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36. Coup de soleil.

56

I have seldom seen, especially in modern writers, so gross an instance of credulity as the following:

“I have forgotten to notice in the body of my work,” says P. Labat, in one of his prefaces, “an infallible and easy remedy for those Strokes of the Sun, which are so dangerous, especially since both men and women have thought proper to go bare-headed, for fear of deranging the economy of their hair. Messrs. les Medecins, of whose number I have not the honour to be, will, I hope, pardon me this little infringement upon their rights. Here is the remedy. When a person is struck with the sun, he must as soon as possible point out with his finger the place where he feels the most acute pain; the hair must then be shaved there, and a bottle of cold water applied to it, so 57dexterously inserted upon the place as not to run out, the bottle being nearly full. Thus it must be held till the water begins to bubble and toss as if it were upon a fire: and then a fresh bottle is to be promptly substituted from time to time, till the water ceases to contract any heat, when the patient will be entirely cured, and out of all danger. This remedy is simple and easy, and the reader may be assured that its efficacy has been repeatedly proved.” Had not the account been related with such absurdity as well as exaggeration, it might have been inferred that the affusion of cold water on the head had been used with success.