Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/207

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is not more significant than the hopefulness that precedes it. For I believe that instinct is right in both cases, and that in the first stages of its development consumption is really the most curable of all chronic diseases. Chateaubriand, Heinrich Voss, Count Stolberg, Alfieri, Francis Deak, and Dr. Zimmermann, were descended from consumptive parents, but redeemed their constitutions by traveling and out-door exercise, and attained to a more than average longevity. Goethe, in his younger years, was subject to hectic fevers, with frequent hæmorrhages, but recovered and died as an octogenarian.

A tendency to emaciation, the most characteristic symptom of tuberculosis, generally continues to counteract the normal effects of a liberal diet, even combined with continence and a tranquil mode of life; but the limitation of that tendency is a sufficient guarantee that the disease has become non-progressive. But there is a still surer criterion: consumptives are generally remarkably fair and smooth skinned. The reason is, that the dross of the cachectic system gravitates toward the diseased lungs. An East-Indian surgeon found that small-pox can be localized by rubbing the chest with croton-oil, and thus concentrating the eruption. Pulmonary consumption is a kind of centralized scrofula. Two hundred years ago, when the cutaneous form of the disease was more frequent, surgery was often invoked to remove ulcers that threatened to disfigure the patient or destroy his eyesight. The approved method was to produce an artificial and larger sore, where it could not do so much harm, on the arm, below the chin, or on the nape of the neck. The larger sore attracted the morbific matter; and thus healed the smaller one. For cognate reasons, a scrofulous affection of the respiratory organs acts, as it were, as a cosmetic. Pimples disappear; boils head at once, and without suppuration; intemperance, surfeits, a congenital taint of scrofula, do not affect the color of the face; and (excepting the effect of gross dietetic abuses, which ultimately react on the lungs) the cutaneous excretion of such impurities is therefore not an unfavorable symptom. For their reappearance on the surface of the body proves that the respiratory organs have ceased to attract the cachectic humors of the system; in other words, that the tubercle-sores have cicatrized, and the lung-destroying virus has been eradicated.


PHILOSOPHICAL thought is tending more and more toward concentrating itself upon problems of physiological as distinguished from metaphysical psychology, and to the inquiry after those facts which can be ascertained. The best workers in this field are still

  1. Translated and abridged for "The Popular Science Monthly" by Thomas Cross.