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Title: Popular Books on Natural Science - For Practical Use in Every Household, for Readers of All Classes
Author: Bernstein, Aaron David
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Transcriber's note:

      There is an error in the calculation on page 16 (in the
      paragraph beginning, "Hence, it is through the movement of
      the mirror that the time, which is necessary for electricity
      to go through the circuit of the wire . . ."). I have left
      the calculation as it was printed.

      Inconsistent hyphenation has been left as printed.


For Practical Use in Every Household,
For Readers of All Classes.





New York:
Chr. Schmidt, Publisher, 39 Centre Street.

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1869, by
Chr. Schmidt,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for
the Southern District of New York.


"In primis, hominis est propria VERI inquisitio atque investigatio.
Itaque cum sumus negotiis necessariis, curisque vacui, tum avemus
aliquid videre, audire, ac dicere, cognitionemque rerum, aut occultarum
aut admirabilium, ad benè beatéque vivendum necessariam ducimus;--ex quo
intelligitur, quod VERUM, simplex, sincerumqe sit, id esse naturæ
hominis aptissimum. Huic veri videndi cupiditati adjuncta est appetitio
quædam principatûs, ut nemini parere animus benè a naturâ, informatus
velit, nisi præcipienti, aut docenti, aut utilitatis causâ justè et
legitimè imperanti: ex quo animi magnitudo existit, et humanarum rerum

Cicero, de Officiis, Lib. 1. § 13.

Before all other things, man is distinguished by his pursuit and
investigation of TRUTH. And hence, when free from needful business and
cares, we delight to see, to hear, and to communicate, and consider a
knowledge of many admirable and abstruse things necessary to the good
conduct and happiness of our lives: whence it is clear that whatsoever
is TRUE, simple, and direct, the same is most congenial to our nature as
men. Closely allied with this earnest longing to see and know the truth,
is a kind of dignified and princely sentiment which forbids a mind,
naturally well constituted, to submit its faculties to any but those who
announce it in precept or in doctrine, or to yield obedience to any
orders but such as are at once just, lawful, and founded on utility.
From this source spring greatness of mind and contempt of worldly
advantages and troubles.




  CHAPTER.                                                            PAGE.

      I. How many pounds the whole earth weighs.                          3

     II. The attempt to weigh the earth.                                  5

    III. Description of the experiment to weigh the earth.                8



      I. Velocities of the forces of nature.                             13

     II. How can the velocity of the electric current be ascertained.    15



      I. Nothing but milk.                                               21

     II. Man the transformed food.                                       24

    III. What strange food we eat.                                       26

     IV. How nature prepares our food.                                   29

      V. What becomes of the mother's milk after it has entered
           the body of the child.                                        32

     VI. How the blood becomes the vital part of the body.               35

    VII. The circulation of matter.                                      38

   VIII. Food.                                                           41

     IX. About nutrition.                                                44



      I. Something about illumination.                                   49

     II. The illumination of the planets by the sun.                     52



      I. A wonderful discovery.                                          57

     II. The main support of Leverrier's discovery.                      60

    III. The great discovery.                                            63



      I. Something about the weather.                                    69

     II. Of the weather in summer and winter.                            73

    III. The currents of air and the weather.                            75

     IV. The firm rules of meteorology.                                  78

      V. Air and water in their relations to weather.                    81

     VI. Fog, clouds, rain, and snow.                                    84

    VII. How heat in the air becomes latent, and how it gets free
           again.                                                        87

   VIII. Latent heat produces cold, free heat produces warmth.           90

     IX. Rules about the weather, and disturbances of the same.          93

      X. The changeableness of the weather with regard to our
           geographical position.                                        96

     XI. About the difficulty and possibility of determining the
           weather.                                                      98

    XII. The false-weather prophets.                                    101

   XIII. Has the moon influence upon the weather?                       103



      I. The rapid renewal of the blood is an advantage.                109

     II. Digestion.                                                     112

    III. Coffee.                                                        114

     IV. Coffee as a medicine.                                          117

      V. Usefulness and hurtfulness of coffee.                          119

     VI. Breakfast.                                                     121

    VII. Liquor.                                                        125

   VIII. Injuriousness of drinking liquor.                              131

     IX. The poor and the liquor.                                       134

      X. The consequences of intemperance, and its prevention.          137

     XI. Dinner.                                                        140

    XII. Necessity for variety in food.                                 143

   XIII. Broth.                                                         146

    XIV. What is best to be put into soup.                              149

     XV. Leguminous vegetables.                                         152

    XVI. Meat and vegetables.                                           155

   XVII. The nap after dinner.                                          158

  XVIII. Water and beer.                                                161

    XIX. The supper.                                                    164





Natural philosophers have considered and investigated subjects that
often appear to the unscientific man beyond the reach of human
intelligence. Among these subjects may be reckoned the question, "How
many pounds does the whole earth weigh?"

