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ANATOMIE VIVANTE; or, LIVING SKELETON !
Thou com'st in such a questionable shape,
I have visited Claude AMBROISE neither unhappy nor miserable.
66 God Seurat. Some would call him an un- tempers the wind to the shorn limb." happy or a miserable creature; he is
How little do they see what is, who frame
Their hasty judgment upon that which seens. Southey. If Seurat had not seen men of firmer small pieces, as the passage to the stomake, he would not know that the in mach would not admit of any great refirmity peculiar to himself is unnatural. pletion, and in drinking the same preWere he dressed like other persons, there caution is required, otherwise suffocation is nothing in his countenance or speech would ensue. His digestion is extremely to denote him different from themselves; good, and the consequent functions of and yet the difference is so great, that it nature are regularly performed. is wonderful that he should “live, and It is a singular fact, that such is the move, and have his being.”
extreme sensitiveness of this almost nondescript, or sport of nature, that when
touched on the left side with the finger, Interesting Account and Ana the surface of the body, to a certain extomical Description" of this extraordinary tent, is observed to manifest its sympathy, individual, sold at the Chinese Saloon, by an involuntary chill, which contracts where he is exhibited, is to the following the pores, and produces that roughness effect:
of surface vulgarly known by the denoClaude Ambroise Seurat was born at mination of goose's skin. In raising Troyes, in the department of Champaigne, either of his feet from the floor, the limb on the 10th of April, 1797, and is now appears to be distended uselessly from therefore twenty-eight years of age. His the knee, and we cannot better illustrate parents were respectable, but poor, and the idea than by that sensation we comneither of them presented any deformity, monly experience upon allowing a limb or uncommon appearance; on the con to remain too long in one position, theretrary, they are stated to have enjoyed by causing a temporary strangulation of robust health. The child on coming into the vessels, known by the common term the world, presented the customary baby of the foot being asleep. form, but in proportion as the infant Previous to the arrival of Seurat in grew, the frame gradually wasted away, England, the French physicians who had and so continued to decrease until the inspected him, gave it as their opinion, attainment of its full stature, which oc that his lungs were placed in a different curred at the usual term of life, at, which position to that usually occupied in the period Claude had attained his present. human frame. height, while his frame had dwindled to Since his arrival, sir Astley Cooper, the skeleton form which it now so deci- by whom he has been visited, finds that dedly presents.
his heart is placed so much out of the comIn France, where he ate very little of mon region allotted to it, that it is preany animal food, a penny French roll cisely its own length lower than if prowas enough for a day's sustenance; but perly placed. as he now partakes of a small quantity of, Many attempts were made to have animal diet, his bread is reduced accord- Claude Ambroise Seurat presented to the ingly.
French king; but the father conceiving As regards his feeding, those dishes that he might be consigned to some which afford most nourishment satisfy wretched asylum, there to subsist upon a him the quickest ; and two or three miserable pension, uniformly objected to ounces a day are quite sufficient.
it From the statements made by the In France he was accustomed to drink father, it appears that the French gentlethe wine of his .country; but in England men of the faculty, who visited his son, he partakes of wines greatly diluted with handling him roughly, and pinching him in water, finding the liquors here so much every direction, the son refused to see stronger, as the Champaigne he usually them at all afterwards, and thus imbibed drank was what is denominated vin de such a distaste for his professional countrypays, or small wine, of which there is men, that he determined not to show himnone in this country. In eating, he mase self to them any more. In consequence, ticates his victuals very much, taking the Parisian Ecole de Medicine has never
been made acquainted with his exist- had absolutely descended from their pro
per sphere, and that by a tenacious effort Many proposals made to the father for of nature, unwilling to yield possession the purchase of the body of his son, of her functions, they had accommodated Claude Ambroise Seurat, in the event themselves, by time, to such an unnatural of his demise, were uniformly rejected, and incredible a position. A medical entleman particularly, in Seurat is presented to view in a state Burgundy, offered a carte blanche, which of nudity, save a mere covering of several the parent, with feelings highly honour- inches deep round the loins, through able to himself, refused, stating his which are cut large holes to admit the determination, that in the event of his hip bones to pass through, for the purpose son's demise, he should be peaceably of keeping it in its place. His general consigned to the cemetery of his native appearance is that of a person almost city. While at Rouen, no less than one entirely devoid of muscular substance, thousand five hundred persons flocked in and conveys to the mind the idea of a one day to see Seurat on his road to being composed of bones, cellular subEngland.
stance and skin only on. It is true, the The health of this singular being has appearances of the face, neck, fore-arm, been very good. His respiration is some and calves of the legs, may, in some meawhat confined, being the necessary result sure, form exceptions to this general asof a contraction of the lungs; yet, upon sertion, since in these situations there is the whole, he does not appear to be much something like Aesh. inconvenienced on that account, in con His height is about five feet seven sequence of the little exercise he takes, inches and a half. The length of his and the quiescent state of the animal extremities proportionate to the height of system.
