Early Stethoscopes

One of the few scenes in my sweet romance The Curious Profession of Dr. Craven that gets close to hot is where Richard (Dr Craven) listens to Henrietta’s heart (Properly chaperoned, of course). Before the invention of the stethoscope the doctor had to put his ear on his patients’ chest. This could be a tad embarrassing, especially when the patient was young, pretty and female.

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Rene Laennec solved this problem with a wooden tube. The figure above, from 1819, shows that very quickly after that doctors learned to distinguish between different sounds. It was not simply the muscle making noise, but valves and things like that. Not that they could do much about it, but it was a start.

Victorian Shortbread

This one is a bit of a disappointment.

From the Sure to Rise cookbook (1895-ish Published as an ad every year)

  • 1/2 pound flour
  • 1/4 pound butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Cream the sugar and the butter, then mix in the flour.
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Press into an ungreased pan with your knuckles, smooth with a knife and put fork holes in it. Bake in a slow oven for an hour.

I tried it. It is not up to modern standards. Dry and not sweet. Nothing like the shortbread you have today. I’d add more sugar and make it thicker (that was my mistake).

To Rosa

Abraham Lincoln

You are young, and I am older;
You are hopeful, I am not—
Enjoy life, ere it grow colder—
Pluck the roses ere they rot.

Teach your beau to heed the lay—
That sunshine soon is lost in shade—
That now’s as good as any day—
To take thee, Rosa, ere she fade.

(yes, that Abraham Lincoln)

England in 1819

Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1792 – 1822

An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying king,—
Princes, the dregs of their dull race, who flow
Through public scorn,—mud from a muddy spring,—
Rulers who neither see, nor feel, nor know,
But leech-like to their fainting country cling,
Till they drop, blind in blood, without a blow,—
A people starved and stabbed in the untilled field,—
An army, which liberticide and prey
Makes as a two-edged sword to all who wield
Golden and sanguine laws which tempt and slay;
Religion Christless, Godless—a book sealed;
A Senate,—Time’s worst statute unrepealed,—
Are graves, from which a glorious Phantom may
Burst, to illumine our tempestous day.