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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/749

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PHYSICAL EDUCATION.

make a winding road from the brick-spring to the hill-top. The road was built, but Pierre indorsed the opinion of a professional engineer that the well-hole, too, would be full of water if the woods of the upper ridge had not been so ruthlessly destroyed and that the replanting of forest-trees along the line of the subterranean water-courses would not only replenish the springs but redeem the arid pastures of the foot-hills. The doctor controverted that point, but—just for the sake of experiment—procured a hundred beech-tree saplings, which Pierre planted and watered with untiring assiduity. Some sixty per cent, of the trees took root, to the unending astonishment of the uncle, who now declared that his confidence in the fertility of the ridge-land had increased to a degree which encouraged him to try his luck with orchard-trees. They procured a lot of young apple, almond, and apricot trees, about two hundred of each, and planted them along the line of the suppositive water-courses. Pierre superintended the work, and was kept so busy for the next eighteen months that he had no time to be sick for a single day. The boy that was given up by the Antwerp doctors is now a well-to-do horticulturist, able to climb without a stop the steepest ridge in the Ardennes and to fell a forty-years oak-tree in twenty minutes!

In the beginning of this chapter I have mentioned two forms of disease which, thus far, have not proved amenable to the hygienic (non-medicinal) mode of treatment, though it has already been ascertained that a mild vegetable demulcent—sarsaparilla, for instance—is as efficacious in those cases as the virulent mercurials of the old school. Antidotes and certain anodynes will, perhaps, also hold their own till we find a way of producing their effects by mechanical means. But, with these few exceptions, I will venture the prediction that, before the middle of the twentieth century, the internal use of drugs will be discarded by all intelligent physicians.

"If we reflect upon the obstinate health of animals and savages," says Dr. Schrodt, "upon the rapidity of their recovery from injuries that defy all the mixtures of materia medica; also upon the fact that the homœopathists cure their patients with milk-sugar and mummery, the prayer-Christians with mummery without milk-sugar, and my followers with a milk-diet without sugar or mummery—the conclusion forces itself upon us that the entire system of therapeutics is founded upon an erroneous view of disease."

And, moreover, I believe that the chief error can be accounted for: it is founded upon our erroneous view of the cause and cure of evil in general. Translated into plain speech, the foundation-principle of our system of ethics is this: that all natural things, especially our natural instincts, are essentially evil, and that salvation depends upon mysterious, anti-natural, and even supernatural remedies. This bottom error has long biased all our physical and metaphysical theories. The use of our reasoning powers is naturally as agreeable as the exercise of