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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/790

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

inoculate a child with the germs of the alcohol-diathesis and initiate a habit which years of anguish and despair will fail to cure. By a single glass of medicated brandy thousands of convalescing topers have lost their hard-earned chance of recovery; poor, struggling wretches, swimming for their lives, and, at last approaching a saving shore, have been pushed back into the surging whirlpool, and perished almost in sight of the harbor! The only chance of curing the poison-habit consists in the hope of guarding its victims against all stimulants; and I would as soon snatch bread from a starving man as that last hope from a drunkard.

Abstinence is easier, as well as safer, than temperance. "In freeing themselves from the bonds of an unworthy attachment," says Madame de Sévigné, "men have one great advantage—they can travel." If young Lochinvar's suit had been hopeless, the furtive interview with his lost love might have soothed his sorrow for a moment, but for his ultimate peace of mind it would have been better to stay in the west. The anchorites of old knew well why they preferred the wilderness to the humblest village: they found it easier to avoid all temptations. Vices, as well as virtues, are co-operative.

In the cure of the alcohol-habit, the total renunciation of all stimulants is, therefore, the first and most essential measure. A change of diet, a change of climate, of employment, and general habits, will help to shorten the distressing reaction that must precede the re-establishment of perfect health. The force of example may partly supply a deficiency in moral principles, ambition may strengthen their influence. But the effect of any secondary stimulant is more than enough to counteract such tendencies. With the following precautions the total-abstinence plan will prove to have the further advantage of progressive effectiveness; for, after the removal of the irritating cause has in some degree allayed the morbid sensitiveness of the digestive organs, the abnormal appetite will gradually disappear, like the secondary symptoms of the disease, and thus lessen the influence of the subjective temptation.[1]

 

THE AIM OF THERMO-CHEMICAL INVESTIGATIONS.
By JULIUS THOMSEN.[2]

THEORETICAL chemistry is based upon the molecular theory, according to which all matter is made up of molecules, and these molecules of atoms. The physical state of bodies depends upon the arrangement and motions of the molecules; the other physical and chemical properties depend upon the kind and number of the atoms in the molecule, upon their arrangement and relative motions.

  1. The treatise on "The Alcohol-Habit" will be concluded in our next issue.
  2. Translated from the introduction to Thomson's "Thermochemische Untersuchungen," Leipsic, 1882, by W. R. Nichols.