Part 6 out of 7
add more water. At night a little heap of potash may be placed over the
hole, and water enough poured on so that a supply of strong lye will flow
into the pipe during the night.
Pipes that have been stopped for months may be cleaned out by this method,
though it may call for three or four pounds of potash. The crudest kind,
however, appears to act as well as the best. If the pipe is partially
obstructed, a lump of crude potash should be placed where water will drip
slowly upon it, and so reach the pipe. As water comes in contact with the
potash, it becomes hot, thus aiding in dissolving the grease. Potash, in
combination with grease, forms a "soft" or liquid soap, which easily flows
away. It is also destructive to all animal and most mineral matters.
Some of the most dangerous gases come from wash-basin pipes, being,
perhaps, the result of the decay of the soap and the animal matter washed
from the skin.
When a pipe is once fairly cleaned out, the potash should be used from
time to time, in order to dissolve the greasy deposits as they form, and
carry them forward to the cesspool or sewer.--_Artisan_.
_What Came from a Neighbor's Cesspool_.--Keep watch not only of your
own premises, but stand on guard against those of your neighbors. Dr.
Carpenter cites a case wherein "four members of a certain household were
attacked with typhoid fever, one of whom narrowly escaped with her life.
The circumstances left no doubt in the mind of the attending physician
that the malady originated in the opening of an old cesspool belonging to
a neighboring house, then in course of demolition. The house in which the
outbreak took place is large and airy, and stands by itself in a most
salubrious situation. The most careful examination failed to disclose any
defect either in its drainage or its water supply; there was no typhoid in
the neighborhood; and the milk supply was unexceptional. But the
neighboring house being old, and having been occupied by a school, its
removal had been determined on to make way for a house of higher class;
and as the offensive odor emanating from the uncovered cesspool was at
once perceived in the next garden, and the outbreak of typhoid followed at
the usual interval, the case seems one which admits of no reasonable
5. _The Cellar_.--_A Typical Bad Cellar_.--Did the reader ever,
when a child, see the cellar afloat at some old home in the country? You
creep part way down the cellar stairs with only the light of a single
tallow candle, and behold by its dim glimmer an expanse of dark water,
boundless as the sea. On its surface, in dire confusion, float barrels and
boxes, butter firkins and washtubs, boards, planks, hoops, and staves
without number, interspersed with apples, turnips, and cabbages, while
half-drowned rats and mice, scrambling up the stairway for dear life,
drive you affrighted back to the kitchen....Now consider the case of one
of these old farmhouse cellars that has been in use fifty years or more.
In it have been stored all the potatoes, turnips, cabbages, onions, and
other vegetables for family food. The milk and cream, the pork and beef,
and cider and vinegar, have all met with various accidents, and from time
to time have had their juices, in various stages of decay, absorbed by the
soil of the cellar bottom. The cats have slept there to fight the rats and
the mice, who have had their little homes behind the walls for half a
century; and the sink spouts have for the same term poured into the soil
close by, their fragrant fluids. The water rushes upward and sideways into
the cellar, forming, with the savory ingredients at which we have
delicately hinted, a sort of broth, quite thin and watery at first, but
growing thicker as the water slowly subsides and leaves its grosser parts
pervading the surface of the earth, walls, and partitions. All this time
the air rushes in at the openings of the cellar, and presses constantly
upward, often lifting the carpets from the floors, and is breathed day and
night by all who dwell in the house. Does it require learned doctors or
boards of health to inform any rational person that these conditions are
unfavorable to health?--MRS. PLUNKETT, _Women, Plumbers, and
_What Came from a Crack in a Cellar Wall_.--A few years ago a Boston
gentleman inherited a house, situated on one of the most desirable streets
of the city. Resolving to make a healthy as well as a beautiful home, he.
spent a large sum, and gave personal supervision to all the details of an
elaborate system of plumbing. He moved in. Imagine his grief and
disappointment when member after member of his family succumbed to
diphtheria, and an infant and a grown daughter died. Though so deeply
smitten, he did not lose his belief in the connection between cause and
effect. He ordered a minute investigation of the premises by experts. A
slight crack, so small as to have escaped ordinary observation, was found
in the cellar wall. Investigation of the premises next door--the inmates
of which were also suffering from diphtheria--showed a choked-up drain,
which ought to have connected with the sewer, but did not. The filthy ooze
from this was pouring out, just where its effluvium and its disease germs
could pass without any hindrance through the crack.
Now that it is shown that gases pass through bricks and many kinds of
stone, it is easy to see that the sanitary welfare of one is the sanitary
welfare of all.--MRS. PLUNKETT.
6. _The Bedroom_.--_The Bed a Night Garment_.--There is still
one of our garments to be considered, which generally is not regarded as
such. I mean the bed--that piece of clothing in which we spend such a
great part of our time.
The bed is not only a place of rest; it is especially our sleeping
garment, and has often to make up for privations endured during the day
and the day's work, and to give us strength for to-morrow. Like our day
garments, the bed covering must be airy and warm at the same time. We
warm the bed by our body, just as we warm our clothes, and the bed warms
the air which is continually flowing through it from below, upward. The
regulating strata must be more powerful in their action than in our day
clothes, because during rest and sleep the metamorphosis of our tissues
and the resulting heat become less; and because in a horizontal position
we lose more heat by an ascending current of air than in a vertical
position, where the warm ascending current is in more complete and longer
contact with our upright body.
The warmth of the bed sustains the circulation in our surface to a certain
degree for the benefit of our internal organs at a time when our
production of heat is at its lowest ebb. Hence the importance of the bed
for our heat and blood economy. Several days without rest in a bed not
only make us sensible of a deficiency in the recruiting of our strength,
but very often produce quite noticeable perturbations in our bodily
economy, from which the bed would have protected us.--DR. MAX VON
_Bed Ventilation_.--It often happens that the desire of the energetic
housekeeper to have her work done at an early hour in the morning, causes
her to leave one of the most important items of neatness undone. The most
effectual purifying of bed and bedclothes can not take place, if the
proper time is not allowed, for the free circulation of pure air, to
remove all human impurities which have collected during the hours of
slumber. At least two or three hours should be allowed for the complete
removal of atoms of insensible perspiration which are absorbed by the bed.
Every day the airing should be done; and, occasionally, bedding constantly
used should be carried into the open air, and left exposed to the sun and
wind for half a day.--_Home and Health_.
THE PULSE (p. 116).--The pulse which is felt by the finger does not
correspond precisely with the beat of the heart, but takes place a little
after it, and the interval is longer, the greater the distance of the
artery from the heart. The beat of the artery on the inner side of the
ankle, for example, is a little later than the beat of the artery in the
The pulse is increased by exertion, and thus is more rapid in a standing
than in a sitting, and in a sitting than in a lying posture. It is
quickened by meals, and while varying thus from time to time during the
day, is on the whole quicker in the evening than in early morning. It is
said to be quicker in summer than in winter. Even independently of
muscular exertion, it seems to be quickened by great altitude. Its rate is
also profoundly influenced by mental conditions.--FOSTER.
CIRCULATION OF THE BLOOD IN THE BRAIN (p. l20).--Signer Mosso, who has
been engaged on the subject for six years, has published some new
observations on the different conditions of the circulation of the blood
in the brain. He has had the privilege of observing three patients who had
holes in their skulls, permitting the examination of the encephalic
movements and circulation. No part of the body exhibits a pulsation so
varied in its form as the brain. The pulsation may be described as
tricuspid; that is, it consists of a strong beat, preceded and followed by
lesser beats. It gathers strength when the brain is at work, corresponding
with the more rapid flow of blood to the organ. The increase in the volume
of the brain does not depend upon any change in the respiratory rhythm;
for, if we take the pulse of the forearm simultaneously with that of the
brain, we can not perceive that the cerebral labor exercises any influence
upon the forearm, although the pulsation in the brain may be considerably
modified. The emotions have a similar effect upon the circulation of the
brain to that of cerebral labor. Signor Mosso has also observed and
registered graphically the variations of the cerebral pulse during sleep.
Generally the pulses of the wrist and the brain vary oppositely. At the
moment of waking, the pulse of the wrist diminishes, while that of the
brain increases. The cerebral pulsations diminish as sleep grows deeper,
and at last become very weak. Outward excitations determine the same
modifications during sleep as in the waking state, without waking the
sleeper. A deep inspiration always produces a diminution in the volume of
the brain, in consequence, probably, of the increased flow of blood into
the veins of the thoracic cavity; the increase of volume in the brain,
when it takes place, is, on the contrary, due to a more abundant flow of
arterial blood to the encephalus.--_Popular Science Monthly, March,
CATARRHAL COLDS (p. l30).--I maintain that it can be proved, with as
absolute certainty as any physiological fact admits of being proved, that
warm, vitiated indoor air is the cause, and cold outdoor air the best
cure, of catarrh....Fresh cold air is a tonic that invigorates the
respiratory organs when all other stimulants fail, and, combined with arm
exercise and certain dietetic alternatives, it is the best remedy for all
disorders of the lungs and upper air passages....A combination of the
three specifics,--exercise, abstinence, and fresh air,--will cure the most
obstinate cold....Frost is such a powerful disinfectant, that in very cold
nights the lung-poisoning atmosphere of few houses can resist its
purifying influence; in spite of padded doors, in spite of "weatherstrips"
and double windows, it reduces the indoor temperature enough to paralyze
the floating disease germs. The penetrative force of a polar night frost
exercises that function with such resistless vigor that it defies the
preventive measures of human skill; and all Arctic travelers agree that
among the natives of Iceland, Greenland, and Labrador pulmonary diseases
are actually unknown. Protracted cold weather thus prevents epidemic
catarrhs, but during the first thaw Nature succumbs to art: smoldering
stove fires add their fumes to the effluvia of the dormitory, tight-
fitting doors and windows exclude the means of salvation; superstition
triumphs; the lung poison operates, and the next morning a snuffling,
coughing, and red-nosed family discuss the cause of their affliction....It
is a mistake to suppose that "colds" can be propagated only by direct
transmission or the breathing of recently Vitiated air. Catarrh germs,
floating in the atmosphere of an ill-ventilated bedroom, may preserve
their vitality for weeks after the house has been abandoned; and the next
renter of such a place should not move in till wide-open windows and doors
and a thorough draught of several days have removed every trace of a
"musty" smell.--DR. FELIX L. OSWALD, _Remedies of Nature, Popular
Science Monthly, March, 1884_.
CATCHING COLD.--The phrase "to catch cold," so often in the mouths of
physicians and patients, is a curious solecism. It implies that the term
"cold" denotes something positive--a sort of demon which does not catch,
but is caught by the unfortunate victims....If most persons outside of the
medical profession were to be asked what they consider as chiefly to be
avoided in the management of sick people, the answer would probably be
"catching cold." I suspect that this question would be answered in the
same way by not a few physicians. Hence it is that sick rooms are poorly
ventilated, and patients are oppressed by a superabundance of garments and
bedclothes. The air which patients are made to breathe, having been
already breathed and rebreathed, is loaded with pulmonary exhalations.
Cutaneous emanations are allowed to remain in contact with the body, as
well as to pervade the atmosphere. Patients not confined to the bed,
especially those affected with pulmonary disease, are overloaded with
clothing, which becomes saturated with perspiration, and is seldom
changed, for fear of the dreaded "cold."...
A reform is greatly needed in respect to "catching cold." Few diseases are
referable to the agency of cold, and even the affection commonly called a
cold is generally caused by other agencies, or, perhaps, by a special
agent, which may prove to be a microbe. Let the axiom, _A fever patient
never catches cold_, be reiterated until it becomes a household phrase.
Let the restorative influence of cool, fresh, pure atmosphere be
inculcated. Let it be understood that in therapeutics, as in hygiene, the
single word _comfort_ embodies the principles which should regulate
coverings and clothing.--AUSTIN FLINT, M.D., _in a Lecture printed in
The New York Medical Journal_.
DIGESTION AND FOOD.
THE WATER WE DRINK (p. l55).--_Qualities of Pure Water_.--"A good
drinking water," says Dr. Simpson (in _The Water We Drink_), "should
possess the following physical characters: it should be entirely free from
color, taste, or odor; it should, moreover, be cool, well aerated, soft,
bright, and entirely free from all deposit. But it should be remembered
that a water having all these characteristics may yet be more or less
polluted by organic matter, owing to the proximity of drains and
sewers....Disease has frequently been traced to the use of perfectly
bright and clear water, where there was no sediment, and where the animal
organic matter was held in a state of solution."
