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tinction; and at the period of his standing on my door-steps, ponderintroduction to the reader, was in his ing the probabilities of wet or fine thirty-eighth or fortieth year. If I for the day. He spoke in such a were to mention his name, it would spluttering tone of trepidation, that recall to the literary reader many it was some time before I could conexcellent, and some admirable por- jecture what was the matter.
At tions of literature, for the perusal of length I distinguished something like which he has to thank N The the words,“ Oh, Docta, Docta, com-a, prevailing omplexion of his mind and see-a a Massa! Com-a! Him so was sombrous--but played on, occa gashly-him so ill—ver dam badsionally, by an arch-humorous fancy, him say so-Oh lorra-lorra-lorra ! Ainging its rays of fun and drollery Com see-a a Massa-him ver orrid !" over the dark surface, like moon Why, what on earth is the matbeams on midnight waters. I do be- ter with you, you sable, eh?—Why lieve he considered it sinful to smile! can't you speak slower, and tell me There was a puckering up of the plainly what's the matter ?” said I, corner of the mouth, and a forced impatiently, for he seemed inclined corrugation of the eyebrows—the to gabble on in that strain for some expression of which was set at nought minutes longer. “What's the matby the conviviality—the solemn drol- ter with your master, sirrah, eh ?” I lery of the eyes. You saw Momus enquired, jerking his striped mornleering out of every glance of them! ing jacket. He said many very witty things in “Oh, Docta! Docta! Com-aconversation, and had a knack of Massa d-n bad! Him say so !uttering the quaintest conceits with Him head turned ! Him head turnsomething like a whine of compunc- ed”tion in his tone, which ensured him “ Him what, sirrah ?” said I, in roars of laughter. As for his own amazement. laugh-when he did laugh-there is “ Him head turned, Docta-him no describing it-short, sudden, un head turned,” replied the man, slapexpected was it, like a flash of pow. ping his fingers against his forehead. der in the dark. Not a trace of real “Oh, I see how it is, I see; ab, merriment lingered on his features yes," I replied, pointing to my forean instant after the noise had ceased. head in turn, wishing him to see You began to doubt whether he had that I understood him to say his laughed at all, and to look about to master had been seized with a fit of see where the explosion came from. insanity. Except on such rare occasions of for “ Iss, iss, Docta-him Massa head getfulness on his part, his demean- turned-him head turned !-d-n our was very calm and quiet. He bad !” loved to get a man who would come “ Where is Mr N-, Nambo, and sit with him all the evening, eh ?”. smoking, and sipping wine in cloudy “ Him lying all ’long in him bed, silence. He could not endure bustle Massa-him d-n bad. But him or obstreperousness; and when he 'tickler quiet-him head turned”did unfortunately fall foul of a son “ Why, Nambo, what makes you of noise, as soon as he had had “ a say your master's head's turned, eh? sample of his quality," he would What d'ye mean?” abruptly rise and take his leave, say “ Him, Massa, self say so-him ing, in a querulous tone, like that did-him head turned-d-n.” I of a sick child, “I'll go !” (probably felt as much at a loss as ever; it these two words will at once recall was so odd for a gentleman to achim to the memory of more than knowledge to his negro-servant that one of my readers)--and he was as his head was turned. good as his word; for all his ac “Ah! he's gone mad, you mean, quaintances-and I among the num eh-is that it? Hem! Mad-is it ber-knew his eccentricities, and ex so ?” said I, pointing, with a wink, to cused them.
