however, be carefully avoided, even at the risk of incurring the penalties of social non-conformity. An asthmatic old Antwerp merchant of my acquaintance used to retire to his gardenhuys, a little summerhouse at the farthest end of his garden, whenever his feelings became unduly excited, and also after dinner, as he had noticed that an interruption of his siesta was apt to react on his lungs. One afternoon, however, he had a visit from a commercial associate who had threatened to break the partnership, but now came to lubricate matters and tender a very acceptable peace-offering. At his return from the interview Mynheer made no attempt to conceal his glee, but suddenly became thoughtful and monosyllabic. "What's the matter?" asked his broker, "are you afraid it's a trap?"—"No, no," said he, "N—— is all right, but"—with a sigh—"d—n bim, anyhow; it will cost me a week's tussle with old Nick." "With the asthma? What!—the mere excitement?"—"Yes," he groaned, "the talk, the miserable formalities, and the tight necktie—and right after dinner!"
Any waste of vital power may bring on a fit of spasmodic asthma, and the aggravating effect of incontinence is so prompt and so unmistakable that experience generally suffices to correct a penchant to errors in that respect. Like gout, asthma is a moral censor, but its reproofs do not so often come too late. With an ordinary amount of will-force, even persons of an inherited tendency to asthma may manage for years to keep its worst symptoms in abeyance.
Among the palliatives of spasmodic asthma cold water ranks first. A plunge-bath into a pond (or tub) of water, of a sufficiently low temperature to produce a gasp and a shiver, rarely fails to break the spell of the suffocating stricture. It is the most reliable remedy, for, unlike chemical antispasmodics, it acts irrespective of precedents—its efficiency does not decrease with each subsequent application. After the second or third time, "asthma-weeds" have to be used in almost lethal doses before they produce any appreciable effect, though their disagreeable after-effects are perceptible enough. For these weeds are generally strong narcotic poisons. Tabac de Chine, or "Chinese tobacco," is a mixture of tobacco-leaves and inspissated opium. Stramonium (Datura ferox) is as virulent as belladonna, and the smoking of the leaves produces vertigo, heart-spasms, and violent headaches. It does relieve asthma, on the principle that diseases yield to more serious diseases. Thus the languor of dyspepsia can be temporarily relieved by alcoholic stimulants, but the dose has to be steadily increased, till the remedy becomes worse than the original evil. Such household remedies as black coffee (swallowed by the quart) or sulphur-and-vinegar fumes are liable to the same objection. They help once or twice, and afterward only in monster doses. Coffee-poisoning, which old habitués avoid by a very gradual increase of the dose, is a frequent sequel of an asthma-cure by domestic narcotics. The mediæval physicians, with their penchant for heroic remedies,