Abbildungen der Seite

as to scarcely admit a hog's bristle. The other extremity is called the pavilion. It is trumpet-shaped, fringed, and commonly inclined towards the ovary, to which it is attached by one of its longest fimbriæ. This fringed portion is called corpus fimbriatum or morsus diaboli. The Fallopian tubes, consequently, open at one end into the cavity of the uterus, and at the other through the peritoneum into the cavity of the abdomen. They are covered externally by the broad ligament, or peritoneum; are lined internally by a mucous membrane, which is soft, villous, and has many longitudinal folds; and between these coats is a thick, dense, whitish membrane, which is possessed of contractility; although muscular fibres cannot be detected in it. Santorini asserts, that in robust females the middle membrane of the tubes has two muscular layers; an external, the fibres of which are longitudinal, and an internal, whose fibres are circular.

The ovaries, (Figs. 132 and 136,) are two ovoid bodies, of a pale red colour, rugous, and near


Fig. 136.


ly of the size of the testes of the male. They

are situated in the Cavity of


Section of ovary.

the pelvis, and are contained in the posterior fold of the broad ligaments of the uterus. At one time they were conceived to be glandular, and were called the female testes; but as soon as the notion prevailed, that they contained ova, the term ovary or egg-vessel was given to them. The external extremity of the ovary has attached to it one of the principal fimbriæ of the Fallopian tube. The inner extremity has a small fibro-vascular cord inserted into it: this passes to the uterus to which it is attached behind the insertion of the Fallopian tube, and a little lower. It is called the ligament of the ovary, and is in the posterior ala of the broad ligament. It is solid, and has no canal.

The surface of the ovary has many round prominences, and the peritoneum envelopes the whole of it, except at the part where the ovary adheres to the broad ligament. The precise nature of its parenchyma is not determined. When torn or divided longitudinally, as in Fig. 136, b, it appears to be constituted of a cellulovascular tissue. In this, there are from fifteen to twenty spherical vesicles—ovula Graafiana—varying in size from half a line to three lines in diameter. These are filled with an albuminous fluid, which is colourless or yellowish, and may be readily seen by dividing the vesicles carefully with the point of a pair of fine scissors.

The arteries and veins of the ovaries belong to the spermatics. Their nerves, which are extremely delicate, are from the renal plexuses; and their lymphatics communicate with those of the kidneys.

Such is the anatomy of the chief organs, concerned in the function of generation. Those of lactation we shall describe hereafter.

It is obvious, that the sexual characteristics in man are widely separate; and the two sexes are never perhaps, united in the same individual. Yet such an unnatural union has been supposed to exist; from the fabulous son of 'Epuns and Apodin,—Mercury and Venus, to his less dignified representatives of modern times:

"Nec fœmina dici,

Nec puer ut possent, neutrumque et utrumque videntur."—Ovid.

We have already remarked, that in the lower animals and in plants such hermaphrodism is common; but in the upper classes, and especially in man, a formation, which gives to an individual the attributes of both sexes, has never, perhaps, been witnessed. Monstrous formations are occasionally met with; but, if careful examination be made, it can usually be determined to what sex the being belongs. The generality of cases are produced by unusual development of the clitoris in the female, or by a cleft scrotum in the male. Only two instances of the kind have fallen under the observation of the author, one of which has been described by the late Professor Beclard of Paris, whose details we borrow.

Marie-Madeleine Lefort, aged sixteen years, seemed to belong to the male sex, if attention were paid merely to the proportions of the trunk, limbs, shoulders, and pelvis; to the conformation and dimensions of the pelvis; to the size of the larynx; the tone of the voice, the development of the hair; and to the form of the urethra, which extended beyond the symphysis pubis. An attentive examination, however, of the genital organs showed, that she belonged to the female sex. The mons veneris was round and covered with hair. Below the symphysis pubis was a clitoris, resembling the penis in shape, twenty-seven millimètres, or about an inch long in the state of flaccidity; and susceptible of slight elongation during erection; having an imperforate glans, hollowed beneath by a duct or channel, at the inferior part of which were five small holes, situated regularly on the median line.

Beneath and behind the clitoris a vulva existed, with two narrow, short and thin labia, furnished with hair, devoid of any thing like testicles, and extending to within ten lines of the anus. Between the labia was a very superficial cleft, pressure upon which communicated a vague sensation of a void space in front of the anus. At the root of the clitoris was a round aperture, through which a catheter could not be passed into the bladder. It could be readily directed, however, towards the anus, in a direction parallel to the perineum.

"Both bodies in a single body mix,

A single body with a double sex."—ADDISON.

When the catheter was passed a little backwards and upwards to the depth of eight or ten centimètres it was arrested by a sensible obstacle, but no urine flowed through it. It seemed to be in the vagina. At the part where the vagina stopped, a substance could be distinguished through the parietes of the rectum, which appeared to be the body of the uterus. No where could testicles be discovered. She had menstruated from the age of eight years; the blood issuing in a half coagulated state through the aperture at the root of the clitoris. She experienced, too, manifest inclination for commerce with the male, and a slight operation only would probably have been necessary to divide the apron, closing the vulva from the clitoris to the posterior commissure of the labia. The urethra extended in this case for some distance beneath the clitoris, as in the penis, which is unusual. From all the circumstances M. Beclard concluded, that the person, subjected to the examination of the Société de Médecine of Paris, was a female; and that she possessed several of the essential organs of the female;the uterus, and vagina—whilst she had only the secondary characters of the male;—as the proportions of the trunk and limbs; that of the shoulders and pelvis; the conformation and dimensions of the pelvis; the size of the larynx; the tone of the voice; the development of the hair; the urethra extending beyond the symphysis pubis, &c.

