Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 15.djvu/624

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

the land has been shaped into its present form, let us realize that these geographical revolutions are not events wholly of the dim past, but that they are still in progress. So slow and measured has been their march, that even from the earliest times of human history they seem hardly to have advanced at all. But none the less are they surely and steadily transpiring around us. In the fall of rain and the flow of rivers, in the bubble of springs and the silence of frost, in the quiet creep of glaciers and the tumultuous rush of ocean-waves, in the tremor of the earthquake and the outburst of the volcano, we may recognize the same play of terrestrial forces by which the framework of the continents has been step by step evolved. In this light the familiar phenomena of our daily experience acquire an historical interest and dignity. Through them we are enabled to bring the remote past vividly before us, and to look forward hopefully to that great future in which, in the physical not less than in the moral world, man is to be a fellow worker with God.—Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society.

 

SERPENT-CHARM.
By FELIX L. OSWALD, M. D.

THE pathology of spiritualism presents some curious parallels with that of a well-known class of physical disorders—the artificial derangements of the alimentary process by the opium-habit, and the abuse of alcoholic or pungent stimulants, which a French physiologist comprises under the name of toxicolatrous affections—the poison-manias, we might call them—and which, with all their characteristic causes, symptoms, progressive stages, direct and collateral effects, find their analogues in the half-voluntary delusion of ancient and modern miracle-mongers.

Spiritualistic as well as spirituous propensities can be transmitted by hereditary influences; both are liable to be aggravated by prolonged indulgence, to develop the symptoms of chronic diseases, and to end in hopeless delirium. The principal arguments against the use of poisonous stimulants are based upon their adventitious consequences. Dull headaches and red noses are mere trifles compared with the negative effects of habitual intoxication—loss of memory, energy, and self-respect, and of the relish for healthier food and all healthier and higher enjoyments. The worst of alcoholic blue-devils are the ghosts of departed hopes, for an unnatural passion implies many things, among which the hankering after a special kind of unwholesome stimulant is only a minor item.

For the same reason, it would be a mistake to suppose that the