Psorinum was the founder of the great patrician family, Psora. His ancient name was not psorinum, but for convenience sake, we will call him so. History gives us a pretty good knowledge of him, but it don’t tell when he was born nor where. That his birth occurred way back in antiquity is known because in bible times, one branch of his family, the branch called leprosy, had already become so aristocratic that special laws were made to prevent undue familiarity on the part of the people towards its members. It is also known that all along down the generations, both royal and loyal blood has been plentifully mixed with that of Psora; but however patrician Psorinum’s family may have become, he himself was very plebian, though what does that matter? All patrician family trees have somewhere touched plebian soil.
Had Psorinum lived today, he would be found in the slums of one of our great cities, the saddest, dirtiest, little sore-eyed, sore-headed, foul-smelling, filthy, young ragamuffin that ever lived, but Psorinum lived before the gamin appeared in the cities; it may be before the cities themselves appeared. So, as he couldn’t have been a gamin, he must have been a swineherd. Probably it was because he tended the swine so well that he received the title, Sir, his original name being Ra. All down the generations, the family bore the name, Sir Ra, corrupted to Psora, until a recent genealogist, on trying to gather Sir Ra’s history from an aristocratic off-shoot, further corrupted it to Psorinum.
Psorinum, the swineherd, never really liked his work. He grew discouraged, melancholy, joyless. That may be the reason he had no ambition to be clean. The influence of companionship is so great, that one soon makes the desires and thoughts of his associates his own. It is no wonder, then, that with swine for comrades, we find him without ambition and dirty. Like the pigs, he just revelled in filth. Having lost his sense of smell, it wasn’t so offensive to him as to other people. He was so dirty that he became scabby everywhere, thick dirty, yellow scabs came on the scalp and extended to the forehead, neck, ears and cheeks. The scabs crack and ooze yellow water, yellow offensive pus flowed from beneath the crusts; his hair became stiff and tangled and full of vermin; his skin was dirty and greasy looking, offensive scabby eruptions could be found anywhere on his body. He looked and smelled as though he never washed and probably he didn’t.
What remarkable thing he did to raise his family above its plebian origin, is unknown, unless, as I said before, he tended the swine so well. It is possible that some of the inventions of his grandson Sulphur were attributed to him. Psorinum and his grandson Sulphur are as near alike as two peas and one is often taken for the other.
Sulphur was more philosophical than his grandfather, but in disposition he is much like him. Both are sometimes irritable, both low-spirited, sad and unhappy and at times, both are stupid, though Sulphur is not quite so intense in these as Psorinum.
Sulphur seems to have a real affection for his grandfather. He knows that every natural thought and action of the old man has always been suppressed. He resents the injustice and never loses an opportunity to hunt out the old gentleman and bring him before the public. It is true, the old gentleman soon retires of his own accord, but Sulphur is satisfied he has undone a wrong. If Sulphur has one special object in life, it is to undo the wrongs done to his grandfather Psorinum and yet he is called anti-psoric. Ah, well! people are often misjudged by the masses who see not below the surface. Psorinum and Sulphur cannot long enjoy each other’s society, for Psorinum is not comfortable in the open air while Sulphur nearly suffocates in a warm room.
Psorinum had a ravenous appetite; he could eat all the time, but hungry as he was, he could ever be persuaded to eat pork. It’s too much to expect that one could eat one’s early companions. Psorinum was fond of his beer and always wanted it with his dinner. Sulphur seemed to inherit this taste intensified. He had a violent taste for beer and ale and an insatiate thirst for brandy. At times, he wanted to drink from morning until night. Poor Sulphur! he is not the only one who could not refrain from the abuse of alcohol because his ancestors carelessly indulged in its use. It is a fiendish inheritance, that awful thirst, ’tis born of selfishness and it begets selfishness. Knowing as we do that the abuse follows so closely on the heels of the use of alcohol, how dare we draw the line between the two, when God has not?.
