Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/87

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77
GYMNASTICS.

are they connected by a membrane. Without engaging in a technical description of the organs of respiration, which are so far unique among bony fishes, or of the organs contained within the abdominal cavity, it is important to take notice of the complete absence of the swimming-bladder. This fish offers in certain features resemblances to the Anacanthini, to the Scopelidæ, the Stomidæ, and to certain apodes, but has also characteristics which separate it distinctly from them. It must be regarded as the type of a new family, of which, unless it may be found to be related to the malacosteus, it is the only representative. I propose for it the name Eurypharynx pelecanoides.

 
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GYMNASTICS.[1]
By ALFRED WORCESTER, A. M.

THE very name carries our thoughts back to the ancient Greeks, who provided for their children the most complete physical training that the world has ever known. Men and women alike took pains and pride in the development of perfect bodies, and their success, recorded in inimitable statues, affords models of human beauty and strength. In examining their system we discover much that is foreign to our civilization. We can not find the time for daily anointing with oil, powdering with dust, and long exercising in the sunshine—hardly time, indeed, for even an abridgment of their luxurious bathing; and yet, till after we do devote time and care to the development of our physical natures, need we hope for anything like the splendid equipoise of the faculties that characterizes the Greek excellence of manhood. Passing now to Rome, we find early in her history the vigor always characteristic of a new race. It matters not how impoverished their ancestry, colonists cut off from the sloth of old centers of population, forced to battle with the earth itself for their support, soon retake the vigorous manhood their fathers gradually lost. And the Romans, in their turn, driven under the yoke by a sturdier race, proved no exception to the general rule that, as ease of living rises above a certain line, people deteriorate physically. That there is no underlying law of nature necessitating this result is proved by the Grecian training which raised the body to a far higher than any barbarian standard. In the age of chivalry we can find something of a similar physical excellence, and again its plain dependence upon a high estimate of the value of a perfect body and upon great pains taken for its procurement. As this age gave way before gunpowder and the Church, as men discovered the uselessness of heavy armor, battle-axe, cross-bow, and lance,

  1. An essay read before the Boylston Medical Society of Harvard University, December 15, 1882.