Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 26.djvu/383

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369
THE CHEMISTRY OF COOKERY.

specified by Count Rumford. The external coat was not removed even after two days' soaking, but the corns were much swollen and softened. I suspect that this difference is due to the condition of the corn which is imported here. It is fully ripened, dried, and hardened, while that used by the Indians was probably fresh gathered, barely ripe, and much softer.

Mr. Gaubert (No. 1,373, page 185) asks me whether I think that tea taken in moderation (say two cups in the evening) does any mischief. If he carefully reads No. 40, he will find the answer already given before his question was asked. He offers to relinquish the habit, in spite of the pang, "on the advice of so eminent an authority" as myself. I hope that he will not be so weak as to accept my authority or any other on a question which can easily be answered by common sense and simple direct experiment. There are cases in which we are compelled to lean on authority, but this is not one of them, and he will see, by reperusing what I have written on the subject, that I have repudiated mere authority, and appealed to facts that are open to all.

I will reply further to Mr. Gaubert, as in doing so I shall be also replying to a multitude of others, his case being typical. Let any of these repeat the experiment that I have made. After establishing the habit of taking tea at a particular hour, suddenly relinquish it altogether. The result will be more or less unpleasant, in some cases seriously so. My symptoms were a dull headache and intellectual sluggishness during the remainder of the day—and if compelled to do any brain-work, such as lecturing or writing, I did it badly. This, as I have already said, is the diseased condition induced by the habit. These symptoms vary with the amount of the customary indulgence and the temperament of the individual. A rough, lumbering, insensible navvy may drink a quart or two of tea, or a few gallons of beer, or several quarterns of gin, with but small results of any kind. I know an omnibus-driver who makes seven double journeys daily, and his "reg'lars" are half a quartern of gin at each terminus—i. e. 13/ pint daily, exclusive of extras. This would render most men helplessly drunk, but he is never drunk, and drives well and safely.

Assuming, then, that the experimenter has taken sufficient daily tea to have a sensible effect, he will suffer on leaving it off. Let him persevere in the discontinuance, in spite of brain-languor and dull headache. He will find that day by day the languor will diminish, and in the course of time (about a fortnight or three weeks in any case) he will be weaned. He will retain from morning to night the full, free, and steady use of all his faculties; will get through his day's work without any fluctuation of working ability (provided, of course, no other stimulant is used). Instead of his best faculties being dependent on a drug for their awakening, he will be in the condition of true manhood—i. e., able to do his best in any direction of effort, simply in