In the case of diseases, such as typhoid, which attack the stomach,
disease germs are removed along with the excreta; and if, as is often the
case, the drainage of an infected town flows into a river, and that river
is used in some after portion of its course as a water supply, there is
great danger of such diseases being communicated. For, however well the
water may be purified and filtered, we have no guarantee that it will not
contain some of these disease germs, which are so small that they pass
through the finest filters. It is in this way that almost all the great
cholera and typhoid epidemics have spread.--_Chambers's Journal_.
_Well Water Often Dangerous_.--A densely crowded population soon
impregnates the soil to some depth with filth, which drains into the water
course below, especially if such water is near the surface. This surface
water easily penetrates a loosely walled well. Every well, therefore,
should not only be widely separated from barnyards, cesspools, pens,
sinks, and similar places, but should be made water-tight with cement, so
that nothing can reach its interior except water that has been filtered
through dense beds of unpolluted ground below. If these precautions are
neglected, the best and deepest well may become continually contaminated
by infiltration from the surrounding surface. This impure water, even when
not used for family drinking, is sometimes supplied to cows, or used for
washing dairy pans, or employed in diluting milk for the market, and there
are many known cases in which disease has thus been disseminated. Thus, an
epidemic of typhoid fever in Cambridge, Mass., was definitely traced to a
dairy which supplied the victims with milk. Upon investigation it was
found that a short time before there had been a typhoid patient in the
farmhouse, and that the well from which water was taken to wash the milk
pans had become contaminated with the specific poison brought into it from
the surrounding drainage.
All suspected water should be thoroughly boiled before using it to drink.
Some physicians insist that the boiling should continue for one or two
hours in order entirely to destroy the bacterial germs. The heaviness and
insipidity incident to boiled water may be somewhat relieved by afterward
filtering it. Filtering, of itself, however, will do little toward ridding
the water of microbes, which are much too minute to be arrested by the
ordinary apparatus.--When journeying, where one must often take a hasty
meal at a railway station, drink hot water in preference to cold. A
convenient portable filter may be arranged with a bottle of powdered
charcoal, and a piece of filtering paper. A traveler by briskly stirring a
tablespoonful of the charcoal into a pint of water, allowing it to stand
five or ten minutes, and then filtering it through the paper, may venture
to relieve his thirst in almost any part of the country.
_Water an Absorbent of Foul Gases_.--If a pitcher of water be left
uncovered in an occupied apartment for only a few hours, it will become
foul from the absorption of the respired and perspired gases in the room.
The colder the water, the greater the capacity to contain these gases.
Water kept in a room over night is therefore unfit for drinking, and
should not be used even to brush the teeth or to gargle in the throat.
_Impure Ice, a Breeder of Disease_.--We generally take the purity of
our ice for granted, and, like the alligator in the bayou, close our
mouths and swallow it. In the country, I have seen during the ice-
harvesting season, wagon after wagon passing me on the road, laden with
ice that had been collected from canals, rivers, and streams receiving
sewerage, and from ponds that are in the summer time reeking with slime,
and often offensive from the quantity of decomposed vegetable and animal
matter brought in by the washing from the meadow. These streams would be
shunned as a source of water supply.
Should you interview a native regarding the slimy mud puddle before you,
called Mr. So-and-so's private "ice pond," he would say that "in winter it
is much better, and when frozen, you know, it makes fine ice," presenting
that popular though ignorant belief that while in the act of
crystallizing, water rids itself of all its injurious qualities, however
offensive it may be in its liquid state. Unfortunately, there is enough
truth in the current idea of the elimination of noxious and foreign matter
during the process of freezing to give color to the popular belief, but
not enough to make it a safe reliance; therefore all means should be used
to enlighten the public regarding this subject. Experiment has shown that
freezing produces little change or effect in overcoming the poisonous
influences, and ice has often served as a vehicle to convey the germs of
typhoid and other low forms of fever. Pure ice can be procured only from
water free from impurities, and ice for domestic or surgical purposes
should never be collected from ponds or streams which contain animal or
vegetable refuse, or stagnant and muddy material.--_Journal of
Reconstructives, Oct., 1887_.
THE GLANDULAR COAT OF THE STOMACH, AND HOW IT WEEPS (p. l62).--While the
food is thus being continually moved about, it is at the same time
subjected to the action of the chemical sac. This is, as we have said, a
glandular sac. It is of some thickness, and is made of little glands bound
up together with that stringy fibrous packing material which anatomists
call _connective tissue_.
If we were to imagine many gross of small India-rubber vials all placed
side by side, and bound together with hay or straw into a great mat, and
the mat rolled up into a sac, with all the mouths of the vials turned
inward, we should have a large and coarse, but tolerably fair image of the
glandular coat of the stomach. Each vial would then represent one of the
glands of this coat, one of the gastric or peptic glands, as they are
called. Each gland, however, is not always a simple tube, but is often
branched at the bottom end, and all of them are lined, except just at
their mouths, with large rounded bodies, which not unfrequently almost
choke up their cavity.
[Illustration: BRANCHED GASTRIC GLAND a. _The peptic cells._ b.
_The inert cells._]
The rounded masses, or cells, as they are called, in the interior of each
gland, form the really active part of the apparatus. Each cell is a little
laboratory, which concocts out of the material brought to it or near it by
the blood a certain potent, biting fluid, and is hence called a peptic or
digestive cell. Each cell is born at the bottom of the tube, and in
process of time travels upward toward the mouth. When it reaches the
mouth, it bursts, and pours into the stomach the fluid it has elaborated,
or perhaps may give it out without bursting, while it is still within its
In those cases in which it has been possible to look in upon the stomach
while at work (as in the famous case of Alexis St. Martin), and where the
orifices of the tiny glands (for though we have compared them to bottles,
they are exceedingly small) appear like little dots, tears were seen to
start at the mouths of the glands, gather into drops, and finally trickle
down into the lowest part of the stomach. The stomach, as it were, weeps,
and indeed the weeping of tears is just such another effect of glandular
activity--only ordinary tears form a mild and, chemically speaking,
impotent fluid; while the fluid which the tears of the stomach weep--the
_gastric juice_--is a sharp, piercing water of excessive chemical
POISONOUS MILK, CHEESE, AND ICE CREAM (p. l69).--In late years there have
been many cases of poisoning by ice cream, cheese, and milk. The poisonous
principle sometimes developed in these articles of food has been made a
subject of special investigation, and it has been found to be due to
natural causes. Dr. Vaughan, of Michigan, after spending several months in
experimenting upon samples of twelve different cheeses, which had caused
three hundred cases of poisoning, finally succeeded in isolating certain
poison crystals, which he calls _Tyrotoxicon_. He says: "A few drops
of an aqueous solution of these crystals placed upon the tongue produces
all the symptoms observed in those who had been made sick by eating of the
cheese. This was tried repeatedly upon myself, and upon some of my
students who kindly offered themselves for experimentation." Dr. Vaughan
afterward procured the poison crystals from milk which had stood some
months in a closed bottle, and also from a sample of ice cream by which
eighteen persons had been made ill. It was learned in the latter case that
the custard, of which the ice cream was made, had been allowed to stand in
a foul atmosphere for two hours before it was frozen. By placing small
bits of this poisonous cream in good milk, and allowing it to stand
twenty-four hours, the whole became vitiated. This proved that the poison
is due to the growth of some ferment. In the autumn of 1886, many persons
in different hotels at Long Branch were poisoned by milk obtained from a
certain milkman. In this case it was found that the cows were milked at
noon, the warm milk being immediately placed in cans and carted eight
miles during the warmest part of the day, in a very hot month. In June,
1887, nineteen persons in New York city were similarly poisoned by milk
which also came from one dairy. Many of these persons had narrow escapes
from death. These, and many other like instances, teach us the importance
of the greatest care in every detail of milk handling. A little dried milk
formed along the seam of a tin pail, or any similar lodging place, may be
the starting point of poison generation. A month after his first
experiments with the ice cream mentioned above, Dr. Vaughan put small
pieces of the dried custard in pans of milk, and afterward made custard
from this milk. This yielded tyrotoxicon as before, showing the tenacious
vitality of the poison, and also explaining the fact that the precise
cause of poisoning is in many cases so difficult to trace.
FISH AS FOOD (p. 169).--It is not desirable that fish should be the sole
kind of nitrogenous food eaten by any nation; and even if milk and eggs be
added thereto, the vigor of such a people will not be equal to that of
flesh-eating nations. At the same time, the value of fish as a part of a
dietary is indicated by the larger proportion of phosphorus which it
contains, and which renders it especially fitted for the use of those who
perform much brain work, or who are the victims of much anxiety and
distress.--EDWARD SMITH, _in "Foods_."
For the mentally exhausted, the worried, the "nervous," and the distressed
in mind, fish is not simply a food; it acts as physic. The brain is
nourished by it, the "nerves"--to use the term in its popular sense--are
"quieted"; the mind grows stronger, the temper less irritable, and the
whole being healthier and happier when fish is substituted for butcher's
meat....I find persons who are greatly excited, even to the extent of
seeking to do violence to themselves or to those around them, who can not
sleep, and who are in an agony of irritability, become composed and
contented when fed almost exclusively on fish. In such cases I have
withdrawn butter, milk, eggs, and all the varieties of warm-blooded animal
food; and, carefully noting the weight and strength, I find no diminution
of either, while fish is supplied in such quantities as fully to satisfy
the appetite.--J. MORTIMER GRANVILLE, M.D., "_Fish as Food and
COFFEE AND TEA (p. 170).--Besides the alkaloid _Caffeine_ which
coffee contains, it also develops, in roasting, a volatile oil called
Caffeone, to which is due its characteristic aroma. The main effects of
coffee are due to both the caffeine and the caffeone, which are
antagonistic, though not contemporaneous, in action. The volatile oil
reduces arterial tension, allows a brisker flow of blood, and so increases
the rapidity of the heart's action. It also acts upon the brain, and
intellectual faculties in general; keeps one awake, and his mind clear.
Caffeine, on the other hand, like digitalis, produces a high arterial
tension, and slows the heart beat. It exerts its chief effect upon the
spinal cord, to which, like strychnia, it is an excitant. The shaking hand
of the inveterate coffee drinker is caused by caffeine. Thus a cup of
coffee produces on the drinker a double effect,--of the oil and the
alkaloid; the former sooner and transient, the latter later and
lasting....Coffee is not in itself nutritious to any marked degree; but it
saves food, and also maintains life, by its exhilarating effect upon the
nervous system. It is an excellent antidote to opium, producing the
wakefulness that antagonizes the narcotic sleep of the drug; is now and
then curative of sick headache, and is one of the standard remedies for
certain forms of nausea.
To the chemist, _Tea_ is much the same thing as coffee. It contains
considerably more tannin, a volatile oil, and an alkaloid (theine)
indistinguishable from caffeine. That the injurious effects of overdoses
are due as much to the volatile oil as to the alkaloid, is shown by the
fact that tea packers are made ill by long breathing of air filled with
it, and that tea tasters in China, who avoid swallowing the infusion, can
endure their trade but a few years, and leave the country with shattered
Probably every one numbers among his friends women who are actual slaves
of the tea habit, and who would find tea as hard to forsake as men find
tobacco. It is not unlikely that the functional cardiac disorder, often
spoken of as the "tobacco heart," due to nervous derangement, and
accompanied by palpitation and pain in the cardiac region, is more often
due to tea than tobacco. In fact, the disorders induced by excessive tea
drinking have been grasped as a special disease, to which has been given
the name of _Theism_. This includes a train of symptoms, usually
progressive, loss of appetite, pain after meals, headache, constipation,
palpitation, cardiac distress, hysterical manifestations, dizziness, and
paresis.--DR. MAURICE D. CLARKE, _Popular Science News_.
Tea drinkers, as a rule, express doubts as regards the correctness of
alleged poisonous properties of tea. Numerous instances of individuals of
this class have been noticed who were themselves suffering from tea
poisoning. Their nerves were in a deplorably abnormal condition, the heart
and brain were functionally disturbed, and the sleep less in quantity and
less refreshing than it should be....One's opinion of the physical
disturbances which may be caused by rum, tobacco, or tea, are not worth
much, when the opinion comes from a victim of the excessive use of these
The tannin found in tea does not differ from that found in oak and other
barks which the tanners use to convert the raw hides of animals into
leather. It is a powerful astringent, which accounts for some of the
peculiar physical evils to which confirmed tea drinkers are subject.
_Theine_ does not differ essentially from _Cocaine_ (see p.