One would, indeed, believe that this is easy to answer. A person might
assign almost any weight, and be perfectly certain that nobody would run
after a scale, in order to examine, whether or not an ounce were
wanting. Yet this question is by no means a joke, and the answer to it
is by no means a guess; on the contrary, both are real scientific
results. The question in itself is as important a one, as the answer,
which we are able to give, is a correct one.

Knowing the size of our globe, one would think that there was no
difficulty in determining its weight. To do this, it would be necessary
only to make a little ball of earth that can be accurately weighed; then
we could easily calculate how many times the earth is larger than this
little ball; and by so doing, we might tell, at one's finger-ends,
that--if we suppose the little earth-ball to weigh a hundred-weight--the
whole globe, being so many times larger, must weigh so many

Such a proceeding, however, would be very likely to mislead us. For all
depends on the substance the little ball is made of. If made of loose
earth, it will weigh little; if stones are taken with it, it will weigh
more; while, if metals were put in, it would, according to the kind of
metal you take, weigh still more.

If, then, we wish to determine the weight of our globe by the weight of
that little ball, it is first necessary to know of what our globe
consists; whether it contains stones, metals, or things entirely
unknown; whether empty cavities, or whether, indeed, the whole earth is
nothing but a hollow sphere, on the surface of which we live, and in
whose inside there is possibly another world that might be reached by
boring through the thick shell.

With the exercise of a little thought, it will readily be seen that the
question, "How much does our earth weigh?" in reality directs us to the
investigation of the character of the earth's contents; this, however,
is a question of a scientific nature.

The problem was solved not very long ago. The result obtained was, that
the earth weighs 6,069,094,272 billions of tons; that, as a general
thing, it consists of a mass a little less heavy than iron; that towards
the surface it contains lighter materials; that towards the centre they
increase in density; and that, finally, the earth, though containing
many cavities near the surface, is itself not a hollow globe.

The way and manner in which they were able to investigate this
scientifically, we will attempt now to set forth as plainly and briefly
as it can possibly be done.



It is our task to explain, by what means men have succeeded in weighing
the earth, and thus become acquainted with the weight of its

The means is simpler than might be thought at the moment. The execution,
however, is more difficult than one would at first suppose.

Ever since the great discovery of the immortal Newton, it has been known
that all celestial bodies attract one another, and that this attraction
is the greater, the greater the attracting body is. Not only such
celestial bodies as the sun, the earth, the moon, the planets, and the
fixed stars, but _all_ bodies have this power of attraction; and it
increases in direct proportion to the increase of the mass of the body.
In order to make this clear, let us illustrate it by an example. A pound
of iron attracts a small body near by; two pounds of iron attract it
precisely twice as much; in other words, the greater the weight of an
object, the greater the power of attraction it exercises on the objects
near by. Hence, if we know the attractive power of a body, we also know
its weight. Nay, we would be able to do without scales of any kind in
the world, if we were only able to measure accurately the attractive
power of every object. This, however, is not possible; for the earth is
so large a mass, and has consequently so great an attractive power, that
it draws down to itself all objects which we may wish other bodies to
attract. If, therefore, we wish to place a small ball in the
neighborhood of ever so large an iron-ball, for the purpose of having
the little one attracted by the large one, this little ball will, as
soon as we let it go, fall to the earth, because the attractive power of
the earth is many, very many times greater than that of the largest
iron-ball; so much greater is it, that the attraction of the iron-ball
is not even perceptible.

Physical science, however, has taught us to measure the earth's
attractive power very accurately, and this by a very simple instrument,
viz., a pendulum, such as is used in a clock standing against the wall.
If a pendulum in a state of rest--in which it is nearest to the
earth--is disturbed, it hastens back to this resting-point with a
certain velocity. But because it is started and cannot stop without the
application of force, it recedes from the earth on the other side. The
earth's attraction in the meanwhile draws it back, making it go the same
way over again. Thus it moves to and fro with a velocity which would
increase, if the earth's mass were to increase; and decrease, if the
earth's mass were to decrease. Since the velocity of a pendulum may be
measured very accurately by counting the number of vibrations it makes
in a day, we are able also to calculate accurately the attractive power
of the earth.

A few moments' consideration will make it clear to everybody, that the
precise weight of the earth can be known so soon as an apparatus is
contrived, by means of which a pendulum may be attracted by a certain
known mass, and thus be made to move to and fro. Let us suppose this
mass to be a ball of a hundred pounds, and placed near a pendulum. Then
as many times as this ball weighs less than the earth, so many times
more slowly will a pendulum be moved by the ball.

