Comedy. William has a bladder stone and has the unenviable choice of excruciating pain or taking John's potentially lethal new drug chloroform during surgery.
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No. No, Captain, no.
No, First Mate. No!
I heard you call out, my love.
Don't trouble yourself.
On the Medusa again?
In the hammock?
I will be well now. Thank you.
Go back to your room.
He's never talked to me about it.
Or anyone, I believe.
But it gives him nightmares, and sometimes...
His shakes stem from that?
Oh, I've probably divulged too much.
I will try to talk to him.
See if I can find out what happened in that hammock.
-William, are you quite all right?
I have an abdominal pain.
I fear it's the stones.
Your husband is going to examine me, in fact.
Are you aware of a famous mesmerist, Mr Lantha Kapoor?
-No. Who is he?
-I've been reading about him.
He cured an epileptic girl of her fits.
He visited her every day for a month,
and did hour-long sessions with her in her bedroom.
Why is it mesmerised patients are always young ladies
who have to be taken to a darkened room for an hour or so,
and the man then proceeds to stand over them doing this?
You surprise me.
I'd have thought someone like you would have been more open-minded
about the powers these men have.
Now, I'd like to see one of these sessions. Wouldn't you?
I'd be interested to witness this Mr Kapoor in action.
Perhaps you and I could go and visit him one afternoon.
Oh, I'd like that.
Perhaps you'd like to join us, John.
Yes, why don't you come too?
Mr Kapoor's uncle has a restaurant in the docks.
I love it.
I like the hot sloppy ones, and that strange bread they do.
-Oh, William, it does seem terribly painful.
Oh, I wouldn't want to complain.
Only hurts when I breathe in.
Right, where's the patient? Sorry to keep you waiting. Come down, please.
Darling, I know you're interested in medicine,
but this will not be educational...
Don't worry, I'm leaving.
Can I leave as well?
Well, you keep on about requiring patients to try ether on -
-I haven't agreed to any of this yet.
The surgery or the ether.
Are you sure you're fit to operate?
John, could you pass me my book on genitals, please?
Loosen your trousers for me.
Ah! Yes, that hurts there.
And I have headaches and vomiting.
Well, it is clearly a bladder stone, I'm afraid.
It's a brief, but...painful operation.
Ah, now these are drawings I've done for some of my students.
Oh, there's one on the removal of the foreskin in cases of phimosis.
What a fine hand you have.
No, that's his cock.
Ah, here we are - lithotrity.
..we go up your urethra with one of these.
John, if you wouldn't mind.
And then I insert this, and spin the device until the stones crush,
and then later you piss the bits out.
Or, rather more excitingly, option two,
the new Lessing Lithotrity Contrivance.
I go up your urethra with this, until I feel the bladder stone...
..I grip the stone with the unique adjustable head...
..and then I bang it with my hammer.
And then later you piss the bits out.
Is there an option three?
Option three is leave it,
and remain in agony until you become incontinent and die.
In a packed field, I'd try option two.
A wise choice.
How many people have you tried that on?
People, as in living people?
And you can have the operation under chloroform,
so you don't feel any pain.
You're advising chloroform over ether this week, are you?
A pleasant apple-blossom smell, with less of a hangover,
and no blistering of the nasal passage.
Didn't that Scottish dentist kill several people this week
Hamish never knows what he's doing.
He got the dosage entirely wrong cos it was a cold day.
I will try very hard not to kill you.
The Lancet last week warned that chloroform should be used
in cases of emergency only.
You're seriously considering excruciating genital pain
over a dose of chloroform?
Excruciating but brief genital pain.
Well, it's not YOUR tackle on the table, is it?
I don't know about any of this yet.
I've got a patient this afternoon - an open-minded woman
who is going to have seven teeth removed under chloroform.
Why don't you come and witness that? Ye of little faith.
There. She's asleep.
Don't worry - that's perfectly common with chloroform.
Oh, I'm an angel!
A naughty, naughty angel!
Do people often say things when they are drugged?
it's possible that...that I may say revealing things when I'm under.
I hope so.
HE CHUCKLES NERVOUSLY
One chap I had in last week did an entire after-dinner speech to me
while he was asleep. It was hilarious.
