Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 15.djvu/792

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infectious matters, thus purifying our world, the substances their little bodies may contain and their parasitic action when inoculated into the bodies of higher living organisms by contact, inhalation, eating, etc., render some kinds extremely dangerous as conveyers of the various contagious diseases, hence to be strenuously avoided by strict cleanliness and rigid hygienic measures of every kind. Such knowledge has done much toward inducing modern purity, and has led to our recently improved treatment of wounds and sores by the antiseptic method, whereby many benefits result and great numbers of lives are saved.



IN all places of the civilized world, and in all classes of the civilized community, the struggle for existence is now more keen than ever it has been during the history of our race. Everywhere men, and women, and children are living at a pressure positively frightful to contemplate. Amid the swarming bustle of our smoke-smothered towns, surrounded by their zone of poisoned trees, amid the whirling roar of machinery, the scorching blast of furnaces, and in the tallow-lighted blackness of our mines—everywhere, over all the length and breadth of this teeming land, men, and women, and children, in no metaphor, but in cruel truth, are struggling for life. Even our smiling landscapes support as the sons of their soil a new generation, to whom the freedom of gladness is a tradition of the past, and on whose brows is stamped, not only the print of honest work, but a new and sadding mark—the brand of sickening care. Or if we look to our universities and schools, to our professional men and men of business, we see this same fierce battle rage—ruined health and shattered hopes, tearful lives and early deaths being everywhere the bitter lot of millions who toil, and strive, and love, and bleed their young hearts' blood in sorrow. In such a world and at such a time, when more truly than ever it may be said that the whole creation groans in pain and travail, I do not know that for the purposes of health and happiness there is any subject which it is more desirable that persons of all classes should understand than the philosophical theory and the rational practice of recreation. For recreation is the great relief from the pressure of life—the breathing-space in the daily struggle for existence, without which no one of the combatants could long survive; and therefore it becomes of the first importance that the science and the philosophy of such relief should be generally known. No doubt it is true that people will

  1. Expanded from notes of a Lecture delivered before the National Health Society.