It was in this way that the experiment was made and the desired result
obtained. But it was not a very easy undertaking, and we wish,
therefore, to give our thinking readers in the next chapter a more
minute description of this interesting experiment, with which we shall
for the present conclude the subject.



Cavendish, an English physicist, made the first successful attempt to
determine the attractive power of large bodies. His first care was, to
render the attraction of the earth an inefficient element in his
experiment. He did it in the following way:

On the point of an upright needle he laid horizontally a fine steel bar,
which could turn to the right and left like the magnetic needle in a
compass-box. Then he fastened a small metallic ball on each end of the
steel bar. The balls were of the same weight, for this reason the steel
bar was attracted by the earth with the same force at both ends; it
therefore remained horizontal like the beam of a balance, when the same
weight is lying in each of the scales. By this the attractive force of
the earth was not suspended, it is true; but it was balanced by the
equality of the weights. Thus the earth's attractive power was rendered
ineffective for the disturbance of his apparatus.

Next he placed two large and very heavy metallic balls at the ends of
the steel bar, not, however, touching them. The attractive force of the
large balls began now to tell; it so attracted the small ones that they
were drawn quite near to the large balls. When, then, the observer, by a
gentle push, removed the small balls from their resting-place, the large
ones were seen to draw them back again. But as the latter could not stop
if once started, they crossed their resting-point, and began to vibrate
near the large balls in the same manner as a pendulum does, when acted
upon by the attractive force of the earth. Of course this force was
exceedingly small, compared with that of the earth; and for that reason
the vibrations of this pendulum were by far slower than those of a
common one. This could not be otherwise; and from the slowness of a
vibration, or from the small number of vibrations in a day, Cavendish
computed the real weight of the earth.

Such an experiment, however, is always connected with extraordinary
difficulties. The least expansion of the bar, or the unequal expansion
or contraction of the balls, caused by a change of temperature, would
vitiate the result; besides, the experiment must be made in a room
surrounded on all sides by masses equal in weight. Moreover, the
observer must not be stationed in the immediate neighborhood, lest this
might exercise attractive force, and by that a disturbance. Finally, the
air around must not be set in motion, lest it might derange the
pendulum; and lastly, it is necessary not only to determine the size and
weight of the balls, but also to obtain a form spherical to the utmost
perfection; and also to take care that the centre of gravity of the
balls be at the same time the centre of magnitude.

In order to remove all these difficulties, unusual precautions and
extraordinary expenses were necessary. Reich, a naturalist in Freiberg,
took infinite pains for the removal of these obstacles. To his
observations and computations we owe the result he transmitted to us,
viz.: that the mass total of the earth is nearly five and a half times
heavier than a ball of water of the same size; or, in scientific
language: The mean density of the earth is nearly five and a half times
that of water. Thence results the real weight of the earth as being
nearly fourteen quintillions of pounds. From this, again, it follows
that the matter of the earth grows denser the nearer the centre;
consequently it cannot be a hollow sphere.

If we consider, that from the earth's surface to its centre there is a
distance of 3,956 miles, and that, with all our excavations, no one has
yet penetrated even five miles, we have reason to be proud of
investigations which, at least in part, disclose to man the unexplorable
depths of the earth.





In former times, when a man would speak of the rapidity with which light
traverses space, most of his hearers thought it to be a scientific
exaggeration or a myth. At present, however, when daily opportunity is
afforded to admire, for example, the velocity of the electric current in
the electro-magnetic telegraph, every one is well convinced of the fact,
that there are forces in nature which traverse space with almost
inconceivable velocity.

A wire a mile in length, if electrified at one end, becomes in the very
instant electrified also at the other end. This and similar things every
one may observe for himself; then, even the greatest sceptic among you
will clearly see, that the change--or "electric force"--which an
electrified wire undergoes at one end, is conveyed the length of a mile
in a twinkle, verily as if a mile were but an inch.

But we learn more yet from this observation. The velocity with which the
electric force travels is so great, that if a telegraph-wire, extending
from New York to St. Louis and back again, is electrified at one end,
the electric current will manifest itself at the other end in the same
moment. From this it follows, that the electric force travels with such
speed as to make a thousand miles in a space of time scarcely
perceptible. Or, in other words, it travels a thousand miles in the same
imperceptible fraction of a moment that it does a single mile.

And experience has taught us even more yet. However great the distance
connected by a telegraphic wire may be, the result has always been, that
the time which electricity needs to run that distance, is imperceptibly
small; so that it may well be said, its passage occupies an indivisible
moment of time.

One might even be led to believe that this is really no "running
through"--in other words, that this transmission of effect from one end
of the wire to the other end does not require any time at all, but that
it happens, as if by enchantment, in one and the same instant. This,
however, is not the case.