Oh, Mr Wilson! You goat!
My husband's abroad.
Let's go through a dark, dank alley...
Shh... That's enough of that now.
-What's this you're writing, John?
-Oh, it's my drug diary.
In the evenings, I'm taking unusual, unknown substances,
and dictating what I feel to Rosie.
-The thruppenny upright from Drury Lane.
She writes down what I say, what I feel.
It's terrible the things those girls get asked to do.
What a delightful surprise! I wasn't expecting you.
My darling boy, how lovely to see you.
And I have brought Mina with me to visit you.
You remember Mina?
-I'm sure William needs no reminder.
Of course not.
How have you been, miss?
Miss Mina has now inherited her dear father's estate.
When was it that you two last saw each other?
Can you remember it as well as I do, William?
It was your uncle's 60th birthday party...
Birthday, yes, yes, of course.
It seems like yesterday to me
that you two used to visit the fairground together as children,
hand in hand.
We rode the helter-skelter together, and beat the dwarves with sticks.
Yes, happy days.
I was asking after you, and was shocked to hear you're ailing.
A case of...
She insisted that I come to visit you.
Do you find any relief when you pass wind?
I have been to see Dr Flowers on the high street for you.
He prescribed a parsnip and vinegar drink that I have bought you.
It is well known to ease the symptoms of the bladder stones.
Oh, let me get a glass for you.
-Miss, may I have a glass, please, for Mr Agar?
-She's so fond of you!
Are you free for dinner tonight?
-Here you are, dear William.
I hope it aids you.
Thank you so much.
Finish it up.
HE SWALLOWS AND SIGHS
I float like an elephant above the streets,
above the uproar of life, and down below,
all the little people seem to be in gentle but everlasting agitation.
I am granted blessed respite
from the secret burdens of my black heart,
a sabbath, a proposed holiday from worry. Full stop.
That was one sentence, was it?
And who is this who comes from the apothecary?
Ooh, let me guess.
It's Mr Crocodile.
I was wrong.
He's come to speak to me in a profound but incomprehensible
that holds heavenly truths, but is hard to fathom.
Can we have sex instead of doing this?
The curry's terrific here.
And the chilli in it will help numb your bladder pain.
Oh, no, thank you. I'll watch you both eat.
I'll have the mutton curry, thanks. Starving.
Yes, I'll try the chicken curry, please.
I think you'll like the food here.
Can seem a little hot the first time you try it.
Oh, I'm looking forward to it. Never had a curry.
SHE INHALES SHARPLY
Well, that gave my tum a nudge.
-You don't have to finish it, Caroline.
-No, I want to.
Will you just excuse me? I just need to visit the...
What is occurring between you and Caroline?
What do you mean?
Nothing's occurring, I can assure you.
You've gone red.
So have you.
I've eaten a curry!
Be careful, William.
Careful with what?
I don't know what you're suggesting, truly.
Johnathon, if you have a concern, give it a name.
If I'm wrong, good.
Oh, dear, are your stones hurting you again?
I wouldn't... I wouldn't want to complain.
You must be Mrs Lessing.
How do you do?
Four teas, please, Uncle.
This is my friend Mr Agar, an alienist from St Frederick's,
and Mr Sutton.
You are interested in mesmerism?
We all are.
I am interested in what the phenomenon can tell us
about the human mind,
and how it may be harnessed to help with sickness, surgery...
He's having his bladder stones out tomorrow.
Mesmerism is of great benefit to medicine. Just last week,
I removed a tumour from a man the size of an engorged cow's udder.
The man was in a mesmerism trance, and felt not a twinge.
In fact, during surgery, he whistled.
I believe the unassisted powers of nature can heal far better
than any of the pills, powders or potions
modern quacks try to push at us.
Many such drugs are...lethal.
If they're used wrongly.
The human mind can achieve astonishing things
if it is allowed to become... primitive again.
So, can anyone learn to be a mesmerist, Mr Kapoor?
I mean, could William? Could I?
Anyone can create a mesmerism trance.
I myself was taught by the great Zadu Ali Chandra Rohit.
Can you explain how it works?
