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without method, without system; a very upas tree

      But of all nurses to be shunned as the plague is the croaker, one that discourses of the dismal and of the dreadful cases that have occurred in her experience, many of which, in all probability, she herself was the cause of. She is a very upas tree in a house. A putterer should be banished from the lying-in room; she is a perpetual worry — a perpetual blister! She is a nurse without method, without system, and without smartness. She putters at this, and putters at that, and worries the patient beyond measure. She dreams, and drawls, and putters. It is better to have a brusque and noisy nurse than a puttering one. She ought to be either a married woman or a widow.
      She must be sober, temperate and healthy, and free from deafness, and from any defect of vision. She should have a gentle manner, but yet not melancholy, She ought to have the softest step and the gentlest tone. She ought to be fond of children, and must neither mind her trouble nor being disturbed at night. She should be a light sleeper.

from chapter “How to Select a Nurse,” in Maternity : A Book for Every Wife and Mother (Revised and Enlarged), by Mrs. P(rudence). B. Saur, M.D., Graduate of Philadelphia Woman’s College, formerly Resident Physician in The Alaska Street Hospital, Philadelphia; Member Ohio State Medical Society, Etc., Etc. (Chicago and Philadelphia: L. P. Miller & Company, 1887) : 140-141 : link
same (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) copy, via hathitrust : link

upas tree —
Antiaris toxicaria is a tree in the mulberry and fig family, Moraceae...of interest as a source of wood, bark cloth, and pharmacological or toxic substances.
In English it may be called bark cloth tree, antiaris, false iroko, false mvule or upas tree, and in the Javanese language it is known as the upas or ancar.
wikipedia : link

4 July 2023