Ingenious experiments have been tried, to measure the velocity of the
elective force. It is now undoubtedly proved, that it actually does
require time for it to be transmitted from one place to another; that
this certain amount of time is imperceptible to us for this reason,
viz., that all distances which have ever been connected by telegraph,
are yet too small, to make the time it takes for the current to go from
one end to the other, perceptible to us.

Indeed, if our earth were surrounded by a wire, it would still be too
short for common observation, because the electric force would run even
through this space--twenty-five thousand miles very nearly--in the tenth
part of a second.

Ingenious experiments have shown that the electric current moves two
hundred and fifty thousand miles in a second. But how could this have
been ascertained? And are we certain that the result is trustworthy?

The measurements have been made with great exactitude. To those who are
not afraid of a little thinking, we will try to represent the way in
which this measurement was taken; although a perfect representation of
it is very difficult to give in a few words.



In order to illustrate, how the velocity of the electric current can
actually be measured, we must first introduce the following:

Whenever a wire is to be magnetized by an electric machine, at the
moment it touches the machine, a bright spark is seen at the end of the
wire. The same spark is seen also at the other end of the wire, if
touching another apparatus. Let us call the first spark the
"entrance-spark," the other the "exit-spark." If a wire, many miles in
extent, is put up, and led back to where the beginning of the wire is,
both sparks may be seen by the same observer.

Now it is evident, that the exit-spark appears after the entrance-spark
just as much later, as the time it took the electric current to run from
one end of the wire to the other end. But in spite of all efforts made,
to see whether the exit-spark actually appears later, the human eye has
not been able to detect the difference. The cause of this is partly
owing to the long duration of the impression upon the retina, which
leads us to the belief, that we see objects much longer than we really
do; partly, the immense rapidity with which the exit-spark follows the
entrance-spark. From these two causes, we are tempted to believe both
sparks to appear at the same moment.

By an ingenious and excellent means, however, this defect in our eye has
been greatly diminished. It is well worth the trouble to read a
description of the experiment attentively. The truly remarkable way in
which it was tried, will please all who read it.

In order to measure the velocity of the electric current, the ends of a
very long wire are placed one above the other. If, now, one makes the
observation with the naked eye, both sparks will be found to stand in a
vertical line, one above the other, as the points of a colon, thus (:).

But he who wishes to measure the velocity of the electrical current does
not look upon the sparks with the naked eye, but into a small mirror,
which, by a clock-work, is made to revolve upon an upright axis with
exceedingly great rapidity. Thus he can see both sparks in the mirror.
If the apparatus be a good one, it will be observed that the sparks, as
seen by the aid of the mirror, do not stand in a vertical line above one
another, but obliquely, thus (.·).

Whence does this come?

The reason of it is, that after the appearance of the entrance-spark it
takes a short time, before the exit-spark appears. During this short
time the mirror moves, though but little, and in it the exit-spark is
seen as if it had moved aside from the entrance-spark.

Hence, it is through the movement of the mirror that the time, which is
necessary for electricity to go through the circuit of the wire, is
ascertained. A little reflection will readily convince the reader, that
the time may be precisely calculated, provided three things be known,
viz.: the length of the wire, the velocity of rotation of the mirror,
and the angular distance of the two sparks as seen in the mirror. Thus:
Suppose the wire to be 1,000 miles long; and suppose the mirror is made
to revolve 100,000 times in a second. Now, if the electrical current
traversed these 1,000 miles of wire during _one_ revolution of the
mirror, then it follows, that the current must move 1,000 miles in the
1/100 part of a second; or, 100,000 miles in a second.

It is found, however, that the mirror does not revolve an entire circle,
or 360 degrees, while the current is passing over 1,000 miles of wire,
but we find that the mirror turns through 144 degrees very nearly;
therefore the electric current must travel more than 100,000 miles a
second. How much more? Just as many times 100,000 miles, as 144 degrees
are contained in 360 degrees (the entire circle), viz., two and a half
times. Hence, the current travels 250,000 miles in a second.





Conceive a man, gifted with the keenest intellect, but not knowing from
experience, that sucklings grow and become men, and imagine what he
would say, if you were to tell him this:

"Know, that the little being you see here, is a suckling, that is, a
developing human being, who by and by will become thicker and taller.
The bones of his body will become firmer and longer. The muscles that
animate these bones will likewise increase in size. The same will happen
with regard to his eyes, ears, nose, mouth; to his head, body, and feet;
every component part of his small body will be developed further and
further, until the child will become a perfect man."

There is no doubt, that he who does not know all this from experience,
will shake his head at it.

But if you were to tell him: "This development and growth have their
source in the baby's sucking at the mother's breast a white juice called
milk, and out of this milk all the constituent parts of the child are
manufactured within himself,"--certainly your hearer would laugh in your
face, and perhaps call you a credulous fool.

