Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/504

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"unshortened" bread, fruit, or fruit-jelly, constitute the dietetic specifics for convalescents from climatic fevers. Subacid fruits are, on the whole, more cooling than purely saccharine ones (figs, for instance); but bananas, though sweetish rather than acid, are, par excellence, an anti-fever food, being refreshing, palatable, and nutritive, as well as exceedingly digestible. Oranges, biscuits, and cold water, during the critical stage of the disease—milk, bread, and bananas, after the crisis is past—ought to be the standard regimen in our semi-tropical seaport towns; inland and farther north substituting pears or baked apples, and perhaps sweet-potatoes, for bananas, and watermelons for oranges. A frugal diet has the further advantage of obviating the tendency to fretfulness and splenetic humors which results from the use of animal food in indigestible quantities, i. e., in hot weather from a very moderate quantum. In midsummer, persons of a "nervous temper" could often cure their disposition by a change of diet. Mental energy exercises a remarkable influence on the idiopathic symptoms of climatic fevers. Pluck is a febrifuge. Men of exceptional will-force, or under the stimulus of an exceptional enthusiasm, contrive to hold the foe at bay; they keep on their legs till their work is done, even though the presence of a febrile diathesis continues to manifest itself by indirect symptoms. During the carnival of chaos following the end of our civil war and preceding the collapse of the Mexican "Empire," the Sheriff of Cameron County, Texas, undertook to escort a Mexican prisoner across the Rio Grande, in order to save him from a mob who unjustly but obstinately accused him of complicity in the "Cortina riot." It was a ticklish job, but the sheriff, though prostrated by a malignant ague and almost blind from the use of quinine, declined to intrust his protégé to a deputy, and preferred to rely on luck and his reputation as a "dead shot." Like most pistol virtuosos he was able to fire off-hand, and was confident that no shakiness would interfere with the accuracy of his aim, but was rather uneasy on account of his impaired eyesight. But on the morning of the critical day his fever left him, together with all sequelæ and concomitant symptoms, and he returned, with the conviction that the expedition had saved his own life as well as that of his prisoner.

Even scientific enthusiasm may exercise a similar prophylactic effect, and has supported more than one African explorer and East Indian officer whom no quinine could have saved from the combined influence of solar and animal heat. The trouble is, that the effect is so apt to subside with the cause: heroes and explorers who survive a summer campaign in the wilderness die upon the return to their comfortable winter quarters. The fate of Sir Stamford Raffles is a melancholy instance: A naturalist, a patriot, and a zealous philanthropist, his triple enthusiasm carried him safely through the swampiest regions of the Sunda Archipelago, and, as long as his expedition required his personal presence, Fortune seemed to favor him in every