In the year 1818, an individual was exhibited in London, who had a singular union of the apparent characteristics of the two sexes. The countenance resembled that of the male, and she had a beard, but it was scanty. The shape, however, of the body and limbs was that of the female. The students of the Anatomical Theatre of Great Blenheim street, London, of whom the author was one, offered her a certain sum, provided she would permit the sexual organs to be inspected by the veteran head of the school—Mr. Brookes: to this she consented.

She was, accordingly, exposed before the class; and her most striking peculiarities exhibited. The clitoris was large, but not perforate. Mr. Brookes, desirous of trying the experimentum crucis, passed one catheter into the vagina, and attempted to introduce another into the urethra; but fearing discovery, and finding that the mystery of her condition was on the point of being unveiled, she started up and defeated the experiment. No doubt existed in the mind of Mr. Brookes, that there were two distinct canals, one forming the vagina; the other the urethra,—and that she was consequently female.

It was

One of the most complete cases of admixture of the sexes is contained in the recent journals, the particulars of which were presented by Rudolphi to the Academy of Sciences of Berlin. met with in the body of a child, which died, it was said, seven days after birth, but the development of parts led to the supposition, that it was three months old. The penis was divided inferiorly;

the right side of the scrotum contained a testicle; the left side was small and empty. There was a uterus, which communicated at its superior and left portion with a Fallopian tube, behind which was an ovary destitute of its ligament. On the right side, there was neither Fallopian tube, nor ovary, nor ligament, but a true testicle, from the epididymis of which arose a vas deferens. Below the uterus was a hard, flattened, ovoid body, which, when divided, exhibited a cavity with thick parietes. The uterus terminated above, in the parietes of this body, but without penetrating its cavity. At its inferior part was a true vagina, which terminated in a cul-deThe urethra opened into the bladder, which was perfect; and the anus, rectum and other organs were naturally formed. Rudolphi considered the ovoid body, situated beneath the uterus, to be the prostate, and vesiculæ seminales in a rudimental state.


The varieties of these sexual vagaries are extremely numerous; and form occasionally the subject of medico-legal inquiry.

Instances of animals being brought forth, whose organs of generation are preternaturally formed, sometimes occur, and they have been commonly called hermaphrodites; but such examples have been rarely investigated.

Monstrous productions, having a mixture of the male and female organs, seem to arise most frequently in neat cattle, and have been called free-martins. When a cow brings forth twin calves, one a male and the other apparently a female, the former always grows up to be a perfect bull, but the latter appears destitute of all sexual functions and propensities, and never propagates. This is the free-martin.

From Mr. Hunter's observations it would seem, that in all the instances of free-martins, which he examined, no one had the complete organs of the male and female, but partly the one and partly the other; and, in all, the ovaria and testicles were too imperfect to perform their functions.

In noticing this phenomenon, Sir Everard Home remarks, that it may account for twins being most commonly of the same sex; "and when they are of different sexes," he adds, "it leads us to inquire whether the female, when grown up, has not less of the true female character than other women, and is incapable of having children." "It is curious," says Sir Everard, "and in some measure to the purpose, that, in some countries, nurses and midwives have a prejudice, that such twins seldom breed." The remark of Sir Everard is signally unfortunate, and ought not to have been hastily hazarded, seeing that a slight examination, would have exhibited, that there is no analogy between the free-martin and the females in question; and, more especially, as the suggestion accords with a popular prejudice, highly injurious to the prospects and painful to the feelings of all who are thus situated. In the London Medical Repository, for September, 1823, Mr. Cribb, of Cambridge, England, has properly observed, that the

external characters and anatomical conformation of the free-martin are totally unlike those of the human female. In external appearance, the free-martin differs considerably from the perfectly formed cow, the head and neck in particular, bearing a striking resemblance to those of the bull. Mr. Cribb has, however, brought forward the most decisive evidence in favour of the fallacy of the popular prejudice, by the history of seven cases, which are of themselves sufficient to put the matter for ever at rest. Of these seven cases,—which are all that he had ever known, of women, born under the circumstances in question, having been married,six had children.

Before proceeding to the physiology of generation there is one function, peculiar to the female, which will require consideration. This consists in a periodical discharge of blood from the vulva, occurring from three to six days in every month, during the whole time that the female is capable of conceiving, or from the period of puberty to what has been termed the critical age. This discharge is called the catamenia, menses, flowers, &c., and the process menstruation. It seems to be possessed by the human species alone. F. Cuvier, however, asserts that he has discovered indications of it in the females of certain animals.

In some females, menstruation is established suddenly, and without any premonitory symptoms; but, in the greater number, it is preceded and accompanied by some inconvenience. The female complains of signs of plethora, or general excitement, indicated by redness and heat of skin, heaviness in the head, oppression, quick pulse, and pains in the back or abdomen; whilst the discharge commences drop by drop, but continuously.

During the first twenty-four hours the flow is not as great as afterwards, and is more of a serous character, but on the following day it becomes more abundant and sanguineous, and gradually subsides, leaving, in many females, a whitish, mucous discharge, technically termed leucorrhoea, and, in popular language, the whites.

The quantity of fluid, lost during each menstruation, varies greatly, according to the individual and to the climate. Its average is supposed to be from six to eight ounces in temperate climes. By some, it has been estimated as high as twenty, but this is an exaggeration.

The menstrual fluid proceeds from the interior of the uterus, and not from the vagina. At one time, it was believed, that in the intervals between the flow of the menses, the blood gradually accumulates in some parts of the uterus, and when these parts attain a certain degree of fulness, they give way and the blood flows. This office was ascribed to the cells,—which were conceived to exist in the substance of the uterus between the uterine arteries and veins,—and, by some, to the veins themselves, which, owing

« ZurückWeiter »