"What!" he would exclaim, "do you mean to say that milk contains flesh?
Or can you make bones out of milk, or hair? Can you make nails and teeth
out of milk? Do you wish to persuade me, that milk may be changed into
eyes? that from milk may be manufactured feet, hands, cheeks, eyelids,
and the various other parts of the human body?"

And if, in answer to this, you were to reply: "Yes, it is so. Within
this little creature is a factory, that not only makes all you have
mentioned, but much more. In this establishment, bones, hair, teeth,
nails, flesh, blood, veins, nerves, skin, juices, and water are
manufactured; all this is made from milk, and during the first months of
the child's life from nothing but milk,"--then your hearer, though he
may have the understanding of the most judicious of men, would be
dumbfounded, and would beseech you to tell him more about this factory.

You may be certain, he would like to know, how many boilers, cylinders,
valves, wires, ladles, oars, pumps, hooks, pins, spokes, and knobs there
may be in this factory; more especially would he wish to know, whether
the engine of this wonderful establishment be made of steel, wood,
cast-iron, silver or gold, or of diamonds.

Now, if you were to tell him, "It contains nothing of the kind. Of all
the factories you have seen in your life, there is none that bears any
resemblance to this one. And I will tell you furthermore, that it is not
even a complete factory, but it is continually developing; it becomes
larger and heavier like the child's body itself; moreover, the factory
does not consist of iron or steel, nor of gold or diamonds, but it
reproduces itself at every moment; it does so merely from the milk that
the child drinks,"--then, to be sure, your hearer would begin to doubt
his own senses; he would exclaim: "What is the intellect of the
intelligent, the judgment of the judicious, what is the wisdom of the
wise, when compared to a little of the mother's milk?"

And yet, you are well aware, my friendly reader, that mother's milk is,
after all, nothing but milk; and that milk, again, is nothing but a
means of nutrition; and nutrition, in its turn, is nothing but a part
of the action of the human body.

May I hope that you will favor me with your attention, while, in a few
articles, I speak to you about the nutrition of the human body?



Before speaking of the process of nutrition in the human body, we must
first obtain a correct idea of what is meant by nutrition.

Why are we obliged to eat?

Of course we know that hunger forces us to do so. But every one is aware
also, that above all we must ask, whence hunger arises; that we must
first get better acquainted with hunger itself, in order to understand

To explain this, however, it is necessary to turn our attention to
another thing, no less a miracle than nutrition itself, viz., what in
scientific language is called "Exchange of Matter." To all of you it is
a well-known fact, that nothing in the human body remains even for a
moment in the same state; but that in every part of the body a continued
exchange takes place. Air is breathed in and exhaled again; but the air
exhaled is different from the air inhaled. By this process an exchange
of matter has taken place; new matter has entered the body and waste
matter has been thrown out.

This exchange of matter--we shall speak more about it at another
opportunity--is a principal necessity for the body and its functions; it
consists in the main of an incessant change, by which our body is forced
to cast out matter that formed parts of it, and is therefore obliged, in
order to compensate for the loss, to take in new matter. Hence there is
no exaggeration in the expression, "Man is continually renewing
himself;" we indeed lose and receive particles of our body at every
moment. People have gone so far as to calculate that it takes seven
years for the renewal of the whole body of man, and that after this
space, there is not even an atom left of the man as he was seven years

The regular exchange of matter, as we have seen, supposes the body to be
a barter-place, where people take in at the same ratio they pay out.
Since, however, man often pays out involuntarily and suffers so many
losses--by the mere process of breathing he ejects matter which he must
replace afterwards--this exchange of matter is the cause of the body's
possessing the feeling of want. The body has paid out and receives
nothing in return; this feeling of want is what we call "Hunger." It
forces us to absorb as much as we have paid out.

Nutrition, consequently, is the continual replacing of continual losses.
It is the wonderful transformation of food into the materials composing
the human body.

When looking at our fellow-men, however, we must not think, that they
are merely beings that have eaten food; but rather that they themselves,
viz., their skin, hair, bones, brain, flesh, blood, nails, and teeth,
are nothing but their own food, consumed and transformed.



Man, according to what has preceded, is nothing but transformed food.

This idea may frighten us; it may be terrible to our hearts; but let us
frankly confess, it is a true one! Man consists only of such substances
as he has consumed; he is, in fact, nothing but the food he has eaten;
he is food in the shape of a living being.

A child is said to live on his mother's milk; but what else does this
mean than: "It is mother's milk, that has become alive by having been
changed into head, body, hands, feet, etc., etc."

Indeed, it may sound strange, yet it is quite correct: This mother's
milk in the shape of a human being consumes again new mother's milk,
and, by respiration, by evaporation and secretion of matter, casts out
the used-up milk.

