Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 48.djvu/216

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204
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

which reticence and a feeling of insignificance are struggling with each other for supremacy.

Americans have faults and are not more sensitive to having them pointed out than other people, but the tendency among descendants of Anglo-Saxon stock to resent the imputation of the possession of visual motes by ill-tempered owners of larger ocular imperfections is deeply rooted. We have not for many a long day seen an article in a prominent English journal so well designed, by its gratuitous disparagements of America, to keep alive the fast-expiring dislike to the mother country that it is to the interest of all of us to see buried.


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HEALTH EXPERIMENTS IN THE FRENCH ARMY.

By STODDARD DEWEY.

THE report made to the French Parliament in April of this year by General Zurlinden, Minister of War, discloses a new aspect of that life in barracks to which the armed peace of Europe condemns all her young men for a period of their best years. It is nothing less than an experimenting on a giant scale with the health and resistance to epidemic disease of French youth under military regimen.

The first and most fatal enemy has always been typhoid fever.

In 1887 the annual number of cases reached eight thousand, with a death-rate of about eight hundred, for much less than five hundred thousand men. This gave an average of deaths from this single disease very nearly equivalent to two out of every thousand men, while the total mortality of the army was only 8·43 per thousand. In the mortality of French civil life, which remains at eleven per thousand, the destructiveness of typhoid fever is still greater, at least in a large number of towns and cities.

Doctors have long known the cause of the prevalence of this disease; but it is not easy to persuade the ordinary citizen of the necessity of precaution in the use of so common a thing as water. Jules Simon tells a story, good by way of illustration, of the alarming typhoid epidemic in Paris a few years ago. Both doctors and Government had warned the people that the germs of the disease were contained in the water of the Seine, and that only filtered and boiled water could be used safely. One day a cafe waiter was discovered replenishing the drinking decanter of his customers from the common spigot giving forth the river water in its unadulterated impurity. When reproached with his deed, he answered indignantly: