Cutting away, or applying caustic to the wounded part, if promptly and unhesitatingly done, is also likely to prevent fatal consequences.
Europeans have usually recourse to eau de luce, five drops of which is administered to the patient in a glass of water every ten minutes until the poison is counteracted. Eau de luce is also applied externally. Another very good plan is to scarify with a knife the wound, and then boldly to suck it. Care, however, must be taken that one has no sore about the lips or mouth. Sweet milk, oil, or spirits of hartshorn must then be applied to the wound. The patient should also be made to drink freely of sweet milk.
In the Cape Colony, the Dutch farmers resort to a cruel but apparently effective plan to counteract the bad effects of a serpent's bite. An incision having been made in the breast of a living fowl, the bitten part is applied to the wound. If the poison be very deadly, the bird soon evinces symptoms of distress, "becomes drowsy, droops its head, and dies." It is replaced by a second, a third, and more if requisite. When, however, the bird no longer exhibits any of the signs just mentioned, the patient is considered out of danger. A frog similarly applied is supposed to be equally efficacious.
A certain white bean found in some parts of the colony (designated, somewhat singularly, the gentleman bean) has also been known to cure the bites of serpents and other poisonous creatures. Thus a Damara woman who had been stung by a scorpion was once brought to Mr. Hahn with her whole body very much swollen and inflamed. She was already in such a state as to be unable to walk. He instantly divided one of the beans in question, and applied it to the wound, to which it adhered with such tenacity as only to be removed by force. When the virus was extracted, the bean dropped off of its own accord, and the woman, after a time, thoroughly recovered.
"As an antidote against the bite of serpents," says Thun-