This being so, it will now appear evident to every one, that by a
profound chemical knowledge of our daily food, we may readily learn to
know the chemical components of man, and _vice versâ_; knowing the
substances of which man is made, it is easy for us to determine, what
kind of food he must take, in order to continually renew his body.

Since the mother's milk is the simplest and most natural food for the
child, let us consider it according to its importance. We shall then
have a stepping-stone towards the knowledge of the food of adults and
its effects. The mother's milk contains all the elements, with which
the human body can renew itself; should there be but one of those
elements wanting in it, the child would inevitably perish.

If, for example, milk did not contain calcareous earth, the consequence
would be, that the bones of the child would, soon after its birth,
neither grow nor increase in number, but they would fast diminish, and
the child would die in consequence of this. The attempt was once made to
feed animals on articles without calcareous parts, when, strange to
behold, they all grew fat, but very weak in their bones, and finally
broke down.

If milk contained no phosphorus, not only would the bones and teeth
suffer from the want of it, but even the completion of the child's brain
could not properly take place, and the child could not replace the
quantity of brain which it emits and loses every moment by breathing.

If there were no iron in the mother's milk, the child would die from the
green-sickness, a malady which, by the way, is dangerous also for grown
people, and which is cured by medicines containing plenty of iron.

If there were no sulphur in it, the child's bile could not develop; the
bile, as every one knows, has an important function in the human body.

These are but accessory elements of the mother's milk, elements which
usually are not looked upon as articles of food; for who is aware that
he must eat, and actually does eat daily, phosphorus, iron, calcareous
earth, and sulphur? And not only these; there are a great many other
articles, such as magnesia, chlorine, and fluor, that we eat without
being aware of it; moreover, our proper food consists also of three
gases: nitrogen, oxygen, and hydrogen; and of a solid substance called
"carbon," which is no less and no more than pure coal.

All these, my friendly readers, are contained in milk--all these are the
elements which in truth constitute the human body. Perhaps some persons
believe that there is nothing easier than to procure proper food. It
would only be necessary to take a certain quantity of carbon, hydrogen,
oxygen, and nitrogen; a little bit of potassium, natron, calcium, and
magnesia; to mix a small piece of iron, sulphur, phosphorus, chlorine,
and fluor, and take this mixture by the spoon at regular intervals, in
order to give the body the necessary aliments. This, however, would be a
mistake, for which the perpetrator would pay with his life.

Although it is true that these substances form the proper and most
important constituents of our daily food; yet, in order to enjoy the
desired result, we must not partake of them in their primary forms; they
can actually feed our body only when they are combined together in a
peculiar, wondrous manner.

In the next chapter it may be seen how nature first must combine these
substances before they are presented to us as proper food; and it will
also be seen, that we receive them sometimes in altogether different
forms and combinations; for example, in the mother's milk, when we eat
the above-named elements in the forms of caseine (cheese), butyrine
(butter), sugar of milk, salt, and water.

These latter names have a more savory sound, have they not?



In the preceding article it was stated, that the food of the child which
lives on mother's milk, consists in its primary elements of peculiar
substances. These are principally oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen; three
gases to which may be added a large quantity of carbon, or, what is the
same, coal. Besides this wondrous mixture of air and coal, the mother's
milk contains still other elements, but in a smaller proportion. In
every-day life many of them are unfamiliar; for example, natron,
calcium, magnesia, chlorine, and fluor; the others, however, are known
to every one; viz., iron, sulphur, and phosphorus. All these strange
ingredients nature has carefully transformed into milk. For in their
primary state, and even in various chemical combinations that may be
produced artificially, they would be little adapted for the purpose. It
is therefore essentially necessary that nature herself should make them
ready for us. This she does by letting them pass first into the
vegetable state, and changing them afterwards into new forms.

The plant feeds on primary chemical elements; or, to state it more
correctly, the plant is nothing but transformed primary elements! Not
before the transformation of these elements into plants are the elements
adapted for food for animals and men.

Moreover, all that man eats must first have been in the vegetable state.
Now, it is true that man also eats the flesh, fat, and eggs of animals;
but whence have the animals meat and eggs? Only from the plants they

There is a remarkable succession of transformations in nature. The
primary elements nourish the plant; the plant nourishes the animal; and
both, plant and animal, form the nourishment of man.

Even the mother's milk, the simplest and most natural food of the child,
owes its existence only to the fact that the mother has eaten vegetable
and animal matter. This food, prepared for the mother by nature, has
been changed into the body of the same; and partly, also, it has become
the milk destined to nourish the child.

Hence it is evident that mother's milk consists of oxygen, nitrogen,
hydrogen, carbon, and a small portion of other chemical primary
elements. But these substances when appearing in the shape of milk, are
combined in such a manner as to form ready-made food; as such they
constitute, as stated above, caseine, butyrine, sugar of milk, salt, and

The next questions are: "What do these elements of food perform when in
the child's body? What becomes of these substances after they have been
eaten by the child? How are they changed during the time of their stay
in the body? And in what condition do they leave the child's body, and
how do they force him to desire food again?"

