DEAR COUSIN SAM, - Being inclined toward the study of medicine, I went into the Hospital one Saturday morning, at the invitation of a friend of mine there, and witnessed two interesting operations, which I will describe for you.
The first was upon the body of a youth of about eighteen, who had come to an untimely end by over-eating. I learned that his name was Simpel, and that he had been a member of the Freshman class here. The chief interest in this case centred around the heart, which the surgeons took especial care to dissect. On cutting away the pericardium, the aorta was found to wear a greenish hue, attributable, I was told, to the tender age of the subject. One lobe was slightly toughened, and I noticed that this hardness was gradually spreading over the whole organ. This symptom, the doctors said, always appears after doses of beer at Carl's and theatre-parties, the heart of the young being very impressionable. On cutting further, streaks of a simple fluid were discovered, coursing towards the arteries. This phenomenon occasioned much dispute for a time, but it was finally held to be the remains of a flood of religious sentiment, more prominent in boys of tender years, and now fast disappearing. A large swelling, undoubtedly due to love for Simpel's eldest cousin (a young lady of twenty-five), gave evidence of the unfortunate youth's affectionate nature. A trace of respect for college rule and officers was still visible. The right arm was distorted, owing to the weight of a large stick the unfortunate Freshman had been in the habit of carrying. This, and an unusually large development of his guancia, or cheek, are all that remain to be mentioned.
The next subject was a Senior who had been clubbed to death, while peaceably returning from a literary dinner, by a policeman. The surgeons at once began to examine his brain. After sawing into the skull for more than half an hour, they were unable to reach the cerebrum. So thick was the cranium that the operators began to despair of finding any brain at all, and were about to relinquish their attempts, when a young medical student suggested that a charge of dynamite would perhaps do the work. By this means the cocoa-nut was successfully cracked, and a small cavity, no larger than a tennis-ball, was laid open. The matter therein examined was viscous, sprinkled with a fine metallic dust resembling brass. One of the surgeons, a clever psychologist, thought that undue conceit had caused the viscosity of the brain tissues. Another attributed the contraction of the cerebral cavity to the course of study pursued by the Senior. A third, with a powerful microscope, found a small particle of knowledge acquired before the subject came to college; the present tense of the verb video and the multiplication-table were all that could be distinguished. The Senior's dress was very elegant, and is now in the Morgue awaiting identification. It consists of tight blue trousers, a waistcoat with red spots, and a neatly cut jacket marked "Poole and Co., makers, London." If you recognize any acquaintance of yours by this, let me know, and I will inform the police.