Water Cure

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter VIII (2) | Start of Chapter

While lingering in and about Cork, among all its gardens and pleasant walks, a spot two miles from Blarney Castle, well known for the past five years as the "Water Cure" establishment, kept by Dr. Barter, should not be passed over in silence. The Doctor has persevered through and over all prejudices, sufficient to make the place a very desirable one on many accounts. Its location is well chosen, standing on an airy, sightly eminence, looking down upon the rich vales and woods of Blarney, its own backwoods left, with the exception of a few foot-paths and seats, to its natural wildness; its picturesque bathing-house or cottage, and its cultivated farm, of which the Doctor is the principal manager, make it, taken as a whole, a place of interesting resort. The house for patients is large and pleasant, its inmates made up of such as have hope if not faith, that plunging and dipping, showering and drinking cold water, possesses special, if not super-excellencies in the healing way, when applied scientifically, more than when old Dame Nature, in her homespun manner, tells them to drink when they are thirsty, and wash when they are smutty. His terms are calculated better for the purses of the higher classes than for the poorer sort, consequently he does not keep a hospital of charity, and those who resort there for a time, find good intelligent company, and when not made into mummies, or ducking and sweating, can walk or ride, read or chat, as they may find it most congenial. The table is abundantly supplied with eatables, so that flesh-eaters as well as anti-flesh-eaters may have all they can rationally ask, the only prohibition being tea and coffee. Many have tested the efficacy and declared it good, and it would seem impossible that a summer could be passed on that mountain, with the pure breezes of Ireland fanning the blood, and the sparkling water kissing the skin, and not be "cured of whatever disease he had," if the disease had not passed the healing art.

The Doctor is a great agriculturist, and if he had the bogs and hunting-grounds made over to him, famine if not pestilence would vanish from that rich soil. He thinks much and talks when disposed, and is physiologist enough to know that flesh and gravies are not the food suited to the system of any invalid; yet with a desire to please, or to retain invalids in his house, he practices these inconsistencies, as he candidly acknowledges them.

A week was pleasantly passed in the house and upon the premises; and were a spot preeminently happy for everything needful and social to be chosen, that might be the one to meet all cases. Whoever is devotional may have his Bible and prayers; whoever is merry may have psalms and the piano; whoever wants exercise may find battledoors, swings, and woody walks; and whoever wants bathing can find bathing-tubs, and cold or warm water.