Mesmerism works through the physical transmission
exerted by one animal over another,
stemming from a transference of nervous energy.
Would you like me to...demonstrate?
What, can you do it here?
In this room?
I can mesmerise anywhere.
You don't need me to be in your boudoir?
You can use me as a subject.
My fear with you is that your mind may be too easily sent to sleep.
So I will choose a harder subject, if I may,
the better to demonstrate my, er...
my fear with a woman like yourself, Caroline,
is that you have too sophisticated, too cultured, questioning a mind
to be entranced.
A woman with your vital spirit will think and remonstrate and question.
I don't. I won't.
You will be incapable of passive submission.
You will struggle to submit to the pleasure of it.
Touch my fingertips...
..and I will take you into a mesmerised trance.
It may take a number of moments, but if you're willing...
submit to me.
HE BREATHES DEEPLY
Through our fingertips, a vital energy flows from my body to yours.
HE BREATHES DEEPLY
My vital principle penetrates you now.
Keep your eyes on mine...
and I will put you into an annihilating and healing sleep.
Your skin is no longer a border between us.
Now I stroke you into deepness.
HE HUMS AND MOANS
HUMMING AND MOANING CONTINUES
Hey, hey, hey. No, no, no, no. No.
This is utterly unacceptable. Her honour is at stake.
This isn't medicine, it's...
-Why do you feel threatened?
I am not threatened.
But Mr Lessing will not want his wife being stroked by an Indian.
Now, how does one wake a patient from this trance?
-Should I slap her face?
SHE MOANS SOFTLY
Now do you believe?
Mr Steadman, there will be some pain,
but I assure it's a relatively easy tumour removal,
which I will do swiftly, and we will give you brandy for the pain.
Mr Lessing, I have a request from Dr Hendrick.
Certainly not, whatever it is.
Mr Gideon is due to do this morning's student lecture,
but he has found himself injured in a ditch outside a public house.
Pisshead Gideon? Quelle surprise.
The hospital are asking if you would speak in his absence.
No, I don't want to do it.
Will you offer it to my friend John Sutton?
He suffers stupid students far better than I do.
And he's desperate to tell anyone who will listen
about his tedious drugs.
Ah, my 11 o'clock.
Right, let's see what this plant from Brazil
brings forth in my consciousness, shall we?
But also, let's hope it's not another
of your long narrative poems.
You have a return of your affliction.
It's easily remedied.
Brandy, please, Nurse.
What happened in the South China Sea, Robert?
On the Medusa?
You don't ever talk about that time.
I'm doing someone's tumour now.
Perhaps that time is the cause of your affliction.
Do you ever think about that?
We're going to commence, Mr Steadman.
Perhaps if you talked to others about your travails then,
it may help to ease the burden of them.
Blade, please, Nurse.
You were posted as a surgical officer on the HMS Vengeance
during the Opium War.
Very well, I'll tell you.
It's a tale full of wonder...
and horror, what happened.
In the October of 1839,
our ship was attacked by a Chinese sea hawk off the coast of Hainan.
Hook and scissors.
They blew five holes in our side.
I managed to get into a skiff before the ship went down.
I sailed south alone, fleeing my pursuers.
For two days, I floated rudderless and adrift
in the straits of the Dutch Indies.
Eventually, I ran my boat aground
on a meagre strip of land barely 100 yards long...
with one single palm tree.
I had no idea of my position.
The skiff was irreparable...
..and that evening, I made a terrible discovery.
A human skull buried in the sand at one end of the island.
With no means of escape, I resigned myself to living on this sand spit
until rescue arrived...
or I was eaten by the passing cannibals.
I survived by tackling and eating any pelicans that came to land.
Have you ever tackled a pelican, William?
It's an appalling business.
To keep myself sane, I practised acrobatics,
and whittled a flute from the palm tree.
The topic can be of your choosing.
I could talk about the blessed benefits of ether and chloroform.
I'd say that'd have the young 'uns on the edge of their seat.
I'm sorry, Rosie. We're going to have to meet up again later.
Besides, this plant's done nothing.
It's like the time I smoked begonias.
Come along, sir.
Lead on, Mr Peters!
