A Vanishing Profession


IN earliest boyhood I made up my mind to be a doctor. My father respected this ambition and determined to do everything he could to further it. He wanted to give me a university education, send me to Jefferson Medical School in Philadelphia, and then on to Paris, where he had friends. All this was taken for granted until the panic of 1873 and the ensuing business depression completely ruined my father financially. One of the saddest memories of my life is the walk I took with him on Christmas Day of that year. The pavements were encrusted with ice, so we plodded down the middle of the street and had gone along for some distance in silence when, suddenly, my father stopped and told me he was a ruined man. It would be impossible, he said, for me to go on with my schooling; instead, I should naturally want to assist him in supporting and educating my younger brothers and sisters, of whom there were eight. He told me that since my hopes were set upon medicine, my only chance to realize them would now be to enter the profession by way of a drug store.

Nowadays no one would think of a clerk in a drug store as a potential Galen, but this idea was natural enough in the 1870’s. At that time a drug store was, strange to say, a drug store. It was in no sense the combined sandwich shop, bookstall, and dispensary of trade-marked medicines and knickknacks that it has become to-day. The old-fashioned pharmacist was not the keeper of a general store; he was a man of scientific training, a chemist, often a graduate in medicine. His principal business was to compound from their elemental drugs the prescriptions that the doctors sent in to him, and this function had not then been simplified and prostituted to the point where the man behind the counter could pour a widely advertised patent remedy from one bottle to another, paste a doctor’s label on the new bottle, and still call himself a pharmacist. The druggist of my day was the right-hand man of the physician, and it was natural that the two professions should stand in a very close relationship to each other.

My father had many friends among the physicians of Louisville, where we lived, and through the influence of one of them I secured a situation with Dr. Thomas E. Jenkins, who owned two drug stores. It was agreed that I should work for six months without remuneration; at the end of that period, if I proved my ability, I was to be rewarded with the munificent salary of ten dollars a month. The store in which I began my apprenticeship had an underground hallway lined with rows of shelves. Here were kept the heavier drugs and the excess of stock which was not required in the store above. Off this dark passage ran another hallway five feet wide and hardly more than six feet high. This was my bedroom. Since it was underground, it never saw a ray of sunlight. The floor was covered with a strip of burlap from which clouds of dust ascended as one walked over it.

So much for the new physical environment in which I found myself. My intellectual environment, however, was thoroughly stimulating. Dr. Jenkins was himself a graduate in medicine and had been trained in chemistry at St. Joseph’s College in Bardstown, Kentucky. He was a student with a keen appreciation of the distinction between science and pseudo-science. Accurate to a most unusual degree, he possessed qualities which inspired his customers with complete confidence; just to watch him wrap up a package of Epsom salts convinced one that it was the best Epsom salts in the world. Dr. Jenkins had a good library, to which I had frequent access. Since I was an omnivorous reader and seemed to get along with little sleep, I had opportunities for self-improvement which made my lot far from an unhappy one.

At first I was put to work washing bottles and windows, but it was not long before I was promoted to the prescription counter, where I became an assistant analyst and pharmacist. Here I helped perform many tasks which I have never seen repeated in any latter-day drug store. We often prepared ores for assay and conducted many analyses that would now be undertaken by governmental agencies. One of these I recall particularly. An ex-convict had been found murdered on the outskirts of the city. Since there were no marks of violence upon the body, it was decided to hold a postmortem; the viscera were removed and sent to Dr. Jenkins for analysis. They arrived in a bucket with the tin cover soldered over it, but Dr. Jenkins refused to touch it until a check for the examination had reached him. For several days the bucket was kept in our cellar. When the check finally arrived and the contents were analyzed, we found strychnine in large quantities. This evidence enabled the authorities to prove that another exconvict had committed the murder.

Those were the days when the sale of harmful drugs was not restricted. I could relate many instances to illustrate the deplorable conditions which brought the Harrison Law into being, but one will suffice. One Sunday morning a clergyman came into the store and asked me for a pint of whiskey and an eighth of an ounce of morphine sulphate. He paid for his purchase and, borrowing a pint graduate, asked me if he could step down to our basement for a moment. I gave him permission and paid no further attention to him until I saw him leave the store. Then, having occasion to go into the basement, I was horrified to find there the empty morphine bottle, the empty whiskey bottle, and the sides of the graduate covered with morphine crystals. The reverend gentleman had swallowed almost sixty grains of morphine and I expected at any moment to see him carried back into the store. Nothing happened, however, until one o’clock, when Mr. Gray, the relief clerk, came in. I showed him the ghastly outlay and described the clergyman as well as I could. My relief may well be imagined when Mr. Gray said to me, ‘Don’t bother about him. I just heard him preach one of the most eloquent sermons I ever listened to in my life.’ Now that the sale of such drugs is regulated, I trust that no pharmacist of to-day will have to spend as miserable hours as I did before I learned the habits of my clerical customer.

