Book II.


The Body a Wonderful Machine.—In the year 1876, the Centennial anniversary of our nation's birth, millions of men, women and children, coming from every quarter of the globe, traveled hundreds or even thousands of miles to see the Great Exhibition in Philadelphia which celebrated a century of Liberty and Independence in our favored land. Among all the marvels of art, of science and of mechanical skill grouped in these grand treasure-houses of products from every country, no one attracted more attention from foreigners and citizens alike than the magnificent Corliss engine which, set in motion by President Grant and the Emperor of Brazil on the opening day of the fair, moved most of the machines in Machinery Hall until the end of the Exhibition. This superb show has long since passed away; but in order to see a far more wonderful machine than even the great Corliss engine of the Centennial, each of my readers need only examine his own body, which, in its marvelous contrivances and the astonishingly exact fitness of all its parts for the duties they are required to fulfil, infinitely surpasses any mechanical apparatus hitherto constructed by man.

Comparison With Other Machines.—Thus, for example, no telegraphic machine ever exceeded in delicacy and complexity the human brain and nervous system; no pump ever did its work more successfully than our hearts do theirs in driving the blood through every artery and vein into all portions of the human frame; no chemical apparatus ever performed its part in digesting solid substances better than the human stomach and associated organs fulfil their office as long as the whole body is in perfect health.

A Self-Repairing Machine.—But every one can behold at home, in his own body, a more wonderful machine than any which those vast crowds journeyed so far to see in the Centennial Exhibition, and this infinite superiority of the All-wise Creator's work over any mere man-made contrivance lies in the inborn power of the former to repair itself when injured, this repair being generally more or less complete according as due care is exercised in obedience to the rules of hygienic, medical and surgical science to favor the reparative tendency in every appropriate way. If, for instance, the great walking-beams of the Corliss engine had been broken the whole machine might have stood still until doomsday, as far as any effort to mend itself was concerned; but if a human being were to break his walking-beams, that is to say, the bones of his Legs, and were wise enough to lie still with the broken limbs in a proper position, maintained by suitable surgical appliances, the ends of the fractured bones would, after a few weeks or months, " knit" themselves together, and he might in time be able to run and jump as well as before the accident.


Anatomy.—As most persons are doubtless aware, the study of this most wonderful of all machines, the human body, is called Anatomy, a term derived from two Greek words signifying dissection, because it is only by separating such a body into its component parts that we can tell how it was put together.

Physiology.—Physiology describes the active operations of these various parts and organs during health, as, for instance, how the heart propels the blood through the arteries producing the pulse, how the stomach digests food, and also how the operations of the special senses, such as sight and hearing, are performed.

Hygiene.—Hygiene, the art of preserving health, derives its name from Hygiea, the appellation which the old Greeks gave to their fabled Goddess of Health. It is the practical application of the sciences of Anatomy and Physiology to the hourly and daily needs of every man, woman and child in the world, and it is far more useful to humanity than practice of Medicine and Surgery, because, even with our present knowledge of Sanitary science, we can avoid many more attacks of disease than we can cure. It, therefore, constitutes the chief subject of this book, the purpose of which is to teach its readers how to keep their own valuable bodies—worth, as long as they are not sick, tenfold more than their own weight in the purest gold would be—sound, healthy and free from taint of disease.

Value of Health Laws.—Some physicians of profound learning declare that all the time, trouble and money employed in acquiring their knowledge of medical science would have been well expended in gaining their control over diseases, even if that mastery should never be exercised outside of their own households. And further, that the longer they live and the more they practice medicine, the more sure they become that the cure of existing disease, and when that is impossible, the relief and mitigation of its pain, is the greatest service they can render to humanity, or that humanity in time of need can render unto them.

Preventive Medicine.—If, then, medical practitioners find the ability of curing disease in themselves and their own families is alone sufficient reward for all the toil of their lives in study, how much more worth while is it for the readers of this volume to devote their best efforts to learning from its pages how to prevent diseases, or to nip them in their very bud by appropriate hygienic measures. Obviously, preventive medicine has all the advantages over curative medicine that the traditional ounce of prevention has over the black, bitter, and oft ineffectual pound of cure. Hence it is that the far-sighted prophets of the medical profession agree with singular unanimity that the medical science of the future will be " Preventive medicine," if it has not already become so.

