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The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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Text for Page 243

              [newspaper clipping]
  Six feet high in his boots, and straight up
and down as two yards of pump water, this in-
flammable, gesticulative type of the revolu-
tionizing professional man, whose face is a
grotesque and vivid combination-likeness
of Don Quixote and Louis Napoleon,�
this eager, lank, inventive-looking high-
pressured steam engine, with features of the
hatchet pattern�prominent, long-beaked,
beetle-browed, keenly grey-eyed, heavily mous-
tached and gouteed with dark and excit-
able bristles, and with long and very thick
brown hair, just beginning to silver and
curling round the back of his coat collar,
such is our friend and frequent office-visitor,
Dr. E. H. Dixon, editor of the Scalpel,
chief literary swordsman of reformed medi-
cine, popular lecturer on the art of killing
men, women and children, secundem arten, and
a very distinguished, very fractious son of
�sculapius�whose many merits and virtues
we feel incompetent to extol in proper terms.
The Doctor has a most prolific and ludi-
crous imagination, the features and heart of
a born satirist, the keen insight and
ruthless moral dissection of a man intended
by nature rather to probe and cicatrize mental
maladies than to pour balm on the wounds of
physical ailments.  His conversational powers
are inexhaustible to himself, though some-
times�not frequently�very exhaustive to
his listeners.  Fantastic processions of hu-
manity appear to be forever passing before his
intellectual vision; his mind is the white
disk of a camera obscura on which all the
events and personages of existence pass back-
ward and forward�gravely walking on their
heads.  Like many other eminent anato-
mists, he has cut so deep into man�s body and
knows the machine of life so well, that his
views as to the motive-power have become 
lost in uncertainty; he is familiar with the
functions of every organ, and believes that
the harmony, the rich music of our daily
breaths, comes from�heaven knows where!
As a writer of brilliant and bitter observation,
we know few now living who are his peers:
every jest is full of matter, and every laugha-
ble illustration is the feather guiding correctly
some poignant arrow. A delightful and in-
structive companion when in the mood�a
sort of crystallized essence, flashing at all
points with the philosophy and wit of the
French encyclopedists�there are few men
in our city of characters more sharply
and decisively defined than the sub-
ject of this sketch.  Such a man of course
must have many more enemies than friends in
professional ranks.  He is a doctorial porcu-
pine, bristling at every point and often throw-
ing sharp quils against those who attempt to
handle him.  In this aspect, however, the law
of compensation applies, and he repels and
attracts with equal force.  The few who ad-
mire him, admire him intensely, and those
who dislike him are equally ardent on the other
side.  For ourselves, looking at the genial
and sunny side of his character, we wish to be
classed in the catalogue of his friends, and
doubt not that for this first rate notice he will
hereafter feel pleasure in performing any se-
rious operation on us, which the mischances of
life may render necessary.  We have passed
many humorous and profitable hours in his 
society; and for these, humbly acknowledge
our indebtedness to him by a low bow as he
passes.  His misfortune is that finding caustic
of great service in professional life, he has be-
come a convert to the belief that the exhibi-
tion of this article is the grand panacea and
remedy for all social diseases.  A great stu-
dent of human nature and fond of striking
out the characteristics of those with whom he
converses, it is never easy to determine whe-
ther he is serious or in a mood of ridicule�
anxious to obtain your good opinion, or sim-
ply to chuckle in his sleeve at the heat which
he may torment you into exhibiting.  We like
him and dislike him, have faith in him and
suspect him.  He is beyond question a man
of the first talent in his own walk, and if Vir-
ginia could send us a few more of his acquire-
ments and genius, her intellectual stock
would go up fifty per cent. in the Northern
an New England markets.               
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