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Saturday, 23 September 2017

Uprooted

But if I had stinted him, in his usual quantity of wine, or forbidden him to taste it altogether, that would only have increased his partiality for it, and made him regard it as a greater treat than ever. I therefore gave him quite as much as his father was accustomed to allow him; as much, indeed, as he desired to have — but into every glass I surreptitiously introduced a small quantity of tartar-emetic, just enough to produce inevitable nausea and depression without positive sickness...

...and once or twice, when he was sick, I have obliged the poor child to swallow a little wine-and-water without the tartar-emetic, by way of medicine; and this practice I intend to continue for some time to come; not that I think it of any real service in a physical sense, but because I am determined to enlist all the powers of association in my service; I wish this aversion to be so deeply grounded in his nature that nothing in after-life may be able to overcome it.

Anne Brontë – The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848)


Straightforward aversion therapy, the core of which must have been common knowledge for aeons. Sometimes it seems as if much of what we once knew has been recast into jargon then regurgitated as new, technically complex and only understandable by the initiated. As if we have been uprooted by modernity because otherwise we would have understood too much and resisted.

3 comments:

Michael said...

One of Mrs O#Blene's favourite techniques when dealing with small children (and me sometimes), is to say 'Try and think of something else'!

Always works!

Sackerson said...

Richard Ingrams' intro bio to his anthology of Beachcomber says that the latter's father was advised to give his son wine mixed with water so that he would not be tempted by spirits when grown up; and so it proved.

A K Haart said...

Scrobs - Mrs H does that at the dentist. Works apparently.

Sackers - probably put him of water too - another benefit.