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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

Benjamin Penhallow Shillaber (1814–1890)

Fancy Diseases

From “Life and Sayings of Mrs. Partington”

“DISEASES is very various,” said Mrs. Partington, as she returned from a street-door conversation with Doctor Bolus. “The Doctor tells me that poor old Mrs. Haze has got two buckles on her lungs! It is dreadful to think of, I declare. The diseases is so various! One way we hear of people’s dying of hermitage of the lungs; another way, of the brown creatures; here they tell us of the elementary canal being out of order, and there about tonsors of the throat; here we hear of neurology in the head, there, of an embargo; one side of us we hear of men being killed by getting a pound of tough beef in the sarcofagus, and there another kills himself by discovering his jocular vein. Things change so that I declare I don’t know how to subscribe for any diseases nowadays. New names and new nostrils takes the place of the old, and I might as well throw my old herb-bag away.”

Fifteen minutes afterward Isaac had that herb-bag for a target, and broke three squares of glass in the cellar window in trying to hit it, before the old lady knew what he was about. She didn’t mean exactly what she said.