Tobias Smollett, The Expedition of Humphry Clinker: Ch. 68

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To this interrogation he made no reply; but throwing aside his nightgown, discovered that his waist-coat would not meet upon his belly by five good inches at least. 'Heaven protect us all! (cried Sir Thomas) what a melancholy spectacle! — never did I see a man so suddenly swelled, but when he was either just dead, or just dying. — Doctor, can'st thou do nothing for this poor object?' 'I don't think the case is quite desperate (said the surgeon), but I would advise Mr Frogmore to settle his affairs with all expedition; the parson may come and pray by him, while I prepare a glyster and an emetic draught.' The justice, rolling his languid eyes, ejaculated with great fervency, 'Lord, have mercy upon us! Christ, have mercy upon us!' — Then he begged the surgeon, in the name of God, to dispatch — 'As for my worldly affairs (said he), they are all settled but one mortgage, which must be left to my heirs — but my poor soul! my poor soul! what will become of my poor soul? miserable sinner that I am!' 'Nay, pr'ythee, my dear boy, compose thyself (resumed the knight); consider the mercy of heaven is infinite; thou can'st not have any sins of a very deep dye on thy conscience, or the devil's in't.' 'Name not the devil (exclaimed the terrified Frogmore), I have more sins to answer for than the world dreams of. — Ah! friend, I have been sly — sly damn'd sly! — Send for the parson without loss of time, and put me to bed, for I am posting to eternity.' — He was accordingly raised from the couch, and supported by two servants, who led him back to his room; but before he quitted the parlour, he intreated the good company to assist him with their prayers. — He added, 'Take warning by me, who am suddenly cut off in my prime, like a flower of the field; and God forgive you, Sir Thomas, for suffering such poisonous trash to be eaten at your table.'

He was no sooner removed out of hearing, than the baronet abandoned himself to a violent fit of laughing, in which he was joined by the greatest part of the company; but we could hardly prevent the good lady from going to undeceive the patient, by discovering, that while he slept his waistcoat had been straitened by the contrivance of the surgeon; and that the disorder in his stomach and bowels was occasioned by some antimonial wine, which he had taken over night, under the denomination of plague-water. She seemed to think that his apprehension might put an end to his life: the knight swore he was no such chicken, but a tough old rogue, that would live long enough to plague all his neighbours. — Upon enquiry, we found his character did not intitle him to much compassion or respect, and therefore we let our landlord's humour take its course. — A glyster was actually administered by an old woman of the family, who had been Sir Thomas's nurse, and the patient took a draught made with oxymel of squills to forward the operation of the antimonial wine, which had been retarded by the opiate of the preceding night. He was visited by the vicar, who read prayers, and began to take an account of the state of his soul, when those medicines produced their effect; so that the parson was obliged to hold his nose while he poured forth spiritual consolation from his mouth. The same expedient was used by the knight and me, who, with the doctor, entered the chamber at this juncture, and found Frogmore enthroned on an easing-chair, under the pressure of a double evacuation. The short intervals betwixt every heave he employed in crying for mercy, confessing his sins, or asking the vicar's opinion of his case; and the vicar answered, in a solemn snuffling tone, that heightened the ridicule of the scene. The emetic having done its office, the doctor interfered, and ordered the patient to be put in bed again. When he examined the egesta, and felt his pulse, he declared that much of the virus was discharged, and, giving him a composing draught, assured him he had good hopes of his recovery. — This welcome hint he received with the tears of joy in his eyes, protesting, that if he should recover, he would always think himself indebted for his life to the great skill and tenderness of his doctor, whose hand he squeezed with great fervour; and thus he was left to his repose.