A plethoric constitution, is characterized by a florid complexion, frame full and robust, activity and strength of body, and a strong and full pulse. There is an activity in the circulative system, and a predisposition to local or general congestion.
A feeble constitution, is directly the opposite of the foregoing. There is a deficiency in the generation of natural heat, and a tendency to become fatigued from slight exertions. The pulse is feeble and soft. The person is peculiarly subject to diseases characterized by inactivity in certain functions, or great relaxation.
A nervous constitution, is characterized by extreme sensitiveness and excitability of body and mind. The pulse is variable, quickly changing from rapid to slow. The patient is liable to nervous disorders, and those spasmodic affections, which are not readily referable to any direct cause.
A lymphatic, or mucous contitution, may be recognized by the light complexion, the frame full and rounded, but the flesh soft and flaccid, and the muscular fibre yielding and relaxed. The circulation is sluggish, the pulse slow, the generation of heat deficient, and there is also a sensitiveness to cold. The patient is subject to slow and sluggish affections, to catarrhal diseases, abscesses, accumulations of water about various organs. Acute diseases are also liable to assume a chronic form and run a slow and tedious course.
The catarrhal or rheumatic constitution, is similar to the last, and is particularly characterized by want of vitality in the skin, which is easily affected by external circumstances.
The consumptive constitution may be known by the clear transparent skin, often with a bright spot on the cheek, flatness of the chest, slender and fragile form, long and spare neck, rapid growth, quick and small pulse, long slender fingers with large joints. The patient is peculiarly liable to affections of the lungs.
There is only one more variety of constitution to which it will be necessary to refer. It is characterized by a tendency to ulcerative sores, particularly of the glands, unhealthy secretions from the skin, and various forms of eruption. Both this and the preceding variety may be considered as modifications of the tuberculous habit.
In the sanguine temperament - generally found in a plethoric constitution - there is great animation and buoyancy of spirits, the bodily health is generally good, but when disease does attack the system it runs a rapid and severe course.
Choleric temperament is generally found in the bilious constitution. The increased and altered secretion of bile reacting on the moral and mental faculties has a tendency to engender ill-humor, outbursts of rage, and even a revengeful and malignant temper whenever excited. The complexion is generally of a yellowish tinge, the muscular fibre hard, wiry, and tightly strung. The patient is subject to bilious derangements, which are sometimes even provoked by violent fits of excitement.
The phlegmatic temperament, generally associated with the feeble or lymphatic constitution, is characterized by slow operations of both the mental and bodily functions, and tardiness and weakness of the reactionary power.
A melancholic temperament is readily known by the meditative, gloomy, or retiring disposition. Impressions are deep and lasting, and there is a tendency to look on the dark side and brood often in secret over things, which in the mind of others would be speedily forgotten. The patient is seldom subject to violent impulses or sudden impressions, and is liable to diseases of the stomach and bowels, which often assume a chronic character.