Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/391

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381
ALCOHOL—ITS USE AND ABUSE

ALCOHOL—ITS USE AND ABUSE[1]
By Professor GRAHAM LUSK

CORNELL UNIVERSITY

WHEN the writer was a former student in Munich about 1890, there was a very great quantity of beer partaken of by the inhabitants of the town, and also by the German people in general. The "beer duel" consisted in draining a large jug of beer which was lifted from the table at a given sign, and he who first brought the empty jug back on the table was the winner of the duel. In fact, the writer has heard pleasure measured in terms of glasses of beer partaken. For example, such and such a holiday trip on the Rhine could not be indulged in because it cost the equivalent of so and so many glasses of beer.

A considerable change in the manners of the people was noticed on a visit to Germany in 1906. At a luncheon in Heidelberg, both lemonade and white wine were placed on the table, and the white wine was scarcely touched. This great change has been due to two factors. There has been great development of what the Germans call "Sport." The young men indulge in an out-of-door life to a very much greater extent than formerly. Skiing among the Alps in the winter-time, for example, is something which is the delight of many of the students, and all this has tended to decrease on their part the quantity of alcohol consumed. A second powerful influence is that of the Kaiser's edict that his health can be drunk in water. As long as it was impossible to drink the Kaiser's health in water without its being considered a dire and fatal insult to His Majesty, just so long was it impossible for the development of a temperance spirit.

Besides these factors, the physiologist Bunge has for many years railed at those who would partake of the excreta of yeast, and Friedrich Müller and Kraepelin of Munich have neither of them lost an opportunity before their medical classes to drive home the evils accompanying excessive drinking. They have done this to the great trepidation of the beer brewers of Munich.

At a recent lecture in London, Dr. Mott has said that it was desirable to approach this subject in a scientific spirit and without prejudice, and following him. Sir Clifford Albutt has called attention to the fact that much of the literature of alcohol is of a rhetorical rather than of a

  1. Annual address before the Alpha Omega Alpha Society of the University of Pennsylvania.