In time, I learned how to ride turtles.
I discovered that if you swam astride a turtle,
they could carry you,
and you could steer them by poking them in the opposite eye
of the direction you wanted to go in.
If you wanted them to stop, place your hands over both eyes.
I'd been marooned alone for four months.
Just as I was giving up all hope...
..a catamaran appeared...
..with local huntsmen on it.
I knew that these people offered me my only possible means of escape.
I waved to them.
Good morning to you all.
Good afternoon to you all.
My name is John Sutton.
I am an experienced dentist,
and I've spent the last few months
experimenting with a variety of drugs
that I think will greatly benefit surgical patients.
I would like to describe to you today
both the various possible delivery methods for ether and chloroform...
..as well as...
Certainly more entertaining than one of Mr Lessing's lectures.
Thank you for coming.
These natives had never seen a white man before,
and they took me to be a reincarnated form
of their dead king.
They sailed me to their island,
and crowned me during a 14-day ceremony,
which featured much drinking, dancing, and feathered headdresses.
They daubed me with paint, and offered me a choice of wives.
Although I was engaged to Caroline at that point,
I feared that my survival depended on assimilating with these people,
so, out of etiquette,
I chose six or seven of their young women as wives,
and slept with them on alternating nights.
I spent nine months with these people, learning their customs.
Fishing, hunting, and mastering their language
of slaps, clicks and whistles.
For instance, this... CLICKS, WHISTLES AND CLAPS
..means "I don't need another mango juice".
All the while...
despite the many attractions
of their noble and primitive way of life,
I was planning my escape back to civilisation.
Thank you, Mr Steadman.
Eventually, I saw another ship passing near.
A 170-foot clipper.
I left my wives, who were having a fruit picnic,
and swam out to the ship as fast as I could.
The men pulled me on board.
Initially, due to my tan, driftwood earring and tropical skirt,
they mistook me for a local.
They were about to shoot me.
But I proved to them I was English
by reciting the second verse of God Save The Queen.
But the crew of the Medusa were a rough bunch...
I don't want to talk about it.
-You CAN tell me.
No, I mustn't.
I'm making it all up.
You can't ride turtles.
Told you I didn't want to talk about it.
Well, until you do learn to talk freely about what happened,
I think you'll continue to suffer from nightmares and shakes.
And drink is not the solution.
Do you still want me to do your lithotrity?
But I'm very angry with you about that story.
Just let me make it up to you by crushing your bladder stone.
I thought John was going to be joining us.
Here I am!
I brought my chloroform. Have you brought your penis?
What on earth have you been taking, John?
You're sweating like a hippo!
It's an unnamed jungle plant. It's very good.
I'll get you some.
I've been thinking...
rather than use drugs, I would like to try mesmerism.
-Very well. What do I do?
-I'll do it.
I thought you didn't believe in this twaddle?
I was very interested in what happened to Caroline
-when that Indian started stroking her.
-I beg your pardon?
What went on?
I'm open to anything that can bring about a change in consciousness.
Let's try it.
Feel my energy course into you now.
You feel sleepy.
Your body is heavy.
The world is falling away.
This room dissolves around you.
You're floating up, up, up, up, up, up and away.
You're a seraph...
..flying high above the world,
floating on a cloud of calm consciousness.
-I stroke you into deepness.
...you're in a full...deep trance.
A hot, heavy comfort.
You are aware of me and of Robert...
but you will feel no pain.
And now you stand.
Give me some shitting drugs now!
William has a bladder stone and needs Robert to perform a lithotrity on him - a grim genital operation. William has the unenviable choice of excruciating pain or taking John's potentially lethal new drug chloroform during surgery. In her quest to expand her medical knowledge, Caroline arranges for her and William to meet Llantha Kapoor, a famous mesmerist. With John tagging along, the three of them meet the charismatic Kapoor at a local curry house for a demonstration of his hypnotic powers.
Meanwhile, Robert is suffering from the shakes and having vivid nightmares of his time in the navy. All William knows is that something unpleasant happened to Robert. In a hammock. Believing in therapy as a form of treatment, William becomes determined that Robert should divulge his story to try to cure his shakes.