GaspeeVirtual Archives
A Singular Hypochondriac

found in Poughkeepsie Journal, Wednesday, September 17, 1823, Page 1 [From the Providence Journal ] 
The following incident often related by an eminent physician of this town, occurred, during his practice, early in the Revolutionary War. A farmer residing at Field’s Point unluckily had a spouse, subject to splenetic affections. which frequently filled her cranium with odd conceits. At the time of the destruction of the Gaspee frigate in the Bay below, her husband, a man of unbounded patriotism, was one of the brave fellows who followed the gallant John Brown, in the expedition against that vessel; leaving his wife unaccompanied, but by her little brood of chubby children. — During the absence of the husband, she was visited by one of her hypochondriacal fits, and conceiting herself to be a goose, determined to have a setting. Accordingly, she built a nest in the cellar, procured a quantity of eggs, on which she forced herself with every mark of irritability, discernable in the goose, during the process of setting. On the return of the husband, he, to his astonishment, found his better half subscribing to the rites and ceremonies observed by the goose at the interesting season of incubation; preferring the company of a flock of embryo goslins to the plump and ruddy faces of a numerous progeny. — He protested in vain against her conduct; he solicited, persuaded and implored to no purpose, for she replied to his expostulations and entreaties, with a cackling and the rustling of her petticoats. A physician was sent for, who informed the unhappy husband that the malady of his wife would not yield to the most powerful nostrums. — “But (said he) if she possesses any article on which she places inestimable value, bring it to me, and I will undertake to remove, or at least palliate her disorder.” A china bowl, which the lady had received of her mother, at the celebration of her nuptials, was produced with an assurance that of all the things on earth, she most valued that the most highly.

The physician took it, went into the cellar, and ordered her to rise. She cackled and rustled her petticoats.— “Rise instantly,” said the doctor, “or this bowl I will shiver in ten thousand pieces.” She cackled more vehemently — he drew back his arm and aimed at the stone wall. “Villain: break it if you dare,” she exclaimed, and starting from the nest, wrestled from the jaws of destruction, the bowl which she prized so highly, and which happily effected her cure.
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Posted to Gaspee Virtual Archives 10/2017    Hypochondriac.html