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be overrated while our social life remains what the slavery of vices and
dogmas has made it. Joy has been called the sunshine of the heart,
yet the same sun that calls forth the flowers of a plant is also needed
to expand its leaves and ripen its fruits ; and without the stimulus of
exhilarating pastimes perfect bodily health is as impossible as moral
and mental vigoi*. And, as sure as a succession of uniform crops will
exhaust the best soil, the daily repetition of a monotonous occupation
will wear out the best man. Body and mind require an occasional
change of employment, or else a liberal supply of fertilizing recrea-
tions, and this requirement is a factor whose omission often foils the
arithmetic of our political economists.

To the creatures of the wilderness affliction comes generally in the
form of impending danger — famine or persistent persecution ; and
under such circumstances the modifications of the vital process seem
to operate against its long continuance ; well-wishing Nature sees her



PHYSICAL EDUCATION. -455

purpose defeated, and the vital energy flags, the sap of life runs to
seed. On the same principle an existence of joyless drudgery seems
to drain the springs of health, even at an age when they can draw
upon the largest inner resources ; hope, too often baflled, at last with-
draws her aid ; the tongue may be attuned to canting hymns of con-
solation, but the heart can not be deceived, and with its sinking pulse
the strength of life ebbs away. Nine tenths of our city children are
literally starving for lack of recreation ; not the means of life, but its
object, civilization has defrauded them of ; they feel a want which
bread can only aggravate, for only hunger helps them to forget the
misery of ennui. Their pallor is the sallow hue of a cellar-plant ; they
would be healthier if they were happier. I would undertake to cure
a sickly child with fun and rye-bread sooner than with tidbits and
tedium.

Mirth is a remedy ; the remarkable longevity of the French aristo-
crats,* in spite of their dietetic and other sins, can with certainty be
ascribed to the gayety of their pastimes ; almost any mode of diver-
sion is better than the deadly monotony of our Sabbatarian machine-
life ; even excursion-trains have added years to the average longevity
of our city populations. In a temperature of — 56° Fahr., Elisha Kane
kept his men in good health by devoting a part of the long night to
burlesques and pantomimes ; but, as a sanitary precaution, dramaturgy
was only collateral to the substitution of tea for grog ; and the most
striking illustration of the hygienic effect of merriment is therefore,
perhaps, the experience of Dr. Brehm, the manager of the Hamburg
Zoological Garden. Having noticed that the monkeys in tlie happy-
family department generally outlived the solitary prisoners, he con-
cluded to try the Swiss nostalgia-remedy, *' fun and cider-punch " ;
but the liquid stimulants proved superfluous : the introduction of a
grapple-swing and a few toys sufficed to reverse the shadow on the
dial of death, and man by man the quadrumana recovered from a dis-
ease which evidently had been nothing but enymi, since the mortuary
lists of the last decade showed an almost uniform death-rate through-
out the year, except in midsummer, when the monkey-house could be
thoroughly ventilated.

Men of a cheerful disposition are generally long-lived, and any-
thing tending to counteract the influence of worry and discontent
directly contributes to the preservation of health. Despair can para-
lyze the energy of the vital functions like a sudden poison, while the
fulfillment of a long-cherished hope has effected the cure of many dis-

* E. g., Polignac, eighty-one years ; Richelieu, eighty-three ; Saintc-Pierre, seventy-
eight ; Chateaubriand, eighty ; Lafayette, seventy-eight ; Duke of Bassano, eighty-one ;
Comeille, eighty ; Dumouriez, eighty-four ; Palinet, eighty-five ; Fontcnelle, one hundred ;
Joinville, ninety-one ; L'Enclos, eighty-nine ; La Maintenon, eighty-four ; Rochefoucauld,
eighty ; Villars, eighty-one ; Sully, eighty-one ; Montfaucon, eighty-six ; Soult, eighty-two ;
Talleyrand, eighty-four.



456 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

eases ; history abounds with examples of strong men dying of sheer
grief,* as well as of a great success giving to others a new lease of
life. Even hope can sustain the vital powers under severe trials ; the
appearance of a distant sail or a leeward coast has often restored the
strength of shipwrecked sailors who would have succumbed to another
hour of hopeless famine. A mere day-dream of a possible deliverance
from toil or captivity prolongs the life of thousands who would not
survive an awakening to the realities of their situation.

