– S. Nielsen
 Melanie was born in Paris on February 2, 1880, to one of the oldest French families of nobility. This was the post-revolution Paris of Napoleon. She grew up surrounded by art, music and the liberal aristocratic society of her day. As there was no formal schooling for girls she was educated at home, where she was taught to draw, make music, sew and manage servants; skills needed by a a good wife and mother. She was a keen horsewoman and swimmer and practiced pistol shooting and hunted; she painted… But Melanie had other ambitions. She stated later that she “had a vocation for medicine,” dissected birds as an eight year old and even saved the life of one of her father’s friends. She writes, “I had extraordinary inspiration when I was near a sick person. When I was twelve I saved the life of one of my father’s friends who had been involuntarily poisoned by opium. Whilst the doctor, not recognizing the poisoning, had treated him for indigestion and finally threw a cloth over his head declaring that he was dying of cerebral congestion, I was preparing a decoction of lettuce which the patient took, and it gave him back his life in a short time.”
 She was very close to her father, Compte Joseph d’Hervilly, but her relationship with her mother, Marie-Joseph Gertrude Heilrath, was troubled. Melanie writes that her mother, increasingly jealous of her youth and charms finally became openly hostile, attacking and injuring her with a kitchen knife. Melanie’s father then arranged for his daughter to live with her painting teacher Lethiere and his family when she was fifteen years old.
 In the ensuing years she became an artist and poet of some repute in Paris. She had a studio and taught painting but her classical style became outmoded as the Romantics became the vogue. She was often seen in elegant intellectual circles and had several high-ranking admirers.
 In the 1830’s a number of her friends died. During these difficult years, Melanie also suffered from abdominal pains later thought to be some kind of neuralgia and she was unable to work for two or three years. A cholera epidemic was killing 800 Parisians a day in 1832, when Melanie heard of the valiant efforts of an English homeopath practicing in Paris named Dr. Quin. She was able to acquire a copy of the French edition of the Organon. Against the advice of friends and family she made a precipitous departure for Kothen to meet Hahnemann and her future.
 The mail coach from Paris to Kothen took fifteen days and was a dangerous journey, especially for a young woman traveling alone. So she dressed as a man -something not altogether uncommon for a liberated Parisian woman of her day. This, however, did not go over well in Kothen. Dr. Puhlman wrote years later that “the older inhabitants …told me many years ago veritably shocking stories of the young French girl who came to Hahnemann as a patient, and who walked about the streets in man’s attire.” Initial consultations for the purpose of treating her disease led to more personal meetings between Samuel and Melanie and he proposed marriage to her three days after they had met. They were married on 18 January, 1835, three months after they had first met. After a short time in Kothen, they moved to Paris where they finally settled in opulent surroundings on the Rue de Milan. From the beginning of the Paris practice, Melanie was intimately involved in it. According to one account, she sat at the desk, took the case and made prescriptions while Hahnemann sat in a comfortable chair near her, listening and offering advice and encouragement from time to time. It seems that in a very short period of time she had become a competent homeopath. Hahnemann kept journals of all the cases he treated. Forty-four volumes cover the period of 1801-1844 in Germany and 1835-1844 in France. Eighteen volumes alone, represent the notes from their years of practice in France. These French volumes are in both Samuel’s and Melanie’s hand. Four volumes are almost exclusively Melanie’s cases which she managed alone or in the presence of Hahnemann.
 Because of her youth, her motives for marrying Hahnemann were often questioned. The controversy increased after Hahnemann’s death, when she continued their practice and printed business cards calling herself “Madame Hahnemann, Docteur en Medecine Homeopathique”.
 Samuel had considered her the finest homeopath in Europe -but the authorities would have none of this and prosecuted her in 1847 for practicing medicine and pharmacy illegally. She was fined a nominal one hundred francs and banned from practice. Subsequently, she continued more discrete practice and also returned to poetry and painting.
 In 1851, Sophie Bohrer came to live with Melanie. She became Melanie’s adopted daughter. With this new companion, the pall of desolation and loneliness which had been with her since Samuel’s death, lifted. Later, Melanie arranged a marriage, a common practice of the time, between Sophie and one of Bönninghausen’s sons, Karl. Karl came to live in Paris and Melanie now practiced freely again as her son-in-law, a physician, was granted permission to work in France through Melanie’s influence with the Emperor.
 Throughout this time, Melanie was in full possession of Hahnemann’s estate which included the sixth edition of the Organon and his case notes. She was frequently approached for permission to make his work public but she steadfastly refused as per his precise instructions. On his death-bed Hahnemann had given Melanie sole responsibility over his estate and told her to postpone publishing his writings until the “world was ready for them”. Not even Bönninghausen, one of Hahnemann’s closest associates, knew with which methods the master had prescribed in the last years. She received proposals from America, England and France to publish Hahnemann’s legacy. She suggested that if she were compensated financially for the time she would have to take off from her practice (her sole means of support at that time) to prepare the papers for publication, she would be willing. Her death laid an end to those plans.
 After Melanie’s death, Sophie and Karl took control of Hahnemann’s papers and manuscripts. These remained unseen by the homeopathic community until 1918 when the Bönninghausen family released them for publication. On May 27, 1878, Melanie died in Paris of pulmonary catarrh. She was buried next to Hahnemann in the cemetery at Montmartre. 
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Dr.Devendra Kumar MD(Homeo)
International Homeopathic Consultant at Ushahomeopathy
I am a Homeopathic Physician. I am practicing Homeopathy since 20 years. I treat all kinds of Chronic and Acute complaints with Homeopathic Medicines. Even Emergency conditions can be treated with Homeopathy if case is properly managed. know more about me and my research on my blog https://www.homeoresearch.com/about-me/
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