Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 3.djvu/100

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

nose at will with a sphincter muscle. Go and look at the seal in the Zoological. The valve which works the blow-hole of the whale and porpoise is of an analogous character. Strange to say, we find an animal that is not amphibious has his nostrils protected by this curious and beautiful valve. But you will probably never guess what animal this is. Well, it is the camel—the "ship of the desert." In the desert, where the camel lives, there are often "sand-storms," and the Creator has provided the poor camel with this wonderful structure to save him from suffocation when these terrible sand-storms occur.

Shortly after the little hippopotamus was born in the Zoological, a young rhinoceros was born on board a ship in the Victoria Docks, and this poor little animal, whose value was very great, unfortunately died—his mother lay on him and crushed him with her great carcass. Never mind, better luck next time.—Leisure Hour.

 

EUTHANASIA.

THERE is a small knot of thinkers in Birmingham who come together to discuss philosophical topics, and call themselves The Speculative Club. In 1870 they published a volume of seven essays, which were written with much ability, and some of them with great boldness. The sixth article of this volume is by Samuel D. Williams, and is entitled "Euthanasia," which being interpreted means an easy or desirable mode of death. The writer begins by referring to the opposition which was made to the administration of chloroform for relief of pain, and more especially in cases of childbirth, which was regarded as a revolt against the divine decree, "In sorrow shalt thou brings forth." This prejudice having passed away, the writer raises the question of the application of chloroform to a relief of the sufferings which often attend the approach of death, and observes: "It is difficult to understand why chloroform should be rightly recurred to, to render less painful the natural painful passage into life; and yet, that it should be almost an offence to so much as suggest a like recurrence to it in the still more painful passage out of life. "Why, he asks, should the patient about to be operated upon by the surgeon always have a refuge from suffering open to him, and yet the patient about to suffer at the hands of Nature the worst she has to inflict, be left without help or hope of help? Mr. Williams lays down and defends the following proposition: "That in all cases of hopeless and painful illness it should be the recognized duty of the medical attendant, whenever so desired by the patient, to administer chloroform, or such other anæsthetic as may by-and-by supersede chloroform, so as to destroy consciousness at once, and put the sufferer at once to a quick and painless