But " hope deferred " sickens the body as well as the soul ; and,
next to the happiness of a life whose labors are their own immediate
reward, is the confident anticipation of a period of compensating en-
joyments at the end of every day, of every week, and every year, or
part of a year. "With a few playthings the youngsters of the nursery
will find pastimes enough, though even the youngest should have some
corner of the house where they can feel quite at home ; but the neces-
sity of providing special times and modes of recreation begins with the
day when a child is delivered to the taskmaster, when its employ-
ment during any considerable part of the twenty-four hours becomes
laborious and compulsory. Children under ten should never be kept
at school for more than three consecutive hours, unless the variety of
the successive lessons forms itself a sort of recreation, as drawing after
grammar, or writing alternating with "calisthenics" or vocal exer-
cises. If the principal meal of the day is taken at noon, the mid-day
recess should be extended to at least three hours ; otherwise one hour
is more than sufllcient, especially where the recess sports are diverting
enough to forget the schoolroom for a few minutes. The more com-
pletely a special train of thoughts can for^ while be dismissed from
the mind, with the more profit can it afterward be resumed, for the
same reason that the successful practice of any bodily exercise requires
a periodical relaxation of the strained muscles. But, if the instinct of
rooks and savages can be trusted, the recreation-time, par excellence, is
the evening hour ; and with a little management young and old bond-
men of drudgery might consecrate the end of every day to health-
restoring sports. All schools ought to close at 4 p. m. ; and, till we
can enforce the eight-hours labor law, the societies for the prevention
of cruelty should liberate at least the younger factory-slaves two hours
before the sunset of a summer day, in order to give them a chance for
a few minutes' recreation between supper and bedtime. " Horas non
conto, nisi serenas " was the usual inscription of the Roman sun-dials,
but the Arabs of the desert count time by nights instead of days ;
and for us, too, sunset is the beginning of the most pleasant and most
play-inviting hour of the twenty-four ; the day's work is done, no fear
of interruption damps the merriment of the moment, and to the fatigue

* E. g., Isocrates, Kepler, Mehemet AH, Bajazet, Politianus, Columbus, Maupertuis,
Pitt, the two Napoleons, Nicholas I, Joseph II, Platen, Abd-el-Kader, Shaniyl, Horace
Greeley.



PHYSICAL EDUCATION. 457

of boisterous sports tlio coming niglit offers the refuge of rest and
sleep. For the same reason the compulsory somnolence of our Quaker-
sabbath makes Saturday night the Saturnalia-time of many Christian
nations ; the Sunday laws have reduced them to amusements which
can, and too often ought to, dispense with daylight, and in the larger
cities apprentices and factory-boys have the alternative of joining in
such night revels or postponing their amusements to the musical resur-
rection of the saints in light, for the free Saturday is unfortunately
confined to primary schools and a few private seminaries. In German
schools Saturday is at least a half-holiday ; i. e., the scholars are dis-
missed at noon, and at once make for the fields and woods, except in
winter, when the disciples of the Turnerhall assemble on the last after-
noon in the week.

With our present helplessness against the lethargic influence of the
midsummer heat, the conventional time of the long vacations is well
selected, but, if a hoped-for diet and dress reform shall have taught
us to pass the dog-days with comfort, it would be more sensible to
divide the two months : four free weeks in June, in time for the first
huckleberries and butterflies, and four in October — the best season for
a long excursion to the paradise of a primitive mountain-range, nowa-
days about the only sanctuary of Nature where her worshipers can shake
their shoulders free from the yoke of prejudice and escape from the
atmosphere of hypocrisy to a higher and purer medium. For the
children of the poor every city should have a Kinder-park — not a cere-
monious promenade, with sacred groves and unapproachable grass-plots,
but a public play-ground with shade-trees and swings. May-poles, gym-
nastic contrivances and a free bathing-house, and room for all the free
menageries and music-halls which the Peabodies of the future might
feel inclined to add. Inactivity is no recreation ; we should not spend
our leisure hours like machines, whose best relief is a temporary sur-
cease of toil, but like living creatures of the God who intended that
the joys of life should outweigh its sorrows. Let us provide healthful
pastimes, or the victims of asceticism will resort to vices — dram-drink-
ing, gambling, and secret sins — for even pernicious excitements become
attractive as a relief from the insupportable dullness of a canting
Quaker life.

