Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/346

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I was glad to read, in the report of the Geographical Section of the British Association meeting at Sheffield, that several travelers from Africa had said a good word for the cannibals. I should like to do the same for the cannibals and non-cannibals of New Guinea. I have visited a great many villages, in most of which no white man had been before; my wife and I were for a time the only Europeans living on the island, but I have never been molested anywhere. We are known along the coast as the bearers of peace. As I went through one of the villages for the first time, a native from another ran before us and shouted, "These are the maino taunas (the peace-men), who bring and make peace everywhere!" Confidence begets confidence, and there is a wondrous power in human kindness.



I AM well aware that I have chosen no new theme when I assume to speak of our soil and its relations to our health. It is, on the contrary, very old—for Hippocrates wrote two thousand years ago on air, water, and earth in their hygienic relations—but there are old subjects that are always awakening a new interest, and always appear fresh when considered in a new light or from a new side. To these eternally fresh subjects belongs that of the ground on which we stand and live, on which we are born, and in which we are to be buried. Since mankind has comprehended the idea of health, sickness-giving and health-promoting properties have been ascribed to the locality, which has been regarded as consisting of air, water, and earth; but the seat of that which makes sick and makes well has been supposed to be more in the air and water and less in the soil; that is, it has been conceived that a place might have its own air and its own water which we have to use directly in breathing and drinking, while we could be independent of the soil, on which we only tread. The local air could, however, hold the first place in hygienic regimen only as long as it was not known that the average velocity of the atmosphere over the surface of the earth is three metres (or ten feet) in a second, and that, even when we feel that it is perfectly calm, the air is moving at the rate of a half-metre (or twenty inches) in a second. A real stagnation of the air, even in deep cloves and valleys, or in the narrowest streets, is not to be spoken of; the air is rather to be conceived as undergoing a constant

  1. An address delivered before the Association of German Naturalists and Physicians, at Salzburg, September 15, 1881.