Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 14.djvu/202

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backward and forward upon the leg it will relieve fatigue, but the relief is greater when the leg is firmly grasped and the hand moved gently upward so as to drive onward as much as possible any fluid which may have accumulated in the limb, and, the grasp being then relaxed, the same process should be repeated.

But, while the lymph is thus most readily removed by the pumping action of intermittent pressure either of the hand without or of the muscles alternately contracting and relaxing within, it seems to us probable that this process may also be aided by steady, constant pressure from without. No doubt it is impossible for such a steady pressure to take the place of the regular pumping action produced by the alternate contraction and relaxation of the muscles when in action, yet it will have a somewhat similar action, though to a very much less extent. For at each beat of the heart, as Mosso shows, the entire limb is distended by the blood driven into the vessels, and during the pauses between the beats it again becomes smaller. Each pulse, therefore, by distending the whole limb and each individual muscle, will press out a little of the fluid contained in the fasciae in the same way as the contractions of the muscles themselves; and it seems to us probable that it is the aid which is afforded to this process, by the gentle pressure exerted on the outside of the legs by a seat which supports them along their whole extent, that renders such a seat so peculiarly restful and agreeable. For an easy-chair to be perfect, therefore, it ought not only to provide for complete relaxation of the muscles, for flexion and consequent laxity of the joints, but also for the easy return of blood and lymph not merely by the posture of the limbs themselves, but by equable support and pressure against as great a surface of the limbs as possible.

Such are the theoretical demands, and it is interesting to notice how they are all fulfilled by the aforementioned chair in the shape of a straggling W, which the languor consequent upon a relaxing climate has taught the natives of India to make, and which is known all over the world.—Nature.



THE following passage in De Quincey's "Walking Stewart" is well worth noticing: "The character of a nation may be judged of in this particular, by examining its idiomatic language. The French, in whom the lower forms of passion are constantly bubbling up from the shallow and superficial character of their feelings, have appropriated all the phrases of passion to the service of trivial and ordinary life, and