Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/248

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crowded streets in Liverpool die before they arrive at the age of one year, whereas, under ordinary or healthy surroundings, a half would not die within the first five years of life. Why is this so? Simply because the surroundings are so detrimental to healthy development. Again, consumption is fatal to sixty thousand people in England alone, annually, and this is a disease born of hereditary taint, due to unhealthy surroundings and other health depressing influences. In fact, as I have before said, most of the diseases which destroy in early life are due to causes which ought not to exist, and in time, as sanitary science advances, will not exist. We know that already the improved sanitation of the country is bearing fruit, that the average life is lengthening year by year, that many diseases that carried off tens of thousands in the days of our grandfathers are almost harmless now.

Smallpox has lost its terrors. The causes of such fatal diseases as typhoid, diphtheria, etc., are well established, and doubtless, in time, these plagues will be rooted out.

Last year we escaped an epidemic that might have carried off hundreds of thousands, and why? Because we know its ways, and have not allowed it to spread in the country. The highest duty of the state is to guard the health of the people, and public opinion of recent years is waking up to this fact. An epidemic is no respecter of persons; it may have its origin in the hovel of a pauper, but its baneful influence reaches the lordly palace of the noble, and it ingulfs all classes in its deadly embrace. The aristocrat and the plebeian are socially separated by a very wide gulf, but as far as epidemic disease goes they are conterminous. Social distinctions are no barrier when the angel of death is following in the wake of those plagues that destroy life before its natural termination in old age and general decay.

To sum up, if old age is to be put off to its furthest limits, the individual who wishes to attain it should live carefully up to middle age, taking plenty of exercise, and so adapting the diet that corpulency, gout, and other diseases due to taking too much and improper food without doing sufficient physical work to consume it, can not be developed. Mental and physical occupation are an absolute necessity, if the constitution is to be kept in healthy working order, and this applies equally to both sexes. The human economy will rust out before it will wear out, and there are more killed by idleness than by hard work. Human energy must have some outlet, and if that outlet is not work of some kind, habits are acquired that are not always conducive to long life.

Old age is the proper termination of human life, and, as Cicero says: "The happiest ending is when, with intellect unimpaired, and the other senses uninjured, the same Nature which put to-