« ZurückWeiter »
exquisite fine fun then know I not what fun is. But methought this drawing of teeth would be good sport; and, if I could only get to breathe a vein now, then should I be content. Ah, puss ! art there still? Well, I must needs have at thee again for lack of another customer. But I want not aught of thy teeth at present: I be only curious to know if thou hast got ever a vein."
The mischievous apprentice soon had the cat in his lap again, and after talking to her in a similar strain as at first, with a liberal supply of his Latin, he tied up one of her fore legs with a piece of tape as if about to let her blood. And doubtless he would have persisted in such intention, for he had the lancet in his hand, and the cat lay as still as if she was too frightened to move, when, upon a noise of opening of the door, he let her down quickly, and putting his hands behind him that none might see what he had hold on, he turned round to see who it was, with a face as demure and innocent as you please. Then there entered no other than Captain Swagger, (of whom the reader hath already some knowledge), marching in with the absolutest blustering manner that ever was seen.
“ Fellow, where's thy master?” he exclaimed in a voice of thunder, as, with his tremendous sword clattering against the boards as he went, he flung himself into the great chair, looking
at the boy as if he would eat him at a mouthful.
“ Please you, my lord,” replied Harry Daring very respectfully, and with a countenance that would have become a judge ; " he hath gone to wait upon an alderman, if it please your lordship, who be troubled with the windy cholics exceeding badly, please you, my lord; but, as he hath marvellous great confidence in me, knowing that I be skilled beyond my years in every thing that appertaineth to chirurgery and to the craft of a barber, he is willing enough I should attend his business in his absence, if it please your lordship: therefore, if there be any thing you require of my master, if I attempt it you may be well assured it shall lack nothing in the doing, if it please you, my lord ?"
“ Canst let blood, fellow?” enquired the captain, somewhat prepossessed in favour of the apprentice, for that he had taken him for a lord.
“ I can let any thing, if it please your lordship,” said the boy, famously well pleased that such was required of him.
“ But, indeed, in the letting of blood lieth my particular skilfulness. I can assure you, for a truth, that I have acquired by repeated practice such excellent cunning in the breathing of a vein, that I do it, and lo!
-the patient shall not know it be done. And in all honesty I can add, without boasting, that there be
divers worshipful members of the common council who will not hear of any other letting them blood, I be held of them in such high consideration: which remindeth me of what hath been said on this subject by the learned Podalirius « Sanguis draconis granum unum, panis recentis drachmæ duos; misce et dividere in pilulas centum, which rightly translated reads thus, “He that can breathe a vein in such sort as to be out of comparison with any other, shall assuredly be considered as one beyond all price among those who would be let blood—if it please you, my lord.”
“ What, canst quote Latin ?” asked Captain Swagger, as completely imposed upon as the old woman had been.
66 Well, take my arm; but see that I be let blood in proper fashion, fellow ! or I will cut off thy ears."
6 Of that rest you well satisfied,” answered the boy, gravely proceeding to bind up the captain's arm, and in no way
daunted at his fierce manner; for in truth he was of such a spirit that he cared for nothing when he was about any mischief. “ And as for the quoting of Latin, if it please your lordship, I began so early at it, and took to it so kindly, that I be now accounted such a dabster there be scarce any book in Latin I cannot give you chapter and verse out of.”
The young rogue had by this time bared and tied up the patient's arm, and gave him to hold
the handle of an old mop to rest it on, and was looking very earnestly for the vein ; but the arm was one of the fatest, and nothing of a vein was to be seen. At this he seemed a little puzzled for moment; but being of a disposition that would stop at no difficulty, he presently put on a famous knowing look, and made up his mind about what he was to do.
“ Now, grasp you the mop firm, and turn your head away, if it please you, my lord,” said the young chirurgeon, pressing of the thumb of his left hand down nigh unto the bend of the arm, and in the right hand having the lancet very close upon it. The other did as he was desired, but not without looking a little paler than he was awhile since. “ I charge you to look not this way till I give the word; then shall I have breathed your vein for you in such delicate fashion as you can have no experience of.” At this he made a sudden plunge of the lancet into the flesh, at which the captain winced; but, to the astonishment of the apprentice, no blood flowed.
“ Hast done it ?-methought I felt the prick,” said his patient quickly.
Nay, 'twas only my thumbnail, which be rather of the sharpest; and like enough you felt it as I pressed down to feel the vein,” replied Harry Daring, in no way put out.
66 For is it not writ in Aristotle that there be two kinds of reins; as
hocus pocus,' an easy vein— presto prestissimus,' an obstinate vein: and the latter kind have you, without doubt, for it lieth not easy to be got at, if it please your lordship.” Then he made another plunge deeper than at first, at which the captain did wince again; but, to the exceeding puzzlement of the youthful chirurgeon, not a drop of blood did make its appearance.
66 Surely thou hast cut me !” exclaimed his patient with some sort of earnestness.
“ A murrain on my nail for its sharpness !" cried the boy, still not inclined to relinquish his purpose. “ But rest you easy, and turn your head this way on no account, lest something wrong come of it; for truly is it said by Esculapius, · Hoppeti kicketi corum, hic, hæc, hoc cum tickle me,' the which doth mean he that looketh when he be told not mayhap shall spy what he shall not be pleased to see.” Then he made another plunge deeper than ever, at which the captain cried out lustily.
“ By Gog and Magog !” angrily exclaimed the mischievous apprentice, throwing down the lancet upon finding he was not a whit more successful with it than at first; and quickly taking off the bandage—« Thou hast no more blood in thee than I could get out of a pickled herring."
It would be impossible properly to describe the rage of Captain Swagger upon turning round and finding a huge gash in his arm, and the vein