These questions properly belong to the chapter on "Nutrition," where
they will be answered in their turn. Afterwards, we must be permitted to
turn our attention to a further question, viz., "What articles of food
are the most advantageous to man from the time he is weaned or the time,
he takes from among vegetable and animal matter the same substances for
food, that are contained in the mother's milk?"

In order to arrive at the answers to all these questions, we were
obliged to first prepare the ground a little. This was a gain on our
part, for now we shall attain the end in a shorter time than would have
been possible otherwise. We trust that we may give our reader a correct
idea of the subject, if he will but come to our aid with his most
earnest attention and reflection; these are needed here the more, as we
have to treat a difficult subject in a very short space.



When the child has freed itself from the body of its mother, it consists
of blood, flesh, and bones, which heretofore were formed and nourished
by the blood of the mother.

As soon, however, as the child is born, it ceases to be nourished in
this manner. It ceases, also, to secrete through its mother, substances
which are useless to it. The child now begins to breathe for itself, and
by its breath secretes carbon in the form of carbonic acid. Its skin
begins to perspire, and secretes chiefly hydrogen and oxygen in the
shape of water or vapor; by the urine, finally, it secretes nitrogen.
These substances--carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen--before their
secretion, constituted vital parts of the child's body; now, however,
they are wasted, and for this reason must be thrown off.

It is evident that the child wants compensation for this loss. This is
given by the mother's milk; for it contains chiefly these same

But how is this effected?

The milk passes from the child's mouth through the gullet into the
stomach. While yet in the mouth, the milk is mixed with a certain liquid
called saliva. This saliva possesses the quality of preparing the milk
for the necessary change which will take place, when it reaches the
child's stomach. The principal work, however, is carried on in the
stomach itself. Its sides secrete a liquid called "gastric juice,"
whose business it is, to transform into a pulp milk, and also solid
food, provided the latter be well masticated and moistened.

Science has taught us to prepare gastric juice artificially. The process
of digestion, that is, the transformation of solid food--the crust of
bread, meat, etc.--into a pulp, may nowadays be observed in a glass
filled with warm, artificial, gastric juice.

After the digestion is completed, the lower opening of the stomach,
which leads into the duodenum, and which, during the process of
digestion, was closed by a muscle, opens itself. The pulp, now called
"chyme," flows into the continuation of the stomach--the "alimentary
canal" or "duodenum." This is but a long bag with many folds and

The chyme is here mixed again with a liquid called "intestinal juice;"
it has the quality of continuing digestion until the chyme separates
into two parts; one of them, a milky fluid called "chyle," contains the
substance which feeds the body. The other is the solid parts not adapted
to nutrition; they are thrown out by the lower opening of the "rectum."

But how is this nutritive part, the chyle, conveyed into the various
parts of the body?

The intestinal canal is filled with extremely small vessels called
"lacteal absorbents." These vessels absorb the chyle. This absorption,
on account of the great length of the intestinal canal--in adults it is
nearly thirty feet long--is, in a healthy body, accomplished very
thoroughly. The real nutriment for the body is now contained in the
lacteal absorbents, an infinite number of small tubes.

All these small vessels, however, converge towards the lower part of the
spinal column, and uniting, form a vessel which ascends into the chest;
here it empties into a large blood-vessel, the blood of which is on its
way to the heart. Thrown out of the heart in another direction, the
blood is pushed through the whole body.

Thus the food, after having been transformed into a juice very similar
to the blood, joins the blood after a circuitous journey, and is finally
mixed with, or, more properly, changed into, blood.



One would be well justified in calling the blood "man's body in a liquid
state." For the blood is destined to become the living solid body of

People were astonished, when Liebig, the great naturalist, called blood
the "liquid flesh;" we are correct even in going further and calling the
blood "man's body in a liquid state." From blood are prepared not only
muscles and flesh, but also bones, brain, fat, teeth, eyes, veins,
cartilages, nerves, tendons, and even hair.

It is utterly wrong for anybody to suppose, that the constituents of all
these parts are dissolved in the blood, say as sugar is dissolved in
water. By no means. Water is something quite different from the sugar
dissolved in it; while the blood is itself the material from which all
the solid parts of the body are formed.

The blood is received into the heart, and the heart, like a pump, forces
it into the lungs. There it absorbs in a remarkable manner the oxygen of
the air which comes into the lungs by breathing. This blood, saturated
now with oxygen, is then recalled to another part of the heart by an
expansive movement of that organ.

