Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/118

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108
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.


matter that it would not be tolerated in a sitting-room for a moment. The amount of space allowed in bedrooms and dormitories is frequently altogether insufficient. Doors and windows are tightly closed, and there is practically little ventilation going on for six or eight hours of sleeping time, whereas in sitting-rooms the admission of air is promoted by persons passing in and out.

This steady nightly poisoning goes on in many public institutions, I am afraid, in the "houses" of some public schools, and the dormitories of charitable institutions. They are well ventilated during the day, closed at night, and the allowance of cubic space is quite insufficient to supply fresh air enough with the very small influx which can take place.

Night nurseries, again, especially in large towns, are liable to be grossly overcrowded. I have seen a small, low room in the attics of a London mansion used as a sleeping apartment for five or six children and a nurse which had not space or ventilation enough for two persons.

Without indorsing the whole of the pathology suggested in your excellent paper, I am sure you are right in attributing a large proportion of ill health, contagious disease, and especially the increased virulence of this, to air fouled by organic matter.

Prof. W. H. Flower writes:

I am not sufficiently acquainted with modern physiology to know whether all the scientific details of the paper are correct, but I quite agree with you in the very great importance of the subject being pressed home upon all classes. How, for instance, could people travel in a railway carriage with perhaps six or more companions shut up together for several hours, and insisting on keeping all the windows closed, as they often do, if they were made to realize that the air which they are breathing must necessarily be passing in and out of the lungs, not only of themselves, but of all their fellow-travelers as well, over and over again in the course of the journey, and each time becoming more and more contaminated?

I have always thought, though I have not medical experience enough to prove it, that the greater prevalence of tuberculosis and other lung disease in cold over warm climates is owing, not so much to difference of temperature, as to the fact that in the former there is a greater tendency to breathe impure air for the purpose of warmth. My theories on the subject are, however, rather staggered by the thought of rabbits, sand-martin, etc., passing a considerable part of their lives at the bottom of burrows, where anything like ventilation seems absolutely impossible, and yet remaining perfectly healthy.

Mr. Lawson Tait writes:

What can I add to an article, so lucidly written, save that I agree generally with it, and hope that it may be productive of great good, as it well may?

Contemporary Review.





Dr. Junker expresses, in the narrative of his travels in Africa, a somewhat favorable opinion of the intellectual qualities of the negroes among whom he traveled, and pronounces them capable of higher moral development. He everywhere found the upper classes, princes and nobles, the most highly endowed with intellectual qualities. This he attributes to the fact that the negro ruler is compelled to think and act in his capacity of judge, lawgiver, and captain. He notices, too, the wonderful fluency of speech acquired from the custom of making long orations, embellished with simile and metaphor, in their public assemblies.