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  • "'Pray, Dr Maturin,' he said on the quarterdeck, 'what is the effect of antimony?'

    "'It is a diaphoretic, an expectorant and a moderate cholegogue; but we use it chiefly as an emetic. You have heard of the everlasting antimony pill, sure?'

    "'Not I.'

    "'It is one of the most economical forms of physic known to man, since a single pill of the metal will serve a numerous household, being ingested, rejected, and so recovered. I have known one handed down for generations... the name is said to signify a monk's bane.'

    "'So I have always understood,' said Jack. 'But what I really meant was its effect on guns, was a little mixed with the powder.'

    'Alas, I am wholly ignorant of these things. But if we may go by analogy, it should cause the piece to vomit forth the ball with more than common force.'"

    --Patrick O'Brian, The Ionian Mission, 58

    Also cholagogue.

    February 11, 2008