223). They both produce exaltation of the nervous system and increased
powers of physical endurance. The brain is largely influenced in its
functions, and long periods of wakefulness are induced. Continued use of
strong infusions of either coca or tea result in great disturbance of
nervous centers and functional offices, and either will produce fatal
results by persistent use of inordinate quantities.
A cup of tea as served at tea tables contains usually only a trace of the
alkaloidal principle, but infinitesimal quantities are capable of exerting
baneful effects upon some tea drinkers....Poisons act in a variety of
ways, some slowly, and without producing pain; others act violently, and
with speedy, fatal results. Inasmuch as we do not observe a very large
number of clearly proved cases of acute poisoning by tea, we must conclude
that it is characteristically a slow poison, and also that its influence
is unlike in different individuals....Four or six cups of tea, however,
taken during each twenty-four hours, will in time produce tea poisoning,
and greater or less evil effects.
Tea is well enough, when its use is kept under absolute, intelligent
control; but if it becomes master in any case, then it must be promptly
abandoned, for danger attends the intemperate tea drinker every hour of
his life. Those advanced in life crave its stimulating effects, and it is
well for them to use it in moderation; but the young should abstain from
it entirely.--_Abridged from "Tea Poisoning," by_ DR. NICHOLS, _in
Popular Science News, December, 1887_.
CAUSES AND EFFECTS OF INDIGESTION (p. l72).--When a light breakfast is
eaten, a solid meal is requisite in the middle of the day. If the
digestive organs are left too long unemployed, they secrete an excess of
mucus, which greatly interferes with their normal functions. One meal has
a direct influence on the next; and a poor breakfast leaves the stomach
over-active for dinner. This is the secret of much excess in eating. The
point to bear in mind is that not to eat a sufficiency at one meal makes
you too hungry for the next; and that when you are too hungry, you are apt
to overload the stomach, and to give the gastric juices more to do than
they have the power to perform.
To eat too often, and to eat irregularly, are other sources of
indigestion. People who dine at uncertain hours, and eat one meal too
quickly on the last, must expect the stomach to retaliate in the long run.
A very fruitful cause of dyspepsia is imperfect mastication. We remember
one old gentleman who used always to warn young people on this point by
saying: "Remember you have no teeth in your stomach." Nervous people
nearly always eat fast, and as nearly always are the victims of nervous
irritability, produced by dyspepsia....To sit much in a stooping posture
interferes with the stomach's action. Well-marked dyspepsia has been
traced to sitting immediately after dinner in a low armchair, so that the
body was curved forward, and the stomach compressed....
The skin, core, and kernels of fruit should be avoided. Some people are
not able to digest raw apples; and dyspepsia has been sometimes greatly
aggravated by eating pears. The latter fruit, in its ripest state,
contains an abundance of gritty material, which, as it can not be
separated in the mouth, on being swallowed irritates the mucous
Of food itself, bear in mind that hot meat is more digestible than cold;
the flesh of full-grown animals than that of young ones; that land birds
are more digestible than waterfowl; wild animals than domestic ones; and
that in game, newly killed birds are easier of digestion than those which
have been kept a long time.--_Hints to Dyspeptics, Chambers's
HOW FOOD DEVELOPS ENERGY (p. 173).--It may appear strange that the small
amount of food we eat should suffice to carry our large and bulky bodies
through all the varied movement of the day. But this difficulty disappears
at once, when we recollect how large an amount of dormant energy can be
laid by in a very small piece of matter. A lump of coal no bigger than
one's fist, if judiciously employed, will suffice to keep a small toy
engine at work for a considerable time. Now, our food is matter containing
large amounts of dormant energy, and our bodies are engines so constructed
as to utilize all the energy to the best advantage. A single gramme of
beef fat if completely burned (that is, if every atom unites with oxygen),
is capable of developing more than 9,000 heat units; and each heat unit,
if employed to perform mechanical work, is capable of lifting a weight of
one gramme to a height of 424 meters; or, what comes to the same thing,
424 grammes to a height of one meter. Accordingly, the energy contained in
one gramme of beef, and the oxygen with which it unites, would be
sufficient to raise the little bit of fat itself to a height of 3,816
kilometers, or almost as high as the distance from London to New York.--
GRANT ALLEN _in "Why do we Eat our Dinner_?"
_Danger of Too High Pressure_.--A prudent fire engineer, when his
water hose is old and weak, would not try to force as much water as he
could into it. No; to prevent a rupture he would work it at a low
pressure. But men seldom think of carrying out the same simple mechanical
principle when there is reason to believe that the vessels of the brain
are getting weak and brittle. They eat and drink just as much as they feel
inclined to, and sometimes a little more. With a good digestion, nearly
all they consume is converted into blood, to the yet further distention of
vessels already over-distended. This high-pressure style of living
produces high-pressure results. Its effects were painfully illustrated by
the death of Charles Dickens. The brain work he performed was immense; he
lived generously, taking his wine as he did his meat, with a liberal hand.
He disregarded the signs of structural decay, forcing his reluctant brain
to do what it had once done with spontaneous ease, until all at once,
under a greater tension than ordinary, a weak vessel gave way, flooding
the brain with blood.--J. R. BLACK, M.D., _in "Apoplexy," Popular
Science Monthly, April, 1875_.
_Evils of Gluttony_.--"Is it not strange," says Dr. Hunt, "how
people, even the most considerate, will trifle with their stomachs? Many a
person seems to prefer taking medicine to avoiding it by a proper
regulation of the appetite. You may stuff the stomach to the full, year
after year, but as sure as effects follow causes, so sure will you reap
the accumulating penalty." A physician of extensive practice declares that
he has never lived through a Christmas or Thanksgiving without frequently
being consulted for ailments produced by excessive eating. He says: "It
would seem as if multitudes thought they had a gluttonous license once a
year, and that the most appropriate method of expressing gratitude, was by
stuffing the stomach. Excessive eating produces scrofula. Surfeiting
among children results in mental stupidity and unmanageable temper....I am
acquainted with a family, in which about the average amount of stuffing is
indulged. To my expostulations, the mother has replied: "I may not be able
to give my children as much education as some folks, and I may not be able
to give them any property, but as long as we can get it, they shall have
what they want to eat. I have spoken of their black teeth, bad breath,
eruptions, and frequent sickness. "Yes," she has replied, "I know all
that, but would you have me stop them before their appetites are half
satisfied, and tell them, 'there, that is all you can have'? No; as long
as I can get it, my children shall have enough to eat; it never shall be
said that I have starved them." This indulgence of children to the full
extent of their undiscriminating appetites is extreme folly and genuine
unkindness. Pampered with a variety of dishes, they eat enormously, which
engenders a craving for another large meal, and so on--their youthful and
elastic constitutions enabling them to bear the excess without immediate
serious injury. Let them be confined to one or two plain dishes at a meal,
and the quantity be determined for them; it will then be found that a
growing child does not need to be stuffed, and that his appetite will soon
become reasonable; and if the food be plain, and mostly or entirely
vegetable, it will soon be observed that the child's teeth are whiter, its
breath sweeter, its skin clearer, its tongue cleaner, its eyes brighter,
its sleep quieter, its brains sharper, and its temper more amiable. There
are few changes in the management of children which would prove so
beneficial as that from the present mode of cramming with a multitude of
rich foods, to a plain vegetable diet, eaten in regular and moderate
quantities.--DIO LEWIS, _in Weak Lungs, and How to Make them Strong_.
REGULAR PHYSICAL HABITS (p. 177).--Constipation lies at the root of a host
of chronic ailments, which seem especially to beset American women.
Impaired blood, nervous excitability, sick headaches, mental depression,
sleeplessness, and a long train of untold sufferings may be directly
traced to this physical sin. We say _sin_, for in the large majority
of instances this habit may be prevented; or, if already formed, may, by
proper attention, be cured. The principal causes which lead to this
deplorable state of the system are:
1. Errors in Food.
2. Errors in Exercise.
3. Inattention to Nature's laws.
_Errors in Food_ have much to do with the evil in question. Our diet
is, in general, too concentrated. We indulge ourselves with animal food
two or three times a day, accompanying it with spices, condiments, greasy
gravies, fine wheat bread, and a sparse amount of vegetables. We wind up
our dinners with rich and heavy pastry, and our luncheons or our suppers
with sugared sweetmeats and that indigestible compound often offered under
the name of cake. A few cups of strong tea intensify the error. Coffee has
a less astringent effect, and therefore can not be so severely arraigned
for this particular consequence. When we think what delicious meals can be
enjoyed from any of the cereals, well cooked, and taken with milk or
cream, bread from unbolted flour, plenty of unsugared fruit, and pure rain
or spring water, filtered and cooled or taken hot, with or without milk,
we wonder that so many people consent day after day to use greasy pork,
fried steaks, fried potatoes, hot biscuit, and in many cases poorly made
coffee and tea. These are the people who make up the grand army of sallow-
faced sufferers upon which the venders of patent pills and nauseous
A wise mother will not allow mere culinary convenience to take precedence
of the requirements of health. She will study the peculiar physical needs
of each one of her children, that she may provide for each the food best
suited to his or her constitution. This is not a difficult matter. "Water,
not only by itself, but in some of its combinations," says Dr. Oswald, "is
an effective aperient; in watermelons, and whey, for instance, but still
more in conjunction with a dish of peas, or beans. No constipation can
long withstand the suasion of a dose of pea soup, or baked beans, flavored
with a modicum of brown butter, and glorified with a cup of cold spring
water. Moreover, the aperient effect thus produced is not followed by an
astringent reaction, as in the case of drugs,--the cure, once effected, is
_Errors in Exercise_ may lie in two directions, and overexertion,
viz., exercise carried to the point of nervous exhaustion, is as
mischievous in its effect as is the other extreme. A too long walk, for
instance, may cause the very evil it is intended to cure.
As a rule, however, sedentary habits are chargeable with the greater share
of influence in this unhappy state of the system. Light gymnastics within
doors, a brisk walk or horseback ride without, both taken in garments
suspended from the shoulders, and devoid of all constriction so that the
abdominal viscera can partake in the general movement of the body, are
advisable. For invalids or those incapacitated for active exercise,
friction or massage treatment daily, including a vigorous kneading of the
abdomen, or a relaxation of the entire muscles of the body with especial
thought directed to the desired result, are often of great service.
_Inattention to Physical Laws_ is perhaps the prime culprit. Nature
always inclines to regularity, and when we do not respect her dictates, we
invite the retribution which, sooner or later, she invariably inflicts.
The elimination of waste from the system is an imperative necessity, and
whenever it is thwarted, evil must and will follow. Aside from the
avoidance of positive discomforts, suffering, and disease, there is the
not unimportant consideration of bodily elasticity and a fine complexion.
Let every young woman who would possess and retain a fair, delicate
complexion, remember that the most important factor in its formation and
retention is a clean system.
Proper diet, plenty of fruits, plenty of wholesome drink, enough exercise
to send the blood pleasurably bounding through the veins, followed up and
enforced by prompt recognition of the immutable laws of Health in this as
well as all other organic functions, will soon work a reform that could
not be so successfully effected by all the drugs in Christendom.--E. B. S.
THE NERVOUS SYSTEM.
EFFECT OF VIOLENT PASSIONS UPON HEALTH (p. 202).--The man who is given to
outbursts of anger is sure to experience a rapid change of the physical
organs, in case he does not die in a fit of rage.
Death under such circumstances is of frequent occurrence. Sylla,
Valentinian, Nerva, Wenceslas, and Isabeau of Bavaria, all died in
consequence of an access of passion. The medical annals of our own time
recount many instances of fatal effects following the violent brain
disturbance caused by anger. The symptoms usually are pulmonary and
cerebral congestions. Still such fatal accidents as these are exceptional;
as a rule, the passions of hate and anger deteriorate the constitution by
slow, but sure degrees.
How, then, do we explain those morbid phenomena which have their origin in
misplaced affection, in disappointed ambition, in hatred, or in anger, and
which culminate either in serious chronic maladies, or in death or
suicide? They all seem to start from an impairment of the cerebro-spinal
centers. The continual excitation of these by ever-present emotions
determines a paralysis of the central nerve substance, and thus affects
its connections with the nerves extending out to the various organs. These
nerves next degenerate by degrees, and soon the great functions are
compromised. The heart and the lungs cease to act with their normal
rhythm, the circulation grows irregular and languishing. Appetite
disappears, the amount of carbonic acid exhaled decreases, and the hair
grows white, owing to the interruption of the pigmentary secretion. This
general disturbance in nutrition and secretion is attended with a fall of
the body's temperature and anæmia. The flesh dries up and the organism
becomes less and less capable of resisting morbific influences. At the
same time, in consequence of the reaction of all these disturbances on the
brain, the psychic faculties become dull or perverted, and the patient
falls into a decline more or less complicated and aggravated by grave
symptoms. Under these conditions he dies or makes away with himself.