Fifty years ago no first-class pharmacist would have thought of depending upon the great manufacturing firms to supply his tinctures and fluid extracts and capsules. We manufactured our own preparations and stocked our stores with drugs and chemicals that one never sees in the more prosperous metropolitan chain stores of to-day. We purchased our ammonia and our sulphuric acid in carboys, our sulphur, cream of tartar, and lampblack in barrels — and only from firms whose reputations were established beyond question. There are drug manufacturers now high in the pharmaceutical heavens whose preparations Dr. Jenkins would not have permitted in his store. In reward for our diligence we knew drugs when we saw them. We were taught the botany as well as the pharmacology of the materia medica, and in a small way the therapeutics as well.

The manufacture of our own preparations was occasionally dangerous. Now and then it led me rather far afield. When I first heard of the Aspinwall explosion of nitroglycerin I determined to try to produce some myself. I got my materials together and, following the proper directions, mixed them in a thin glass beaker. To await the subsidence of the reaction I stood the glass on a slab of granite in the back yard behind the store and proceeded with my other work. Hardly had I got inside the building when a heavy cart, rumbling along the street, gave the glass a jar and it let go with a roar that shook all the windows in the neighborhood. Later a somewhat similar experiment produced unexpected therapeutic results. Behind the drug store was the office of Dr. R. C. Hewett, a gentleman of the old school who had taken much interest in me. By accident I caused another explosion right under his office window and the old gentleman came running out with his spectacles far advanced on his nose.

‘ Son, what are you going to do next? ’ he shouted at me.

I explained to him that I had done no harm, whereupon he replied laughingly, ‘No, nothing but good. I was just talking to Mr. Richardson, who has had rheumatism for months. He came in on crutches, but when your thunderous detonation went off almost under him he leaped up and ran off as fast as his legs could carry him. His crutches are still in my office.’

No one has ever told the story of the drug-store loafers as they existed back in the seventies. A book might be written about the picturesque characters I encountered and the tales I heard them tell of their experiences. I haven’t the space to do them justice here, but I must digress long enough to relate one story of more than local interest. A regular visitor to our store was Mr. John Throckmorton, who always had a comfortable seat reserved for him behind the stove. He was the son of Major Aris Throckmorton, who had been the proprietor of a celebrated hostelry in Louisville, the Galt House. John had been one of the clerks. It seems that one cold, raw day a plainlooking, rather heavy-set man entered the Galt House, asked for a room, and signed the name ‘Charles Dickens’ in the register. John looked him over casually, tried without success to engage him in conversation, and ended by assigning him to a small room at the top of the house. A few minutes later Major Throckmorton came in and glanced over the register. He was horrified to see that his distinguished guest had been quartered in the least desirable room in the hotel. Calling his son, he demanded to know what he meant by such an insult to one of the noted men of the age. ‘Charles Dickens,’ he thundered, ‘on the top floor of my house!’

‘Who the devil is Charles Dickens?’ asked John. ‘I never heard of him.’

‘Never heard of Dickens! The author of Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby, and Pickwick Papers ?

‘No,’ said John, ‘I never heard of any of them; and if they are all as grouchy as he is, I don’t care if I never do.’

With an angry snort the elder Throckmorton turned his back upon his son and ascended to Dickens’s room to present his apologies. ‘Mr. Dickens,’ he said, ‘I am sorry that stupid son of mine failed to recognize you at once. I have come up, sir, to make amends and to place my bridal chamber at your disposal.’

To this kind offer Dickens replied indifferently, ‘The room is all right, and if I want you I’ll call for you. Please don’t annoy me with any further civilities.’

Major Throckmorton’s temper hung by a hair trigger. Immediately he flew into a rage and ordered his guest to pack up his baggage and get out, for he would not have a blasted Englishman under his roof if he could help it. So Dickens removed himself to the Louisville Hotel. In his American Notes he speaks of the Louisville Hotel, but he does not mention the Galt House and his mortifying encounter with Major Throckmorton.


