Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 25.djvu/131

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will produce a blister. On so sensitive a surface as that of the eye a very small fraction of this fraction would do serious mischief. W. Mattieu Williams. 

 Stonebridge Park, Willesden,
 Middlesex, England.
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GRAPES AS FOOD.

Messrs. Editors

Dr. Oswald's article on "Enteric Disorders" (in your issue of December, 1883) recommends the grape-diet. Although the use of the grape is thus frequently extolled in general terms, I find that every individual has his own opinion as to how the fruit should be used. A doctor of standing has assured me that grape-skins were as indigestible as hard-boiled white of egg, and fit to be swallowed by no one. Again, I have heard it said that, when the system is in need of an astringent, the tannin in grape-skins answers that want; while the acid of the pulp and the mechanical irritation of the seeds act as mild laxatives. The inference was, that a healthy stomach should receive the whole fruit and keep its normal balance; as, however, the skin and seeds might be too irritating for a delicate stomach, the balance might still be kept by taking in pulp alone; further, that skin and pulp, or seeds and pulp, should be swallowed according as the system needed an astringent or a laxative diet. Others still would have the seeds as well as the skins rejected, under all circumstances. The same difference of opinion exists as to whether the skins of apples, raw and baked, as well as of plums, pears, and tough-skinned fruits in general, should be taken into a healthy stomach.

As Dr. Oswald has emphasized the dietetic value of the grape, it would be a satisfaction to know what, in detail, is his view of its proper use.

Respectfully yours,

Sarah U. C. Bolton. 

 Greenville, Plumas County, Cal.,
 February 25, 1884.
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EDITOR'S TABLE.


PROGRESS AND SOCIAL IMPROVEMENT.

THE contrasts in the social condition of rich and poor—the lofty, luminous mountains of wealth, and the deep, dark valleys of poverty—have ever formed a picturesque subject for rhetorical treatment, which has always made popular such books as "The Glory and the Shame of England." Mr. George's "Progress and Poverty" vividly pictures the social contrasts but ventures further, and opens the question of causes. He points to the millionaires, and their works, and their ostentation; to the beggars in their wretchedness, and says society is sick, very sick, and growing sicker every day; and, after sufficiently declaiming over its dangerous condition, he says, Here is the cause of the malady and this is the pill that will cure it. It had been supposed that social progress involved improvement, through many correlated agencies and by slow methods, but on this theory the sovereign use of Mr. George's pill was not so apparent. So, with a stroke at the close of his book, he smashed Darwin with his dawdling evolution, and thus cleared the way for his own prescription to cure the poverty and wretchedness of mankind.

Yet the rhetorician is not the man to deal with these subjects—except for literary or sensational purposes. A quite different order of mind is required to give us sound instruction upon them. First of all we must know the facts, not in a vague and general way, but accurately and in detail, and so classified that their real meanings are unmistakable. England, as we have intimated, is the country where social contrasts are most striking—where superabounding wealth is set off against the extremest destitution, poverty, and squalid wretchedness; and England, therefore, must afford the most terrible example of that alleged downward working of progress, which but continually aggravates the evils of poverty.

It was fitting, therefore, that a widely informed and thoroughly disciplined student of social facts, the President of the Statistical Society, Dr. Robert Gif-