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THE PROFESSOR’S EXPERIMENT.

{From the Nao York Suu.) Professor Schwank’s apartments f iced the University buildings in the Ludwigs-platz. Established in a comfortable arm-chair, with a pipe of excellent tobacco in his mouth, Strout felt more at peace with his environment. He was in an atmosphere of healthful, practical, scientific activity that calmed his soul. Professor Schwank had gone further than the most eminent of his contemporaries in demonstrating the purely physiological basis of mind and thought. He had got nearer than any other man in Europe to the secrets of the nerve aura, the penetralia of the brain, the memory scars of ganglia. His position in philosopy was the antipodes of that occupied by the Rev. Dr Bellglory, for example. The study reflected the occupation of the man. In one corner stood an enormous Ruhmkorff coil. Books were scattered everywhere—on shelves, on tables, on chairs, on the floor. A plaster bust of Aristotle looked across the room into the face of a plaster bust of Leibnitz. Prints of Gall, of Pappenheim of Leeuwenhoeck hung upon the walls. Varnished dissections, and wet preparations abounded. In a glass vessel on the table at Strout’s elbow, the brain of a positivist philosoher floated in yellow alcohol; near it, also suspended in spirits, swung the medulla oblongata of a celebrated thief. The appearance of the Professor himself, as he sat in the arm-chair opposite Strout, serenely drawing clouds of smoke from the amber mouthpiece of his long procelain pipe, was of the sort which, by promising sympathy before-hand, seduces reserve into confidential utterances. Not only his rosy face, with its fringe of yellow beard, but his whole mountainous body seemed to beam on Strout with friendly good will. He looked the refuge of a broken heart. Drawn out in spite of himself by the Professor’s kindly, attentive smile and discreet questions, Strout found satisfaction in unbosoming his troubles. The Professor, smoking in silence, listened patiently to the Iqng story. If Strout had been less pre-occupied with his own woes he might, perhaps, have discovered that behind the friendly interest that glimmered on the glasses of the Professor’s gold-bowed spectacles a pair of small, steel grey eyes were observing him with the keen, unrelenting coldness of scientific scrutiny.

‘You have seen, Herr Professor,’ said Strout in conclusion, ‘that the case is hopeless.’ ‘My dear fellow,’ replied the Professor, * I see nothing of the kind.’ ‘ But it is a matter of conviction,’ exclaimed Strout. ‘ One cannot renounce the truth even to gain a wife. She herself would despise me if I did.’ ‘ln this world everything is true and nothing is -true,’ replied the Professor sententiously. ‘ You must change your convictions.’ * That is impossible ! ’

The Professor blew a great cloud of smoke, and regarded the young man with an expression of pity and surprise. It seemed to Strout that Aristotle and Leibnitz, Leeuwenhoeck, Pappenheim, and Gall were all looking down upon him with pity and surprise.

did you say f remarked Prof. Schwank. ‘On the contrary, my dear bojy nothing is easier than to change one’s convictions. In the present advanced condition of surgery, it is sl matter, of little difficulty.’ Stroutf.; looked at his respected instructor* iff blank amazement. Whaf you call your convictions,’ continued the savant, ‘ are matters of mental constitution, depending on adventitious circumstances. You are a positivist, ..an mystic, a what-not, why ? , Because nature, predisposition,’ the , assimilation of bony .elements thicker in ,piae ; .place* /fffmner.,in;. ? other. The cranial, wall presses -too--close upon the iirajn jn one.sppfi [ ybu sneer at fhd opihibh'df yodr India, 4 Br. Bellglofy. It cramps of the tissues shr another 'Spot; yoi Jdeny faith a place.Jn philosophy. • I j assure you, Herr Strout, we havCidl*! covered and classified already the greater part of the physical cause.de- . termining andlimiting beiliirf/ " fast reducing the' system to . the certainty of science.’ V

