, but Jones would not submit, declaring he would lose no more blood; and, doctor, says he, if you will be so kind only to dress my head, I have no doubt of being well in a day or two.
I wish, answered the surgeon, I could assure your being well in a month or two. Well, indeed! No, no, people are not so soon well of such contusions; but, sir, I am not at this time of day to be instructed in my operations by a patient, and I insist on making a revulsion before I dress you.
Jones persisted obstinately in his refusal, and the doctor at last yielded; telling him at the same time that he would not be answerable for the ill consequence, and hoped he would do him the justice to acknowledge that he had given him a contrary advice; which the patient promised he would.
Very likely, says the doctor: I have known people eat in a fever; and it is very easily accounted for; because the acidity occasioned by the febrile matter may stimulate the nerves of the diaphragam, and thereby occasion a craving which will not be easily distinguishable from a natural appetite; but the aliment will not be concreted, nor assimilated into chyle, and so will corrode the vascular orifices, and thus will aggravate the febrific symptoms. Indeed, I think the gentleman in a very dangerous way, and, if he is not blooded, I am afraid will die.
Every man must die some time or other, answered the good woman; it is no business of mine. I hope, doctor, you would not have me hold him while you bleed him. But, harkee, a word in your ear; I would advise you, before you proceed too far, to take care who is to be your paymaster.
I imagined so as well as you, said the landlady; but, as my first husband used to say, everything is not what it looks to be. He is an arrant scrub, I assure you. However, take no notice that I mentioned anything to you of the matter; but I think people in business oft always to let one another know such things.
And have I suffered such a fellow as this, cries the doctor, in a passion, to instruct me? Shall I hear my practice insulted by one who will not pay me? I am glad I have made this discovery in time. I will se now whether he will be blooded or no. He then immediately went upstairs, and flinging open the door of the chamber with much violence, awaked poor Jones from a very sound nap, into which he was fallen, and, what was still worse, from a delicious dream concerning Sophia.
Will you be blooded or no? cries the doctor, in a rage. I have told you my resolution already, answered Jones, and I wish with all my heart you had taken my answer; for you have awaked me out of the sweetest sleep which I ever had in my life.
Ay, ay, cries the doctor; many a man hath dozed away his life. Sleep is not always good, no more than food; but remember, I demand of you for the last time, will you be blooded?I answer you for the last time, said Jones, I will not.Then I wish my hands of you, cries the doctor; and I desire you to pay me for the trouble I have had already. Two journeys at 5s. each, two dressings at 5s. more, and half a crown for phlebotomy.I hope, said Jones, you dont intend to leave me in this condition.Indeed but I shall, said the other. Then, said Jones, you have used me rascally, and I will not pay you a farthing.Very well, cries the doctor; the first loss is the best. What a pox did my landlady mean by sending for me to such vagabonds! At which words he flung out of the room, and his patient turning himself about soon recovered his sleep; but his dream was unfortunately gone.