Who would have supposed that Mr. Mercurius and Miss Sulphur would ever marry and further, who would suppose they would ever marry each other? Miss Sulphur is such a philosophical woman, always studying out things, inventing things. It is true, she is lazy -lazy and dirty, but then, laziness is the mother of invention. Sometimes she is too lazy to study out things, then she is unhappy for weeks and would like to die.
Mr. Mercurius is quite different from Miss Sulphur; he belongs to a different set in society; is quite in the social set, while she wouldn’t turn her hand over to be in society. Mr. Mercurius is slow of intellect, couldn’t invent anything to save his life. Miss Sulphur is too lazy to exert herself, therefore she is dirty, the house is dirty. She is so used to dirt that it makes no impression upon her. She does not see it. “Her mind is upon more important things.” Mr. Mercurius hasn’t a lazy bone in his body. He is never still a minute, if he has strength to move. As would be expected in such a mismatched pair, she scolds him because he won’t sit still a little while and he is dissatisfied with his surroundings, scolds back, because she don’t keep the house clean. When it comes to fault-finding, Miss Sulphur usually comes out ahead, for Mr. Mercurius is a little cowardly at heart and really is afraid of her, so hasn’t the courage to continue the quarrel, though sometimes he is bold enough.
To this unequally yoked pair two children were born. Cinnabaris, the first born, resembles his father. He grew up, entered society and became quite popular years ago. Mercurius Sulphuricus, born many years later than Cinnabaris, is more like his mother. He is so little in society that one seldom meets him.
Cinnabaris has a clear mind and cheerful disposition, but he doesn’t bother his brain over metaphysical subjects; he neglects things because he forgets to do them. He is irritable at times, like his mother. He wants to be alone at times, but he gets that from both parents. Most men feel pretty god-natured when their stomachs are full. Not so with Mercurius sulphuricus, he is irritable after a good dinner, but he has had a weak stomach from childhood up. Mr. and Mrs. Mercurius sulphuricus had great trouble in bringing up their children. Mercurius sulphuricus stomach is more like his father’s. Mr. Mercurius often has trouble with his stomach after eating, but though he sometimes nearly loses consciousness from nausea, his stomach has not that exaggerated sensitiveness of his son’s. Mercurius sulphuricus, mother also has a weak stomach, but she vomits before as well as after meals. The oldest son, Cinnabaris, had trouble with his stomach occasionally, but would soon belch and feel relieved. One point in which the two brothers resemble each other is that both feel better after vomiting.
During his second summer, little Mercurius sulphuricus had cholera infantum. How could he escape it with that stomach and a lazy mother? Like his mother, his trouble began early in the morning. Stools were profuse, yellow or white, watery, pouring out in a hot stream, burning the anus.
Cinnabaris didn’t have cholera infantum, but when he was older, he had dysentery. During this attack, the stool was green mucus, and there was some blood mixed with the stool. Like his father, he was worse at night, but unlike his father, the stool stained the skin about the anus copper color.
Little Mercurius sulphuricus had hydrothorax, inherited it from his mother. Like her, he suffered from great dyspnoea, so that he could not lie down, but his attacks were worse in the afternoon, while his mother’s attacks came on during the night. Cinnabaris being like his father, escaped these attacks.
When they became older, they followed their father’s example, joined a club, became “one of the boys”, went out nights, etc., hence fell into trouble just as their father did before them.
Mercurius sulphuricus, specific disease was attended with intense congestion, but it was easily suppressed. Cinnabaris succeeded in having his first attack of gonorrhoea suppressed, but he contracted the disease the second time and afterwards added syphilis to that, then there was trouble. He took Mercury and Iodum of potassium without end but could not wholly suppress his trouble. The yellowish green discharge continued a long time. He had syphilitic phimosis in which the prepuce was terribly swollen, purplish and ulcerated. He also had sycotic excrescences and when he finally succeeded in suppressing all this, he had syphilitic ulcers in the larynx, gonorrhoeal rheumatism, syphilitic iritis and nodosities on the shin-bone. Mercurius sulphuricus has ulcers on his ankles and gonorrhoeal rheumatism as the result of the suppression of his disease. Like his father, his pains are worse at night and like him, both boys are restless.
Mercurius sulphuricus has much burning. There is burning of the mouth and tongue, burning in the throat, burning in the larynx, burning in the chest, burning in the abdomen, burning in the anus, burning in the ears, face and feet. Cinnabaris has some burning, but it not nearly so much as Mercurius sulphuricus. They have a right to burn! They inherit it from both sides of the house and they have earned it also.
If you should look into the mouth of Mercurius sulphuricus, you might think you were looking into his father’s mouth. There is the same bluish color of the gums and the ulcers, but his mouth is more likely to be dry than his father’s.
When the family go to bed at night, trouble begins. The father’s begins even earlier, for in the evening, he notices an itching like flea bites all over his body, especially if overheated. He feels a little more comfortable after scratching, but he must get out of bed again and let the sheets cool off. the mother gets nicely settled in bed, when her itching begins. It is here, there and everywhere, all over. She scratches in one place, then in another, until it bleeds. The scratching is followed by a stinging or burning, but she can endure that better than the itching. Cinnabaris itches in many places at night and the more he scratches, the worse he itches. Mercurius sulphuricus gets off easier than the rest, for he is not likely to itch anywhere excepting the scalp and nose, but while all the others are made restless by the itching, he is made restless by bad dreams. If the itching and dreams did not make them restless at night, the pains would, for it seems as though almost everything in the line of pains come to the whole family in the night.