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Observations placeholder

Hack Tuke, Daniel – Sickness - Death induced by powerful emotions – Rejection, unrequited love and grief



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

As described in Illustrations Of The Influence Of The Mind Upon The Body In Health And Disease, Designed To Elucidate The Action Of The Imagination - Daniel Hack Tuke, M.D., M.R.C.P.,


Of the disastrous influence of disappointment in love in causing malnutrition in the form of pulmonary disease, I may refer to the case of a young lady, the daughter of my old French master, M. De M — . I avail myself of the graphic pen of a well-known writer, " Holme Lee," to describe this case, and shall not apologize for introducing so florid a sketch into a medical work :

"There is his grave, and his darling Vic's close by it, in the quiet churchyard behind the arches of the Abbey, tufted greenly over; but to-day all white and daisied with the spring. What a bright face it was, that face of Vic's, which just faded and faded and died away from the sun, in the very prime of the morning ! Here is a picture of a brilliant August day out of doors ; but in the Professor's study all is grave and quiet, and the long table is cleared for the incoming class. There is sturdy little Fan, just on a comfortable level with her books ; and pretty Vic, who has attained to the dignity of helping her father, seated with her back against the light, and the roses of her cheeks all in full glow under the shadow of the dark grape-clusters of her richly-tinted hair. She rests her elbows on the big dictionary, and props her dimpled chin in the palms of her wee white hands, on one finger of which gleams an emerald ring — symbol that her heart is given away, and her maiden promise plighted already. The door opens, and two scholars enter with mysterious air and abrupt news.
'There's a wedding at St. Olave's this morning ; have you heard of it, Vic ?' cries one. ' We always thought you and Willy were engaged ; did you really break off when you quarrelled ? It is that widow! she has nothing but her money. I would not care if I was you, Vic ; he was never worth caring about !' And then the chatterer subsides into a frightened silence, for out of Vic's face die away the roses and the sunshine, as if the hand of Death had passed over it and turned it to clay. Not a word breathes from her white lips ; they only stir with a dumb fluttering pathos, while a blank gaze steals over her beaming hazel eyes and quenches their lustre forever. No one ever saw Vic smile again. She does not help her father that morning, and he is a little testy over our lessons ; he will have the window shut, sultry as it is ; for we can hear the wedding-bells ringing at St. Olave's while we are gathered at our work. Her mother has told him hurriedly Vic is not well, and he must do without her, and he is fidgety and fretful that anything should ail his darling and he not know why. He will know why soon enough — soon enough !

"And this is a day in the fall of the leaf. The chill October winds have begun to blow, and Vic is sitting by our parlor fire, at home, talking to my eldest sister very seriously and sadly, myself listening with an awed, silent sympathy to the old, old story she is telling; I fancy I can hear her still! 'Yes, they had quarrelled, but they had made it up again, and she thought it was over; he kissed her the last time they said good-by ; they were quite friends. Oh, yes, quite friends ! She had no more idea of his leaving her, and marrying anybody else, than she had of the Minster falling !

Her grief would kill her, is killing her — her heart is broken, she says ; speaking not in her old sweet voice, but in such a querulous, sharp accent as might thrill from the cords of some fine instrument when overworn, and jarred all out of tune. She had her pretty caprices in her happy days, and perhaps by practical people she may be considered a little fantastic and sentimental now ; but by and by every adverse tongue is hushed, for it begins to be whispered amongst us that she is going off in a decline. And before the snow-drops come again she is gone"

("In the Silver Age," 1866, p. 140).

The source of the experience

Hack Tuke, Daniel

Concepts, symbols and science items




Science Items

Types of hurt and organs

Activities and commonsteps