Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/338

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324
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

have every fixture in it flushed at least once a week (once in three days is better), and, if it be necessary to move into a house which has been for some time unoccupied, and where you are not sure that these precautions have been observed, then thorough cleansing with cloths wetted with disinfectant solutions should be employed as a matter of ordinary prudence, and this should be applied to every exposed surface.

If the system of house-drainage is properly arranged, and the plans above referred to are at hand, its inspection is a simple matter, and should be made at least once in three years.

Finally, the art of plumbing is not to be learned from books or magazine articles. A man may be M.D., D.D., or LL.D., and be densely ignorant about house-drainage, or as to whether that of his own house is in good condition or not. Every housekeeper ought to be familiar with the pipe plans for her own house, and know just how to turn the water off from any given riser; beyond that, the truest wisdom is to be aware of one's own ignorance, and to get skilled advice whenever advice is needed.


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TOWN-LIFE AS A CAUSE OF DEGENERACY.[1]

By G. B. BARRON, M.D.

IT may be readily supposed that the conditions of life and their general surroundings must largely influence and materially affect the physical or constitutional characteristics of town-dwellers. At the onset, then, I venture to advance the proposition that the "vital force" of the town-dweller is inferior to the "vital force" of the countryman. The evidence of this is to be found in a variety of ways. The general unfitness and incapability of the dwellers in our large hives of industry to undergo continued violent exertion, or to sustain long endurance of fatigue, is a fact requiring little evidence to establish; nor can they tolerate the withdrawal of food under sustained physical effort for any prolonged period as compared with the dwellers in rural districts. It may be affirmed also that, through the various factors at work night and day upon the constitution of the poorer class of town-dwellers, various forms of disease are developed, of which pulmonary consumption is the most familiar, and which is doing its fatal work in a lavish and unerring fashion. Thus it may be conceded as an established fact that the townsman is, on the whole, constitutionally dwarfed in tone, and his life, man for man, shorter, weaker, and more uncertain than the countryman's. I hold the opinion that the deterioration is more in physique, as implied

  1. Abstract of a paper read at the British Association Meeting, Bath.