Ennui has never made a human being better or more industrious ;
on the contrary, the hope of a merry evening would inspire a day-
laborer with a good-humor and an energy unknown to the languid
rcsignados of our present system. The confident expectation even of
a physical pleasure imparts to the current of life an onward impulse
that seems to react on the mind as well as on every function of the
automatic organism ; the first Napoleon, who enlivened the tedium of
camp-life with Olympic festivities, and did not deem it below his dig-
nity to make his own mattre de jylcnsir, could in return rely on his
men to endure fatigues that would have killed the barrack-slaves of



458 THE POPULAR SCTEXCE MONTHLY.

his enemies. It is not hard work that drives our young men to seek a
Lethe in alcohol : we read of Grecian soldiers marching fifty miles a
day in heavy armor ; of hunters running down a wild-boar, and of
teamsters yoking themselves to a car when their horses had broken
down. Many of our New England boys, who go on a whaling cruise
rather than die of enmii, would gladly consent to work, in the ancient
sense of the word, if they could exchange their Pecksniff-day for a
Grecian festival. The Aryan nations, too, had their sacred days and
sacred rites, but their Xature-worship was the mist that rises from the
woods and meadows, and blends with the ethereal hues of the sky ; the
Hebrew priestcraft dogma is a poison-cloud which for centuries has
darkened the light of the sun and blighted the fairest flowers.

In choosing the mode of a child's recreations, it should be borne in
mind that their main purpose is to restore the tone of the mind and its
harmony with the physical instincts by supplying the chief deficiencies
of our ordinary employment. For a hard-working blacksmith, fun,
pure and simple, would be a sufficient pastime, while brain-workers
need a recreation that combines amusement with physical exercise —
the unloosening of the brain-fiber with the tension of the muscles.
Emulation and the presence of relatives and schoolmates impart to
competitive gymnastics a charm which a spirited boy would not ex-
change for the passive pleasure of witnessing the best circus-perform-
ance. "Wrestling, lance-throwing, archery, base-ball, and a well-con-
tested foot-race, can awaken the enthusiasm of the Grecian palaestra,
and professional gymnasts will take the same delight in the equally
healthful though less dramatic trials of strength at the horizontal
bar. But, on the play-ground, such exercises should be divested from
the least appearance of being a task — even children can not be happy
on compulsion.

There is also too much in-door and in-town work about the present
life of our schoolboys. Encourage their love of the woods ; let us make
holidays a synonym of picnic excursions, and enlarge the definition
of camp-meetings ; of all the known modes of inspiration, forest air
and the view of a beautiful landscape are the most inexpensive, espe-
cially from a moral standpoint, being never followed by a splenetic
reaction. A ramble in the depths of a pathless forest, or on the
heights of an Alpenland, between rocks and lonely mountain-mead-
ows, opens well-springs of life unknown to the prisoners of the city
tenements.

But the chief curse of our in-door life is, after all, its dullness; and
its direct antidote merriment, therefore the chief point about all real
recreations. Fun and laughter have become the most effective cordials
of our materia medica, and their promotion a most important branch of
the science of happiness. There is no such thing as genuine frolic in
the stifling atmosphere of a stove-room ; the shady lawn in summer and
the open hall in winter make a better play-ground than the stuffy nurs-



PHY SIC AL EDUCATIOX. 459

ery ; but freedom from restraint is a still more essential clement of
mirth. Even in the despotic countries of the Old World the represent-
ative of the Government attends the public /e^es in disguise, and, if the
schoolmaster wants to watch the recess-sports of his pupils, let him do
so unobserved ; if you can trust your children at all, trust them not to
abuse the freedom of their recreations, or else conduct your surveil-
hmce as unobtrusively as possible. Children detest ceremonies ; in
our etiquette-ridden towns too many boys are aliens under their fa-
thers' roof ; give them one hour in the day and one corner in the
house where they are really at home, where they can feel that the per-
mission to enjoy themselves is granted as a right rather than as a con-
cession to the foibles of youth. If I had to board my children in an
old hull, like Anderson's sea-shell peddler, I would let them store their
toy-shells in the caboose, and keep it sacred from the intrusion of the
forecastle folk, to let my little ones know that the believers in the
divinity of joy, though in a sad minority in this pessimistic world,
have rights and perquisites which I mean to maintain against all
comers.