At the time of which I write there were three medical schools in Louisville and the city could boast a number of distinguished physicians, many of whom freciuented our drug store. I came to know them well and learned from them many things which were of service to me later. To listen to these men talk was a liberal education to a youth eager for knowledge. I, for my part, was often able to render them some service in return. More than once my knowledge of drugs was the means of saving physicians from their own mistakes.

In those days we had no telephones and it was often impossible to communicate with a doctor if we suspected an error in one of his prescriptions. At such times I had either to take the liberty and the risk of correcting the prescription myself or, by letting it go through, to expose the physician, which I could not bear to do. One night, when a member of a prominent family was ill, a prescription was brought in calling for one grain of quinine and sixty grains of morphine to be made up into twelve capsules. It was an unmistakable blunder, so without any hesitation I reversed the quantities and filled the prescription with five grains of quinine and one twelfth of a grain of morphine in each capsule. The next morning when the doctor visited the store, as he did almost every day, I showed him his prescription duly numbered and dated. With a wink he remarked, ‘You changed that, I am sure.’ My friendship with the doctors seemed to flourish upon such incidents.

I think back with particular gratitude to my friendship with Dr. Richard Cowling. He had traveled a great deal and would occasionally sit in the drug store and talk to me about some of the eminent surgeons he had seen operate in London, Paris, and Vienna. He was an ardent admirer of Maudsley, the great English surgeon, who, on one occasion when an operation had been unsuccessful, turned calmly to his assistant and said, ‘The patient is a corpse; remove it and bring the next one.’ Such imperturbability impressed Dr. Cowling tremendously. He early knew of my penchant for the practice of medicine, and whenever he could he would take me with him to watch him perform an operation or to listen to one of his lectures at the medical school. One evening I went along to see him demonstrate to his class an amputation of the hip joint. Little was then known about the control of hemorrhage, and Dr. Cowling explained, ‘This is an operation done against time; it can only succeed when one is exceedingly swift and has a trained assistant.’ With that he proceeded to amputate the leg of a cadaver.

When he had finished and looked at his stop watch he said, ‘I think I never did that so well before.’

A voice from the benches spoke up, ‘Doctor, I believe I could beat you at it.’

‘Well,’ replied Dr. Cowling, ‘this subject has another leg. Come down here, sir, and try it.’

The student beat Dr. Cowling’s time by fifteen or twenty seconds and the doctor, in astonishment, asked him where he had learned to cut. The man replied, ‘I was a butcher in Texas, Doctor, and we work quick down there.’

It would be difficult for a medical student of to-day to realize some of the hardships that attended the study of anatomy in the 1870’s. The pretty general enactment of the so-called ‘anatomy law,’ which provides that the unclaimed bodies of people dying in public institutions shall be given to the medical schools, has done away with a very picturesque character of my time — the body snatcher. During the early period of my apprenticeship at the drug store I was eager to do anything which I thought would help me along in my medical studies. One evening a doctor from one of the large schools asked me if I wanted to go with a little party on a grave-robbing expedition after the store closed that night. Everything being fish that came to my net from that source, I readily accepted. I was told to provide myself with a good cap and a warm overcoat, and arrangements were made for him to stop by for me. Since the weather was cold, I had the inspiration to slip into my pocket a bottle of whiskey, which turned out to be a godsend to us, as I have often known it to be on other occasions.

At the appointed time my friend appeared and I climbed into the spring wagon that had been rented for the expedition. In it were two large casks. Besides the doctor and myself, our party consisted of the wagon driver and the body snatcher — a well-known figure in the dissecting rooms of the city. We crossed the Ohio River on a ferryboat, drove out behind a little Indiana town opposite the east end of Louisville, and soon reached the cemetery. Securing the bodies was a far simpler operation than one might think. A sort of shaft was sunk at the head of the newly made grave, which as a rule was not very deep. A rope was then passed around the neck of the body, which by this time had lost its rigidity, and the limp corpse was drawn up and hurriedly placed in one of the casks. This was repeated at another place not far from the site of the first operation. When we were ready to start back it was well on toward midnight, and quite cold. We managed to catch a ferryboat just as it was leaving the wharf. We had almost reached midstream when my friend, who had walked up to the bow of the boat, came back and whispered to me, ‘There are two detectives on board and they are going to arrest us the moment the boat ties up. I ’ll give them as much of your whiskey as they will drink. Meanwhile you throw those two casks into the river. At all events there will be no evidence against us.’

