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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/355

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PHYSICAL EDUCATION.

strange beds, as well as bedfellows. Skobeleff's troopers bad to sleep in dug-outs on the woodless ridges of the Balkan; and during Key's retreat from Moscow, the commander himself bad once to pass a night in a root-house, where a few rotten boards and a bundle of straw formed bis only protection against a raging snow-storm.

But "roughing it" teaches some useful lessons, and soldiers and hunters often learn by experience that sleep under such circumstances depends upon the possibility of getting the feet warm; rain in the face, or even a wet overcoat, is less anti-hypnotic than chilled toes. In a trapper's bivouac the sleepers generally lie in a circle around the camp-fire, with their feet toward the glowing embers, and the Swiss mountaineers use foot-sacks long socks of a felt-like stuff, and wide enough to leave room for a lot of dry leaves, besides two or three pairs of stockings. Both methods are practical applications of Dr. Caldwell's theory that a decrease of the cerebral blood-circulation has a somniferous influence; in other words, that sleep can be promoted by warming the extremities of the body, and thus diverting the blood from the head.

In-doors, summer often reverses the problem; in the dog-days, when the amount of bed clothing has to be reduced to a minimum, the main point is to cool the head by lowering the temperature of the bedroom. Open windows, a hard, smooth mattress, linen bed-sheets, and a light supper will generally answer the purpose; in the lower latitudes, George Combe recommends glazed brick floors, frequent sprinklings, and in very hot nights a tub with ice. And why not? The Turkish residents of Damascus pass the summer nights in the yeyirman or fountain-hall of their cool houses, and the garrison soldiers of San Juan d'Ulloa deem it a special privilege to sleep on the floating wharf, exposed to the spray and the fitful swell of the Gulf-tide.

In the West Indies and the Mississippi Valley, mosquito-bars are a sad necessity, but all sensible people should be glad that the French canopy-beds are going out of fashion. the French are right, though, in making children over ten years sleep alone; it is one of the rare instances of an etiquette law being supported by a valid reason. To those who can afford it. Dr. Franklin recommends even two beds per individual, and in sweltering summer nights it is certainly a blessing to be able to leave a hot bed for a cool one; in the large family guest chambers of a German hotel, sleepless travelers can thus change the beds like relay-horses. the builders of the old English country-seats seem to have made it a rule to have the houses face due south, with few or no windows on the north side, and in such buildings the east windows would make the best bedroom fronts, both on account of the evening shade and the monitory morning sun. In our Northwestern Territories, where the thermometer ranges from 90° above zero to 45° below, it would be no bad plan to vary the location of the bedcham-