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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/106

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

Food—Drink—Stimulants.—The blanks tell one simple story, with so few variations as to be positively monotonous, in relation to the food eaten by these old people. The diet has been regular New England home-dishes of meat, vegetables, and pastry, with breakfast early, dinner at noon, and supper late. Very few are mentioned as small eaters or large eaters; most are mentioned as not particular, with good appetites through life. A half-dozen never eat meat, and two have abstained from water. More than two thirds have been habitual users of tea and coffee, and of the remainder nearly all have drunk tea. Few of the men, and none of the women, are given as users of more intoxicating beverages than cider, and not a dozen out of all have ever used liquors to excess. Ten of the women are mentioned as habitual smokers, and a score as snuff-takers. Of the men, a large majority have used tobacco—either chewing, smoking, or both. Most of the tobacco-users have been moderate, although numbers of cases are given where the amount consumed is enormous, and continued constantly up to the time when the census was taken. A few broke away from the habit after it had lasted for twenty, thirty, or fifty years, and have now been without the narcotic for perhaps a decade or more.

Sickness.—The record of sickness is so varied that scarcely half a dozen cases are alike out of the whole long list, except where there has been no illness other than the usual complaints of infancy.

Out of 1,049 men, 382 never were ill since early childhood; and of 880 women, 286 have enjoyed the same good health. One hundred and fourteen men and 171 women have had petty diseases only, and 495 men and 402 women have been seriously ill. The serious illness of the majority was a fever of some sort, typhoid heading the list. The other diseases are as numerous almost as the individuals afflicted, running from Asiatic cholera to shingles, and the attacks have been at all periods of life. As might be supposed, rheumatism is the most general complaint, usually in conjunction with other diseases. Locality seems to have had no influence on sickness, the same disorders appearing on high land and on low land, on dry land and on moist land, in the interior and by the sea-shore.

Parents and Children.—The average age reached by the parents and grandparents, taken together, of these old people was about sixty-five, and in few instances have both the father and mother or the grandfathers and grandmothers died under fifty, although in many cases—about twenty-five per cent—either the father or the mother has died before reaching this age. Not over one third of the children of these aged people have reached middle life, and about one half died either in infancy or before thirty,