I have now been here near a month, bathing and drinking the waters, for complaints much of the same kind as yours; I mean pains in my legs, hips, and arms; whether gouty or rheumatic, God knows; but, I believe, both, that fight without a decision in favour of either, and have absolutely reduced me to the miserable situation of the Sphynx’s riddle, to walk upon three legs; that is, with the assistance of my stick, to walk, or rather hobble, very indifferently. I wish it were a declared gout, which is the distemper of a gentleman; whereas the rheumatism is the distemper of a hackney-coachman or chairman, who are obliged to be out in all weathers and at all hours.
Your complicated complaints give me great uneasiness, and the more, as I am convinced that the Montpellier physicians have mistaken a material part of your case…. In my opinion, you have no gout, but a very scorbutic and rheumatic habit of body, which should be treated in a very different manner from the gout; and, as I pretend to be a very good quack, at least, I would prescribe to you a strict milk diet, with the seeds, such as rice, sago, barley, millet, &c. for the three summer months at least, and without ever tasting wine. If climate signifies any thing (in which, by the way, I have very little faith) you are, in my mind, in the finest climate in the world; neither too hot nor too cold, and always clear: you are with the gayest people living; be gay with them, and do not wear out your eyes with reading at home.
Smiling still he sank back into a rosy state between waking and doze…. [T]he tension of yesterday had quite died away… now he could look back upon that series of events as something already in the past…. He considered old age and its mutilations and wondered what it would do for him: examples presented themselves to his mind, not only of mental decay, physical weakness, gout, stone, and rheumatism, but of boastful mendacious garrulity, intense and peevish selfishness; timidity if not cowardice, dirt, concupiscence, avarice.