A high opinion of doctors, clearly.  I loved this scattergun approach to diagnosis and treatment: throw the whole therapeutic cabinet at your patient and see if something sticks – see the full quotation below.

All this is due to their bafflement at Orlando’s apparent and protracted loss of consciousness, which seems his-her way of handling great emotional shock.

In the end, having emptied the cabinet of potions and prescriptions, they conclude he’s had a good long sleep.

‘But the doctors were hardly wiser than they are now, and after prescribing rest and exercise, starvation and nourishment, society and solitude, that he should lie in bed all day and ride forty miles between lunch and dinner, together with the usual sedatives and irritants, diversified, as the fancy took them, with possets of newt’s slobber on rising, and draughts of peacock’s gall on going to bed, they left him to himself, and gave it their opinion that he had been asleep for a week.’


Source: Virginia Woolf, Orlando: A Biography, ed. with an introduction by Rachel Bowlby (Oxford: World’s Classics, 1992), p. 65


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