Two organs, the stomach and the liver, are often affected in a peculiar
and characteristic way in the course of this pathological evolution. The
modifications produced in the innervation, under the influence of cephalic
excitement, cause a disturbance of the blood circulation in the liver.
This disturbance is of such a nature that the bile, now secreted in larger
quantity, is resorbed into the blood instead of passing into the biliary
vesicle. Then appears what we call jaundice. The skin becomes pale, then
yellow, owing to the presence in the blood of the coloring matter of the
bile. This change in the liver is usually developed slowly: sometimes,
however, jaundice makes its appearance suddenly. Villeneuve mentions the
case of two youths who brought a discussion to an end by grasping their
swords; suddenly one of them turned yellow, and the other, alarmed at this
transformation, dropped his weapon. The same author speaks of a priest who
became jaundiced on seeing a mad dog jump at him. Whatever may be said of
these cases, we must reckon painful affections of the soul among the
efficient causes of chronic diseases of the liver.
The digestion, says the author of a work published some years ago, is
completely subjected to the influence of the moral and intellectual state.
When the brain is wearied by the passions, appetite and digestion are
almost gone....There is nowhere perfect health, save when the passions are
well regulated, harmonized, and equipoised. Moral temperance is as
indispensable to a calm and tranquil life as physiological
temperance....If it is your desire that your circulatory, respiratory, and
digestive functions should be discharged properly, normally, if you want
your appetite to be good, your sleep sound, your humor equable, avoid all
emotions that are overstrong, all pleasures that are too intense, and meet
the inevitable sorrows and the cruel agonies of life with a firm and
resigned soul. Ever have some occupation to employ and divert your mind,
and to make it proof against the temptations of want or of desire. Thus
will you attain the term of life without overmuch disquiet and
affliction.--FERNAND PAPILLON, _in the Revue des Deux Mondes_.
BRAIN WORK, OVERWORK, AND WORRY (p. 205).--_Overstimulation of the Brain
in Childhood_.--Most civilized communities have enacted laws against
the employment of children in severe physical labor. This is well enough,
for the muscles of young persons are tender and weak, and not, therefore,
adapted to the work to which cupidity or ignorance would otherwise subject
them. But no such fostering care does the State take of the brains of the
young. There are no laws to prevent the undeveloped nervous system being
overtasked and brought to disease, or even absolute destruction. Every
physician sees cases of the kind, and wonders how parents of intelligence
can be so blind to the welfare of their offspring as to force, or even to
allow, their brains to be worked to a degree that, in many cases, results
in idiocy or death. Only a few months ago I saw for the first time a boy
of five years of age, with a large head, a prominent forehead, and all the
other signs of mental precocity. He had read the first volume of Bryant's
"History of the United States," and was preparing to tackle the other
volumes! He read the magazines of the day with as much interest as did his
father, and conversed with equal facility on the politics of the period.
But a few weeks before I saw him he had begun to walk in his sleep, then
chorea had made its appearance, and on the day before he was brought to me
he had had a well-marked epileptic paroxysm. Already his mind is weakened
--perhaps permanently so. Such cases are not isolated ones. They are
The period of early childhood--say up to seven or eight years of age--is
that during which the brain and other parts of the nervous system are most
actively developing, in order to fit them for the great work before them.
It is safe to say that the only instruction given during this time should
be that which consists in teaching children how to observe. The perceptive
faculties alone should be made the subjects of systematic attempts at
development. The child should be taught how to use his senses, and
especially how to see, hear, and touch. In this manner, knowledge would be
acquired in the way that is preeminently the natural way, and ample food
would be furnished for the child's reflective powers.--DK. WM. A. HAMMOND,
_Popular Science Monthly, November, 1884_.
_Reserve Force_.--The part which "a stock of energy" plays in brain
work can scarcely be exaggerated. Reserves are of high moment everywhere
in the animal economy, and the reserve of mental force is in a practical
sense more important than any other....Without this reserve, healthy brain
work is impossible. Pain, hunger, anxiety, and a sense of mind weariness,
are warning tokens of exhaustion. When the laborious worker, overcome with
fatigue, "rouses" himself with alcohol, coffee, tea, or any other agent
which may chance to suit him, he does not add a unit of force to his stock
of energy; he simply narcotizes the sense of weariness, and, the guard
being drugged, he appropriates the reserve....Meanwhile, the effort to
work becomes daily more laborious, the task of fixing the attention grows
increasingly difficult, thoughts wander, memory fails, the reasoning power
is enfeebled; physical nerve or brain disturbance may supervene, and the
crash will then come suddenly, unexpected by on-lookers, perhaps
unperceived by the sufferer himself.
_Overwork and Worry_.--The miseries of "overwork," pure and simple,
are few and comparatively insignificant....The natural safeguards are so
well fitted for their task that neither body nor mind is exposed to the
peril of serious exhaustion so long as their functions are duly performed.
Overwork is _impossible_ so long as the effort made is natural....There
is then no excuse for idleness in the pretense of possible injury. If
insane asylums were searched for the victims of "overwork," they would
nearly all be found to have fallen a prey to "worry," or to the degeneracy
which results from lack of purpose in life, and of steady employment
....The cause or condition which most commonly exposes the reserve of
mental energy to loss and injury is worry. When a strong and active mind
breaks down suddenly in the midst of business, it is usually worn out by
this cause rather than by the other....Work in the teeth of worry is
fraught with peril. The unhappy victim is ever on the verge of a
catastrophe; if he escape, the marvel is not at his strength of intellect
so much as at his good fortune. Worry is disorder, however induced, and
disorderly work is abhorred by the laws of nature, which leave it wholly
The pernicious system of _Cram_ slays its thousands, because
uneducated, undeveloped, inelastic intellects are burdened and strained
with information adroitly deposited in the memory,--as an expert valet
packs a portmanteau, with the articles likely to be first wanted on the
top. _Desultory occupation_, mere play with objects of which the true
interest is not appreciated, ruins a still larger number. But
_worry_, that bane of brain work and mental energy, counts its
victims by tens of thousands.--DR. J. MORTIMER GRANVILLE, _in "Worry,"
SLEEP (p. 206).--_Some Curiosities of Sleep_.--One of the most
refined and exquisite methods of torture is long continued deprivation of
sleep. The demand for unconscious rest is so imperious that nature will
accommodate itself to the most unfavorable surrounding conditions. Thus,
in forced marches, regiments have been known to sleep while walking; men
have slept soundly in the saddle; and persons will sometimes sleep during
the din of battle. It is remarkable how noises to which we have been
accustomed will fail to disturb our natural rest. Those who have been long
habituated to the endless noise of a crowded city frequently find
difficulty in sleeping in the oppressive stillness of the country.
Prolonged exposure to intense cold induces excessive somnolence, and if
this be induced, the sleep passes into stupor, the power of resistance to
cold becomes rapidly diminished, and death is the inevitable result.
Intense heat often produces drowsiness, but, as is well known, is not
favorable to natural sleep....It is difficult to determine with exactness
the phenomena of sleep that are absolutely physiological, and to separate
those that are slightly abnormal. We can not assert, for example, that a
dreamless sleep is the only normal condition of repose of the system; nor
can we determine what dreams are due to previous trains of thought, or to
such impressions from the external world received during sleep as are
purely physiological, and what are due to abnormal nervous influence,
disordered digestion, etc.
The most remarkable experiments upon the production of dreams of a
definite character, by subjecting a person during sleep to peculiar
influences, are those of Maury. The hallucinations produced in this way
are called hypnagogic (from its derivation this term is properly applied
only to phenomena observed at the instant when we fall asleep, or when we
are imperfectly awakened, and not to the period of most perfect repose),
and they occur when the subject is not in a condition favorable to sound
The experiments made by Maury upon himself are so curious and interesting
that we quote the most striking of them in full.
_First Observation_.--I am tickled with a feather successively on the
lips and inside of the nostrils. I dream that I am subjected to a horrible
punishment, that a mask of pitch is applied to my face, and then roughly
torn off, tearing the skin of the lip, the nose, and the face.
_Second Observation_.--A pair of pincers is held at a little distance
from my ear, and rubbed with steel scissors. I dream that I hear the
ringing of bells; this soon becomes a tocsin, and I imagine myself in the
days of June, 1848. (The time of the French Revolution.)
_Third Observation_.--I am caused to inhale Cologne water. I dream I
am in a perfumer's shop; the idea of perfumes doubtless awakens the idea
of the East; I am in Cairo, in the shop of Jean Farina....
_Fifth Observation_.--I am slightly pinched on the nape of the neck.
I dream that a blister is applied, which recalls to my mind a physician
who had treated me in infancy.
_Seventh Observation_....The words Azar, Castor, Leonore, were
pronounced in my ear; on awaking I recollected that I had heard the last
two words, which I attributed to one of the persons who had conversed with
me in my dream.--FLINT'S _Physiology of Man_.
The transition stage between the dream simple and the dream acted is
witnessed in the spasmodic movements which a vivid dream produces in the
limbs or person of the sleeper. The dreamer engages in a fierce struggle,
and twitchings of his legs and arms indicate the feeble response of body
to the promptings of mind removed from its wonted power over the frame.
Even the dog, as he sleeps, apparently dreams of the chase, and gives vent
to his sensations by the short, sharp bark, or sniffs the air, and starts
in his slumber as if in response to the activity with which, in his
dreaming, he is hurrying along after the object of pursuit....Persons have
been known to swim for a considerable time in the somnambulistic state
without waking at the termination of their journey; others have safely
descended the shaft of a mine, while some have ascended steep cliffs, and
have returned home in safety during a prolonged sleep vigil. (See p.
204.)--DR. ANDREW WILSON, F.R.S.E., _What Dreams are Made of_.
_Sleep and Conscience_.--Edward Everett Hale says: Never go to bed in
any danger of being hungry. People are kept awake by hunger quite as much
as by a bad conscience. Remembering that sleep is the essential force
which starts the whole system, decline tea or coffee within the last six
hours before going to bed. Avoid all mathematics or intricate study of any
sort in the last six hours. This is the stuff dreams are made of, and hot
heads, and the nuisances of waking hours. Keep your conscience clear.
Remember that because the work of life is infinite, you can not do the
whole of it in any limited period of time, and that therefore you may just
as well leave off in one place as another.
_The Art of Rising Early_.--The proper time to rise is when sleep
ends. Dozing should not be allowed. True sleep is the aggregate of sleeps,
or is a state consisting in the sleeping or rest of all the several parts
of the organism. Sometimes one and at other times another part of the
body, as a whole, may be the least fatigued, and so the first to awake; or
the most exhausted, and therefore the most difficult to arouse. The secret
of good sleep is, the physiological conditions of rest being established,
so to work and weary the several parts of the organism as to give them a
proportionately equal need of rest at the same moment. To wake early, and
feel ready to rise, a fair and equal start of the sleepers should be
secured; and the wise self-manager should not allow a drowsy feeling of
unconsciousness, or weary senses, or an exhausted muscular system, to
beguile him into the folly of going to sleep again when once he has been
aroused. After a few days of self-discipline, the man who resolves not to
doze, that is, not to allow some sleepy part of his body to keep him in
bed after his brain has once awakened, will find himself, without knowing
why, an early riser.
INFLUENCE OF SUNLIGHT (p. 207).--Light is an essential element in
producing the grand phenomena of life, though its action is ill
understood. Where there is light there is life, and any deprivation of
this principle is rapidly followed by disease of the animal frame, and the
destruction of the mental faculties. We have proof of this in the squalor
of those whose necessities compel them to labor in places to which the
blessings of sunshine never penetrate, as in our coal mines, where men
having everything necessary for health, except light, exhibit a singularly
unhealthy appearance. The state of fatuity and wretchedness to which those
individuals have been reduced, who have been subjected for years to
incarceration in dark dungeons, may be referred to the same deprivation.--
ROBERT HUNT, _Poetry of Science_.
