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THE WHALE-CURE FOR RHEUMATISM.

Sydney Bulletin. I H-ashelplees with rheumatism, and had tried every cure unavailingly. Some time ago a whale was caught near Bega and I was advised to try the whale-cure for rheumatism —take a bath in the whale! Of course Johnson and I—Johnson ached more than 1 did—laughed at the idea ! Another day another whale was,killed, and I was worse. Again the whale-cure was suggested ; this time I began to think, but didn't face it. A week after the third whale came in, and I was getting worse still ; so we decided to go over next morning—and get in. The morning came; Captain Young was there in charge of the steam-whaler, Jenny Lind, and kindly consented to run us across the bay, about four miles to the trying-out works at Kiah. I was lifted into the boat, for I could hardly move. Johnson had gone over earlier. We got over safely, crossed the bar, rounded a point to the left, and there lay two great whales stripped of the blubber and awaiting the rising of the tide to be towed away. .But, great G«sar, the smell!

We got ashore, and I was carried to a hut near the trying-down works. There, on the top of the biggest whale, trying to cut a rib out, was my fellow-sufferer, Johnston ; and to make the awful smell less horrible (as if that was possible) he was singing at the top of his voice. When the rib was removed, after being divested of all clothes but a singlev and a borrowed pair of trousers, _ I was carried up and placed in the hole cut in the flesh. My instructions were to work myself down into the flesh as far as I could, and there stand until I felt too weak to put up with any more pressure. Then I was to be dragged out and dressed warmly and sent home.

Well, 1 did work down until I imagined every moment I was going right under. You see, there wa9 room for two more men to stand beneath mc, the whale being about 17ft or 18ft deep ; but the pressure held mc, and when I got down to my arm-pits I held on to the next door rib and thought of the smell. I stood there for an hour and twenty minutes, and just near mc was my friend Johnson, who really seemed to enjoy the situation and kept shouting smart remarks across the rib that .separated us. But for his company, I could not have stood it ten minutes.

The smell and heat were hardly bearable. The whale had been dead about forty hours, and had started to decompose, and the whole time we were sitting and standing there great blasts of gas and horrible bubbles would gush out around us and make our hair stand ou end. The heat, as near as I could guess, was about 110°; the smell averaged between a million and a-half and two million degrees. They say that the older a whale is the more he smells, and the longer he i» dead the worse he smells. Apparently this whale dated back some 500 years 8.C., and died in its infancy. But afterwards ! They dragged mc out of the whale's side, and I ran down his tail on to the shore and up to where my clothes were! The effect was wonderful. They rubbed mc down, dressed mc and put several coats around mc, and put mc in the boat; then we returned to Eden.

That evening I found where the pain had been worst in my right side a patch had turned quite black, and the nails in my right hand and foot were as black as ink, but the rheumatism was all gone —not a twinge ! They got mc a glass of rum to get a good Eerspiration up, but the rum refused to go clow my heaa; the smell was too strong for it.

After four days I walked up town, and overyone I met shied at me—a leper could not have been avoided more discreetly. Girls that I knew cut mc dead ; men whom I considered true brothers held their nosos and bolted ; sometimes a man would gallop past, and, if on a fast horse, would say '' Good-day !" and vanish. Of course, being a country fellow and sensitive, Ifelt this—never dreaming the -true cause. At last I met Johnson and then, it began to dawn on mc. Did I smell like he did ? Then I caught his eve, and, sure enough, there was the same question lurking there. Then I knew. For exactly twelve months the rheumatism left ine ; then it came back again as bad as ever. The smell lias never left mc : that dead whale haunts mc still. ' Traveller.

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/CHP18960908.2.45

Bibliographic details

THE WHALE-CURE FOR RHEUMATISM., Press, Volume LIII, Issue 9516, 8 September 1896

Word Count
800

THE WHALE-CURE FOR RHEUMATISM. Press, Volume LIII, Issue 9516, 8 September 1896

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