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them to vibrate and pulsate, so the stars move in the firmament and send out sparks as it were of light like the vibrations of the veins." This is, of course, not an anticipation of the discovery of the circulation of the blood, but it shows how close were men's ideas to some such thought five centuries before Harvey's discovery. For Hildegarde the brain was the regulator of all the vital qualities, the centre of life. She connects the nerves in their passage from the brain and the spinal cord through the body with manifestations of life. She has a series of chapters with regard to psychology normal and morbid. She talks about frenzy, insanity, despair, dread, obsession, anger, idiocy, and innocency. She says very strongly in one place that "when headache and migraine and vertigo attack a patient simultaneously they render a man foolish and upset his reason. This makes many people think that he is possessed of a demon, but that is not true." These are the exact words of the saint as quoted in Mlle. Lipinska's thesis.
It is no wonder that Mlle. Lipinska thinks St. Hildegarde the most important medical writer of her time. Reuss, the editor of the edition of Hildegarde published in Migne's "Patrology," says: "Among all the saintly religious who have practised medicine or written about it in the Middle Ages, the most important is without any doubt St. Hildegarde. . . ." With regard to her book he says: '' All those who wish to write the history of the medical and natural sciences must read this work in which this religious woman, evidently well grounded in all that was known at that time in the secrets of nature, discusses and examines carefully all the knowledge of the time." He adds, "It is certain that St. Hildegarde knew many things that were unknown to the physicians of her time."
When such books were read and widely copied, it shows that there was an interest in practical and scientific medicine among women in Germany much greater than is usually thought to have existed at this time. Such writers, though geniuses, and standing above their contemporaries, usually represent the spirit of their times and make it clear that definite knowledge of things medical was considered of value. The convents and monasteries of this time are often thought of by those who know least about them as little interested in anything except their own ease and certain superstitious practices. As a matter of fact, they cared for their estates, and especially for the peasantry on them, they provided lodging and food for travellers, they took care of the ailing of their neighborhood, and, besides, occupied themselves with many phases of the intellectual life. It was a well-known tradition that country people who lived in the neighborhood of convents and monasteries, and especially those who had monks and nuns for their landlords, were much happier and were much better taken care of than the tenantry of other estates. For this a cultivation of medical knowledge was necessary in certain, at least, of the members of the religious orders, and such books as Hildegarde's are the evidence that not only the knowledge existed, but that it was collected and written down, and widely disseminated.
Nicaise, in the introduction to his edition of Guy de Chauliac's "Grande Chirurgie," reviews briefly the history of women in medicine, and concludes:
"Women continued to practise medicine in Italy for centuries, and the names of some who attained great renown have been preserved for us. Their works are still quoted from in the fifteenth century.
"There was none of them in France who became distinguished, but women could practise medicine in certain towns at least on condition of passing an examination before regularly appointed masters. An edict of 1311, at the same time that it interdicts unauthorized women from practising surgery, recognizes their right to practise the art if they have undergone an examination before the regularly appointed master surgeons of the corporation of Paris. An edict of King John, April, 1352, contains the same expressions as the previous edict. Du Bouley, in his 'History of the University of Paris,' gives another edict by the same King, also published in the year 1352, as a result of the complaints of the faculties at Paris, in which there is also question of women physicians. This responded to the petition: 'Having heard the petition of the Dean and the Masters of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Paris, who declare that there are very many of both sexes, some of the women with legal title to practise and some of them merely old pretenders to a knowledge of medicine, who come to Paris in order to practise, be it enacted,' etc. (The edict then proceeds to repeat the terms of previous legislation in this matter.)
"Guy de Chauliac speaks also of women who practised surgery. They formed the fifth and last class of operators in his time. He complains that they are accustomed to too great an extent to give over patients suffering from all kinds of maladies to the will of Heaven, founding their practice on the maxim ' The Lord has given as he has pleased; the Lord will take away when he pleases; may the name of the Lord be blessed.'
"In the sixteenth century, according to Pasquier, the practice of medicine by women almost entirely disappeared. The number of women physicians becomes more and more rare in the following centuries just in proportion as we approach our own time. Pasquier says that we find a certain number of them anxious for knowledge and with a special penchant for the study of the natural sciences and even of medicine, but very few of them take up practice."
Just how the lack of interest in medical education for women gradually deepened, until there was almost a negative phase of it, only a few women in Italy devoting themselves to medicine, is hard to say. It is one of the mysteries of the vicissitudes of human affairs that ups and downs of interest in things practical as well as intellectual keep constantly occurring. The number of discoveries and inventions in medicine and surgery that we have neglected until they were forgotten, and then had to make again, is so well illustrated in chapters of this book, that I need only recall them here in general. It may seem a little harder to understand that so important a manifestation of interest in human affairs as the education and licensure of women physicians should not only cease, but pass entirely out of men's memory, yet such apparently was the case. It would not be hard to illustrate, as I have shown in "Cycles of Feminine Education and Influence " in " Education, How Old the New" (Fordham University Press, 1910), that corresponding ups and downs of interest may be traced in the history of feminine education of every kind. In that chapter I have discussed the possible reasons for these vicissitudes, which have no place here, but I may refer those who are interested in the subject to that treatment of it.