Value of Health.—All those who have learned the value of health by its loss will approve most heartily the advice here given to everybody, and especially to young people, that they should continually remember health is the one worthy object in this life to the attainment of which they can most profitably devote their time, strength and energy, and all the intellect, all the arts, all the sciences, and all the industries of mankind are chiefly valuable to each individual, as they contribute to the acquisition and maintenance of typical health for his individual body and mind. Or to coin an aphorism which should be posted over the doorway of every dwelling in the land: Perfect health is the pure gold, whilst without it, power and glory and riches are but the mere dross of human existence.

Definition of Hygiene.—The late illustrious Dr. Parkes, who probably did more towards awaking public interest in the care of health in all English-speaking countries than any other philanthropist of our time, has left a worthy monument of devotion to his fellow-men, in his comprehensive treatise upon the subject, which contains the following unequalled definition: "Hygiene is the art of preserving health, that is of obtaining the most perfect action of body and mind during as long a period as is consistent with the laws of life. In other words, it aims at rendering growth more perfect, decay less rapid, life more vigorous, death more remote."

A Perfect System of Hygiene.—In the widest sense of its meaning the word Hygiene signifies rules for perfect culture of both mind and body, because it is never worth while to attempt the cultivation of either of these integral parts of the being separately; since each acts and reacts upon the other in ways which are mysterious and intricate to the utmost degree. For a perfect system of Hygiene, therefore, must be combined the knowledge of the clergyman, the physician and the schoolmaster in order to train the material body, the intellectual powers and the moral soul in the most complete and most accurately balanced order. Then exclaims Professor Parkes, "If our knowledge were exact and our means of application adequate, we should see the human being in his perfect beauty, as Providence, perhaps, intended him to be; in the harmonious. proportions and complete balance of all his parts, wherewith he came forth from the hands of his Maker, in whose divine image we are told he was, in the beginning made."

The Science of life.—Dr. J. S. Billings, late president of our National Board of Health, considers that the field of Sanitary Science is still more extensive, and declares that the study of Hygiene includes the examination of the conditions which affect the generation, development, growth and decay of individuals, of nations and of races, being on its scientific side co-extensive with Biology, or the science of life in its broadest sense, including, therefore, Sociology. Whatever can cause or help to cause discomfort, pain, sickness, death, vice or crime, and whatever has a tendency to avert, destroy or diminish such causes are matters of interest to the Sanitarian, and the powers of science and the arts, great as they are, afford, even when taxed to their uttermost, only an approach to the solution of the problems with which he is concerned.

Self-preservation.—But if we go no farther than Dr.Parkes' definition that Hygiene is the art of preserving health, it appears obvious that, since self-preservation is the first law of nature, and from first to last is the most universally inexorable in its demands, a thorough investigation of the best methods of securing self-preservation of every organ and function in entire integrity, such as is attempted in this book, might be rendered the most important, the most useful, and the most interesting, which could possibly engage the attention of every man, woman and child in the world. It is said"might be," because as is commonly observed, few people value health properly until they lose it, and therefore it can scarcely be hoped that all readers will appreciate now fully the inestimable value of sanitary precautions in self-preservation.

A Day of Death.—But the day will come to all, except the few whose lot it is to fall by sudden death, or disease accompanied with failure of intellect, when they will realize, let it be hoped before too late, how momentously true are these words of urgent remonstrance that it will pay better to preserve every part of our valuable bodies and minds in complete perfection, by obedience to the laws of hygiene, than it will to pursue in violation of them any other occupation or amusement ever invented by man.

Place of Medicine and Surgery.—From this point of view practice of medicine and surgery, which have for their objects the remedying of evils resulting from neglect of hygienic laws for our self-preservation, hold a secondary and subordinate place in the interests of mankind, being of less real and vital importance to each and every one of us and to humanity at large.

