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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Dear Sir: May I draw your attention to page 425 of the Spring issue ?? Perspectives in Biology· and Medicine. In the last three lines a paraphrase appears in quotation marks. Fortunately it is inconceivable that Oliver Cromwell would have used such a flaccid phrase as "remember for just one moment," and the reader is at once impelled to check his memory ofwhat Cromwell did say. It was "Gentlemen, I beseech you in" (not by) "the bowels of Christ, that it is possible you may be mistaken" (Letter to the Church of Scotland, 3.8.1650). It is in the nature of things that editors must receive letters strongly biased toward criticism, and I should like to redress the balance of this letter at least by telling you how much pleasure I get and have got over the years in reading Perspectives. M. V. Tracey Division of Food Research Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization North Ryde, N.S.W. 2113, Australia Dear Sir: Brother. Tracey's good-humored and anything but flaccid comment now has the bowels unlocked and me properly taken to task. In the original copy of my manuscript I paraphrased Cromwell and there were no quotation marks, but somehow the lines were published as a quotation [1, 2]. Unfortunately, when one copies a quotation verbatim as I copied myself in the excerpts published in Perspectives, it would not be correct to correct the incorrect. So my carelessness nearly 20 years ago in using quotes rather than indicating paraphrase has come home to roost. This is as it should be, and I am grateful. As a quotation watcher myself, I have made a prospective study for about 20 years of the misuse of Santayana's quotation and what is supposed to have been John Hunter's statement about a hospital committee. The quotation from Santayana , is, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." About 10 percent of those who use it get the quotation correct. Almost all ofthe rest of them put the word "history" into it. Hunter is reported to have said, "My life is in the hands of any rascal who chooses to annoy and tease me," but since he did not write it who is to choose among many versions? Permission to reprinta letter printed in this section may be obtained only from theauthor. 316 Letters to the Editor So 1 am properly hoist with my own petard and, as far as the error is concerned , unchaste but also unchastened. REFERENCES 1.W. B. Bean. Trans. Assoc. Am. Physicians, 72:40, 1959. 2.W. B. Bean. AMA Arch. Intern. Med., 105:184, 1960. William B. Bean Institutefor the Medical Humanities University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston, Texas 77550 Dear Sir: Allan Barnes's story of Hunter Robb [1] and the rubber gloves is utterly charming, despite the fact that it is probably all balderdash. We are not talking about history in the eighteenth century, and while Halsted's memory may possibly have failed him in that "late in life" account of the use of rubber gloves, it is a little hard to believe that he would falsify an inquiry to the Goodyear Rubber Company and claim that he did what, in fact, Hunter Robb did. When all is said and done, Halsted's account was written in 1913, when Halsted was 61.1 have had the gentlemanly courtesy not to look up Allan Barnes to see if the writer of this anti-Halsted canard is, at the time of writing, older than Halsted was when Barnes accused him of failure of memory. As for Halsted's senses having been dulled by cocaine, Arthur Conan Doyle, of course, thought that cocaine only sharpened Sherlock Holmes's acuity. I must weaken my own argument by pointing out that Halsted switched, at some point, from cocaine to morphine, and that may well have been before 1913. So far as concerns Robb's becoming a minor zealot about rubber gloves, that seems to me not necessarily to be the sign of a great inventor, and Allan Barnes must surely know how wrong he is in thinking that Halsted was not inventive...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-8795
Print ISSN
0031-5982
Pages
pp. 316-318
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-07
Open Access
No
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