my forehead. “No, no, doctor-him Such was the man-at least as to head turned !--him head,” replied the more prominent points of his Nambo; and raising both his hands character—whose chattering black to his head, he seemed trying to twist servant presented himself hastily to it round! I could make nothing of my notice one morning, as I was his gesticulations, so I dismissed him,
telling him to take word, that I should Why, God bless me, doctor !” make his master's my first call. I he replied, with an air of angry surmay as well say, that I was on terms prise in his manner which I never of friendly familiarity with Mr N. saw before, " I think, indeed, it's you and puzzled myself all the way I who are trifling! Have you lost went, with attempting to conjecture your eye-sight this morning? Do you what new crotchet he had taken into pretend to say you do not see I his odd-and, latterly, I began to sus have undergone one of the most expect, half-addled-head. He had traordinary alterations in appearance never disclosed symptoms of what is that the body of man is capable ofgenerally understood by the word such as never was heard or read of hypochondriasis; but I often thought before ?” there was not a likelier subject in “ Once more, Mr Nthe world for it. At length I found peated, in a tone of calm astonishmyself knocking at my friend's door, ment, “ be so good as be explicit. fully prepared for some specimen What are you raving about ?” of amusing eccentricity--for the Raving !-Egad, I think it's you thought now crossed my mind, that who are raving, doctor!” he answerhe might be really ill. Nambo in- ed;“ or you must wish to insult me! stantly answered
mysummons, Do you pretend to tell me you do and, in a twinkling, conducted me to not see that my head is turned ?". his master's bed-room. It was par- and he looked me in the face steadtially darkened, but there was lightily and sternly. enough for me to discern, that there “ Ha-ha-ha!-Upon my honour, was nothing unusual in his appear- NM, I've been suspecting as much ance. The bed was much tossed, to for this last five or ten minutes! I be sure, as if with the restlessness of don't think a patient ever described the recumbent, who lay on his back, his disease more accurately before!" with his head turned on one side, and “ Don't mock me, Doctor buried deep, in the pillow, and his replied N—, sternly.“ By G-I arms folded together outside the can't bear it! It's enough for me to counterpane. His features certainly endure the horrid sensations I do!” wore an air of exhaustion and dejec
“ Mr N--, what do you”tion, and his eye settled on me with “ Why, d -1, Doctor ! an alarmed expression from the mo- you'll drive me mad !--Can't you see ment that he perceived my entrance. that the back of my head is in front,
“Oh, dear doctor !- Isn't this and my face looking backwards ? frightful !- Isn't it a dreadful piece Horrible!" I burst into loud laughter, of business ?”
“ Doctor, it's time for you and “ Frightful !-dreadful business!"
me to part-high time,” said he, turnI repeated with much surprise. ing his face away from me. “ I'll let “ What is frightful ?. Are you ill you know that I'll stand your non. have you had an accident, eh ?"
sense no longer! I called you in to “ Ah-ah !-you may well ask give me your advice, not to sit grin, that!” he replied; adding, after a ning like a baboon by my bedside ! pause, “it took place this morning Once more,-finally: Doctor about two hours ago!"
are you disposed to be serious and “You speak in parables, MrN--!
rational ? If you are not, my man Why, what in the world is the mat- shall shew you to the door the moter with you ?”
ment you please.” He said this in “ About two hours ago-yes," he such a sober earnest tone of indignamuttered, as if he had not heard me.
tion, that I saw he was fully prepared “Doctor, do tell me truly now, for
to carry his threat into execution. I the curiosity of the thing, what did determined, therefore, to humour you think of me on first entering the him a little, shrewdly suspecting room?-Eh?-Feelinclined to laugh, some temporary suspension of his or be shocked-which ?”
sanity-not exactly madness--but at I really have no time least some extraordinary ballucinafor trifling, as I am particularly busy tion. To adopt an expression which to-day. Do, I beg, be a little more I have several times heard him useexplicit! Why have you sent for “ I saw what o'clock it was, and set me?- What is the matter with you?” my watch to the time.”
“ Oh-well !-I see now how mat over my back! In vain did I almost ters stand!- The fact is, I did ob- wrench my head off my shoulders, serve the extraordinary posture of in attempting to twist it round again; affairs you complain of-immediately and what with horror, and-andI entered the room—but supposed altogether-in short, I awokemand you were joking with me, and twist- found the frightful reality of my si. ed your head round in that odd way tuation !-Oh, gracious Heaven!” for the purpose of hoaxing me; so I continued Mr N clasping his resolved to wait and see which of us hands, and looking upwards, “ what could play our parts in the farce have 1 done to deserve such a horlongest!- Why, good God! bow's rible visitation as this ?” all this, Mr N 7-Is it then really “ Humph! it is quite clear what the case ?-Are you—in-in earnest is the matter here,” thought I; so, as-in having your head turned ?"- suming an air of becoming profes“ In earnest, doctor!" replied Mrsional gravity, I felt his pulse, N-, in amazement. Why, do begged him to let me see his tongue, you suppose this happened by my made many enquiries about his geown will and agency?--Absurd !” — neral health, and then proceeded to “ Oh, no, no-most assuredly not, subject all parts of his neck to a most it is a phenomenon-hem! hem!- rigorous examination; before, bea phenomenon—not unfrequently hind, on each side, over every natuattending on the nightmare," I an ral elevation and depression, if such swered with as good a grace as pos- the usual varieties of surface may be sible.
termed, did my fingers pass; he, all “ Pho, pho, doctor !-Nonsense! the while sighing, and cursing his -You must really think me a child, evil stars, and wondering how it was to try to mislead me with such stuff that he had not been killed by the as that! I tell you again, I am in as “dislocation !” This little farce over, sober possession of my senses as ever I continued silent for some moments, I was in my life; and, once more, I scarcely able, the while, to control assure you, that, in truth and reality, my inclination to burst into fits of my head is turned-literally so.” laughter, as if pondering the possi
“ Well, well !-So I see !—It is, bility of being able to derise some indeed, a very extraordinary case means of cure. a very unusual one; but I don't, by “ Ah-thank God! I have it-I any means, despair of bringing all have itthings round again !–Pray tell me “ What! - what- eh? what is how this singular and afflicting acci- it ?". dent happened to you?"