It does not cost much to make the little folks happy ; time, and
permission to use it, is all the most of them ask ; but make them sure
that the pursuit of happiness is not a contraband affair, but a legiti-
mate and praiseworthy business. Nor can it do any harm to let them
accumulate a little stock in trade — marbles, tops, dolls, and magic
lanterns, and, if possible, a few pets ; in winter-time, and for the
bigger boys, a private menagerie of squirrels and gophers is a better
aid to domestic habits than a hundred interviews with the home-mis-
sionary. Connive at a snowball-fight or a torn hat ; and be sure that
a pair of skates, fishing-tackle, and a base-ball outfit are a better invest-
ment than a medicine-chest. Make your children happy ; all Nature
proclaims the plan of a benevolent Creator ; let them feel that their
life is in harmony with that jilan — that existence has a positive value,
an attraction that would remain, though the fear of death were re-
moved.

And, above all, let no cloud of superstition darken the sunshine of
your Sundays ; and, in countries where the knell of the church-bells
drives your children from the play-grounds of the city, take them out
to the woods and mountains, and let them worship the Creator in his
grandest temple ; teach them to love his day by making it the hap-
piest day in the week. Or, disregard the bells and brave the conse-
quences : till we can repeal the sabbath laws, let us defy them in
every way and at any risk ; in dealing with the despotism of the
mythology-mongers, legal obligations are out of the question ; the
right of Nature enters the lists against the right of brutal force
leagued with imposture.



460 THE POPULAR SCIEXCE MOXTHLY.

THE BLOOD AND ITS CIECULATIOX.

Ry HERMAN L. FAIRCHILD.

THE main, facts of blood circulation have been known only two
hundred and fifty years. This would be surprising if we were
not aware that most of our certain knowledge in natural history, in-
cluding many truths of easier discovery than the circulation of the
blood, has been gained within the last one hundred years. And, in-
deed, the blood and its movements are not yet fully understood. Sev-
eral points which, at first thought, would seem of easy solution, are
matters in dispute or confessed mysteries. The purpose of this article
is, not to publish new truth or discuss difficult points, but to compactly
present the fundamental and interesting facts relating to the circula-
tion in all animals.

The necessity of a circulating nutritive fluid lies in the localizing
of the process of digestion. In proportion as digestion and absorp-
tion of food become specialized and restricted to certain parts, circula-
tion becomes more important in oi'der to convey that food to the tis-
sues, and carry from the tissues the worn-out material. To maintain
the character of the fluid, it must itself undergo constant change, and
hence the excretory processes — respiration being the most urgent —
which increase the necessity for movement of the fluid. Circulation
of the nutritive fluid is the immediate function for upbuilding and re-
pairing the body. It harmonizes the several vegetative functions, and
should be regarded as the primary function, to which all the others
are subservient.

The amoeba, sponge, and tapeworm have no blood ; they have no
necessity for it, as they are destitute of digestive organs, their food
])eing in immediate contact with all parts of the body : or, we might
regard their blood as simply the water or fluid in which the animal is
immersed. In animals possessing the simplest digestive cavities, as the
jelly-fish and sea-anemone, the blood is merely the dissolved food, cor-
responding to the chyme of higher animals. In the starfish, sea-
urchin, and other invertebrates, having a complete and distinct stom-
ach, the blood is chyle ; while in vertebrates the blood is a distinct
fluid, chemically very complex, difficult of analysis, and not perfectly
understood : structurally, it is essentially the same in all animals — a
clear fluid containing organic particles.

The blood contains all the nourishment which supports the various
tissues of the whole structure. It may properly be regarded as the
fundamental tissue, and is well named in the French chair coulant —
running flesh. It changes rapidly by eating, exercise, and any influ-
ence which affects the sujjply of nutriment or the waste of the body.
It is derived primarily from the new food, received in the higher ani-



THE BLOOD AND ITS CIRCULATION.



461



raals chiefly through the lacteals and veins of the stomacli ; secondly,
from the waste of the body received through the lymphatics and tho-
racic duct ; and, thirdly, through respiration, which supplies oxygen.
The amount of solid matter seems to bear a proportion to the amount
of flesh in the diet and to the temperature of the animal, being greater
in the carnivorous and warm-blooded animals.

In color, the blood of all vertebrates is red, excepting that of the




Fio. 1.— Human ni.ooD-CouruscLEs ; magnified 370 diameters.



amphioxKS, the lowest animal of the sub-kingdom, which is colorless.
In the muscles of fishes it is also white. In the invertebrates the
blood is of various colors, but commonly white, on account of which
fact they were formerly supposed to be destitute of bloo^.