Sound Mind and Body.—Admitting, as most people will, without dispute that according to the old adage, "the proper study of mankind is man," little farther argument is needed to prove that the maintenance of health is the object towards which he can make the best and wisest application of such study, because, as is declared by the ancient Roman poet, the one earthly blessing we dare ask for unreservedly, a sound mind in a sound body, is the great element of all earthly happiness, without which the richest prince, the most powerful king, or even the wisest sage, is more miserable than its very meanest possessor.


Our Chief Interest and Duty.—The pre-eminent value of the study of man and nature, as a means for obtaining that condition of every enjoyment, health of body and mind, being acknowledged, it is easy to see farther that the surest mode of securing health is by acquiring the most extensive possible knowledge of its derangements, as effected by the countless external agencies and forces of nature, and thus learning what noxious influences we must avoid, because, as every one knows, ignorance of nature's laws no more absolves us from the penalty of their violation than will a similar want of knowledge be accepted by our courts of law for an infraction of their code. For example, the innocent child who eats a spoonful of the deadly poison, arsenic, believing that it is sugar, and in ignorance of that divine ordinance which has decreed it to be fatal to us, is as surely and, without assistance, as fatally poisoned as if he had committed the most monstrous sin; whilst on the other hand a man who has swallowed the same drug, though he be the greatest criminal in the world, if he is well enough informed concerning the laws of nature to promptly take an emetic, will be saved, as a direct consequence of that superiority of wisdom.

Punishment of Ignorance.—Since then ignorance of causes which produce the changes of disease is continually punished with the blackest of all crimes, by death; and, on the contrary, knowledge of these same causes is rewarded with the highest earthly prizes for resplendent virtue, Life and Health, it is manifest that our chief interest, and our duty, in order to secure these blessings of life and health for those under our care, many of whom are as ignorant of common injurious agents as a baby can be of arsenic, is a comprehensive study of disease with all its innumerable causes, symptoms, remedies and effects.

Simplicity of Hygienic Science.—The science of Hygiene, like all other great things, is exceedingly simple. This hypothetical case of an innocent child eating Arsenic through ignorance of its deleterious properties is a perfect illustration of the sanitary errors we and all our friends and relatives are constantly committing almost every moment of our lives. The great duty in writing this volume is to teach its readers and help them to teach others whom they can influence, how to know and avoid or escape " Arsenic," to continue the figure of speech, in all its various forms around them. And whilst the good thus accomplished must fall far short of that which is intended, it is hoped that many readers will hereafter have occasion to offer sincere thanks in their hearts, that they and those dear to them have been saved from unnecessary suffering by the earnest cautions and warnings against eating and drinking, chewing and smoking, breathing and wearing, working and thinking "Arsenic" and its kindred poisons, in their infinitely diverse aspects, which will be urged upon their remembrance.

Preventable Loss of life.—That these dangers to health from the multitude of natural forces and influences which everywhere assail us are not mere visionary ones is shown, by the fact that, from reliable statistics, it is estimated,the total annual loss of life in the United States, from causes well known to be preventable, is certaimy equal to over one hundred thousand persons, whilst if we consider what is theoretically possible if the laws of hygiene were generally and strictly observed this enormous death roll would double or even treble its magnitude.

An Unnecessary Sick List.—In addition to these unnecessary deaths, there are probably one hundred and fifty thousand persons sick in the United States from causes which there is good reason to think are preventable, and it is reasonably certain that the average amount of work accomplished in this country is only about seven-tenths of what it would be if all attacks of preventable diseases were avoided by due sanitary care of our bodies.

Ancient Ignorance of Health Laws.—If we look back into the history of past ages, when Hygiene was comparatively almost unknown, we can perhaps most readily trace the benefits of sanitary science. The Romans constructed some magnificent aqueducts for supplying the seven-hilled city with pure water, and they also built certain capacious sewers for removing their refuse matters, but what we understand by public sanitary effort they were utterly unacquainted with. Even England, with all her greatness and wealth of intellectual production, was a very hot-bed of disease, and to English history we may turn for examples of the most frightful pestilences. What could be more terrible than the "black Assizes," a session of an English law court held in Oxford in 1577, where all who were present in the court room—the judge, the sheriff, and some three hundred other persons—died within forty-eight hours.

