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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/601

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PHYSICAL EDUCATION.

man of God, included perfume among the three greatest blessings of human life. Young children ought to have a recess after every lesson, and should not be required to sit rigidly quiet. The best writing stand for children is Schreber's "telescope-desk," a box-like contrivance, with a movable top that can be lowered or raised to suit the convenience of sitting or standing writers. In a latitude where the weather so often precludes the possibility of out-door recreations, every schoolhouse should have a recess-room, and every town school an indoor gymnasium.

Fireside comforts are almost inseparable from the idea of an open fireplace, and from an hygienic standpoint, too, the old-fashioned chimney, or an open grate, is far superior to a closed stove. But it should not be forgotten that the operation of the chimney-draught alone is insufficient to correct the vitiated air of a small room, it merely creates an outward current. An open window completes the renovating process; in cold weather a few minutes are sufficient to revitalize the indoor atmosphere for a couple of hours. Only the blindest prejudice can deny the pleasant effect of such an influx of life-air; it revives the azotized lungs as a draught of cool water refreshes the parched palate. Colds are never taken in that way. The very name is a misleading misnomer—infection or influenza would be the right word. Long exposure to a freezing storm, in certain cases, induces a true pleuritic fever, a very rare affection, and entirely different from the only too familiar catarrh. What we call a cold (refroidissement, Erkältung) is caused by the. influence of impure air, or dust, on the sensitive tissue of our respiratory organs; subsequent exposure to the open air merely initiates the crisis of the disorder, the discharge of the accumulated mucus through the nose or throat. Fresh air is here only the proximate cause, as in toothache, or in those paroxysms of retching following upon the first respiration of a half-drowned person. If we postpone the crisis by persistently avoiding the open air, the unrespirable matter, instead of being discharged, will be deposited in the tissue of the lungs in the form of tubercles.

In the chapter on Diet I have stated the physiological objections to a late supper, and I will here mention an additional reason why the afternoon meal should be the last: It would give an overworked mother a chance to close the kitchen-door at six o'clock, and devote the rest of the evening to her family. Domestic habits depend greatly upon the employment of the long winter evenings that have to be passed indoors somewhere; whether at home or—elsewhere, depends upon home comforts rather than upon home-missions; a treatise on the art of making the chimney-corner attractive would be the most effective temperance lecture. Fredrika Bremer recommends fairy stories; in a North American city Scheherezade would probably avail herself of the circulating library, and a fascinating story-book is, indeed, an excellent substitute for the old-fashioned remedies against gadding. Good