Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/608

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to the genius of Hippocrates, who had taken the islanders under his special protection. That genius must have settled in the Turkish town of Janina, where drug-stores are unknown, and indeed superfluous, as a sick person is at once suspected of wine-drinking, and takes care to conceal his condition. The town is situated at the head of a clear mountain-lake, and the longevity of the abstinent inhabitants might tempt an undertaker to indulge in the remark of Frederick the Great, at the battle of Kolin, when his grenadiers finally refused to advance: "Ihr Hunde, wollt Ihr ewig leben?"—(Ye hounds, are ye going to live for ever?)

Frugality, in the sense of vegetarianism, is the sometimes involuntary virtue of most Orientals, and may help neutralize their narcotics; the flesh-abhorring Hindoos attain to a surprising age, considering their penchant for betel-poison and their ultra-Arabian poverty. Our carnivorous red-skins are the most short-lived of all outdoor dwellers, and clearly in consequence of their diet, for in South America, too, even the inhabitants of the malarious sea-port towns survive the gauchos, whose menu is limited to three courses and one entremet—dried beef, fresh beef, salted beef, and beef-tallow.

Professor Schrodt, who includes horse-riding among the sedentary occupations, recommends pedestrianism as a cure for all possible diseases, since the German Land-boten—mail-carriers afoot—generally attain to an extreme old age, and appeals to several Grecian writers who make a similar remark in regard to the Spartan hemerodromes. In Prussia all government employes are pensioned after a certain term of service, and a Land-bote enjoys, therefore, the advantage of an insured income in conjunction with the necessity of physical exercise—bodily motion combined with ease of mind—the health-secret of the gymnosophists and the children of the wilderness.

"Woe to them that are at ease!" says Carlyle, but his anathema does not prevent the English village parson from outliving every other class of his countrymen, not excepting the British farmer, whose peace of mind can not always be reconciled with high rents and the low price of American wheat. Where agriculture is what it should be—a contract between man and Nature, in the United States, in Australia, and in some parts of Switzerland—the plow-furrow is the straightest road to longevity; in Canada, where Nature is rather a hard task-master, the probabilities are in favor of such half-indoor trades as carpentering and certain branches of horticulture—summer farming, as the Germans call it. Cold is an antiseptic, and the best febrifuge, but by no means a panacea, and the warmest climate on earth is out and out preferable even to the border-lands of the polar zone. The average Arab outlives the average Esquimau by twenty-five years.

The hygienic benefit of sea-voyages, too, has been amazingly exaggerated. Seafaring is not conducive to longevity; the advantage of the exercise in the rigging is more than outweighed by the effluvia