Horrors of the Black-Death.—What could be more appalling than the Black-death of the fourteenth century, which reappeared in an epidemic form as the plague five times in the next century, and in the year 1665 carried off the enormous number of seventy thousand persons. So terrible was this disease that one writer says, "The plagues of London do commonly kill one-fifth of its inhabitants." In fact, inhabitants of the Northern States can scarcely form an idea at the present day of such an epidemic as visited London in the year 1665.

Defoe's Narrative.—The narrative of Defoe, depicting its scenes of daily occurrence, is full of pathetic incidents. He tells us that all the infected houses were closed, with their inhabitants imprisoned within them. They were marked on the outside with a red cross, and written over the door was, "Lord, have mercy upon us."

Causes of the Plague.—When, however, we consider how the English people of those days lived we are surprised, not that epidemics of this terrible kind occurred frequently, but that they were ever absent. Most of the dwellings were of wood, and so tightly plastered over that a breath of fresh air was an entire stranger. Our English ancestors had to pay a window tax, so that from economical motives even the light was to a great extent excluded. The floors of the houses were generally made of loamy earth, covered over with rushes. From time to time fresh rushes were strewn upon the old ones, and the decaying mass was left sometimes, it is said, for twenty years without removal, concealing fish bones, broken victuals and other filth. And this was what is called the good old time.


Birth and Death Records.—Some of the clearest numerical evidences proving the benefits of Hygiene are derived from the record of births and deaths accurately kept in Geneva, Switzerland, for the last three hundred years. From these we learn that, three centuries ago, the average length of a human life was only twenty-one years, whilst now, in the twentieth century, it has risen to forty years; then, more than one-fourth of all the children born died in their first year; now, less than one-sixth perish in their first twelvemonth. In the sixteenth century, only three per cent. of the inhabitants of Geneva lived to round out their three score and ten years; now, more than eighteen per cent. outlive the period for human life allotted by the Royal Psalmist of Israel. As many now live to be seventy as then survived the age of forty-three.

Life Lengthened.—Again, statistics prove that in the crowded city of Liverpool, before proper sanitary measures were adopted, thirty-nine persons in every thousand died each year, whilst at the present time the number of deaths per thousand is only twenty-four. The mortality in England's East Indian army has been reduced from sixty-nine to twenty per thousand annually, and so great a difference has this made that, in a single period of ten years, more lives have been saved in that army than formed the whole British forces at the battle of Waterloo. The lessons taught in our late terrible Civil War in America are in this respect equally impressive, for it was found that, through the often inevitable neglect of proper sanitary care, feeding and clothing of the troops, for almost every man killed in battle two men died of disease, nearly all of which might have been prevented had every resource of science for the preservation of health been duly applied.

Theatre of Vitality.—The readers of the preceding section being, it is trusted, fully convinced of, first, the inestimable importance, and second, the great practical feasibility of preserving health for ourselves and our children by attention to the laws of hygiene, we will now commence at the very foundation of the science by attempting to explain, or at least to define, that wonderful Vitality which necessarily forms the theatre, as it were, of all the operations with which we have to deal in pursuing the study of Sanitary Science.

What is Life?—Life, the life to which we, in common "with all other created beings, cling so despairingly, and which is only less mysterious than its inevitable and inexorable termination—the mystery of death—has been defined by a celebrated French physiologist as "organization in action." Taking the word organization in its usual sense as meaning a body made up of organs, as the heart and lungs, for example, this brief phrase admirably expresses the ordinary condition of living bodies, as offered to us everywhere in water, air and earth for our inspection and study.

