Finally, after nearly twenty years of suffering according to the common lot of man, I resolved to try the pure-air cure, and from that time to this the windows of my room have been open almost constantly day and night. The result was immediate and striking, and for the last seven years I have not had one serious cold. My sore throats are wholly a thing of the past, and certain other physical derangements not usually associated with colds have also disappeared.
Like others, I have often to spend hours in crowded rooms. It sometimes happens after such an "exposure," as I prefer to call it, that I suffer for a day or two from a "head-cold." But in every case so far it has proved to be entirely superficial—a natural and easy throwing off of the poison contracted in that crowded room, followed by no serious effects whatever.
At this very moment in the house where I live there are twelve persons, every one of whom, except myself and one other, is suffering from the effects of a cold. It certainly does look as if the exemption I enjoy is due to the exceptional privilege of the pure air to which I constantly treat myself. Perhaps it would help the argument to state that nearly all of my father's large family died of consumption.
It should be borne in mind that the difference between the air of an ordinary room in which people live and that of the air outdoors is far greater than is generally supposed. Do but think of the emanations that constantly proceed from every object in such a room—carpets, walls, and draperies. People say: "Oh, yes, we believe in ventilation. We open the windows in the morning and let the air draw through; and at night we open the doors of our sleeping-rooms. We believe in pure air." And I feel like saying to them: "My dear friends, you know no more of really pure air than the blind mole down in the ground knows of sunlight."
I would not by any means advise persons who have been living in a close atmosphere to suddenly sit or sleep in the draught of an open window. It is only by degrees that such changes can be made with safety. But by degrees they can be made, and why might not most people begin at least to make them?
In the town where I live, in Massachusetts, a new system of ventilation required by the State has recently been put in operation in the high-school building. By means of it thirty cubic feet of air, it is said, are furnished to every pupil every minute. It seems to me this forward step in so vital a matter should be heartily approved by every lover of humanity.
Meanwhile, it is painfully apparent that
multitudes of people, sick with constantly recurring diseases of the lungs and related parts, continue to breathe the old foulness. Is it not worth while