For the cognoscenti: the marthambles

Patrick O’Brian’s ’21’ Reveals Seeds of Last Novel
November 23, 2004
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4184194

Guest:
Starling Lawrence, American editor of Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin Series; editor-in-chief, WW. Norton

07: 40 People would ask O’Brian all the time where he got this pleasantly arcane diction from.
The answer sometimes was, that he made it up.
He admitted to inventing a disease called “the marthambles”. Nobody could find “the marthambles.”
I think he ran across it in an advertisment for a quack medicine. It occurs nowhere in the scientific literature.

related:
Fictional antedating of the marthambles
January 17, 2009
http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=1029
“The Marthambles”, a disease mentioned in five of Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin novels (DI 123, RM 164, NC 132, 149, WDS 130, YA 226, for the cognoscenti).