Microscopic Marvels.—In the lowest forms belonging to the animal kingdom, the active operations which characterize life are capable of actual demonstration under the microscope. In the curious creatures called Amoeba, for example, which look like microscopic drops of transparent jelly, we have presented to our view all the important functions of vitality in its simplest manifestation. In these strange little animals we may really see correspondingly minute vegetables gradually enclosed, partly digested, their nutritious ingredients appropriated, and the remainder cast away in a comparatively short time. Of course the functions of development, growth, reproduction, locomotion and so forth, which are in the animal kingdom the attributes of life in some of its stages, must generally enter into our consideration of the subject, although they are not essential to the idea of vitality.

Normal and Abnormal Life.—Now, life may be natural or normal; that is, nutrition, excretion and so forth, may be so proportioned to each other that the individual possesses the greatest perfection of each and all of its powers, and thus enjoys what is commonly called health. Or, again, the various functions above referred to may bear a disturbed or abnormal relation to each other, constituting the condition we denominate disease, the general, although not quite universal, index of which in our race is pain.

A Doctor's life-Work.—Here we have the physician's life-work set before us in a single sentence, and it is as well the great business of his beneficent calling from the days of Hippocrates, the father of medicine, down to the end of Time, namely, to obviate in suffering humanity these disturbances of bodily action which constitute disease, and to relieve, or at least palliate, their eloquent appeal for succor—pain. No earthly service can win a richer reward from the people of all generations and of all nations. No human gratitude can compare with that poured forth by patients who have just been delivered from the agony of physical pain.

Disease is Disturbed Life.—Since disease consists in the disturbance —that is, the alteration for the worse of nutrition, excretion and so forth —in two words is disturbed life, it is obvious that the causes of disease are any agencies whatever which produce this derangement. Of course, then, they necessarily include all the innumerable powers and forces which surround us. Thus, the excess or the privation of the air we breathe; the light and heat which promote the conversion of food into our muscle, blood and brain, the electrical forces which modify our nutrition—any of the myriad diverse influences which may be brought to bear upon our frames—are at times more or less potent causes of disease.

Life, Health, Disease.—Life, then, is "organization in action." Health is "perfect organization in perfect action." Disease is the " disturbance of perfect organization, or of perfect action, or of both together;" and disturbance or perversion may occur, of course, with both organization and action in either of the two opposite directions of excess or deficiency. Thus, for example, we sometimes see a perversion of the organization of the skin of the leg in the direction of overgrowth, constituting the curious disease called Elephantiasis, because it makes the sufferer's limb look like that of an elephant; or, on the contrary, we may meet with a wasting away of the muscles of the arm, producing one kind of paralysis or palsy.

Functional Diseases.—The functional diseases, as distinguished from organic diseases, are those in which the function or action of an organ is disturbed, without any visible alteration of its substance or texture having taken place. Illustrations of these conditions are readily found in cases, for instance, of excessively violent, rapid and irregular beating of the heart, commonly spoken of as palpitation of the heart; or, on the other hand, when the function of the heart is performed so feebly that it seems to almost cease, as is frequently observed in an ordinary fainting fit.

Deranged Machinery.—Perhaps this important idea, that disease is a disturbance of natural life, can be most forcibly impressed upon the reader's mind by a mechanical comparison. Thus, for example, our bodies, with all their ingenious contrivances and wonderful adaptations of parts to the various objects they are designed to fulfil, may be compared to an intricate machine such as a steam-engine which, when in complete running order, with every valve, wheel and lever acting in just mutual relationship, represents, except that it is far less complex, a healthy human frame. But let a screw work loose so as to allow a little leakage at the steam-pipe, or the oil dry up so as to prevent the free play of a valve, or an eccentric wheel slip a little on the shaft so as to shorten the stroke of its rod, and we shall have resulting an imperfect action, manifested, perhaps, by an audible escape of steam, a slower rate of movement, or a loss of operative power; in fact, the precise equivalent of that derangement of our systems which from time immemorial has received the name of disease.