" I've thought of a remedy, which, Certainly,” said he, despond- if-if-if any thing in the world can ingly. “ Last night, or rather this bring it about, will set matters right morning, I dreamed that I had got again—will bring back your head to to the West Indies-to Barbadoes, its former position.” an island where I have, as you know, “Oh, God be praised !-Deara little estate left me by my uncle, dear doctor !-if you do but sucC-; and that, a few moments ceed, I shall consider a thousand after I had entered the plantation, pounds but the earnest of what I for the purpose of seeing the slaves will do to evince my gratitude!” he at work, there came a sudden hurri. exclaimed, squeezing my hand fercane, a more tremendous one than rently. “ But I am not absolutely ever was known in those parts;- certain that we shall succeed,” said trees—canes-huts-all were swept I cautiously. “ We will, however, before it! Even the very ground on give the medicine a twenty-four which we stood seemed whirled hours' trial; during all which time away beneath us! I turned my head you must be in perfect repose, and a moment to look at the direction in consent to lie in utter darkness. which things were going, when, in Will you abide by my directions ?" the very act of turning, the blast “Oh, yes-yes-yes !-dear docsuddenly caught my head, and-oh, tor!-What is the inestimable remy God !-blew it completely round medy? Tell me-tell me the name on my shoulders, till my face of my ransomer. I'll never divulge looked quite-directly behind me it-never !"
“ That is not consistent with my knew N—'s natural turn to huplans at present, Mr N-" I re- mour. It was inconceivable to me plied, seriously ; " but, if successful how such an extraordinary delusion -of which I own I have very san- could bear the blush of daylight, guine expectations - I pledge my resist the evidence of his senses, and honour to reveal the secret to you.” the unanimous simultaneous assu“Well-but-at least you'll explain rances of all whobeheld him. Though the nature of its operation-eh? Is it it is little credit to me, and tells internal-external-what?" The re- but small things for my self-control medy, I told him, would be of both - I cannot help acknowledging, that forms; the latter, however, the more at the bedside of my next patient, immediate agent of his recovery; the who was within two or three hours former, preparatory-predisposing of her end, the surpassing absurdity I may tell the reader simply what of the “turned head” notions glared my physic was to be: three bread- in such ludicrous extremes before pills (the ordinary placebo in such me, that I was nearly bursting a cases) every hour; a strong lauda- blood-vessel with endeavours to supnum draught in the evening; and a press a perfect peal of laughter! huge bread-and-water poultice for his About eleven o'clock the next neck, with which it was to be envi- morning, I paid N a second roned till the parts were sufficiently visit. The door was opened as usual mollified to admit of the neck's being by his black servant, Nambo; by twisted back again into its former whose demeanour I saw that someposition; and when that was the thing or other extraordinary awaited case-why-to ensure its perma- me. His sable swollen features, nency, he was to wear a broad band and dancing white eye-balls, shewed of strengthening plaster for a week!! that he was nearly bursting with This was the bright device, struck laughter. “He-he-he!” he chuckout by me-all at a heat; and, ex- led, in a sort of sotto voce,“ him plained to the poor victim with the massa head turned !-him back in utmost solemnity and deliberation front !-him waddle !-He-heof manner - all the wise winks he!"- and he twitched his clothes and knowing nods, and hesitating jerking his jacket, and pointing to “hem's” and “ha's” of professional his breeches, in a way that I did not usage-sufficed to inspire him with understand. On entering the room some confidence as to the results. I where N-, with one of his faconfess I shared the most confident vourite silent smoking friends, expectations of success. A sound (M—, the late well-known counnight's rest-hourly pill-taking—and sel,) were sitting at breakfast, I enthe clammy saturating sensation countered a spectacle which nearly round about his neck, I fully believed made me expire with laughter. It is would bring him round:-and, in the almost useless to attempt describing full anticipation of seeing him disa- it on paper—yet I will try. Two bused of the ridiculous notion he had gentlemen sat opposite each other at taken into his head, I promised to see the breakfast table, by the fire: the him the first thing in the morning, and one with his face to me was Mr took my departure. After quitting M—; and N- sat with his back the house, I could not help laughing towards the door by which I entered. immoderately at the recollection of A glance at the former sufficed to the scene I had just witnessed; and shew me, that he was sitting in torMrs M—, who happened to be tures of suppressed risibility. He passing on the other side of the street, was quite red in the face-his feaand observed my involuntary risibi- tures were swelled and puffy-and lity, took occasion to spread an ill- his eyes fixed strainingly on the fire, natured rumour, that I was in the as though in fear of encountering habit of “ making myself merry at the ludicrous figure of his friend. the expense of my patients!"