An obstinate, chronic inflammation of the eyelids, which had for years defied the mercurial and other salves of the dominant school of medicine, induced my father to seek aid from that veteran homoeopath of New York City, the late Edward Bayard, whose office, with its atmosphere of culture and quiet dignity was in Fortieth Street, opposite Bryant Park and the old Croton Reservoir, later to be torn down and stripped of its Egyptian columns, to make way for the building of the New York Public Library. Good old Doctor Bayard had given up the law, with its vagaries and technicalities, for the philosophy of Hahnemann, which he followed to the letter throughout his entire medical career.
He came from the distinguished family of Delaware Bayards, urinal originally Huguenots, sans peur et sans reproach, who had migrated to America during the early Colonial times in order to escape persecution at the ruthless hands of the French Catholics. My father became one of his most devoted patients, to whom the doctors word was law and I well remember that for years my father suffered the highly unpleasant inconvenience of impacted cerumen in one of the canals of his ears, which Doctor Bayard would not remove, in the firm conviction that the similimum must and would accomplish this highly desirable result.
Of course, the wax refused to budge and not until the death of the old doctor, was the offending foreign body ousted by a clearer thinking successor, not however, without the protestations, misgiving and serious doubts of my faithful father, whose implicit confidence in his trusted medical adviser could not be easily shaken.
In this bureau drawer, my father kept a small, ornate mahogany box, which contained in orderly array, thirty-six small Bohemian- glass vials of homoeopathic potencies, all in the 200th, pretty to gaze upon with silent and respectful awe. As a boy I was intensely fascinated by this neat little cabinet, and it was not long before I had familiarized myself with the names and more obvious uses of the various remedies, in minute pellet form, contained within the attractive little bottles.
Thus Nux vomica became quite a boon companion, for I rapidly learned its astonishing value in the many simple ailments of daily, domestic life; Arnica soon became a friend in need, to be relied upon for its kindly ministrations in many a bump and bruise. My natural boyish curiosity led me to explore still further the forbidden precincts of my fathers room and I was rewarded in my clandestine search, by finding that gold mine of household medical information, Herings Domestic Physician, whose pages held me spellbound, with their accounts of the marvellous benefits to be derived from the administration of homoeopathic medicines in suitable circumstances and cases.
I soon absorbed with eager facility the indications for the use of most of the thirty-six remedies and forthwith commenced to put my knowledge to the test by practical application upon man and beast. Simple head colds seemed to vanish as if by magic under my doses of Allium cepa, Arsenicum album, Nux vomica and Pulsatilla, and even my cat and dog, upon occasion, gave mute testimony to the efficacy of Homoeopathy. As time went on and my schooling progressed, I eventually found myself in the School of Arts of one of our large colleges, impatient however, to being the study of homoeopathic medicine, which I did after two years of academic study, chiefly of English composition, literature, Latin and Greek.
Mathematics was my mortal enemy and my inability to master the intricacies of trigonometry and conic sections, imposed upon me by fossilized old pedagogues, finally decided me to take up the study of medicine without further delay. I had been impressed by my father and more particularly by his physician and the successor to Doctor Bayard, the late Clarence C. Howard, M.D., whose son is today the Roentgenologist of Flower Hospital, in New York City, with the truth, simplicity and beauty of Hahnemanns philosophy, and anything in medicine which departed from the founders founders dicta and injunctions, seemed to me to partake of disloyalty and even treachery of the highest degree.
It was, therefore, with much astonishment, when, soon after my matriculation in the New York Homoeopathic Medical College and Flower Hospital, I listened to unorthodox teachings and pronouncements from the lips of some of my professors. To me it was a distinct shock, which took years to overcome, when I heard from many of my fellow students, disparaging remarks and even gross ridicule of homoeopathic principles. As a student of homoeopathic medicine I could not understand the attitude of incredulity assumed by those who supposedly had come to the fountain-head of Hahnemannian learning and wisdom.