Mending the Machine.—If, now, we suppose a skillful workman called in to rectify the disordered engine, we will see him examine the movements while running faster or slower, try with his wrench one and another screw-head, and listen here and there for the rush of steam, all these tests being systematically applied to detect the exact seat and character of the little mechanical defect which interferes with the perfect action or function of the engine, and on which, consequently, the whole disorder depends. Now, just as the machinist employs his trained senses to discover the disease of his engine from its symptoms, that is to say, its interferences caused by that valve-disease, or that piston-rod disease, with the best action of the machine, so a thoroughly scientific physician, when consulted as a practitioner of either Preventive or of Curative Medicine, will devote his keenest and best-trained perceptions, aided if needful by the microscope, the stethoscope, the thermometer and other mechanical appliances, towards determining the threatened or existing changes of structure in a patient's body by the symptoms, that is to say, the departures from the perfect action of typical health, which their interference, even in their earliest stage of development, often produces in the functions of his body.

Old and New Views of Disease.—This view, that all diseases are simply departures from and disturbances of perfect health, may seem strange to some of my readers, because, not a great many years since, both medical men and the community at large looked upon each distinct malady as a separate existence or entity which, in some mysterious way, fastened upon our vitals, and, if not cast out by drugs more potent than itself, destroyed its victims in the deadly struggle which ensued between it and the lifeforce of the individual assailed. At present, however, the more enlightened physicians recognize no such antagonists, but consider the disorders to which all flesh is heir as disturbances of perfect life, which as a rule are gradual in their commencement, and even more gradual in their decline. Hence, such terms as to struggle against a disease, or to do battle with a malady, should only be used in a figurative sense and with reference to the causes of complaints or to the symptoms and effects of an illness, as, for example, the debility and the diarrhoea which occur in typhoid fever.

Knowledge Needed.—In the illustration of a disordered steam-engine used above, the importance of calling in a skilled artisan to examine and repair the apparatus has been referred to, and the same precaution is a thousand times more necessary when that infinitely complex and delicate machine, the human body, is disturbed in disease. In such a case only the best trained and most experienced workman that can possibly be obtained should be permitted to meddle in any way with the derangements of this marvelous structure.

Necessity of This Book.—If each inhabitant of America could have an experienced doctor constantly at his elbow to advise him in all the medical and sanitary emergencies of life, these pages would never be needed. As, however, such a desirable precaution is an impracticable one, this work is offered as a substitute for the medical guide, who should be sent for as quickly as possible whenever any emergency arises or any departure from perfect health makes itself manifest. On the other hand, when, as must frequently happen, in small towns, villages, in rural districts, at sea, or whilst traveling in foreign lands, a doctor cannot be procured immediately, prompt treatment by any intelligent person as directed in this work will surely result in saving an immense number of lives and a vast amount of human suffering.

Observance of Proper Precautions.—Sometimes a skeptical spirit leads men, who put on oftentimes a great assumption of superior wisdom, to ridicule the scrupulous care which most contributes to health and long life, quoting, perhaps, the old Latin proverb which declares that he who lives medically lives miserably, as an excuse for their neglect of proper precautions against disease. Even such persons, however, with all their lofty contempt for prudence, may occasionally be seen hastily withdrawing from a railway track when a locomotive approaches, or cautiously avoiding a small-pox patient if they happen to recognize one in the street, and very few, after their boasted courage has, by involving them in serious loss or injury to health, justified the name it will commonly receive of foolhardiness, fail to lament that they had not been wise in time, learned how to avoid the danger of accident or disease, and practiced that knowledge with the watchful care so urgently recommended in this book.

Accident to the Eye.—A most important and useful lesson in regard to the wisdom of sanitary, precautions and surgical or medical treatment may be drawn from the common accident of having a cinder enter the eye (as it is called) on a railway journey. Trivial as this misfortune seems at first, the painful irritation which the tiny particle of coal, if not removed, soon sets up under the lid is far more troublesome than the hygienic precaution of wearing wire-gauze spectacles for a lifetime of railroad traveling would be. And the simple operation of removing the cinder as advised in the chapter of this work on diseases and injuries to the organs of vision, saves the person days or weeks of intense suffering, and effects what the blundering stickler for a nature cure would have set up such a violent inflammation to accomplish, that its patient's eye would very likely have been ruined for life in the operation of washing away the tiny cause of disturbance.