-1 fore. They were averted from the fire, for saw, that should this “ crick in the a moment, to welcome my entrance neck ” prove permanent, I stood a -and then re-directed thither with chance of listening to innumerable such a painful effort-such a comiconceits of the most whimsical and cal air of compulsory seriousnessparadoxical kind imaginable--for I as, added to the preposterous fashion
after which poor N had chosen sations in which I ever bore part. to dress himself-completely over N's temper was thoroughly sourcame me. The thing was irresist- ed for some time. He declared that ible; and my utterance of that pe- my physic was all a humbug, and a culiar choking sound, which indi- piece of quackery; and the “ d-d cates the most strenuous efforts to pudding round his neck,” the absuppress one's risible emotions, was surdest farce he ever heard of; he the unwitting signal for each of us had a great mind to make Nambo bursting into a long and loud shout eat it, for the pains he had taken in of laughter. It was in vain that I bit making it, and fastening it on-poor my under lip, almost till it brought fellow! blood, and that my eyes strained Presently he lapsed into a melantill the sparks flashed from them, in choly reflective mood. He protested the vain attempt to cease laughing; that the laws of locomotion were in full before me sate the exciting utterly inexplicable to him-a praccause of it, in the shape of N tical paradox; that his volitions his head supported by the palm of as to progressive and retrogressive his left hand, with his elbow prop- motion neutralized each other; and ped against the side of the arm the necessary result was, a cursed chair. The knot of his neck-kerchief circumgyratory motion-for all the was tied, with its customary formal world like that of a hen that had lost precision, back at the nape of his one of its wings! That henceforward neck; his coat and waistcoat were he should be compelled to crawl, buttoned down his back ;-and his crab-like, through life, all ways at trowsers, moreover, to match the once, and none in particular. He novel fashion, buttoned behind, and, could not conceive, he said, which of course, the hinder parts of them was the nearest way from one given bulged out ridiculously in front ! point to another; in short, that all Only to look at the coat-collar fitting his sensations and perceptions were under the chin, like a stiff military disordered and confounded. His sistock—the four tail buttons of brass tuation, he said, was an admirable glistening conspicuously before, and commentary on the words of St the front parts of the coat buttoned Paul_“But I see another law in my carefully over his back—the com members warring against the law of pulsory handiwork of poor Nambo! my mind.” He could not conceive
N-, perfectly astounded at our how the arteries and veins of the successive shouts of laughter-for neck could carry and return the we found it impossible to stop-sud blood, after being so shockingly denly rose up in his chair, and almost, twisted — or “ how the wind-pipe inarticulate with fury, demanded went in,” affording a free course to what we meant by such extraordi the air through its distorted passage. nary behaviour. This fury, however, In short, he said, he was a walking was all lost on me; I could only lie! Curious to ascertain the conpoint, in an ecstasy of laughter, al sistency of this anomalous state of most bordering on frenzy, to his feeling, I endeavoured once more to novel mode of dress-as my apology. bring his delusion to the test of simHe stamped his foot, uttered volleys ple sensation, by placing one hand of imprecations against us, and then on his nose, and the other on his ringing his bell, ordered the servant breast, and asking him which was to shew us both to the door. The which, and whether both did not lie most violent emotions, however, in the same direction; he wished to must in time expend their violence, know why I persisted in making mythough in the presence of the same self merry at his expense. I repeatexciting cause; and so it was with Mr ed the question, still keeping my M and myself. On seeing how hands in the same position; but he seriously affronted N- was, we suddenly pushed them off, and asked both sat down, and I entered into me, with indignation, if I was not examination, my whole frame aching ashamed to keep his head looking with the prolonged convulsive fits over his shoulder in that way-acof irrepressible laughter.
companying the words with a shake It would be in vain to attempt a of the head, and a sigh of exhaustion, recital of one of the drollest conver as if it had really been twisted round