_Effect of Dungeon Life_.--"You can not imagine, Mr. Kennan," said a
condemned revolutionist to me in Siberia, "the misery of prolonged
confinement in a casemate of the fortress under what are known as dungeon
conditions. My casemate was sometimes cold, generally damp, and always
gloomy. Day after day, week after week, month after month, I lay there in
solitude, hearing no sound save that of the high-pitched, melancholy bells
of the fortress cathedral, which slowly chimed the quarter hours, and
which always seemed to say: 'Here thou liest--lie here still.' I had
absolutely nothing to do except to pace my cell from corner to corner, and
think. For a long time I used to talk to myself in a whisper; to repeat
softly everything in the shape of literature that I could remember, and to
compose speeches which, under certain imagined conditions, I would
deliver; but I finally ceased to have energy enough to do even this, and
used to sit for hours in a sort of stupor, in which, so far as I can now
remember, I was not conscious of thinking at all. Before the end of the
first year, I grew so weak, mentally and physically, that I began to
forget words. I knew what ideas I desired to express, but some of the
words that I needed had gone from me, and it was with the greatest
difficulty that I could recover them. It seemed sometimes as if my own
language were a strange one to me, or one which, from long disuse, I had
forgotten. I greatly feared insanity, and my apprehension was increased by
the fact that two or three of my comrades in cells on the same corridor
were either insane or subject to hallucinations; and I was often roused at
night and thrown into a violent chill of nervous excitement by their
hysterical weeping, their cries to the guard to come and take away
somebody, or something which they imagined they saw, or their groans and
entreaties when, in cases of violent delirium, they were strapped to their
beds by the _gendarmes_."--GEORGE KENNAN, _in Russian State
Prisoners, The Century, March, 1888_.
THE GROWTH AND POWER OF POISON HABITS (p. 218).--In order to distinguish a
poison stimulant from a harmless and nutritive substance, Nature has
furnished us three infallible tests:
1. The first taste of every poison is either insipid or repulsive.
2. The persistent obtrusion of the noxious substance changes that aversion
into a specific craving.
3. The more or less pleasurable excitement produced by a gratification of
that craving is always followed by a depressing reaction....
One radical fallacy identifies the stimulant habit in all its disguises:
its victims mistake a process of irritation for one of invigoration....
Sooner or later the tonic is sure to pall while the morbid craving
remains, and forces its victims either to increase the quantity of
the wonted stimulant, or else to resort to a stronger poison. A boy begins
with ginger beer and ends in ginger rum; the medical "tonic" delusion
progresses from malt extract to Mumford's Elixir; and the nicotine habit
once introduced, the alcohol habit often follows. The tendency of every
stimulant habit is toward a stronger tonic....We have found that the road
to the rum shop is paved with "mild stimulants," and that every bottle of
medical bitters is apt to get the vender a permanent customer. We have
found that cider and mild ale lead to strong ale, to lager beer, and
finally to rum, and the truth at last dawns upon us that the only safe,
consistent, and effective plan is Total Abstinence from all Poisons.
...More than the hunger after bread, more than the frenzy of love or
hatred, the poison hunger overpowers every other instinct, even the fear
of death. Dr. Isaac Jennings has illustrated this by the following
example: A clergyman of his acquaintance attempted to dissuade a young man
of great promise from habits of intemperance. "Hear me first a few words,"
said the young man, "and then you may proceed. I am sensible that an
indulgence in this habit will lead to the loss of property, the loss of
reputation and domestic happiness, to premature death, and to the
irretrievable loss of my immortal soul; and now, with all this conviction
resting firmly on my mind and flashing over my conscience like lightning,
if I still continue to drink, do you suppose anything you can say will
deter me from the practice?"
...Ignorance is a chief cause of intemperance. The seductions of vice
would not mislead so many of our young men if they could realize the
significance of their mistake. There is still a lingering belief that,
with due precaution against excess and adulteration, a dram drinker might
"get ahead" of Nature, and, as it were, trick her out of some extra
enjoyment. There is no hope of a radical reform till intelligent people
have realized the fact that this "trick" is in every instance a losing
game, entailing penalties which far outweigh the pleasures that the novice
may mistake for enjoyments. For the depression of the vital energy
increases with every repetition of the stimulating process, and in a year
after the first dose all the "grateful and exhilarating tonics" of our
professional poison venders can not restore the vigor, the courage, and
the cheerfulness which the mere consciousness of perfect health imparts to
the total abstainer. A great plurality of all beginners underrate the
difficulty of controlling the cravings of a morbid appetite. They remember
that their natural inclinations at first opposed, rather than encouraged,
the indulgence; and they feel that at the present stage of its development
they could abjure the passion without difficulty. But they overlook the
fact that the moral power of resistance decreases with each repetition of
the dose, and that the time will come when only the practical
impossibility of procuring their wonted tipple will enable them to keep
their pledge of total abstinence. It is true that, by the exercise of a
constant self-restraint, a person of great will force may resist the
progressive tendency of the poison habit and confine himself for years to
a single cigar or a single bottle of wine per day....But the attempt to
resist that bias will overtask the strength of most individuals. According
to the allegory of the Grecian myth, the car of Bacchus was drawn by
tigers; and it is a significant circumstance that war, famine, and
pestilence have so often been the forerunners of veritable alcohol
epidemics....The explanation is that, after the stimulant habit has once
been initiated, every unusual depression of mental or physical vigor calls
for an increased application of the accustomed method of relief....Nations
who are addicted to the worship of a poison god will use his temple as a
place of refuge from every calamity; and children whose petty ailments
have been palliated with narcotics, wine, and cordials, will afterward be
tempted to drown their greater sorrows in deeper draughts of the same
nepenthe.--FELIX L. OSWALD, M.D., _Remedies of Nature, Popular Science
Monthly, October and November, 1883_.
DANGERS FROM THE USE OF NARCOTICS.--It may seem a paradox, it is a truism,
to say that in the value of narcotics lies their peril. Because they have
such power for good, because the suffering which they alleviate is in its
lighter forms so common, because neuralgia and sleeplessness are ailments
as familiar to the present generation as gout, rheumatism, and catarrh
were to our grandfathers, therefore the medicines which immediately
relieve sleeplessness and neuralgic pain are among the most dangerous
possessions, the most subtle temptations of civilized life. Every one of
these drugs has, besides its instant and beneficial effect, other and
injurious tendencies. The relief which it gives is purchased at a certain
price; for, at each repetition of the dose, the immediate relief is
lessened or rendered uncertain, while the mischievous influence is
enhanced and aggravated; till, when the drug has become a necessity of
life it has lost the greater part, if not the whole, of its value, and
serves only to satisfy the need which itself alone has created....We read
weekly of men and women poisoned by an overdose of some favorite sedative,
burned to death or otherwise fatally injured, while insensible from self-
administered ether or chloroform....The narcotist keeps chloroform or
chloral always at hand, forgetful or ignorant that one sure effect of the
first dose is to produce a semistupor more dangerous than actual
somnolence. In that semistupor the patient is aware, or fancies, that the
dose has failed. The pain that has induced a lady to hold a chloroformed
handkerchief under her nostrils returns while her will and her judgment
are half paralyzed. She takes the bottle from the table beside her bed,
intending to pour an additional supply upon her handkerchief. The unsteady
hand perhaps spills a quantity on the sheet, perhaps sinks with the
unstoppered bottle under her nostrils, and in a few moments she has
inhaled enough utterly to stupefy, if not to kill. The sleepless brain
worker also feels that his usual dose of chloral has failed to bring
sleep; he is not aware how completely it has stupefied the brain, to which
it has not given rest. His judgment is gone, so is his steadiness of hand;
and he pours out a second and too often a fatal dose....But the cases that
end in a death terrible to the family, though probably involving little or
no suffering to the victim himself, are by no means the worst. A life
poisoned, paralyzed, rendered worthless for all the uses of intellectual,
rational, we might almost say of human existence, is worse for the
sufferer himself and for all around him than a quick and painless death;
and for one such death there must be twenty, if not a hundred, instances
of this worst death in life....The demoralization of the narcotist is not,
like that of the drunkard, rapid, violent, and palpable; but gradual,
insidious, perceptible at first only to close observers and intimate
friends. Here and there we find a constitution upon which opium exerts few
or none of its characteristic effects. Such cases are, of course, wholly
exceptional; but their very existence is a danger to others, misleading
them into the idea that they may dally with the tempter without falling
under its yoke, or may fall under that yoke and find it a light one. I
doubt, however, whether the most fortunate of its victims would encourage
the latter idea; whether there be an opium eater who would not give a limb
never to have known what opium slavery means....Besides, no one can be
sure, or indeed reasonably hope, that the mischief will be confined to the
individual victim. That the children of drunkards are often predisposed to
insanity is notorious; that the children of habitual opium eaters inherit
an unmistakable taint, whether in a diseased brain, in morbid cravings, or
simply in a will too weak to resist temptation, is less notorious, but
equally certain.--PERCY GREG, _Narcotics and Stimulants, Contemporary
Thus also in America scarcely a week passes but we see announced in the
public prints deaths or suicides resulting from the use of narcotics. Now,
it is from tobacco: A Yale College student dies from excessive smoking;
another student in the same college, and as a result of the same habit,
commits suicide; a third young man is found dead in his bed in New York,
from heart disease induced by cigarettes; and so, month by month, and year
by year, grows in rapid increase the list of tobacco deaths.--Or, again,
it is from opium. A Harvard student with two of his college companions in
search of a new sensation, tries opium smoking one fatal night and dies
before morning; a woman in Ohio, belonging to a prominent family, dies at
the age of thirty-three years, from an overdose of morphine, her body
covered with hypodermic scars; another, once the respected wife of a
Baptist clergyman, becomes a morphine drunkard, drifts, step by step, into
a Central New York Almshouse, and there hangs herself; a third, young,
accomplished, and wealthy, falls first a victim to the morphine habit,
then to opium smoking, finally becomes the frequenter of a New York opium
joint, and so is lost forever to home, friends, and respectability.--
Occasionally it is cocaine, as in the case of the Chicago physician, who,
for the purposes of investigation, experiments with this new drug upon
himself, his wife, and finally upon his innocent children; the entire
family being found unconscious from the effects of the subtle narcotic.
These are but solitary instances in an appallingly long list of similar
cases, most of which have occurred within the last two years (1887-'88).
_Cigarette Smoking_ is chargeable with a growing demoralization and
mortality among boys and young men. It is no uncommon sight to see lads of
ten years old and under, with the irresponsibility of ignorant childhood,
puffing the dangerous cigarette, and thus undermining health and intellect
at the very outset of useful existence. Even when told of the near and
remote perils thus incurred, they scarcely listen, for do not they see
their elders smoke and prosper?--Most of them do not understand that there
is more danger to the young than to the old in the tobacco habit, more
danger to some constitutions than to others, and more danger in the
cigarette than even in the pipe or the cigar. Pause a moment to consider
it, boys, when you are tempted to light the clean-looking, paper-covered
roll and place it in your mouth. Think of the heated smoke irritating the
delicate membrane in your throat, dulling your brain, and vitiating the
blood which should be bounding fresh and pure through your veins. Think of
the many filthy and diseased mouths from which have been cast away the
tobacco refuse, picked up in streets and public places to reappear in the
"Cheap and Popular Brand" which looks to you so innocent and so
attractive. It is astonishing, indeed, how an otherwise cleanly boy will
consent to defile himself with these vile abominations. And yet, I have
known lads who--not always with perfect politeness--would fastidiously
refuse "hash" at their mother's breakfast table, but who would shortly
afterward serenely place one of these unknowable compounds between their
lips and walk away with the air of superior manhood!
_Of Chloral Hydrate_, Dr. Fothergill remarks: "When this was
announced with a flourish of trumpets as a perfectly innocuous narcotic,
the sleepless folk hailed its advent with eager acclamation. But a little
experience soon demonstrated that the innocuous, harmless drug was far
from the boon it was proclaimed. In fact, the impression of its
harmlessness was the outcome of ignorance of its properties. Death after
death, even among medical men themselves, as well as nonprofessional
persons, have already resulted from the use, or rather misuse, of this
_The Bromides_ (of Soda or Potash), also, should be used with
caution, and only on the prescription of a conscientious physician. "The
bromide of potash," says Percy Greg, "is claimed not to produce sleep by
stupefaction, like chloral or opium, but, at least in small doses, to
allay the nervous irritability which is often the sole cause of
sleeplessness. But in larger quantities and in its ultimate effects, it is
scarcely less to be dreaded than chloral." Overdoses of the bromides will
produce among other evil effects a peculiar eruption upon the face, which,
though generally temporary, is liable to reappear from time to time under
certain conditions of the system, and especially upon a subsequent dose,
_Absinthe_ is a compound of absinthium (the essence of wormwood),
various aromatic oils, and alcohol. Absinthium, taken in small doses,
induces trembling, stupor, and insensibility; in larger doses, epilepsy.
When, therefore, this dangerous essence is added to alcohol, it
strengthens its influence to specific disease. Absinthe drinking is
recognized in France as such a serious vice that it has been officially
prohibited in the army and navy.