By the time the boat was tied up at the landing the two detectives were very mellow; still they were sober enough to inform us that we were under arrest for stealing bodies, which they knew to be concealed in the casks in our wagon. The doctor, with the disarming innocence which he knew so well how to assume, told them that he had never before suspected that a few drinks of whiskey could make men see casks where there were none, and he led them up to the empty wagon. They could only shake their heads in amazement. One of them, turning to my friend, said, ‘Well, Doc, thank you for a pleasant evening, anyway. There’s no evidence against you, so I reckon you can go on and land.’ A few days later I learned that the two casks had gone ashore somewhere on the Kentucky side of the river and had been sent, unopened, to the medical school for which they had originally been intended.

After three years of clerking in the drug store an offer came to me to take charge of the prescription manufacturing department of a much larger business than the one I had been engaged in. Since it promised a substantial increase in salary, I embraced the opportunity eagerly, but soon discovered that the work was different in every way from that with which I had been occupied before. I had been accustomed to clean, orderly, scientific management. In this place there was an air of the patent medicine; the proprietor seemed to think of nothing but the volume of his business. Here many things were purchased from the manufacturing pharmacists which I had formerly been accustomed to produce myself. I do not mean to cast any reflections upon the quality of these manufactured drugs, but I do say that there was a certain satisfaction in my former method of procedure which was always lacking at the new store. Sometimes, however, I was able to persuade my employer to allow me, even with the limited facilities at my disposal, to turn out for him some preparation which was sold in large quantities.

While most of my memories of this establishment are not pleasant, I retain a fond recollection of an Irish laborer named Mike Merritt, who became my most appreciative customer. He was at least six feet four inches tall, and I have never seen a human being take such tremendous doses of medicine as this man did. It was not at all unusual for him to down a full tumbler of castor oil at one gulp. One day Mike came into the store with a prescription calling for one grain of strychnine to be mixed with other things and put into thirty pills. The weighing of small amounts of drugs is always a delicate process, and as Mike watched me deliberately measuring out his dose of strychnine a crystal at a time he became impatient. In his familiar brogue he said to me, ‘Ah, gwan wid ye, Docthor, and don’t be so stintin’ wid your medicine!’

My next employment was more like my first in some respects. It was in a small store situated in one of the residential districts. During my clerkship here I had a terrible experience which I cannot recall even now without a quickening of the pulse. One Sunday night — or, rather, early one Monday morning — the night bell rang, as it often did when some neighbor was taken suddenly ill. Dressing quickly, I went to the door. Through the glass I could see a tall man without a hat who looked as if he had rushed out for medicine in a great hurry. I shoved the key into the lock and turned it. Immediately the door flew back upon me under the pressure of a second man who had been kneeling against it below the glass panel. The next instant I had been knocked down, two knees were upon my chest, and I felt the cold steel of a revolver against each temple. ‘If you don’t resist,’ warned the taller man, ‘you won’t be hurt.’ They took me into my bedroom, in the rear of the store, tied my hands behind me, flung me across the bed, and returned to the store. I heard them break down the cash drawer. Then they found the whiskey and helped themselves bountifully and loaded their pockets with cigars.

While I lay there I had plenty of time to collect my thoughts. I had in my pocket the key to the safe, which contained a thousand dollars in cash, diamonds and other jewelry belonging to the proprietor’s wife, and some valuable securities. My employer knew that I was in a precarious financial position, and if the safe was opened with my key I realized that I should be under suspicion. As I turned the matter over in my mind I resolved to protect the safe, and with it my reputation. I managed somehow to free my hands and then I hid the key. Hardly had I done this when the men came back into the room and demanded it. ‘I haven’t it,’ said I. ‘Search me if you don’t believe me.’ The tall man replied, ‘But I saw you lock the safe early in the evening!’ Again I lied valiantly and said that the proprietor took the key home with him and that I did not have it. After searching me and failing to find it, they must have believed my story, for in a little while they departed.

My employer lived in the house next door, and as soon as I thought the men were out of hearing I called to him. The first thing I did was to hand him his key and ask him to look in the safe and see that everything was as he had left it. Of course it was; the safe had not been opened. When we notified the police, the chief of detectives came to investigate, and a celebrated detective he was. He was an old friend of my father and had known me from childhood. I shall never forget the strange look he gave me as I told him my story. ‘You say they tied you with a thong?’ he asked. ‘Where is it?’ Fortunately for me, it lay on the floor by the side of the bed where I had dropped it. It seemed to be a peculiar slipknot, for the detective recognized it at once. ‘This is Red Leary’s knot. We’ll hear more from this fellow before he gets out of the state.’