Psorinum is tired, nervous, weak – a very little labor exhausts him, he looks pale, and thin and chilly. He is so sensitive to cold that he puts on his thick winter wraps in hot weather. Sulphur is tired, weak, thin, stoop-shouldered, but Sulphur is always opening the windows for fresh air.
Psorinum was troubled with dyspepsia. It’s a frequent trouble of drinkers. He would waken hungry at night, but there was heaviness in the stomach after eating. He was troubled with sour, rancid vomiting and eructations tasting of rotten eggs. Sulphur seems to have inherited his grandfather’s weak stomach along with his drinking propensity. No matter how hungry Sulphur is, a little food fills him.
He also has the eructations tasting of rotten eggs and the acid vomiting. Sulphur is hungry at 11 a.m. instead of during the night as is his grandfather. Both have the offensive stool, the odor of which is extremely penetrating and clinging, but the characteristic stool of Psorinum is brown fluid, while that of Sulphur may have almost any character or it may be changeable. Sulphur does not object to dirt any more than his grandfather did. His face looks just as sallow and dirty as Psorinum’s. It is true Sulphur’s face is not quite so greasy looking as Psorinum’s, but then Sulphur wasn’t raised with the pigs.
Sulphur’s appetite is frightened away by the sight of food, but he endeavors to make his account even by drinking much water, for when Sulphur eats little, he drinks much.
Psorinum’s mouth has no taste at all, while Sulphur’s mouth in its endeavor to please him, goes to the other extreme and takes on every kind of taste imaginable. It awakens him in the morning with a foul, bitter taste, and then goes on down the list of sour, sweetish, metallic, coppery, pasty, vinegary, putrid, nauseating, etc., to the end. But Sulphur is no more pleased with the result than is Psorinum.
One day Psorinum found his grandson doubled up with the colic. The old gentleman remembering how quickly his own colic was cured by eating, advised the same cure, but Sulphur, looking up into the sympathetic face of the old man said, “Plague take it, grandfather, that’s just what brought it on”.
Psorinum had a pain in the cardiac region which was worse every time he took a deep breath. Sulphur sat beside him with a similar pain in the cardiac region, made worse by deep breath. Each was very anxious about the other and the anxiety in each brought on an attack of palpitation.
Like his grandfather Psorinum, Sulphur is subject to stiff neck and enlarged glands but the enlarged glands of Sulphur are not so likely to be sore to touch as Psorinum’s.
After Sulphur took to drink, his face became red, swollen and coarse looking. Psorinum did not drink to such an extent as Sulphur, so he only had a big red nose. Sulphur seems to have inherited his grandfather’s “bad blood” for he too suffers with eruptions and oh! how those eruptions do itch! Both scratch until it bleeds. Psorinum rubs to relieve the itching and develops pustules and vesicles while Sulphur’s rubbing leaves a soring burning place. Sulphur’s itching is really an illustration of impish coquetry, for just as poor Sulphur is congratulating himself that he has conquered it in one place, up it jumps in some distant part with a seeming “here we are again” and goes to work with renewed vigor. it begins when he is undressing at night, grows worse from the warmth of the bed, and torments him until three or four o’clock in the morning, then withdraws to plan a new campaign to begin as Sulphur wakens in the morning. There is nothing of coquetry about the itching of Psorinum. As soon as he gets warm in bed it settles down to business attacking the whole body and works steadily until midnight.
Both have vivid, anxious dreams, the effects of which linger after waking. With such fights with the itch fiend before sleep and such frightful dreams during sleep, it’s no wonder that both are tired in the morning and sleepy all the day time. When Psorinum was a child, he would fret all night and be as lively as ever the next day; even in adult life, he is not so tired in the morning as Sulphur.
It is day time. Sulphur and Psorinum are yawning with sleepiness, so we will tiptoe out hoping the day will give them what the night refused, a restful nap.