_Hasheesh_ is a syrup prepared from the leaves and flowers of Indian
Hemp. Though its use in this country is comparatively small, instances are
not unknown in which reckless or curious persons have fatally experimented
with it. As a medicine, it is in limited use, and with results not always
satisfactory. It acts in a peculiar manner upon the nervous centers,
occasioning that strange condition of the nervous system called catalepsy,
in which the limbs of the unconscious patient remain stationary in
whatever position they may be placed. After an average dose of hasheesh,
the subject becomes the helpless victim of rapidly shifting ideas, a
prominent characteristic of which is an entire loss of judgment as to time
and place. A larger dose produces hallucinations and delirium, with that
distressing sensation of falling through endless space which is induced in
some people by opium. [Footnote: In an article entitled "An Overdose of
Hasheesh" (_Popular Science Monthly_, February, 1884), Miss MARY A.
HUNGERFORD gives a vivid description of a painful experience with this
drug, some portion of which is as follows:
"Being one of the grand army of sufferers from headache, I took, last
summer, by order of my physician, three small daily doses of hasheesh in
the hope of holding my intimate enemy in check....I grew to regard the
drug as a harmless medicine, and one day, when I was assured by some
familiar symptoms that my headache was about to assume an aggravated form,
I took a larger quantity than had been prescribed. Twenty minutes later I
was seized with a strange sinking or faintness which gave my family so
much alarm that they telephoned at once for the doctor.
"...One terrible reality--I can hardly term it a fancy even now--that came
to me again and again, was so painful that it must, I fear, always be a
vividly remembered agony....I died, as I believed, although by a strange
double consciousness I knew that I should again reanimate the body I had
left. In leaving it I did not soar away, as one delights to think of the
freed spirits soaring....I sank, an intangible, impalpable shape, through
the bed, the floors, the cellar, the earth, down, down, down! Like a
fragment of glass dropping through the ocean, I dropped uninterruptedly
through the earth and its atmosphere, and then fell on and on
forever....As time went on, and my dropping through space continued, I
became filled with the most profound loneliness, and a desperate fear took
hold of me that I should be thus alone for evermore, and fall and fall
eternally....There was, it seemed to me, a forgotten text which, if
remembered, would be the spell to stop my fatal falling. I sought in my
memory for it, I prayed to recall it, I fought for it madly, wrestling
against the terrible fate which seemed to withhold it. Single words of it
came to me in disconnected mockery, but erased themselves instantaneously.
Mentally, I writhed in such hopeless agony that, in thinking of it, I
wonder I could have borne such excess of emotion and lived....I began,
then, without having reached any goal, to ascend. As I rose, a great and
terrible voice from a vast distance pronounced my doom: 'Fall, fall, fall,
to rise again in hopeless misery, and sink again in lonely agony forever.'
...Then ensued a wild and terrible commingling of unsyllabled sounds, so
unearthly that it is not in the power of language to fitly describe them.
It was something like a mighty Niagara of shrieks and groans, combined
with the fearful din and crash of thousands of battles and the thunderous
roar of a stormy sea....I fought my upward way in an agony which resembled
nothing so much as the terrible moment when, from strangling or
suffocation, all the forces of life struggle against death, and wrestle
madly for another breath. In place of the woeful sounds now reigned a
deadly stillness, broken only at long but regular intervals by a loud
report, as if a cannon, louder than any I ever heard on earth, were
discharged at my side, almost shot into me, I might say, for the sound
appeared to rend me from head to foot, and then to die away into the dark
chaos about me in strange, shuddering reverberations. Even in the misery
of my ascending I was filled with a dread expectancy of the cruel sound.
It gave me a feeling of acute physical torture, with a lingering intensity
that bodily suffering could not have. It was repeated an incredible number
of times, and always with the same suffering and shock to me. At last the
sound came oftener, but with less force, and I seemed again nearing the
shores of time. Dimly in the far distance I saw the room I had left,
myself lying still and deathlike upon the bed, and the friends watching
me....Then, silently and invisibly I floated into the room, and was one
with myself again.
"...'She is conscious now,' I heard one of the doctors say, and he gently
lifted the lids of my eyes and looked into them. I tried my best to throw
all the intelligence I could into them, and returned his look with one of
recognition. But, even with my eyes fixed on his, I felt myself going
again in spite of my craving to stay. I longed to implore the doctor to
save me, to keep me from the unutterable anguish of falling into the
vastness and vagueness of that shadowy sea of nothingness again. I clasped
my hands in wild entreaty; I was shaken by horrible convulsions--so, at
least, it seemed to me at the time--but, beyond a slight quivering of the
fingers, no movement was discernible by the others....For five hours I
remained in the same condition--short intervals of half-consciousness and
then long lapses into the agonizing experiences I have described....Coming
out of the last trance, I discovered that the measured rending report like
the discharge of a cannon, which attended my upward way, was the throbbing
of my own heart."]
Concerning all these and other narcotics, it should never be forgotten
that they are true poisons, sold with the mark of skull and crossbones,
useful, like strychnine and henbane, in the hands of a skillful physician,
but fraught with deadly danger when otherwise employed. Their private use
is never safe. The weak and nervous invalid, who can not by hygienic means
build up new strength, need never hope to gain it by surreptitiously
indulging in popular narcotics. Instead, he will soon discover that he has
but added to his list of ills a new and fatal one.--E. B. S.
THE SPECIAL SENSES.
AN EDUCATED SENSE OF TOUCH (p. 230).--Laura Dewey Bridgman, teacher in the
Perkins Institute for the Blind, South Boston, lost her sight, hearing,
and sense of smell, when she was two years of age. At the age of eight
years she was taken to the institution where she yet remains. At this
time, by following her mother around the house she had become familiar
with home appointments, and by feeling her mother's hands and arms had
also learned to sew and knit. When she first became an inmate of the
Perkins Institute, she was bewildered by her strange surroundings, but
after she had become used to place and people, through her one and only
sense, her education was carefully begun. Through indomitable effort on
the part of her preceptor, she was taught to write, read, and spell, by
means of her fingers, and thus to exchange sentiments with her teachers
and with others skilled in the mysterious language of the blind and the
mute. She is now as proficient in the ordinary branches of learning as is
the average person, possessed of all the senses. Her studies include
geography, arithmetic, algebra, geometry, history, and philosophy. She
makes her own clothing, can run a sewing machine, and observes great
neatness in her dress and the arrangements of her room. Her character is
religious, and she has great success as a teacher. Not long since, she
celebrated, on the same day, her fifty-eighth birthday and the fiftieth
anniversary of her entrance to the Perkins Institute. During her earlier
years, it was her practice to keep a journal, and she now has about forty
manuscript books of her own making. She has also written three
autobiographical sketches, several poems, and is an accomplished
correspondent. When Miss Bridgman expresses pleasure, she clasps her hands
and smiles. So keen and refined are her sensibilities, that it is said she
can, in a small way, appreciate the beauty of music by means of the sound
vibrations on the floor.--MRS. GEORGE ARCHIBALD. (Laura D. Bridgman died
THE NOSE (p. 232).--_The Anatomy of the Nose_.--Probably most of us
look upon the nose as a double hole in the head, by which we get, with
more or less acuteness, a sense of smell, and through which we
occasionally breathe. The intricate mechanism, and the skillful adaptation
of means to end, which, in common with the other organs of special sense,
it exhibits, naturally do not reveal themselves to any but the students of
anatomy and physiology. Its fourteen bones are probably better hidden than
any other fourteen bones of the body, and assist in converting what would
otherwise be a mere channel of communication, into a series of cavities
designed and adapted for particular purposes. The arch of four bones which
forms the bridge of the nose, and which is of such strength as to enable
the gymnast of the circus to perform the feat of supporting with it a man
on a ladder, is pieced on with cartilage to form the nostrils, through
which the nose communicates with the outer air. Similar openings behind
connect it with the upper and posterior parts of the mouth. The space
between these anterior and posterior openings makes a large chamber,
divided by a vertical wall into halves, each of which is still further
separated into three irregular cavities by three bones, called spongy,
from the porosity and delicacy of their texture. The ceiling of these
chambers is formed by a bone of the thinness of paper, upon which lies the
front part of the brain,--a fact the Egyptians made use of in embalming
their corpses, easily crushing this bone, and extracting the brain through
the nostrils. This bone is called cribriform (sieve-like), because it is
perforated by many minute holes, through which, from the olfactory bulbs
(specialized parts of the brain in which is resident the capacity of
smell) that rest on its upper surface, issue the delicate filaments of the
olfactory nerves, to spread themselves over the lining membrane of the two
upper spongy bones. It is in the upper chambers of the nose, therefore,
that the function of smell is performed; the nerves that supply the lower
spongy bone being entirely unconnected with the organs of smell. Over
these latter, however, sweep in and out the currents of air when the act
of respiration is properly carried out, and it is these that are
especially concerned in its abnormal performance. Usually but a very
little of the volume of air that traverses the lower chamber of the nose
has any influence upon its upper regions; and therefore, when our
attention is attracted by an odor, we sniff, in order to bring a larger
quantity of air into contact with the higher parts of the nose, or
olfactory cavities, where odors are perceived.
But the half has not been told of the anatomical and physiological
arrangements of the nose. By minute openings its chambers have
communication with many other parts of the head,--with the hollow that
forms the greater part of the cheek bone; with the eye by a minute spout
that carries off the lachrymal secretion, unless the tears are so abundant
as to roll down the cheeks; with the front of the roof of the mouth; with
the abundant cells of the bone that makes the forehead, and the congestion
of whose lining membrane probably accounts for the severe headache that so
often accompanies and aggravates a "cold in the head." The gateway to the
inner air passages, its abundant surfaces raise the air inspired to the
temperature of the body, supply it with the moisture it lacks, and sift
from it more or less of the mechanical impurities with which the
atmosphere of our houses and shops is laden.--MAURICE D. CLARKE, M.D.,
_Popular Science News, April, 1888_.
_Smell Necessary to Taste_.--What we are in the habit of calling a
"taste," is in most cases a compound of smell, taste, temperature, and
touch--these four sensations ranking in gastronomic importance in the
order in which they are here named....Amusing experiments may be made,
showing that without the sense of smell it is commonly quite impossible to
distinguish between different articles of food and drink. Blindfold a
person and make him clasp his nose tightly, then put successively into his
mouth small pieces of beef, mutton, veal, and pork, and it is safe to
predict that he will not be able to tell one morsel from another. The same
result will be obtained with chicken, turkey, and duck; with pieces of
almond, walnut, and hazel-nut; with slices of apple, peach, and pear; or
with different kinds of cheese, if care be taken that such kinds are
chosen as do not, by their peculiar composition, betray their identity
through the nerves of touch in the mouth. To hold an article of food under
the nose at table would be justly considered a breach of etiquette. But
there is a second way of smelling, of which most people are quite
unconscious, viz., by _exhaling through the nose_ while eating and
drinking....It is well known that only a small portion of the mucous
membrane which lines the nostrils is the seat of the endings of the nerves
of smell. In ordinary expiration, the air does not touch this olfactory
region, but by a special effort it can be turned into that
direction....Instinct teaches most persons while eating to guide the air,
impregnated with the fragrance of the food, to a part of the nostrils
different from that used during ordinary exhalation; but, being
unaccustomed to psychologic analysis of their sensations, they remain
quite unconscious of this proceeding, and are, indeed, in the habit of
confusing their sensations of taste, smell, touch, and temperature in a
most absurd manner....
In trying to ascertain by experiment how far smell, touch, and temperature
enter into this compound sensation, popularly known as "taste," it is best
to make use of the pungent condiments. Mustard and horse-radish, for
example, have little or no taste, but reserve their pungent effect for the
mucous membrane of the nose during expiration. It is an advantage to know
this, for if care is taken to breathe only through the mouth, we need no
longer prepare to shed tears every time we help ourselves to the mustard.
The pungent quality of mustard, the fiery quality of ginger, and the cool
sensation in the mouth after eating peppermint, are due to the nerves of
touch and temperature, which are commonly classed as one sense, though
they are quite as distinct sensations as sight and hearing, or taste and
There are two ways in which the effort to extract all its fragrance from a
morsel of food confers a benefit.
(1.) It is necessary to keep the morsel in the mouth as long as possible.