his body. His head is small rather than The texture of the skin is of a dry, otherwise. The cranium, (or skull,) at the parchment-like appearance, which, cover- back part, over the occipital protubering any other human form, would not ance above the neck, is much flattened ; answer the purposes of its functions, but the cervical organs in this situation being seems calculated alone
cover the slen- very sparely developed. In other respects der, juiceless body of the being arrayed the skull is tolerably well formed. Seuwith it.
rat's countenance is by no means disThe ribs are not only capable of being pleasing ; for though the cheek-bones are distinguished, but may be clearly sepa- prominent, the cheeks themselves sunk, rated and counted one by one, and han- and the other features of the face plain, dled like so many pieces of cane; and, still there is a placid and contemplative together with the skin which covers them, expression, which indicates the presence resemble more the hoops and outer cover- of a serene and thoughtful mind, claiming of a small balloon, than any thing in ing for itself from the spectators, feelings the ordinary course of nature.
of pity and regret. If any thing can exceed the unearthly The neck, on being examined from beappearance displayed by this wonderful fore, appears short, flat, and broad. The phenomenon, it is that taken by profile; shortness is principally owing to his inwhich, from the projection of the shoulder, ability to hold the face properly elevated, pursuing the same down through the ex- in consequence of which the chin drops treme hollow of the back, and then fol- down, and conceals the upper part of the lowing the line to the front of the hip, neck. The flatness depends on the little nearly forms a figure of 3. In the front muscular and cellular substance present, appears the unnatural projection of the and on the great breadth of the neck, chest, from the falling in of the abdomen; which takes from its natural rotundity. the prominence of the left side of the This great breadth is caused by the pecubody, in consequence of the position of liar form and situation of the scapulæ, the heart; and the sudden protusion of (or shoulder-blade,) the upper angles of the posteriors.
which, instead of laying on the posterior The action produced by the effort of portions of the uppermost ribs, are turned the lungs does not proceed from the chest, over the shoulder, and pass so far forward as in ordinary cases, but from the lower as nearly to reach the middle of the claextremity of the abdomen, as though the vicles, (the collar-bones,) where their situorgans of respiration, from excessive laxity, ation may be easily seen from before.
Of course, the muscles called levatores muscle is generally, there is tritling scapulæ, which arise from the upper fulness, probably caused by a few fibres vertebræ of the neck, and usually pass of that muscle. downwards, and a very little outwards, The piner, the bone of the arm from in this case, pass very much outwards, in the elbow to the wrist, seems at the elbow a direction towards the shoulder-joint, joint considerably enlarged, but, in fact, and extend the neck considerably in a it is only of its natural dimensions. The lateral direction. These muscles, from muscles of the fore-arm, though small, their size and turgidity, have the appear- may, nevertheless, be distinctly traced. ance of bones in Seurat.
The hands are perfect in appearance. The larynx, as far as can be judged of Seurat, however, cannot straighten bis from an external examination, is well fingers, but keeps them in a semi-bent formed, and that protuberance of the thy- position ; with this exception, he can use soir cartilage called pomum adumi, or the them freely. apple of the throat, is prominent.
The trunk is singularly shaped. Viewed The formation of the upper extremities from the front, the chest is not particu. and chest, is one of the most remarkable larly narrow; it measures, from one features of this man. The left scapula is shoulder to the other, across the sternum, higher than the right; both are remark or breast-bone, sixteen inches. The sterably prominent; so much so, that, when num is much Aattened, as though it had viewed sideways, there appears to be a been driven inwards, towards the dorsal large tumour underneath the skin, over vertebra, or back-bone. In well-formed the lower angle: this arises from the great people, the sternum is a little convex, exprojection of the lower angle itself from ternally, and concave, internally, permitthe ribs. It has been already stated, that ting all possible room for the thorais the upper angle is placed unusually for- viscera. In Seurat, however, this order wards, and at the bottom of the neck, of things is changed, the outer surface of from this point, the scapula proceeds the breast-bone being concave, and the backwards, and, to permit its closer ap- internal convex. It is pushed so far inplication to the upper and back part of wards, as scarcely to leave more than one the chest, its concave surface is remark- and a half inches, or two inches between ably curved, but still not sufficiently so itself and the opposite vertebræ. to prevent the lower angle from projecting This position of the sternum, and of the in an unseemly manner. This arrange- ribs, may probably afford an explanation ment of the component parts of the sca of the causes which produce a slight impulu and its muscles, interferes very much pediment to his swallowing with despatch, with the freedom of its movements, par or such morsels as are not cut very small; ticularly the rotatory ones, which in other and of the unnatural situation of the heart, subjects are so varied.
