If you love Jane Austen, you also love Regency Era articles, right? I hope so. You see, I looked at my calendar a few days ago and was reminded that my opportunity to share a post with this wonderful JAFF community was fast approaching. I was torn over what to write.
It’s been a crazy month for me, and my mind seems to be all over the place. We are doing some home renovations. I’m planning a small out-of-state trip to see my sisters. We are looking at buying a new home, and there are several other events occurring in my life.
I am also super close to finishing the first draft of my next book. I considered sharing another excerpt, but I don’t want to reveal too much just yet. I also considered mentioning a few things I researched while writing new chapters, but other authors had already written about most of the topics I looked into.
Occasionally, I read historical cookbooks, articles, or nonfiction books. Someone sent me a few articles from a medical journal that was written during the regency period. It’s so interesting to hear the language used and the way things were described, to listen to them ponder medical mysteries that are now so well understood they are taught in high-school, and to discover some treatments options administered in the past. I’ve long thought that you too might enjoy a few excerpts, so I’m testing out this theory by sharing one with you today. Let me know what you think.
This article describes what are now known as blast wave injuries. Explosions release a great deal of energy, which compresses the air surrounding the explosion, and this creates a shock wave. As the wave travels outward, the intensity of the force decreases exponentially unless there is something solid nearby. Hard surfaces can reflect the energy back toward the primary wave, causing it to intensify. All of this is invisible, so to those living in the early 1800s, it was a strange mystery why men standing near passing cannon balls we getting injured or dying, even though nothing had touched their bodies.
Wind of Cannon Balls.
Mr. Ellis has published an interesting paper in the Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal, “on the accidents ascribed to the wind of a ball.” He has adduced many instances to prove that these accidents are not imaginary, as has been often supposed. Among the effects of the passage of a ball near an individual, are the tearing of epaulets and buttons from the clothes, producing extensive lividity of that part of the body near which the ball passed, causing a sudden or gradual blindness, fracturing the bones to a thousand pieces without tearing the skin. The following is an instance of its most singular and violent effects.
At the siege of Bassain, near Bombay, in the year 1780, a sepoy, who was placed in the trenches to look out for shot, was too late in dipping; and a shot in consequence knocked off his turban into the trench behind him. The sepoy jumped down to pick it up. A surgeon, who happened to be near the spot, immediately went to him; but found on examination that the head was not in the least touched by the ball. From the state of the pulse, however, the surgeon deemed it proper to send the man to the hospital; and though no external injury could be discovered, he died in 48 hours after. The officer who was in the trenches at the time, thinks he heard it said, that the surgeon examined the sepoy’s head after death, and found an extravasation of blood. Mr. Ellis seems to think that electric or other similar matter existing in the air, may be accumulated or developed by the motion of a cannon ball in a quantity adequate to produce the extraordinary effects ascribed to the “wind of a ball.”