Efficacy of Prompt Remedies.—And in regard to medical treatment the same truth is manifest. Every physician in large practice can, probably, bring forward scores of cases where a single hypodermic injection of morphia has cured neuralgia, a scruple of quinine has broken up ague, a few doses of cough mixture has cut short an attack of bronchitis, or two or three pills of acetate of lead and opium, have checked an attack of cholera morbus, which if left to the vaunted curative power of nature would in all human probability have cost the patient his life, by the long-continued suffering and exhaustion they would involve. In fact, the great business of an intelligent medical practitioner is often to correct the murderous blunders which are constantly being made in patients' bodies by the sticklers for a nature cure. To do this we happily possess, in the wide range afforded by nature among her medicinal substances, remedies which, if used early enough and wisely enough, grant us a hope of cure in every disease except old age, which, if it be looked upon as arriving to one particular organ of each individual sooner than to the others, is but a part of Death, the unconquerable adversary of all earthly life.

Right and Wrong Medication.—In reference to this question of medication, there is no doubt that many people commit serious errors in each direction of excess and deficiency. On the one hand, there are numerous individuals and whole groups or sets of persons who refuse to take into their stomachs certain of our most valuable drugs because these remedial agents have been in other times, or other ages, abused, to the grievous injury of mankind. Thus, it is by no means unusual for a patient to consult his physician and, as the latter is writing his prescription, to say, "Doctor, please don't give me any calomel, for I had an uncle who always said his constitution was injured by the mercury he took when a child." And yet, such a request is not one atom more reasonable than it would be for the same person to take his watch to be repaired and say to the watchmaker, "I want this timepiece put in first-rate order as quickly as possible, but don't use a screw-driver in fixing it, for I have a prejudice against screw-drivers, because an uncle of mine had his watch ruined by a screwdriver when he was a boy."

Uses and Abuses of Calomel.—We can scarcely dispute the assertions that calomel (and mercury in other forms as well) is a very active medicine, potent for ill as well as for good, and that half a century ago it was far too freely and too frequently administered; but when it is given to a suitable case, at the right time and in proper quantity, few remedies are more valuable in their effects. Again, on the other hand, there is a class of people who, in consequence of having once experienced the blessings of medicine as a reliever of pain, from fashion, or from pure lack of other occupation, go to the opposite extreme of overdosing, and fill their stomachs with immense quantities of regular and irregular prescriptions, to their own serious or even fatal injury.

Right Way to Meet Disease.—Common sense dictates a course of action midway between these extremes, not only guarding oneself vigilantly on all the more important points of sanitary precaution when reasonable suspicion of danger exists, but meeting the attacks of disease, which, in spite of every care, will be sure to fasten on humanity sometimes, as promptly and energetically as medical science can enable man to do.

Danger of Neglecting Oneself.—But whilst extensive experience has taught physicians a strong confidence in the efficacy of hygienic measures against disease or accident, and likewise a robust faith in the power of medicine over disease, as well as over most of its causes before they begin their operations upon the human body, they know enough of human nature to feel sure that many readers will not only insist on trying occasionally how far they can venture unscathed in violation of the laws of hygiene, but also that, when they begin to suffer for such disobedience, they will often persistently neglect to avail themselves of "the pound of cure" which stands prescribed, trusting that their disease "will get well of itself."

The Headstrong Individual.—For such headstrong individuals the best wish it that they will test the value of these counsels first, in regard to some sanitary regulations which have attached to them the penalty of temporary pain, rather than that of death, or of permanent injury. In other words, that if the bold seeker after truth is, for example, predisposed to consumption, as pointed out in the sections on age, hereditary tendency and the like, he will be careful about his lungs as he finds advised, and buy his stock of wisdom with experiments, let us say, upon his digestive apparatus, when the punishment may happily prove a mere attack of dyspepsia, that cruel enemy of civilized life, which has been so poetically and so truthfully described as the "remorse of a guilty stomach."

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