Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/648

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
628
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

with facility. The health-point, or norme, is marked zero; 0H, or health. From this point, in fever, the index runs up, and, in depression, it runs down, proportionally to the danger in both directions, the points of significance being indicated upon the scale. Careful directions are given for using the instrument, and simple charts are prepared for recording the observations. These charts, and the systematic records they contain, are indispensable as forming a history of the case, for it is not only the deviations of temperature, but the train of variations and intermittent changes, that it is desirable to know. Dr. Seguin says: "The supreme importance of the first observation of the first abnormal temperature, at the first moment of a sickness, cannot be overrated. If it rarely shows, by name, what the intruding illness will be, at least it can often, by exclusion, tell what it will not be. For instance, a high first temperature, as of 3 to 4° above the point of health, cannot herald typhoid fever, but can measles or scarlatina. Moreover, the first observation serves as a mile-post to start the reckoning of the future stages, of increase or effervescence, of full force or diminution, of convalescence or relapse." Dr. Seguin observes: "The A B C of motherhood is the name I would give to that part of nursing which mainly consists in spying the subtle and bold invasion of disease, and of measuring from the first its deadly strides into the vitals of the innocent. The mother who can do that is the sentry. When she detects the moment of the invasion of the cradle, and measures the strength of the enemy on the stem of her thermometer, and can transfer and read its warnings on her chart, she is prepared for the struggle with death itself." Yet there is a difficulty here which Dr. Seguin has not been slow to perceive, and which he states without reserve or circumlocution. He says: "But where shall we find a mother who has been taught her duty in that matter of life and death? No use to mince it; it is a shame and a scandal that, in the curriculum of education devised for our sisters and wives, there is room for algebra, trigonometry, etc., and none for the fine art of nursing; that they are taught to look through microscopes and telescopes, but not in the faces of the little ones to read therein health or sickness; that they can tell the latitude of Peking, the height of Chimborazo; know at what point potassium fuses, or mercury solidifies, but that not one ever heard at what point of elevation of the latter metal in a thermometer life escapes from their dearest."

The Forces of Nature. A Popular Introduction to the Study of Physical Phenomena. By Amédée Guillemin. Translated from the French by Mrs. Norman Lockyer, and edited, with Additions and Notes, by J. Norman Lockyer, F. R. S. Macmillan & Co.

The novel and interesting feature of this book is its profuse and sumptuous illustrations. Its author has won some reputation as a popular writer on science, and the work has evidently lost nothing in translation and editing; yet its text alone would give it little claim to attention. The pictorial part of the work is not only copious and varied, but is finely executed, and renders the volume both attractive and instructive. It has no value as a text-book, and not much as an authority for reference; but it may be read with pleasure, and many of the illustrations cannot fail to be helpful to the student. The work is unique as a popular scientific luxury.

Epidemic Cerebro-Spinal Meningitis. With an Appendix. By Meredith Clymer, M. D. Philadelphia: Lindsay & Blakiston. 1872.

In this little work, which is mainly a reprint of the author's additions to Dr. Aitken's "Science and Practice of Medicine," we have, in compact form, a large amount of valuable information concerning one of the most dreaded, because most deadly, of man's diseases. As first published in 1866, and revised two years later, Dr. Clymer's monograph contained a sketch of the geographical and clinical history, the pathology and treatment of cerebro-spinal meningitis, as also, under the head of "Etiology," a brief account of the conditions attending outbreaks of the disease, and a very full list of authors upon the general subject. This new edition contains all the matter of the first two, and has, besides, a most valuable appendix, which deserves to be in the hands of every family that is capable of