The very next night these same desperadoes killed a tollgate keeper on a road not far from where I am now dictating these reminiscences. They shot him through the window as he sat at the supper table with his family around him. Later they were caught at Nashville and were sent to the Ludlow Street Jail in New York, from which, if I remember correctly, they had escaped. This man Leary had been a Union soldier during the Civil War and afterward became a member of Quantrell’s band, from which I believe the James brothers graduated also. My encounter with him filled me with a strange horror of his very name, which seemed to jump out at me from the pages of the newspapers whenever he figured in some new crime. When I read of his death several years later, I confess to a feeling of real relief.

While I continued at my third job as a druggist’s assistant I still took advantage of every opportunity to carry on my medical studies. The professor of anatomy at a neighboring medical school had become an intimate friend of mine and I arranged to study with him at night. This necessitated the keeping of a cadaver, and for convenience I stowed it away under my bed. One day the proprietor of the drug store, without saying anything to me about his intentions, ordered the Negro porter to clean up my room. He struggled with the bulky object under my bed until he had dragged it forth; then when he saw what it was he shrieked, ‘Oh, mah Lawd, mah Lawd!’ and fled through the back door. He could never be persuaded to return to the store again. My employer and I had rather a heated conversation about it and in the end I was compelled to return the body to the dissecting room, where it belonged.

Negro porters were very reliable helpers back in the seventies and eighties, and even to-day, in the South, they are still important members of the drug-store personnel. One day when I needed something from the cellar I sent one of the porters to fetch it. A carboy of ammonia which was stored there had sprung a leak and the cellar was full of the fumes. I saw the porter disappear down the steps and the very next instant he came dashing back up again. As soon as he saw me he burst out, ‘Don’t send me down dat cellah no mo’, Boss! Dere’s somepin’ in dat cellah dat goes up my nose befo’ mah breff!’


By studying at night I had been able to take my degree from the College of Pharmacy. I was now qualified to go into business for myself. This seemed a highly desirable thing to do in view of the fact that my personal responsibilities were becoming much heavier as my brothers and sisters grew older, for I felt that I ought to do everything I could to help them get the education which had been denied me. I learned that one of the oldest established drug stores in Louisville was for sale. My own capital was limited, but some friends and relatives offered to assist me and I was enabled to make a bid which was accepted. The arrangements left me saddled with debt, but I had the satisfaction of knowing that henceforth I was to be my own master. The store was situated in the business district and only a block away from the river, so that we drew many of our clients from the steamboat trade. From the first my business was devoted almost exclusively to the filling of prescriptions written by physicians. With the reputation I had established in the stores where I had previously worked, it was not long before I was doing a thriving business. In the course of the next year I was able to pay off practically the entire debt upon the store.

Before long I had several graduates in pharmacy working with me. By interest and industry we developed a considerable business in what now passes under the name of ‘clinical microscopy.’ We were soon in a position to erect a new building, which we did in order to make it possible to separate the prescription department from the ordinary business of the store. Our new prescription department occupied the second floor. To ensure absolute accuracy, I introduced a system by which every customer was given a check for his prescription, and a similar coupon was attached to the prescription itself before it went upstairs to be filled. The clerk who had charge of this department had under him two graduates in pharmacy and several other helpers, but often this was not enough; many days there was scarcely a moment for meals. But it was a happy time. We knew that we were rendering the best professional service that could be had. Our patrons included most of the distinguished doctors in Louisville. Very few drug stores are established upon this principle to-day; in the general stores which have replaced the old-fashioned pharmacy the prescription counter represents a small and almost negligible aspect of the business.

I preferred to manufacture my own drugs when possible, and the new store was built with an eye to growth in this direction. I produced practically all of my own tinctures and fluid extracts and many of the solid extracts from the crude drugs, which were very carefully chosen. When Koch announced the discovery of tuberculin at a meeting of the International Medical Association in Berlin, I immediately cabled to a correspondent and was among the first to receive one gram of this important drug. Through the same connection I secured a small amount of Aaronson’s diphtheria antitoxin, and I feel rather sure that, with Dr. Ed Grant of Louisville, I was the first to demonstrate the value of diphtheria antitoxin south of the Ohio River.