which, instead of being placed behind the Seurat can raise his hands and arms 3d, 4th, and 5th ribs, is observed pulsatfrom his side, in a lateral direction, to a ing very low down behind the 7th, 8th, position nearly horizontal. He cannot, and 9th, ribs, in the situation of the left however, pass them far forwards, when hypochondrium. The five or six lower thus elevated. He can throw the scapula ribs, called false or floating ribs, are backwards, so as to make them almost rounder, and approach nearer to nature meet at their lower ends; nevertheless, in their form, thereby affording sufficient he is unable to lift his hands to his mouth, space for the heart, stomach, and liver, so as to feed himself in the ordinary way. and some other of the abdominal viscera. When eating, he places bis elbow on the It is conceived, that without this freer table before him, then, by raising his sweep of the lower ribs, life could not hand, thus supported, and passing his have been maintained, so much would head downwards, so as to meet it half the functions of the heart, and chylopretic way as it were, he is able to put his food viscera have been interrupted. The false into his mouth,
ribs descend very low down, on each side, The humerus, or bone of the arm, from there being scarcely one and a half inch the elbow to the shoulder, appears quite between them and the crest of the ileum. destitute of muscle, and as if it consisted The pelvis is capacious, and on its front of bone, skin, vessels, and cellular mem- aspect presents nothing very extraorbrane only. It may be remarked, huw- dinary. ever, that at that part where the biceps There is an appearance of the abdomen,
which must not be passed over. When in due proportions.
He can bear the looking at it, one might almost suppose effects of heat and cold, like other people that it consisted of two cavities, an upper accustomed to lead a sedentary life, and and a lower one, so much is this poor fel- does not need unusual clothes. His mind low contracted round the loins. The fol- is better constituted, perhaps, than that of lowing admeasurement may afford some many a man, better formed in body. He idea of this circumstance :
comprehends quickly, and his memory is
Ft. In. good. He has learnt to read and write Circumference of the chest,
his own language, and is now anxious to directly under the armpits 61 become acquainted with ours. Circumference lower down, op
Such is Claude Ainbroise Seurat, who posite the second false rib
may justly be considered as a most exCircumference round the loins 1 9
traordinary lusus naturæ,-an object Circumference round the pelvis 2 34 calculated to throw much and useful light
The muscles of the sides of the pelvis, on many interesting questions of the highpartake of the general wasting, in conse est importance, towards the advancement quence of which the trochantes stand out of anatomical study. from the glenon cavities in the same gaunt manner that they do in the true skeleton, So far from having any disinclination being covered by integuments alone. The to being exhibited in this country, Claude thighs are imperfect in bulk, and the Ambroise Seurat has repeatedly urged his knees, like the elbows, appear enlarged. wish to gratify the strong desire of the The calves of the legs seem to have more public, to view him without loss of time; firm good muscle, than any other part of and hearing that one of the journals bad the body, particularly that of the right expressed some harshness concerning his leg, which is much more fleshy than the exhibition, he indited and signed the left. The feet are well formed; a trifling following letter overlapping of the toes is probably acci
To the Editor. dental.
Sir, The examination of the back part of Having learned that in an article in Seurat’s body corresponds with the front, your journal, the motives and conduct of as far as the general leanness goes. The the persons who brought me to England occiput is flat, the neck broad; the sca are severely alluded to, it is my duty, both pula projecting, the spine crooked ;.some to them and to the public, to declare, that of the lower cervical vertebræ are curved so far from experiencing any thing disbackwards, and there is a curve towards agreeable, either in having been conthe right side, formed by some of the ducted hither or at being exposed, I feel lower dorsal vertebra. All the bony points great satisfaction not only in the change of the back part of the body are so pro- of my situation, but also at the bounties minent that every individual bone may be with which I have been loaded by the indistinctly traced by the eye, even at a con- dividuals who protect me. Far from siderable distance.
having “ been brought from the tranquilOn first beholding Seurat, a personlity of my native village," I was wandermight almost imagine that he saw before ing about France, and making but little him, one returned from “ that bourne by the exposure of my person, when I so whence no traveller returns :" the first fortunately met my present protectors, impressions over, he begins to wonder whose liberality will shortly render me how so frail a being exists, and is sur sufficiently independent to unable me to prised, that all those functions, necessary return and live at my ease in my native for the continuance of his own life, are country. I only beg leave to add, that regularly and effectively perforined. He my present situation is more happy than eats, drinks, and sleeps the progress of di- I ever yet enjoyed during my whole life, gestion, as carried on throughout the ali- and is entirely conformable to my desires. mentary canal, is regularly executed. The I have the honour to be, Sir, your most secretions of the liver, kidnies, and skin humble servant, are separated from the blood, in such
CLAUDE AMBROISE SEURAT, quantities as may be deemed necessary Aug. 4, 1825. for the economy of his frame. His heart This, with what follows, will give a performs its office regularly, and sends tolerably adequate idea of this singular the blood to the various parts of the body, bemg, both as to his form and mind.