Microscopic examination of the blood of a vertebrate animal shows
that the color is due to an im-
mense number of red particles
floating in a watery fluid. But
the shape and size of these corpus-
cles vary in the different groups
of vertebrates, and in different
species. In man, and all mam-
mals excepting the camel tribe,
the red corpuscles are biconcave
disks. In the camel they are ellip-
tical. The corpuscles in all other
vertebrates are nucleated, or have
a thickened center. Those of
birds, reptiles, and amphibians are elliptical,
discal, elliptical, or angular.

The size of the red blood-corpuscles bears little relation to the size
of the animal, except within the natural groups, as the orders of raam-




Fm. 2.— Blood-Corpttsclk? (reintive cize). a,
Man ; b, Bleuny ; c. Frog ; d. Newt.

hile those of fishes are



462



THE POPULAR SCIENCE MOXTHLY.



mals and the class of birds. The largest are found in the amphibians,
those of the proteus being ^J^ of an inch in diameter. The smallest
are found in the musk-deer, being y^-^j of an inch. Those of the
ostrich are -j-gVir ^^ ^^ \r\c\i, and of the humming-bird ^^ of an
inch. Yet this tiniest of vertebrates equals, in the size of its blood-
corpuscles, the largest of living creatures, the bulky whale. Those
of man are from yoVjr to ^^^-^ of an inch. The value of microscopic
measurements of blood-corpuscles, as evidence in legal cases, has been




Fig. 3.— Blood Corpcscles op the Frog ; magnified 370 diameters, ehowing the nucleus.

much overrated. It is quite impossible to distinguish human blood
from that of the dog, and, without very extensive measurements, from
that of some other mammals.

These red corpuscles are frequently larger than the capillary tubes
through which they have to pass, but, on account of their elasticity,
they squeeze through and afterward regain their shape.

It is estimated that a drop of human blood contains one million
corpuscles — a late authority says five millions — in a cubic millimetre.

In addition to the red corpuscles of the vertebrates, all true blood
contains colorless corpuscles. These are nucleated in the vertebrates,
mollusks, and higher articulates. They are usually smaller than the
red, and not nearly so numerous. They vary rapidly in number accord-
ing to changes in the body or blood, and may bear a proportion to the
red of one in one thousand to one in three hundred. Although gen-
erally globular, they have no fixed shape, but have amoeboid move-
ments. Indeed, the resemblance is so close between the amoeba and
these white corpuscles, that Professor Huxley, in defining the amoeba,
says it is structurally " a mere colorless blood-corpuscle leading an in-
dependent life." And again he says : " Leaving out the contractile
vacuole, the resemblance of an amceha in its structure, manner of mov-
ing, and even of feeding, to a colorless corpuscle of the blood of one
of the higher animals is particularly noteworthy " ; also in a foot-note



THE BLOOD AXD ITS CIRCULATIOX.



463



this, " contractile vacuoles have been observed in the colorless blood-
; -rpuscles of amphibia under certain conditions." Is it possible that
the human body is an aggregation or colony of low individuals, some-
thing like a sponge ? It is believed that the red corpuscles are pro-
duced from the white, being only their modified nuclei. They are
morp numerous in the capillaries and veins. The dinth aiiil rt-tirodiK-




Li^-.< aix,-^iined ; E, a red -
corpa*cle m&gnided same a^
treated with acetic acid, sh
ered or creoate all oTer ; L, i



<T Hu»AS BU)OD SBEATLT MAGXTTTED. A, red COipUP-

st a and a are seen two white corpascles. B. red cor-

•1 fri.-" - (' Thr- ii»-ip 'ri iin- ■' ■ r»_ rh'^ -sn:.^ in row* morS



tion of the blood-corpuscles are rapid and constant. Dr. Draper esti-
mates that twenty millions die at every breath. In transfusion of the
blood of a bird into a mammal, the bird-corpuscles soon disappear.

Upon exposure to the air the fibrine of the blood hardens, and, en-
iLingling the corpuscles, forms the clofy leaving a yellowish liquid called
serum. The composition of the blood may be graphically shown as
follows :



Corpuscles



Plasma, or V „ \ Albumen

Liquor sanguinis ( **™™ "j Serosity = water and salts



Coagulated
blood.



Coagulation s€r\es in nature the purpose of stopping wounds^ It
is providentially more rapid in the lower animals, as they have no arti-



Online LibraryD. S. (David Samuel) MargoliouthThe Popular science monthly (Volume 19) → online text (page 57 of 110)