‘ Granting all that,’ interposedStrouV ’ whose head was. swimming - under the combined influence of T baccq smoke ; and. ‘*‘ ‘ I fair to see how it' helps 1 my case.' Unfortunately, the bone of mysknU; is;-/! no longer cartilage, like an infant’s. You cannot mould 7 my by A means of compressors and bindagek*- : ‘Ah! there you touch, my prpfes:., sional prided cried &hwank.’ - - rif-yop would, only put, yourself;s anto ,vC hands 1’ \rßt: ‘ And what then ?’ ‘Then, replied: th'e Prpfesso|,| with enthusiasm, ‘ I should rc'njpdeTyourjin- . tellect to suit the, How,#;, you ask? If a blow on, the Head haa “■ drivpn a splinter. pf> bone -down; upon;-;: > the grey matter overlaying the cerebrum, depriving you of memory, the power of language, or some Otherspecial faculty, as the case thlghf bit'll how should I proceed ? ; I should raisd " asection of |the bone and remove the pressure. Just so when theiphysfafcl conformation of the craniutn limits your capacity to understand and credit; the t philosophy which your American theo-. | logian insists upon inhisson-in-law. I if. remove the pressure, I give you a charming wife, while science gains ra beautiful and valuable fact That is what I offer you, Herr Strout!’ * In other words——’began Strout ‘ln other words, I should trephine you,’ shouted the Professor, jumping from his chair, and no longer attempt- ' a ing to conceal his eagerness.: ‘ Well, Herr Professor,’ said : Strout; slowly, after a long pause, during which > he had endeavored to make out why the pictured face of Gall, seemed to - wear a loolTof triumph— ‘ Well,, Hew , - Professor, I consent to the operation. Trephine meat.once-r^to-nkht^,- <T The ProlesSbr felbl/^eiWf^Hoth^' 1 - precipitateness of this - course.. ‘[Then r necessary preparations/ he: . urged ‘ Need not occupy five minutes,’ replied Strout. * To-morroW I shall have changed my mind.’ This suggestion was (enough to impel . , the .Professor to, ‘You will allow me?’ asked, he,.,*to send for my esteemed colleague" in .the University, the Herr Doctor Anton Digglemann ? Streut assented. 1 ■ } *Do anything that you. think \ needful; j to the success of the experiment.’

Professor Schwank tang. * Fritz,’ said he to the stupid-fated Black Forrester who answered . the bell, * run across the square and ask Dr, Digger!; * r raann to come to me immediately. Request him to bring his surgical case and sulphuric ether. If you, find: the Doctor, *y ou ticed not return.! < ,-J.L Acting on a sudden impulse,; Strput v seized a sheet of paper that day on the ? Professor’s table and hastily wrote a few l ■ ; words. ‘ Here!’ he said tossing- the servant a gold piece of ten marks* A De>* i liver; this note at the Prinz Carl in the

The note.he had written; frah T Blanchk—When you receive this -I shall - have solved the problem in one way or another. lam about to be trephined under the superintendence of my friend Prof. Schwank. If the intellectual, obstacle to bur union!* it-; A moved by the operation I shall follow yon to Bavaria and Switzerland. If the operation results otherwise, think sometimes Jrii'dly.of your unfortunate * (k S; ; Ludwigs-platz, 10.30 p.m. Fritz faithfully delivered the message / to Dr. Digglemann, and thpn hied .< tp, ;; wards the nearest wine shop. His gold piece dazed him. * A nice, liberal gentleman that!’ he ■■ thought, ‘ Ten ‘ 1 marks for carding the letter to: tbch:: Prinz Carl in the morning—tea marks,, a thousand pfennigs; beer at five pfeix- r nings the glass, 200 glasses 1* The immensity of the prospect filled him vyith - ... joy. How might he manifest his gratitude ? He reflected, and an idea struck him. ‘I will not wait till morning,’ he thought. ‘I will deliver the man's letter to-night, at once. ‘He will say, * Fritz, you are a prompt fello’w. You do even better than you are told.’ (To be continued.)

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18810413.2.17

Bibliographic details

THE PROFESSOR’S EXPERIMENT., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 318, 13 April 1881

Word Count
1,264

THE PROFESSOR’S EXPERIMENT. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 318, 13 April 1881

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