Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/202

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enic gymnasium take their turn at the horizontal bar as they would swallow the drugs of a public dispensary: they know that it is a lesser evil, they know that the road to Styx is the alternative, they intend to come every day, but the intolerable tedium of the crank-work exercise soon shakes that resolution. The motive for exertion is too abstract; it lacks the charm of progressiveness and the stimulus of a proximate, tangible, and visible purpose. The sham competition of a regiment of invalids under the command of a turn-master does not much sweeten the bitter broth; it is still crank-work, minus the club of the jailer, and nine out of ten hygienic gymnasts will soon find or make a pretext for discontinuing their visits. How many out of a hundred pupils of a young ladies' seminary would dream of performing their "callisthenics" at home? They would as soon walk on all fours, or ride on a dry clothes-line. But arrange a May-day picnic in the mountains, and they will beat a kid in climbing up the steepest rocks, and swing on wild grape-vines for hours together.

It is likewise certain that fatigues can be far better borne if the body is not encumbered with a surplus of calorific clothes. A pair of linen trousers, a flannel hunting-shirt, and a loose necktie, make the most hygienic summer dress. In the afternoon remove the necktie and roll up the shirt-sleeves: it can do no harm to imbibe fresh air by all available means, and let the cutaneous lungs share in the luxury. Nor is there any excuse for the wide-spread fallacy that it is dangerous, even in the most sweltering nights, to remove the bed-blankets. Kick them into the farthest corner if they become too warm, and sleep in your shirt and drawers, or under a linen bed-sheet. Half-naked lazzaroni sleep the year round on the stone terrace of the Museo Borbonico and outlive the asthmatic burghers in their sweat-box dormitories. The body effects part of its breathing through the pores. Painting a man with yellow ochre and copal-varnish would kill him as surely as hanging him by the neck. The confined air between the skin of the body and a stratum of heavy blankets gets gradually surcharged with carbonic acid—in warm weather even to the verge of the saturation point. The perspiration is thus forced back upon the body; and the lungs—perhaps already weakened by disease—have to do double work.

Hunters may find it hard to return in time for dinner, and need a rallying-signal. One p. m. is a good time for a general shouting match. Wake the echoes of the old mountains; the spirits of the departed Cherokees are tolerant—offer a premium for the loudest and ghastliest war-whoop, and depend upon it that no pulmonary disaster will spoil the triumph of the victor. Blood-vessels are not ruptured in that way, but by sudden movements or abrupt ejaculations, when terror or a similar emotion has driven the blood back upon the heart. But, while the mind is at ease, and the lungs not strained by a desperate exertion of the pectoral muscles, I would defy a consumptive to yell himself into a hæmorrhage. A vocal effort does not injure