Quotations and Authors:

Now, Pierre, if you were in any profession, or in any business at all; nay, if I were a farmer’s wife, and you my child, working in my fields; why, then, you and Lucy should still wait awhile. But as you have nothing to do but to think of Lucy by day, and dream of her by night, and as she is in the same predicament, I suppose; with respect to you; and as the consequence of all this begins to be discernible in a certain, just perceptible, and quite harmless thinness, so to speak, of the cheek; but a very conspicuous and dangerous febrileness of the eye; therefore, I choose the lesser of two evils; and now you have my permission to be married, as soon as the thing can be done with propriety. I dare say you have no objection to have the wedding take place before Christmas, the present month being the first of summer.”

Pierre; or The Ambiguities Melville, Herman 1852

Febrileness in Melville.

I was once, I remember, called to a patient who had received a violent contusion in his tibia, by which the exterior cutis was lacerated, so that there was a profuse sanguinary discharge; and the interior membranes were so divellicated, that the os or bone very plainly appeared through the aperture of the vulnus or wound. Some febrile symptoms intervening at the same time (for the pulse was exuberant and indicated much phlebotomy), I apprehended an immediate mortification. To prevent which, I presently made a large orifice in the vein of the left arm, whence I drew twenty ounces of blood; which I expected to have found extremely sizy and glutinous, or indeed coagulated, as it is in pleuretic complaints; but, to my surprize, it appeared rosy and florid, and its consistency differed little from the blood of those in perfect health. I then applied a fomentation to the part, which highly answered the intention; and after three or four times dressing, the wound began to discharge a thick pus or matter, by which means the cohesion–But perhaps I do not make myself perfectly well understood?”–“No, really,” answered the lieutenant, “I cannot say I understand a syllable.”–“Well, sir,” said the surgeon, “then I shall not tire your patience; in short, within six weeks my patient was able to walk upon his legs as perfectly as he could have done before he received the contusion.”

“Very likely,” says the doctor: “I have known people eat in a fever; and it is very easily accounted for; because the acidity occasioned by the febrile matter may stimulate the nerves of the diaphragm, and thereby occasion a craving which will not be easily distinguishable from a natural appetite; but the aliment will not be concreted, nor assimilated into chyle, and so will corrode the vascular orifices, and thus will aggravate the febrific symptoms. Indeed, I think the gentleman in a very dangerous way, and, if he is not blooded, I am afraid will die.”

The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling Fielding, Henry 1749

Febrile in Fielding.

Men shake hands, swear eternal friendship, and shed tears, no mortal knows why; and the sensual creature is clearly uppermost. But the expansion of the benigner feelings incident to opium is no febrile access, but a healthy restoration to that state which the mind would naturally recover upon the removal of any deep-seated irritation of pain that had disturbed and quarrelled with the impulses of a heart originally just and good. True it is that even wine, up to a certain point and with certain men, rather tends to exalt and to steady the intellect; I myself, who have never been a great wine-drinker, used to find that half-a-dozen glasses of wine advantageously affected the faculties–brightened and intensified the consciousness, and gave to the mind a feeling of being “ponderibus librata suis;”

Confessions of an English Opium-Eater De Quincey, Thomas 1821

Febrile in De Quincey.

Caroline wore continually round her neck a slender braid of silk, attached to which was some trinket. Mrs. Pryor had seen the bit of gold glisten, but had not yet obtained a fair view of it. Her patient never parted with it. When dressed it was hidden in her bosom; as she lay in bed she always held it in her hand. That Tuesday afternoon the transient doze–more like lethargy than sleep–which sometimes abridged the long days, had stolen over her. The weather was hot. While turning in febrile restlessness, she had pushed the coverlets a little aside. Mrs. Pryor bent to replace them. The small, wasted hand, lying nerveless on the sick girl’s breast, clasped as usual her jealously-guarded treasure. Those fingers whose attenuation it gave pain to see were now relaxed in sleep. Mrs. Pryor gently disengaged the braid, drawing out a tiny locket–a slight thing it was, such as it suited her small purse to purchase. Under its crystal face appeared a curl of black hair, too short and crisp to have been severed from a female head.

Shirley Brontë, Charlotte 1849

Febrile in Brontë.

Pont de Montvert, or Greenhill Bridge, as we might say at home, is a place memorable in the story of the Camisards. It was here that the war broke out; here that those southern Covenanters slew their Archbishop Sharp. The persecution on the one hand, the febrile enthusiasm on the other, are almost equally difficult to understand in these quiet modern days, and with our easy modern beliefs and disbeliefs. The Protestants were one and all beside their right minds with zeal and sorrow. They were all prophets and prophetesses. Children at the breast would exhort their parents to good works. ‘A child of fifteen months at Quissac spoke from its mother’s arms, agitated and sobbing, distinctly and with a loud voice.’ Marshal Villars has seen a town where all the women ‘seemed possessed by the devil,’ and had trembling fits, and uttered prophecies publicly upon the streets. A prophetess of Vivarais was hanged at Montpellier because blood flowed from her eyes and nose, and she declared that she was weeping tears of blood for the misfortunes of the Protestants. And it was not only women and children. Stalwart dangerous fellows, used to swing the sickle or to wield the forest axe, were likewise shaken with strange paroxysms, and spoke oracles with sobs and streaming tears. A persecution unsurpassed in violence had lasted near a score of years, and this was the result upon the persecuted; hanging, burning, breaking on the wheel, had been in vain; the dragoons had left their hoof-marks over all the countryside; there were men rowing in the galleys, and women pining in the prisons of the Church; and not a thought was changed in the heart of any upright Protestant.

Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes Stevenson, Robert Louis 1879

He advanced to Silas, who still retreated before him backwards, and sought to take him by the wrist; but the strain on the young American’s nerves had become too great for endurance. He avoided the Doctor with a febrile movement, and, throwing himself upon the floor, burst into a flood of weeping.

New Arabian Nights Stevenson, Robert Louis 1882

Febrile in Stevenson.

The paper had been an immense success, closely reasoned, delivered with a disciplined emotion, the redoubtable Smithers practically converted, the reply after the debate methodical and complete, and it may be there were symptoms of that febrile affection known to the vulgar as “swelled ‘ed.” Lewisham regarded Moses and spoke of his future. Miss Heydinger for the most part watched his face.

“And then?” said Miss Heydinger.

Love and Mr. Lewisham Wells, Herbert George 1900

“Are we social equals?” I said abruptly.
She stared at me. “Queer question,” she said.
“But are we?”
“H’m. Difficult to say. But why do you ask? Is the daughter of a courtesy Baron who died–of general disreputableness, I believe–before his father–? I give it up. Does it matter?”
“No. My mind is confused. I want to know if you will marry me.”

She whitened and said nothing. I suddenly felt I must plead with her. “Damn these bandages!” I said, breaking into ineffectual febrile rage. She roused herself to her duties as nurse. “What are you doing? Why are you trying to sit up? Sit down! Don’t touch your bandages. I told you not to talk.”

She stood helpless for a moment, then took me firmly by the shoulders and pushed me back upon the pillow. She gripped the wrist of the hand I had raised to my face.

“I told you not to talk,” she whispered close to my face. “I asked you not to talk. Why couldn’t you do as I asked you?”
“You’ve been avoiding me for a month,” I said.
“I know. You might have known. Put your hand back–down by your side.”
I obeyed. She sat on the edge of the bed. A flush had come to her cheeks, and her eyes were very bright. “I asked you,” she repeated, “not to talk.”

Tono Bungay Wells, Herbert George 1908

Febrile in Wells.