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starved to death. She asked for food,
recovered her strength, and signed her name (or
made her mark) to the following confession:
"I, Ann Moore, of Tutbury, humbly asking
pardon of all persons whom I have attempted
to deceive and impose upon, and, above all,
with the most unfeigned sorrow and contrition
imploring the Divine mercy and forgiveness of
that God whom I have so greatly offended,
do most solemnly declare that I have
occasionally taken sustenance during the last six

The narrative which has recently attracted
public attention has this feature: it is written
by a physician who gives the guarantee of
his own name to the words he writes, and
takes responsibility for any scepticism he may
express concerning what was told him, or what
he seemed to see; for in matters of this kind it
is not always safe to conclude that "seeing is
believing." He is a district medical officer of
one of the London unions. Being on an
autumnal visit in the counties of Cardigan and
Carmarthen, in the recent month of August,
he heard a great deal about a certain fasting
girl in the last-named shire, and resolved to
investigate the matter by such tests as a
physician might be able to apply. That she is a
girl of thirteen years old, named Sarah Jacob,
is as expressible in English as in Welsh; but
when we are told that her father, a small tenant-
farmer, lives at the village of Llethernoyadduccha,
in the parish of Llanfihangelararth,
we feel how great a gift it must be to be able
to pronounce Welsh. The positive averment
of the girl's parents was that, save a fortnightly
moistening of her lips with cold water, she had
taken neither food nor drink for twenty-three
months; that she had had good health until
about two years ago, when an attack of illness
brought on vomiting of blood; that she had
never since left her bed except to be lifted
out; that the incapability of swallowing has
remained unaltered throughout; and that the
very sight of food is sufficient to bring on one
of the fits to which she is subject.

Now, this was the story which was told to
the physician by the parents of the girl. She
herself spoke very little Englishusing Welsh
in conversing with the parents. The very
first thing which attracted his notice was that
Sarah was evidently regarded as a show girl, an
exhibition for curiosity-hunting visitors. "The
child was lying in her bed decorated as a bride,
having round her head a wreath of flowers,
from which was suspended a smart riband,
the ends of which were joined by a small bunch
of flowers after the present fashion of ladies'
bonnet-strings. Before her, at proper reading
distance, was an open Welsh book, supported
by two other books on her body. Across the
fireplace, which was nearly opposite the foot
of her bed, was an arrangement of shelves
well stocked with English and Welsh books,
the gifts of various visitors to the house."
All this pretentious display aroused his suspicions,
and determined him to note the accessory
facts closely. His account is too long to be
given here in full; but the chief items may
usefully be presented in a condensed form.

1. The girl's face was plump, her cheeks
and lips of a rosy colour, her eyes bright and
sparkling, and her muscular development very
inconsistent with such (alleged) wonderful
abstinence from food. 2. There was a restless
movement and frequent looking out of the
corners of the eyes, known to physicians as a
concomitant of simulative disease. 3. The pulse
was perfectly natural; the stethoscope told of
sound lungs and heart, and of a stomach
certainly not empty of liquid. 4. He was
prevented, by excuses and expostulations on the
part of the parents, from examining the girl's
backa test which would have told something
to him as a medical man concerning the
presence or absence of gastronomic action. 5. He
was led to the conviction that the parents
honestly believed what they said, but that they
were deceived by the girl herself; for "the
construction of the bed and the surrounding old
Welsh cupboards and drawers in the room were
all favourable to the concealment of food." 6.
He was told that when watchers were, with
permission, placed in the house, they were
debarred from touching the bedan inhibition
which reduced the watching to an absurdity.
The sum total was, that the physician arrived
at these conclusions: that there was no physical
cause to prevent this so-called bed-ridden
fasting girl from rising from her bed and using
her locomotive powers; that the power was
there, but that the will was morbidly
perverted; that the whole case was one of
simulative hysteria in a young girl having the
propensity to deceive very strongly developed;
and that this tendency was further aided by
a power of prolonged fasting, though not
approaching in duration to that which was
pretended. He acquits the parents of deceit
(on what grounds is not very clear to us), but
cannot shut his eyes to the fact that they made
their patient a complete show-child, receiving
money and presents from hundreds of visitors
to the farm. Finally, he remarks, "Being made
an object of curiosity, sympathy, and profit, is
not only antagonistic to the girl's recovery, but
also renders it extremely difficult for a medical
man to determine how much of the symptoms
is the result of a morbid perversion of will,
and how much is the product of intentional


MY horse is the direct consequence of my
having enough to eat. Blest with a good
appetite, and devoted to a sedentary pursuit,
I became conscious of a liver directly
I began to be successful. Revealing this
discovery to my doctor, not without a certain
pride, as becomes a man whose stock of
information is increased, I was rewarded by
the terms of opprobrium—"Torpid!" and