The first patient was a little girl who lived in a tiny room behind a wretched grocery store. The child was all but dead, her pulse had nearly stopped, and the awful membrane covered her mouth, lips, and nose. I administered the antitoxin according to instructions, using the old Koch syringe, which is a syringe having a bulb and not a plunger. Next morning, to our great satisfaction, I was able to remove almost all of the membrane from the child’s throat and mouth, and with her mother’s faithful care she made a good recovery. She was a tractable little girl and I remember taking her one of the dolls of which my own children had quite an excess. Many years later, when I was practising medicine, a young woman came into my office and told me that she was the child to whom I had administered that first antitoxin. When she confided to me that she still had the doll I had given her and that her mother and father had never ceased to be grateful for what I had done for them, I experienced that solid pleasure which does not often come to any man but a doctor.

The solicitation of alms was a common occurrence in the late eighties. Since there were few organized charities, the drug stores, because of their easy access, became a favorite point of call for them. One evening a small, shabby, and very red-faced man came into the store and, in a broad Scotch accent, asked me if he could have a few minutes of my time. He began by telling me that he had been a director of the Glasgow Bank, which had failed disastrously some time before; since coming to this country, he said, he had met with continued ill fortune and he begged me to help him. His language was excellent and his familiarity with the whole subject of the Glasgow Bank, as I had gotten it from the new spapers, seemed to be impeccable; so I gave him a dole. Some years later I was sitting at the microscope one afternoon when a small, red-faced man came in and told me in perfect German that he had been connected with some bank failure in Hamburg. I recognized him at once. ‘What a sad life you have had!’ said I. ‘Are you not the same poor man whose misfortunes began with the failure of the Glasgow Bank some years ago?’ He straightened up and answered me in perfect English, ‘You have a marvelous memory, sir; I am.’ With that he walked out and I have never seen him again.

Before the advent of organized charities it was not unusual to see young children on the streets appealing to one’s sympathies by selling matches, shoestrings, and other trifles. One day a ragged little boy of about seven came into the store to beg in this manner and I happened to notice that he had lost the sight of one eye by the growth upon it of what is called a pterygium and that a similar one was forming on his other eye. It distressed me to see the little fellow so neglected. By closing his good eye, I showed him that he was blind in the other one, and this frightened him so much that he promised to bring his father to see me. In a little while the father came. He was a Russian shoemaker and was obviously grieved and alarmed when I explained the seriousness of his child’s condition. I gave him a note to my good friend. Dr. William Cheatham, who, without any charge, performed the slight operation that was necessary to save the sight of the remaining eye.

In 1893, I began my formal studies in medicine. For a number of years I had been pursuing independent researches of my own with the assistance of friends among the doctors; now I wanted to obtain my degree in medicine, so I enrolled at the University of Louisville. The demonstrator of anatomy was a close friend of mine and he allowed me many special privileges so that I might continue my work at the drug store while I carried on my studies. I was permitted, among other things, to work at my dissections late at night long after the departure of the class. The first time I took advantage of this privilege I had rather a harrowing experience. The caretaker of the building either had not been informed of my presence or had forgotten about it, for he quietly locked me in the dissecting room, where I was so intent upon my work that I did not hear him. About midnight, when I concluded to turn out the lights and go home, I found the door barred. I can assure you that it was anything but pleasant to face the prospect of spending the night in the company of five or six mutilated bodies.

Hoping that I might be able to summon assistance from the street, I walked over to the window. Opposite the medical school there was a Negro church; I saw a group of colored people gathered in front of it. I knocked on the glass and then, raising it, shouted to them. I still had on my white apron and they must have thought I was the ghost of one of their departed friends, for the sight of me sent the crowd scattering madly in all directions. In a moment the street was absolutely deserted. Seeing that all my efforts to escape, short of breaking down the door, were useless, I resigned myself to the inevitable. I found a dissecting table unoccupied and, lying down upon it, was soon fast asleep. I never slept better in my life, but you may be sure that when the astonished caretaker found me in the morning I took pains to arrange things with him so that I should not have to spend another night in this laboratory of the dead.

In my later years it has interested me greatly to note that numbers of physicians of my generation, many of them highly distinguished men, entered their medical careers as I did — through the drug store. With the modern tendency to make of a drug store anything rather than a drug store, this avenue is now closed to the medical student. Pharmacy is, indeed, a vanishing profession. It seems a great pity. For the man who means to practise internal medicine I still believe that training in the prescription department of a high-class pharmacy provides a valuable discipline for which no substitute can be found elsewhere. Those of us who were equipped there came to know drugs as few others know them. We also came to know how little many doctors understand this basic element of their profession. And I do not hesitate to say that, to the patient, the ability of a doctor to compound his own prescription with thought of the immediate case before him is something that is precious beyond all measure.