Now the habit thus formed of eating very slowly is of the utmost
importance, for if farinaceous articles of food are swallowed before the
saliva has had time to act on them, they are little better than so much
waste material taken into the system; and if meat is not thoroughly
masticated, the stomach is overloaded with work which should have been
done by the teeth; the result, in either case, is dyspepsia. It has been
suggested that Mr. Gladstone owes his remarkable physical vigor to certain
rules for chewing food, which he adopted in 1848, and to which he has
adhered ever since. "He had always," we are told, "paid great attention to
the requirements of Nature, but he then laid down as a rule for his
children that thirty-two bites should be given to each mouthful of meat,
and a somewhat lesser number to bread, fish, etc."
(2.) Besides this indirect advantage resulting from the effort to get at
the fragrant odors of food, there is a still more remarkable direct
advantage. It is one of the most curious psychologic facts that odors
exert a strong influence on our system, either exhilarating or depressing.
While an unpleasant odor may cause a person to faint, the fumes of the
smelling bottle will restore him to consciousness. The magic and value of
gastronomic odors lies in this, that they stimulate the flow of saliva and
other alimentary juices, thus making sure that the food eaten will be
thoroughly utilized in renovating the system.--HENRY T. FINCK, _in "The
Gastronomic Value of Odors_." HYGIENE OF THE EAR (p. 236).--_Never
Box a Child's Ear_.--Children and grown persons alike may be entirely
deafened by falls or heavy blows upon the head. Boxing the ears produces a
similar effect, though more slowly and in less degree, and tends to dull
the sensibility of the nerve, even if it does not hurt the membrane. I
knew a youth who died from a terrible disease of the ear. There had been a
discharge from it since he was a child. Of course his hearing had been
dull; and _his father had often boxed his ear for inattention!_ Most
likely that boxing on the ear, diseased as it was, had much to do with his
death. And this brings me to the second point. Children should never be
blamed for being inattentive, until it has been found out whether they are
not a little deaf. This is easily done by placing them at a few yards'
distance, and trying whether they can understand what is said to them in a
rather low tone of voice. Each ear should be tried, while the other is
stopped by the finger. Three things should be remembered here: 1. That
slight degrees of deafness, often lasting only for a time, are very common
among children, especially during or after colds. 2. That a slight
deafness, which does not prevent a person from hearing when he is
expecting to be spoken to, will make him very dull to what he is not
expecting. 3. That there is a kind of deafness in which a person can hear
pretty well while listening, but is really very hard of hearing when not
_Avoid Direct Draughts in the Ear_.--There are some exposures
especially to be guarded against. One is sitting or driving with the ear
exposed to a side wind. Deafness has also been known to come from letting
rain or sleet drive into the ear.
_Do not Remove the Earwax_.--It ought to be understood that the
passage of the ear does not require cleaning by us. Nature undertakes that
task, and, in the healthy state, fulfills it perfectly. Her means for
cleansing the ear is _the wax_. Perhaps the reader has never wondered
what becomes of the earwax. I will tell him. It dries up into thin fine
scales, and these peel off, one by one, from the surface of the passage,
and fall out imperceptibly, leaving behind them a perfectly clean, smooth
surface. In health the passage of the ear is never dirty; but, if we
attempt to clean it, we infallibly make it so. Washing the ear out
frequently with soap and water keeps the wax moist when it ought to become
dry and scaly, increases its quantity unduly, and makes it absorb the dust
with which the air always abounds. But the most hurtful thing is
introducing the corner of the towel, screwed up, and twisting it round.
This does more harm to ears than all other mistakes together. It drives
down the wax upon the membrane, much more than it gets it out. But this
plan does much more mischief than merely pressing down the wax. It
irritates the passage, and makes it cast off small flakes of skin, which
dry up, and become extremely hard, and these also are pressed down upon
the membrane. Often it is not only deafness which ensues, but pain and
inflammation, and then matter is formed which the hard mass prevents from
escaping, and the membrane becomes permanently diseased.
_The Eustachian Tube_.--The use of this tube is twofold. First, it
supplies the drum with air, and keeps the membrane exactly balanced, and
free to move, with equal air pressure on each side; and, secondly, it
carries off any fluid which may be in the drum, and prevents it from being
choked by its own moisture. It is not always open, however, but is opened
during the act of swallowing, by a little muscle which is attached to it
just as it reaches the throat. Most persons can distinctly feel that this
is the case, by gently closing the nose and swallowing, when a distinct
sensation is felt in the ears. This sensation is due to a little air being
drawn out of the ears through the open tube during swallowing; and it
lasts for a few minutes, unless the air is again restored by swallowing
with the nose unclosed, which allows for the moment a free communication
between the ear and the throat. We thus see a reason for the tube being
closed. If it were always open, all the sounds produced in the throat
would pass directly into the drum of the ear, and totally confuse us. We
should hear every breath, and live in a constant bewilderment of internal
sounds. At the same time the closure, being but a light contact of the
walls of the tube, easily allows a slight escape of air _from_ the
drum, and thus not only facilitates and regulates the oscillations of the
air before the vibrating membrane, but provides a safety valve, to a
certain extent, against the injurious influence of loud sounds.
The chief use of the Eustachian tube is to allow a free interchange of air
between the ear and the throat, and it is very important that its use in
this respect should be understood. Persons who go down in diving bells
soon begin to feel a great pressure in the ears, and, if the depth is
great, the feeling becomes extremely painful. This arises from the fact
that in the diving bell the pressure of the air is very much increased, in
order to balance the weight of the water above; and thus it presses with
great force upon the membrane of the drum, which, if the Eustachian tube
has been kept closed, has only the ordinary uncompressed air on the inner
side to sustain it. It is therefore forced inward and put upon the
stretch, and might be even broken. Many cases, indeed, have occurred of
injury to the ear, producing permanent deafness, from descents in diving
bells, undertaken by persons ignorant of the way in which the ear is made;
though the simple precaution of frequent swallowing suffices to ward off
all mischief. For, if the Eustachian tube is thus opened, again and again,
as the pressure of the outside air increases, the same compressed air that
exists outside passes also into the inside of the drum, and the membrane
is equally pressed upon from both sides by the air, and so is free from
strain. The same precaution is necessary in ascending lofty mountains.--
DR. JAMES HINTON.
THE COLORED CURTAIN IN THE EYE (p. 238).--This ring-like curtain in the
eye, of gray, green, bluish-green, brown, and other colors, is one among
the very many remarkable contrivances of the organic world. The eye can
not bear the entrance of too much light, and the colored curtain so
regulates its own movements as to serve this requirement. The dark
circular aperture in the center, known as the pupil, is consequently
forever altering in size; on a bright, sunshiny day, out in the open, it
may be only the size of a pin's head, but at night, when there is no light
stronger than starlight, it is even bigger than a pea. The eye curtain is
fixed at its outer edge, leaving the inner edge to contract or expand,
which it does automatically and quite independent of the will, ever
preserving its circular outline. Its movements may be watched in a variety
of ways, some of which we shall describe.
The common way of watching the movements of the iris is to regard it
closely in a looking-glass while the amount of light entering the eyes is
varied. Place yourself before a looking-glass and with your face to the
window. Probably the iris will be expanded, and there will only be a very
small opening or pupil in the center. Now shut one eye suddenly, while
narrowly watching the other in the glass all the time. At the moment the
light is cut off from one eye, the iris of the other contracts or is drawn
up so as to enlarge the pupil. This shows that there is a remarkable
interdependence between the curtains of the two eyes, as well as that they
are affected by variations in the quantity of light falling on them.
Perhaps one of the most interesting ways of watching the movements of
these sympathetic eye curtains is one which may be followed while you are
out walking on the street some dark winter night. A gas lamp seen at a
distance is, comparatively speaking, a point of light, with bars of light
emanating from it in many directions. These bars, which give the peculiar
spoked appearance to a star, are probably formed by optical defects of the
lens within the eye, or by the tear fluid on the exterior surface of the
eye, or by a combination of all these causes. Be that as it may, the
lengths of the spokes of light are limited by the inner margin of the eye
curtain; if the curtain be drawn up, then the spokes are long; if the
curtain be let down, or, in other words, if the pupil be very small and
contracted, then one can not see any spokes at all. Hence, as I look at a
distant gaslight, with its radiating golden spokes, I am looking at
something which will give me a sure indication of any movements of the eye
curtains. I strike a match and allow its light to fall into the eyes; the
spokes of the distant gas lamp have retreated into the point of flame as
if by magic; as I take the burning match away from before my eyes, the
spokes of the gas-lamp venture forth again. The experiment may be utilized
to see how much light is required to move the window curtains of the eyes.
Suppose you are walking toward two gas lamps, A and B; B about fifty yards
behind A. If you steadfastly look at B and at the golden spokes apparently
issuing from it, you may make these spokes a test of how soon the light of
A will move your iris. As you gradually approach A, you come at last to a
position where its light is strong enough to make the spokes of B begin to
shorten; a little nearer still and they vanish altogether. I have found
that about a third of the light which is competent to contract the pupil
very markedly will serve to commence its movement.--WILLIAM ACKROYD.
PURKINJE'S FIGURES (p. 222).--Stand in a dark room with a lighted candle
in hand. Shutting the left, hold the candle very near the right eye,
within three or four inches, obliquely outward and forward, so that the
light shall strongly illuminate the retina. Now move the light about
gently, upward, downward, back and forth, while you gaze intently on the
wall opposite. Presently the field of view becomes dark from the intense
impression of the light, and then, as you move the light about, there
appears projected on the wall and covering its whole surface, a shadowy,
ghost-like image, like a branching, leafless tree, or like a great
bodiless spider with many branching legs. What is it? It is an exact but
enlarged image of the _blood vessels of the retina_. These come in at
the entrance of the optic nerve, ramify in the middle layer, and therefore
in the strong light cast their shadows on the bacillary layer of the
retina. The impression of these shadows is projected outward into the
field of view, and seen there as an enlarged shadowy image. These have
been called Purkinje's Figures, from the discoverer.--PROF. JOSEPH LE
CONTE, _in Sight_.
QUESTIONS FOR CLASS USE.
_The questions include the Notes and the Selected Readings. The figures
refer to the pages_.
Illustrate the value of physiological knowledge. Why should physiology be
studied in youth? When are our habits formed? How do habits help us? Why
should children prize the lessons of experience? How does Nature punish a
violation of her laws? Name some of Nature's laws. What is the penalty of
their violation? Name some bad habits and their punishments. Some good
habits and their rewards. How do the young ruin their health? Compare
one's constitution with a deposit in the bank. Can one in youth lay up
health as he can money for middle or old age? Is not the preservation of
one's health a moral duty? What is suicide?
3. How many bones are there in the body? Is the number fixed? Is the
length of the different bones proportional? What is an organ? A function?
Name the three uses of the bones. Why do the bones have such different
4. Why are certain bones hollow? Round? Illustrate. Compare the resisting
property of bone with that of solid oak. What is the composition of bone?
How does it vary? How can you remove the mineral matter? The animal
matter? Why is a burned bone white and porous? What food do dogs find in
5. What is the use of each of the constituents of a bone? What is
"boneblack"? What is ossification? Why are not the bones of children as
easily broken as those of aged persons? Why do they unite so much quicker?
What are the fontanelles?
6. Describe the structure of a bone. What is the object of the filling?
Why does the amount vary in different parts of a bone? What is the
appearance of a bone seen through a microscope?
7. What is the periosteum? Is a bone once removed ever restored? What are
the lacunæ? The Haversian canals? Why so called? _Ans_. From their
discoverer, Havers. Define a bone. [Footnote: Bone structure may be
summarized as follows: A bone is a collection of _Haversian
elements_, or rods. An Haversian element consists of a tube surrounded
by _lamellæ_, which contain _lacunæ_, connected by _canaliculi_.--DR.
T. B. STOWELL.] What occupies the lacunæ? _Ans_. The bone cells
(osteoblasts). How do bones grow?
8. Illustrate. How does a broken bone heal? How rapidly is bone produced?
Illustrate. Objects of "splints"? Describe how a joint is packed.
9. How are the bones tied together? What is a tissue? Illustrate. Name the
three general divisions of the bones. What is the object of the skull?
Which bone is movable? How is the lower jaw hinged? Describe the
construction of the skull. What is a suture?
10. Tell how the peculiar form and structure of the skull adapt it for its
use. Illustrate the impenetrability of the skull.
11. Describe the experiment of the balls. What does it show? What two
cavities are in the trunk? Name its principal bones. Describe the spine.
12. What is the object of the processes? Of the pads? Why is a man shorter
at night than in the morning? Describe the perfection of the spine.
13. Describe the articulation of the skull with the spine. Why is the
atlas so called?
14. Describe the ribs. What is the natural form of the chest? Why is it
made in separate pieces? How does the oblique position of the ribs aid in
respiration? (See note, p. 80.)
