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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/778

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

like felt socks), and sleep wherever they find a shade-tree or an open barn. Their portable commissariat consists of biscuits and brown sugar; with fresh milk and such entremets as the mountain inns may afford, they make out two good meals a day, besides occasional luncheons of nuts and huckleberries. Twenty-two of the twenty-four hours are thus spent in the open air, but the long summer days are almost too short for all the entertainments on the liberal professor's programme. Zoölogy, botany, and geology are only collateral pursuits, the main thing is the uproarious fun in the mountains; climbing cliffs, tumbling bowlders from projecting rocks, and chasing squirrels from tree to tree do not endanger the toilet of the excursionists, for every one of them wears turner-drell, a sort of coarse linen, as tough, though not quite as soft, as corduroy.

Observant managers of such expeditions soon get rid of the dismal prejudices against cold spring-water, "wet feet," and "untimely baths." The craving of a thirsty wanderer after cold water is not an abnormal appetency, but a natural instinct, and can be indulged with perfect impunity; a bath in sun-warmed river-water is healthy as long as it is enjoyable; South-Sea Islanders and the children of the Genoese fishermen spend whole afternoons in the surf, and—barring sharks and medusas—without fear of dangerous consequences. There is no harm in wet stockings as long as the feet are in motion; at home it is perhaps better to change them at once, though the Canadian lumbermen dry them on their legs before the camp-fire, or even in bed—i. e., under a pair of "Mackinaw blankets," which blankets have often served as overcoats during the day, but in the course of the night are dried by the animal warmth like a pack of wet sheets. Sunstrokes can be obviated by a simple and very inexpensive precaution—temporary abstinence from animal food. A refrigerating diet (vegetables, fruit, etc.) counteracts the effect of a high atmospheric temperature, but the calorific influence of meat and fat, combined with solar heat and bodily exertion, overcomes the organic power of resistance, the pyretic blood-changes produce congestion of the brain and sometimes instant death. I venture the assertion that in nineteen out of twenty cases of comatose sunstroke it will be found that the victims were persons who had gone to work in the hot sun after a meal of greasy viands. One to two p. m. is the sunstroke-hour.

Among the permanent benefits which young persons may derive from a pedestrian tour, it is not the least that they will mostly get rid of the night-air superstition. Sweet rest and pleasant dreams he knows not who has never slept under a Mexican live-oak tree on a bundle of fresh-plucked Spanish moss, or in the loft of a Tennessee cotton-gin while the winds of the summer night play in draughts and counter-draughts through four open louvres. The advantages of a hardy education in all such things are quite incalculable; the word hardiness sums up the chief characteristics that distinguished the