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I had with him, or rather which he had with me, more than thirty years previously.
In what I am now writing I do not pretend to give an account of my domestic life; I must not, however, omit to notice the most important event belonging to it, and which must have exercised a great influence over my professional life also, which occurred in the year 1816. Serjeant Sellon, who had been a barrister of a good deal of repute, and well known to lawyers as the author of Sellon's Practice,' a work much valued by the legal profession, had been for some years a friend of my elder brother, and through him I became acquainted with the Serjeant's family. His third daughter and myself became much attached to each other; and in the spring of the year above mentioned she became my wife. She was nineteen years of age, and I had not quite completed my thirty-third year. At the time at which I am now writing (1855), we have been married nearly thirty-nine years, and our affection for each other has remained unaltered. She has been an excellent wife to myself, and an
excellent mother to our three surviving children. That they have turned out such worthy members of society, and have been a source of so much happiness to ourselves, is to be attributed mainly to the trouble which she took from the very earliest period of their lives in training their moral character, at a time when I was too much engaged in my professional duties to be able to pay the necessary degree of attention to them myself. What has occurred in my own family confirms the opinion which I might, indeed, have been led to form from what I have seen elsewhere, that the characters of individuals depend much more on the mother than on the father, the mother having the chief management of them during childhood, when the mind is more pliant, and when permanent habits are more easily established than is the case in after years.
It may be worth while to mention that, in the year of my marriage, my professional income, derived from professional fees and lectures, amounted to 1,5301. I had previously saved sufficient money to re-furnish and paint my house, and in other ways make it more fit than
it had been before for the reception of a bride. I now, for the first time, had a carriage and a pair of horses. In other respects, we made very little addition to my former establishment. As my wife had no fortune given her at the time of our marriage, nor indeed any except what had been settled on her after her father's and mother's deaths, and as my profession entailed some expenses on us, we were under the necessity of being careful as to our mode of living. My dear wife had no expensive habits, and we managed to make both ends meet at the end of the year. Still, I cannot but say that this was a period of considerable anxiety, when I felt for the first time that another individual as well as myself, and probably children hereafter, had to depend, not only on my professional character, but also on my bodily health. Fortunately, in the beginning of the following year there was a more manifest increase of my practice than there had ever been before. This kept my anxiety within bounds; still it was considerable, and was probably the cause of my having some return of the dyspeptic symptoms under which I had laboured formerly, and which continued to trouble me, from time to time, for the two or three following years.
Although, between my increasing practice, my duties at the hospital, and my lectures, my time was considerably more occupied than formerly, I nevertheless found some leisure for the cultivation of physiology. It was at this time that I made the experiment of passing a ligature round the choledoch duct, of which I afterwards published an account in 'Brande's Journal.” The conclusion at which I arrived was, that the interruption of the flow of the bile into the intestine stopped the formation of chyle. The experiment was repeated by Herbert Mayo in London, and Macartney in Dublin, with the same result. Dr. Blundell, who was at that time lecturing on Physiology at Guy's Hospital, made the same experiment, not knowing that I had made it previously, and he also arrived at the same conclusion. When I afterwards published my statement, Dr. Blundell compiained to Mr. Green that I had robbed him of his discovery. This led to a comparison
of dates, and it turned out that my first successful experiment had been made just three weeks before his. Since then Tiedemann and Bernard have repeated the experiment, and, as they declare, with a different result; the latter being of opinion that it is the secretion of the pancreas, and not that of the liver, which is the principal agent of chylification. M. Bernard is led to believe that the disagreement between his experiment and mine is to be explained by my having included the duct of the pancreas in the same ligature with the choledoch duct. Other engagements have prevented my prosecuting the inquiry further. I am, however, far from being convinced that Mayo, Macartney, Blundell, and myself, have been in an error. I do not find that the other experimentalists paid attention to the contents of the intestine after the flow of bile had been suspended. If they had done so, they could not have failed to remark the very striking difference which there is in them where the bile does not flow into the intestine, as compared with that which exists where the flow of bile has not been interrupted.