Balance your Humours! with Millicent Forsythe the Second

tophat.jpgAh, the humours! The essences of which flow through our very innards! These four liquids, black bile, yellow bile, phlegm and blood, not only compose us, they shape our very constitutions. It is absolutely essential to the gentlemanly theatregoer or the delicate homemaker that their internal fluids be balanced in a upstanding manner, neither one being more greatly balanced than another.

In today’s hectic horse-driven world, it is so often taken for granted that one’s constitution will resemble that of a Warsaw Pole, though we more sensible English know that this is hardly the case! The moist London air, coupled with frequent trips to the den for bi-nightly opium binges, can leave one’s tender humours sorely in need of recombination!

Let it never be said that Millicent Forsythe the Second shews not care for the commoner! Quite the contrary! Here, for nary the price of a stagecoach waxing, I have provided for the ignorant masses a compendium of the choicest facts on the ever-changing nature of the human bodice. As a bonus, I have composed it in such a simple vernacular that even someone with the brain-pan of an olive merchant could comprehend.

If you find yourself switching between temperaments too often, then you have come across the answers to your plight! Let us delve into the body’s humours like a Dane into the Mediterranean.

Yellow BileHumour the First: Yellow Bile

Related temperament: Choleric

Do you find yourself wildly screeching at the chambermaid more often than not? Has caning impoverished children become more of a habit then a lark? You, my good friend, have an excess of yellow bile. Produced in the liver, yellow bile is that most putrid of fluids, hot and dry, resembling fire. My good man! The only thing for it is a prescribed cold bath. A frigid self-soaking has been shewn to greatly calm the levels of yellow bile, and assuage even the most choleric spirit. Let the canings continue, though only for the young who warrant it.

Black BileHumour the Next: Black Bile

Related temperament: Melancholic

Is the weight of the world crushing your already feeble spirit? Does the sight of an orphan eating a cup of rancid blood pudding cause tears to well up in your eyes? My god, man! Put away that tuppence! It’s not your place to change his lot in life…you’ve got an image to uphold! Rather, focus on the fact that you’re swimming in black bile! Produced in the brain and lungs, black bile is both cold and dry–not somewhere you’d want to be when the chips are down! My good man, rid yourself of that heavy fluid through a moist, hot compress or, for more pressing bouts of melancholy, through a healthy purge. Soon, fellow socialites will marvel at your insensitivity to those less fortunate!

PhlegmHumour the Third: Phlegm

Related Temperament: Phlegmatic

Ah, the mysteries of a phlegm surplus. Find yourself couging, do we? It can be nothing other than the body’s way of telling you that it has some excess phlegm to expel. Lethargic are we? Exceedingly calm? You no doubt find yourself in the throes of a phlegmatic lull. Become a bastion of dryness and heat for this ailment! As this particular fluid is cold and wet, and generally expelled through the mouth, there can be no other choice: a good emetically induced vomit should clear things right up! Let it never be said that you were above self-induced wretching! (Note, expelling the sputum in small oral burts, while quite fetching, may only exacerbate the dull lethargy you are experiencing).

BloodHumour the Last: Blood

Related Temperament: Sanguine

If the urge to sing and consume libations in quantities that would make Sicilians look like puritans, then I’m afraid you’ve forgotten yourself! Is the desire to fornicate singlehandedly outweighing both the urge to partake in your nightly Euchre and that of the subsequent foxhunt? My poor soul, you have an excess of blood, the hot and wet humour that is the cause of many an Englishman soiling his good nation’s reputation! We are not to be taken for Mediterranean pagans who do nothing other than consume wine and rejoice. A proper English life is one of temperance , tongue-cluckery and pomposity, and leaves no room for the Latin vices of song and dance. Get thee to a barber-surgeon at one, and have at minimum three pounds blood withdrawn with the aid of leeches. With that done, you will quickly regain the constitution of a properly-schooled Londoner.


There is something to be said for balance. For every savage in the world, there is a properly comported Brit. For every Slav, Chinaman, or Hindu there is a proud Welsh, Scot or Englishman. For every choleric outburst, there is a sanguinous loining. Using the above guide with the proper and attentive combination of diarrhoea, purging and blood expulsion, your internal fluids will be a beacon onto others and the envy of every Protestant blessed enough to cross your path.

Though my Christian name may be that of a girl, by calm masculinity has once again prevailed. This is Millicent Forsythe the Second wishing you the greatest of equilibrium in your humours!


1 Response to “Balance your Humours! with Millicent Forsythe the Second”

  1. 1 J-F
    December 4, 2006 at 12:53 pm

    Well now! That article was certainly… humourous! Sorry, I had to do it. However, I feel as though I shall be forever imbalanced, as my penchant for good wine, women and song shall keep me forever sanguine. Forget the leeches, though: a good hangover will bring forth the proper amount of phlegm and black bile.

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