THE MNEMONIC SIMILIAD
This little book, from the pen of Dr. Stacy jones and the press of Boerick & Tafel, while it presents no new medical matter, does possess the distinguishing merit of presenting an old and hoary series of facts in a new and taking dress. Dr. Jones, who has been “guilty” of other little novel ways of breaking into the monotony of materia medica writings, gives us the leading remedies of Homoeopathy, each with a little now-I-lay-me-down-to-sleep doggerel, carrying the chief symptoms of the remedy; then follows it up with a mystic series of words and letters designed to compress a lot of materia medica information within a very small compass. His poetry, while at times startlingly original, is well couched, and carries the main symptoms in a catchy rhyme, most like to stick somewhere along the lining membrane of the calvarium. His other hieroglyphics and their meanings we have attempted to follow, but not always successfully.
It reminded us very much of the Loisette and other artificial systems of improving memory, in that, if the same care and pains were given to the memorizing of the word or thought as is inculcated and advised in the construction of a verbal scaffolding, there would be no need for the scaffolding. If, in other words, the same care and fixed attention were bestowed upon the acquisition of the key-notes of our materia medica, as is recommended to be given to the acquisition of these hieroglyphical characters and occult meanings, there would be no need for a Similiad. But since this required fixity of attention is not given to the study of materia medica, and the modern way of teaching materia medica, in most of our colleges, is a mere effort to corral and possess a half hundred unrelated symptoms of each remedy, this Stacy Jones song system will fill a long-felt want.
In what we have said thus far, or may yet say, we do not wish to be understood as ridiculing the Similiad. Far from it. We welcome it and most heartily recommend the book to our readers. We note, imprimis, that Jones gives each of the remedies a fanciful name in order to combine them in phrases for memorizing, by reason where of he produces some ludicrous combinations which ought to “stick.” For instance, the other name for Bismuth is Bishop, so he constructs this moral epigram: “The Bishop Chi Car is in a snarl with the Nun.” Again, “This Bishop being lonesome, is on a stray walk with Lily and Con.;” Chi and Car being themselves words for remedies, and so are suarl and stray walk Lily and Con. Many other original and startling phrases are to be found. He gives Kali phos. The side name of Kipling, and has “Kipling” do a whole lot of odd and unusual things.
This suggests to us the feasibility of adopting for our remedies the immortal fashion of the electricians when they call their apparatus and tools and technical parts and doings after the men who were instrumental in giving power and name to electricity; thus we hear of so many Watts, so much Voltage, and amperes, and Coulombes. Why not call our remedies after our principal men, workers, practitioners, writers and students? Call Belladonna after Biggar, Dulcamara after Dewey, Pulsatilla after Pratt, Gelsemium after Gatchell, Hellebore after Horner, Nux vomica after Norton, Podophyllum after Porte, Sulphur after Shears, Kalmia after Kent, Wahoo after Wood, Anacardium after Allen, and so on to the end of our roster of names and list of remedies. Note what nice phrases might then be made, as follows:
Bigger, who has apple cheeks and a bald pate, went pouting with porter.
Or Gatchell, who has pretty eyes and ears, fought two ensanguined rounds with Shears.
Or how would the following do:
The Abbott, Pemberton-Dudley, is a coward in the dark; he owns up to it.
Achsa B. Norton, the Creole Baptist maid, and her brother Jo Garrison, the drover, sanf for Royal and his Arabs.
Alonzo Delamater seeks a row with the Sour Negro, Young Hyson Roberts, the Carver.
Silvester Richey Horner and his brother, Chendennin, the rich old sports, are on the road to man-delay.
Arny cowperthwaite, the baptist, roasted poke root for old squaw Sabin.
Allen Clay, the black bishop, of Herring, in buying aloes from the Caucasian lady in the Cafe.
This barber, Anshutz, who is subject to a pot-belly, is to go to China with Calvin Bartlett for a mess of eels.
This Ham Bigger, who is subject to loss of voice, is up in Dewey’s car on the coast sporting with the Ammonite bums.
This Captain Pratt, who is always chilly, void of vital heat, and minus the last inch, is the fussy jawing chap at Man’s end.
This dam Gibson, who is subject to a tender coccyx, is at Pete Walton’s with Ruth Carba and sister.
Antinuous Copeland is the ideal Golden Calf of Rhodes.
Stephen Knight, with the drooping eye-lids, the gay old plumber, is called to Gatchell from a vessel on the coast of Russia.
This Moffatt, who is subject to warts and has tangled matted hair, is at Shank’s, with a load of Sabina roots from the coast, of Long Island.
This McLachian, who is subject to sciatica, is with his child Zip, in a black buggy at APO Hinsdale’s, with Col. Gregg Custis, of bushy hair and tender feet.
The Saint, Hoffman Porter, who is as blue as a Cim-hyson plum, is with the old nun, jessie Taren, in the vale of Zu-zu Moss.
The pastor, Gaius Jones, the Grecian giant saint, and his son, are in a jam with the Spanish twins, fattening on ale from cypress.
And many, many others, some most relevant and others vilely slanderous.
Frank Kraft in American Physician.