Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/409

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MUSCLE AND MIND.

Three of them had been total-abstinence men; eight had indulged in alcoholic drinks occasionally, and one habitually. Several of them confessed to intemperate parents; one had an insane and one an epileptic mother. Many of these men had faces indicative of criminal tendencies; the heads of two were suggestive of idiocy; and among the entire number there was not a face which did not express either mental hebetude or moral obliquity, or both combined.

During the previous two years these men had made no appreciable progress in school-work, seeming incapable of prolonged mental efforts. One of them could neither read nor write; another found great difficulty in doing either; and, although four of them understood the steps necessary for working out a problem in long division, they could never obtain a correct answer, while the remaining eight were "stranded Upon the shoals of rudimentary arithmetic from notation to simple division." Some of them were unable even to name the State or country from which they had come. It will be admitted that the proposed test of the value of physical culture was of the severest possible kind.

The physical discipline to which they were subjected consisted in (1) hot baths—three weekly, the Turkish and common bath alternating; (2) massage—kneading of the muscles, passive motions of the joints, and friction of the entire surface; (3) physical exercise—manual drill, free gymnastics and exercise with dumbbells ranging progressively from three to eight pounds in weight; (4) the substitution of a special dietary for the regular prison fare. The experiment was continued during live months—long enough to demonstrate the value of the method, but not to determine the full measure of success probably attainable by these means. At the end of this period, nine of the eleven men then living had risen from the third or refractory to the intermediate grade, the remaining two having merely maintained their original standing in this grade.

During the six months immediately preceding the experiment, the average marking for shop-work, school-work, and conduct had been forty-six per cent. During the experiment, the average for school-work, previously lowest of all, rose to seventy-four per cent, the conduct improving at about an equal rate. Shop-work was discontinued, as the special training was thought to secure enough muscular exercise. During the six months following the term of the experiment, the average marking of the men in the three departments of shop-work, school-work, and conduct rose to seventy-one per cent as compared with forty-six per cent for the six months preceding the experiment. At the end of this period Dr. Wey reported[1] that "although the men had been remanded to

  1. See "Science," June 17, 1887.