Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/104

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from his lips, and though the voice was scarcely raised it appeared to search out the remotest corners of the hall. Every rounded-off sentence presented a vivid picture to the mind. The subject was the chancellor Prince Metternich, and we all felt when, after an hour and a half, Prof. O—— ended apparently quite as fresh and collected as when he began, that we not only knew the prince personally, but that we understood his politics and the workings of his mind far better than his contemporaries had done. The thing which, however, impressed me most, was the sense of power held back, and to the good as it were, which the professor gave me while speaking, and even after he had finished. When, therefore, the next day he told me that he never touched animal food, I was very curious to hear his experiences.

He told me that some years before he had been very ill, nigh unto death, and given up by all the doctors. Then came one who said he could cure him. All the strong soups and beef jellies and raw minced meat were eliminated and replaced by fruit and light farinaceous food, but fruit especially, and he soon got well and strong so well and strong, indeed, that he determined to go on with his simple fare, especially as he felt an unwonted ease and extraordinary lucidity of the intellect when working. His wife, he told me, soon followed his example, and also his daughters and sons-in-law. At last his servants came and said they would like to be vegetarians too, as it seemed to agree so well with their masters. I felt that where so clever a man was so fully convinced of the expediency and efficiency of this diet that he carried his whole family and household with him, he must have gone into the question deeply, and have the very best reasons upon which to found his belief. I could not enter with him into further discussion, as he had to leave Vienna, but he sent me some books on the subject. These books were German, and they would be well worth translating, for their whole tone is like a bracing mountain air. In every one of them vegetable diet is the foundation whereon is built an edifice of hygiene, which if we could or would but strictly follow might bring us to a pinnacle of animal spirits and bodily vigor only to be compared to the centaur of Henri de Guérin. To those who have not read this charming fragment, let me recommend it as a tonic on a day of languor and prostration. The thorough enjoyment of life and strength in which the centaur revels while careering over wind-swept plains, down breezy mountain-sides, plunging into deep green forests with the scent of the earth and wood flowers in the air, is better than any dose of sal volatile or quinine. These little German books, for none of them are very long, have mainly for their object to bring us back to a healthier and simpler mode of life. They are full of cold water and open windows by day and by night. Sun-baths and