15. How do the hipbones give solidity? What two sets of limbs branch from
the trunk? State their mutual resemblance. Name the bones of the shoulder.
Describe the collar bone.
16. Describe the shoulder blade. Can you describe the indirect
articulation of the shoulder blade with the trunk? Name the bones of the
arm. Describe the shoulder joint. The elbow-joint.
17. Describe the wrist. Name the bones of the hand. How many bones in the
fingers? The thumb? What gives the thumb its freedom of motion?
18, 19. Name and describe the fingers. In what lies the perfection of the
hand? How do the gestures of the hand enforce our ideas and feelings?
Describe the hip joint. What gives the upper limbs more freedom of motion
than the lower? How does the pressure of the air aid us in walking?
20. Name the bones of the lower limbs. Describe the knee joint. The
patella. What is the use of the fibula? Can you show how the lower
extremity of the fibula, below its juncture with the tibia, is prolonged
to form a part of the ankle joint? Name the bones of the foot. What is the
use of the arch of the foot? What makes the step elastic? Describe the
action of the foot as we step.
21. In graceful walking, should the toes or the heel touch the ground
first? What are the causes of deformed feet? What is the natural position
of the big toe? Did you ever see a big toe lying in a straight line with
the foot, as shown in statuary and paintings? How should we have our boots
and shoes made? What are the effects of high heels? Of narrow heels? Of
narrow toes? Of tight-laced boots? Of thin soles? What are the rickets?
Cause of this disease? Cure? Is there any provision for remedying defects
in the body? Name one.
22, 23. What is a felon? Cure? Cause of bowlegs? How can they be
prevented? Causes of spinal curvature? Cure? What is the correct position
in sitting at one's desk? Is there any necessity for walking and sitting
erect? Any advantage aside from health? Describe the bad effects of a
stooping position. What is a sprain? Why does it need special care? What
is a dislocation? How is it generally caused? How soon should it be
269. What relation does man, in his general structure, bear to other
vertebrates? Mention some marked physical peculiarities which distinguish
him from the lower mammals.
270, 271. Describe the state of a fracture a week after its occurrence.
What is this new formation called? What marks the termination of the first
stage of curative progress? How do the broken ends of the bone now appear?
What is the state of the fracture at the end of the second stage? What is
the condition of the callus at this time? Describe the third and last
series of changes. Is the process of union completed sooner in old people
or in young? In the upper or lower extremities? In smaller animals or man?
What length of time is required to heal a broken arm? A broken leg?
272. What gives the human hand its peculiar prehensile power? What
advantage has the human thumb over that of the ape? Compare the foot of
man with that of the ape. What peculiarity of the foot is particularly
noticeable in man? Contrast the function of the great toe in man and in
273. Are the toes naturally flexible? How are their powers crippled? Give
an instance in which the toes were trained to do the work of the fingers.
274. Why are an elastic step and a graceful carriage such rare
accomplishments? What is the natural shape of the foot? Which is the
longer, the great toe or the second toe? Is an even-sided symmetry
necessary to the beauty of a boot?
THE MUSCLES. 29. What relations do the skeleton and the muscles bear to
each other? How is the skeleton concealed? Why is it the image of death?
What are the muscles? How many are there? What peculiar property have
they? Name other properties of muscles. _Ans_. Tonicity, elasticity.
30. How are they arranged? Where is the biceps? The triceps? How do the
muscles move the limbs? Illustrate. What is the cause of squinting? Cure?
(See p. 244.)
31. Name and define the two kinds of muscles. Illustrate each. What is the
structure of a muscle? Of what is a fibril itself composed? How does the
peculiar construction of the muscle confer strength?
32. Describe the tendons. What is their use? Illustrate the advantages of
this mode of attachment.
33. What two special arrangements of the tendons in the hand? Their use?
How is the rotary motion of the eye obtained?
34, 35. What is a lever? Describe the three classes of levers. Illustrate
each. Describe the head as a lever. What parts of the body illustrate the
three kinds of levers? Give an illustration of the second class of levers.
The third class. Why is the Tendon of Achilles so named? What is the
advantage of the third class of levers? Why desirable in the hand? What
class of lever is the lower jaw?
36. What advantages are gained by the enlargement of the bones at the
joints? Illustrate. How do we stand erect? Is it an involuntary act?
37. Why can not a child walk at once, as many young animals do? Why can we
not hold up the head easily when we walk on "all fours"? Why can not an
animal stand erect as man does?
38. Describe the process of walking. Show that walking is a process of
falling. Describe the process of running. What causes the swinging of the
hand in walking? Why are we shorter when walking? [Footnote: Stand a boy
erect against a wall. Mark his height with a stick. Now have him step off
a part of a pace, and then several whole paces. Next, let him close his
eyes, and walk to the wall again. He will be perceptibly lower than the
stick, until he straightens up once more from a walking position.] Why
does a person when lost often go in a circle? In which direction does one
always turn in that case? [Footnote: Take several boys into a smooth grass
lot. Set up a stick at a distance for them to walk toward. Test the boys,
to find which are left-handed, or right-handed; which left-legged or
right-legged. Then blindfold the boys and let them walk, as they think,
toward the mark. See who varies toward the right, and who turns to the
39. What is the muscular sense? Value of educating it? How do we gratify
40. What effect has exercise upon a muscle? Is there any danger in violent
exercise? For what purpose should we exercise? Should exercise be in the
open air? What is the rule for exercise? Is a young person excusable, who
leads a sedentary life, and yet takes no daily outdoor exercise? What will
be Nature's penalty for such a violation of her law? Will a postponement
of the penalty show that we have escaped it?
41. Ought a scholar to study during the time of recess? Will a promenade
in the vitiated air of the schoolroom furnish suitable exercise? What is
the best time for taking exercise? What class of persons can safely
exercise before breakfast?
42. What are the advantages of the different kinds of exercise? Should we
not walk more? What is the general influence upon the body of vigorous
43. State some of the wonders of the muscles. What is the St. Vitus's
44. What are convulsions? What is the locked-jaw? Causes? The gout? Cause?
Cure? The rheumatism? Its two forms? Peculiarity of the acute?
45. Danger in acute rheumatism? In what does chronic rheumatism often
result? What is lumbago? Give instances. What is a ganglion? Its cure? A
275. What is meant by the origin of a muscle? The attachment? Is a muscle
always extended between two contiguous bones? Give an illustration. Can
the points of origin and of attachment change offices? Illustrate. What is
an important consequence of the attachment of the muscles to the bones?
If, in the limb of a dead body, one end of a muscle is separated from its
point of attachment, what occurs? Would the result be the same during
life? To what is this phenomenon due?
276. Why are the muscles continually striving to shorten? Describe the
effect when several opposing muscles are attached to one bone. When is the
balanced position of the limbs best observed? Are the muscles always
attached to bones? Give example. How does the flesh of man differ from
that of an ox? How may the structure of muscular fibers be rudely
illustrated? Describe smooth muscle fibers. How do they differ from
striated muscle fibers?
277. In what form do smooth muscle fibers frequently occur? In such cases,
how are they usually arranged? What is the effect of their contraction? Of
what especial use is this power in case of the smaller arteries? In case
of the intestine?
278. In the latter instance, how does the contraction take place? Are the
striated muscle fibers voluntary or involuntary? Name an exception to this
rule. Give other peculiarities of the muscle fibers of the heart. What
causes the contraction of smooth muscle fibers? Of striated muscle fibers?
Why do little children seldom injure themselves by overexertion? How is
the danger increased in youth?
279. What class of people are in most peril from violent or excessive
exercise? Why? At what age should one cease from haste of all kinds? Give
instances of valuable lives lost from personal imprudence.
280. What are the effects of insufficient exercise upon the young? How
does it predispose to disease? What makes the children of the laboring
classes so hardy? Is a regulation step desirable in walking? Why not? Why
is it more fatiguing to walk uphill than on level ground?
281. How does the management of the breath affect this fatigue? How should
a belt be worn, if used during exercise? Can other forms of exercise be
successfully substituted for walking? Why not? What is the difference in
movement between walking and skating? Which is the better exercise? What
are the dangers from skating? What precaution should be used by those who
have weak ankles?
282. Name the different action of the muscles in the forward and backward
movements in rowing. What is the comparative value of rowing as an
exercise? Why is it especially desirable for women? How should women dress
when rowing, horseback riding, tennis playing, etc.? What rules should be
observed by rowers? Why should the breath be allowed to escape while the
oar is in the water?
283. What sanitary measures should be observed after a row? What effect
has too frequent and too prolonged immersion on young swimmers? Does
swimming require much muscular exertion? Why? Why does an occasional
swimmer become exhausted sooner than an experienced one? On what do ease
and speed in swimming depend? Is the habit of diving desirable? Should
diving ever be practiced in shallow water?
284. Why is lawn tennis the most desirable of outdoor games? _Ans_.
Not only because nearly every muscle of the body is brought into exercise,
but because it is one of the few field sports in which women can
gracefully join. In this it shares the honor with croquet. What are the
dangers attendant on lawn tennis? From what do many of them arise? Why
should tennis shoes have heels? To what class of people is horseback
riding particularly suited? What class of invalids should not indulge in
bicycling and tricycling? To what class is it peculiarly beneficial?
285. What are the dangers attendant on baseball games? Football? When may
light and heavy gymnastics be profitably employed? Name a sufficient
apparatus. What are the objections to gymnasium exercise? Its advantages?
49. What are the uses of the skin? Describe its adaptation to its place.
What is its function as an organ? Describe the structure of the skin. The
sensitiveness of the cutis. The insensitiveness of the cuticle.
50. How is the skin constantly changing? The shape and number of the
cells? Value of the cuticle? How is the cuticle formed? _Ans_. By
secretion from the cutis.
51. What is the complexion? Its cause? Why is a scar white? What is the
cause of "tanning"? What are freckles? Albinos? Describe the action of the
sun on the skin.
52. Why are the hairs and the nails spoken of under the title of the skin?
Uses of the hair? Its structure? How can it be examined? What is the hair
bulb? What is it called? How does a hair grow? At what rate? When can it
be restored, if destroyed? Does hair grow after death?
53. When hair has become gray, can its original color be naturally
restored? What is the danger of hair dyes? Are they of any real value? How
can the hair stand on end? How do horses move their skin? Is there any
feeling in a hair?
54. Illustrate the indestructibility of the hair. What are the uses of the
nails? How do the nails grow? What is the mucous membrane?
55. Its composition? The connective tissue? Why so called? What uses does
56. What is its character? How does the fat exist in the body? Its uses?
State the various uses of membrane in the body. Where is there no fat?
Where is there always fat?
57. Why are the teeth spoken of in connection with the mucous membrane?
Name and describe the four kinds of teeth. What are the milk teeth?
Describe them. What teeth appear first?
58. Give the order and age at which they appear. When do the permanent
teeth appear? Describe their growth. Which one comes first? Last?
59. Describe the structure of the teeth. How are the teeth fitted in the
60. Why do the teeth decay? What care should be taken of the teeth? What
caution should be observed? What are the oil glands?
61. Use of this secretion? What are the perspiratory glands? State their
number. Their total length. What are the "pores" of the skin?
62, 63. What is the perspiration? What is the constitution of the
perspiration? Illustrate its value. Name the three uses of the skin.
Illustrate the absorbing power of the skin. What precaution should be
observed in handling a dead body? Why are cosmetics and hair dyes
injurious? What relation exists between the skin and the lungs? What
lesson does this teach? When is the best time for a bath? Why?
64, 65. What is the value of friction? Why should not a bath be taken just
before or after a meal? Is an excess of soap beneficial? What is the
"reaction"? Explain its invigorating influence. How is it secured? General
effect of a cold bath? Of a warm bath? If we feel chilly and depressed
after a bath, what is the teaching? Describe the Russian vapor bath. Why
is the sea bath so stimulating?
66. How long should one remain in any bath? How does clothing keep us
warm? Explain the use of linen as an article of clothing. Cotton. Wool.
Flannel. How can we best protect ourselves against the changes of our
67. What colored clothing is best adapted for all seasons? Value of the
nap? Furs? Thick _vs_. thin clothing? Should we wear thick clothing
during the day, and in the evening put on thin clothing? Can children
endure exposure better than grown persons? What is the erysipelas? How
68, 69. Eczema? What do its various forms denote? Corns? Cause? Cure?
Ingrowing nails? Cure? Warts? Cure? Chilblain? Cause? Preventive?
286. Name some causes of baldness. Give Dr. Nichols's opinion. Why is