This man had good native ability, was much es teemed for his kindness of heart, and all his life in society bore a moral character that was irreproach able. In his own heart and life, as well as in his home, the reaping was bitter for him and for his patient, noble wife, whose broken health makes one of the burdens of his fast-approaching old age. His whole life has not been half what it might had the lost strength been saved and turned into other channels. Marriage did not cure him, but the half victory won was gained at last by the means of a hygienic active life, and the self-denial exercised through earnest and uncompromising endeavor, which he should have used when he first recognized the fault.
A young girl of fifteen years of age, of good family, lost her mother; her father soon followed, dying insol vent. Her brothers found homes in various families, and she went out to service, with a family who es teemed her very much, and all the more for her trac table child-like manners and bearing. The eldest son in the family was old in vitiated habits, although but nineteen years of age. She became ill, but was so young that the lady with whom she lived did not suspect the real cause of her ill health till two or three months before she was to become a mother, when the family physician disclosed her real condi tion, which the poor child herself did not compre hend. The exasperated woman, with violent invec tive, told her to prepare to go the next day to a distant relative, some twelve miles away: The child, half paralyzed with fear, and understanding but dimly her shame, went to her cold room in the depths of a bitter winter, and wept out her anguish and terror alone. Between the midnight and morning, in un told suffering, her child was prematurely born, and, smothering its cries lest they should be heard, she went to a wood, some distance away, and buried the lifeless remains in the deep snow. As she did not appear on the next morning, the mother of the family, going to her room to see if she was ill, at once divined the truth, which was stoutly denied. By her tracks through field and drift, the remains were found, and then followed a clamor for her punishment, a legal investigation, hushed by the poor young brother and some distant relatives, and a long sickness to the poor child.
The blight crushed her spirit and hope, and the broken barriers of virtue left an avenue open for other dangers. She became the kept mistress of one or two successively, but at last her home was, in a time of sickness, made in the family of a relative, where she was surrounded by the purest and most ennobling influences, and for several years lived a consistent Christian life. When about forty years of age, she became acquainted with a man about ten years younger than herself, who, prompted no doubt by the fact that she had laid aside a few hundred dol lars, proposed marriage. She was at this time in poor health and suffering from a large abdominal tumor, and her friends, learning the doubtful character of her suitor, did all they could to dissuade her from so unwise a step. In a few weeks after her marriage, syphilitic disease, contracted from him in one of its most virulent forms, appeared; and before forty-two years of age she died, depending upon the charity of friends, the husband having disappeared with her little property a few weeks after her marriage.
The loathsome and distressing forms of ulceration destroyed the tissues of the throat, nose, and pelvic organs, so that the waste from the bowels and blad der escaped constantly through openings made by the disease, and the fcetor was terrible. The most
virulent and painful cancerous affection cannot com pare with this baleful, blighting, contagion, which, once inoculated even in its less apparent shapes, can never be removed, but appears again and again in subtle and unrecognized forms, long after the terrible disease in its open manifestations is "cured." I have treated patients with this taint not only through the second and third, but the tenth manifestation of it, in varying phases, where there had been no new poi soning. When I see such patients relieved und6r my own or other hands, I feel very little satisfaction in regard to it, assured that in some time of danger and prostration from ordinary sicknesses, the lurking wolf will spring upon his prey, making the contest a far more difficult if not a deadly one.
A young woman, whose father before marriage had been treated with the best medical skill obtainable by unlimited wealth in one of our largest cities, was constantly under medical care until she. was thirty years of age. At intervals, open ulcers, forming slowly from a hard base, affected various parts of the body, and she lost one finger and toe from this cause before she reached thirty years, because the bones be came so diseased that they could not be saved. Her father died before fifty, of a complex form of disease in which the old poison had an undeniable and prom inent share. Of a long-lived ancestry antecedent to her father, she still lives at fifty, keeping up a cease less struggle for tolerable health. In a "subject " which in distribution fell to our class in the college dissecting-room, both teachers and students were struck with the fine physique of a man that had not reached thirty-five years, — the whole frame and mus cular system being perfectly developed. The signs of physical vigor, giving promise of a long life, were everywhere present, from the finely moulded head and ample chest to the feet and hands, though several deep but not extensive scars were found upon the abdomen and genesic organs, clearly traceable to syphilitic infection. The sores had been healed in an early stage of the disease by proper and skilful care, and with less than the usual disfiguration. As the organs in the chest and abdomen were examined, and no adequate cause of fatality discovered, all began to ask the same question — What has been the cause of this man's death? When we came to exam ine the brain, which was left until quite late in the work of dissection, there was found in the left hemisphere of the cerebrum a cavity holding two or more ounces of the disintegrated brain tissue, and the whole was so changed as to show little difference between the gray and white substance, and caries of the inner table of the skull had commenced upon that side. Only a short time ago I had a patient where ulceration of the scalp, and necrosis of the frontal bones, began with great obstinacy after the disease had been cured (?) by most approved methods four times previously in various localities. All physicians meet frequently, in children and children's children, those vitiated conditions which point clearly to ancestral vices. I shudder as I take up our daily papers and read the advertisements promising to cure all the results of " early indiscretion " and symptoms of " premature decay " from which invalids may be suffering, many a young man or woman being thus led to feel that gonorrhoea, or even the more serious forms of syphilitic disease, are not serious, " no worse than a bad cold," as such sufferers have frequently said.