This part of the heart contracts again and impels the oxygenated blood
into the whole body by means of arteries, which branch out more and
more, and become smaller and smaller, until at last they are no longer
visible to the naked eye. In this manner the blood penetrates all parts
of the body, and returns to the heart by means of similar thread-like
veins, which gradually join and form larger veins. Having reached the
heart, it is again forced into the lungs, and absorbs there more oxygen,
returns to the heart, and is again circulated through the whole system.

During this double circulation of the blood from the heart to the lungs
and back, and then from the heart to all parts of the body and back
again--during all this, the change of particles, so remarkable in
itself, is constantly going on: the exchange by which the useless and
wasted matter are secreted and new substances distributed. This fact is
wonderful, and its cause not yet fully explained by science; but so much
is certain, that the blood when being conveyed to all parts of the human
body, deposits whatever at the time may be needed there for the renewal
of that part.

Thus the blood that has been formed in the child from the mother's milk,
contains phosphorus, oxygen, and calcium. These substances, during the
circulation of the blood, are deposited in the bones, and form
"phosphate of lime," the principal element in the bone. In the same
manner fluor and calcium are given to the teeth. The muscles, or flesh,
also receive their ingredients from the blood; so do the nerves, veins,
membranes, brain, and nails; also the inner organs, such as the heart,
lungs, liver, kidneys, intestines, and stomach.

They all, however, in return give to the blood their waste particles,
which it carries to that part of the human body where they may be

If any member of the body is so bound, that the blood cannot circulate,
it must decay; for the life of the body consists in its constant change
and transformation, in the continual exchange of fresh substances for
waste ones. But this vital exchange is only kept up by the constant
circulation of the blood, which, while it decreases by being
transformed into vital parts of the body, is always formed anew by our
daily food.

Food is therefore very justly called "Means of Existence," and the blood
may rightly be called the "Juice of Life."



Thus we have seen that the human body is vital blood, transformed and
solidified. Now, blood is food transformed; food consists of primary
elements prepared and changed by nature; hence, man himself is primary
matter transformed and vivified.

But the human race being thousands and thousands of years old, and there
being upon the earth besides man the whole of the animal kingdom,
developing, preserving, and nourishing itself bodily like man; the
question arises: Whence do they all come, these primary elements that
are obliged forever to undergo transformation before they can become
animated vital matter? Do these primary elements not incessantly
decrease during the long process of their being changed into plants and
consumed by man and animal, in order to form human and animal bodies

The answer to this interesting question has been given already. The
human body is not framed or created anew at every moment by food; but it
is at every moment, that small particles of the human body die. These
particles are returned to mother earth from which they sprang, thus
going back to the primary elements.

It is not only those who are dead, that render to the earth what belongs
to her, that return to nature what she gave them; but in a far greater
degree it is the living, that pay their debt to nature.

Man's body is not his own; nature has lent it to him but for a short
term of service; then nature wrests her loan back from him. Thus must
man, spite all his pride, accept her never-ceasing offer; daily he must
borrow and daily he must repay in part, until the moment comes when he
borrows for the last time, the moment he expires; and dying he leaves it
to those around his bedside, to pay his last debt to earth.

Is it not wonderful? His own blood is the messenger that daily carries
new loans to him, and, in the shape of transformed food, of transformed
elements of nature, equips his body. But his own blood is at the same
time also his cashier, who, having rendered him service, takes the loan
away, by secreting from the body elements that are thus returned to

With every revolution of the blood the body is supplied with transformed
food, which is immediately changed into vital parts of the body; with
every return of the blood waste matter is carried off and deposited,
where it may be thrown out.

The blood carries waste matter to the kidneys that they may send out of
the body, in the shape of urine, waste nitrogen, mixed with a part of
the phosphate of lime, that served to form bones and teeth, but is now
useless. The blood, besides, secretes perspiration through the skin.
This is a liquid containing water, hence oxygen and hydrogen; but is
moreover mixed with various other waste substances of the body, as for
example, carbonic acid, nitrogen and fat. Chiefly, however, the blood is
employed in carrying waste carbon to the lungs, so that they may, by the
process of respiration, exhale carbonic acid, a gas which would prove of
deadly effect if remaining in the lungs too long, or if inhaled.

The quantity of man's secretion per day is by no means small. It amounts
to the fourteenth part of his own weight: nay, more--the weight of his
perspiration alone, secreted partly by evaporation in the shape of gas,
partly as a liquid in drops, amounts during twenty-four hours to nearly
two pounds.

Secreted substances have lost all the qualities of transformed and vital
matter. They return to the primary elements and serve as food
principally to plants, which before had offered those very same
substances as food to man.

It is in this manner that the great circulation of matter in nature
takes place. From the lifeless primary elements to the plant; from the
plant, in the shape of food, to animal and man; from these, as waste
substances, back again to the primary elements, there to begin anew a
circulation, by means of which inanimate elements are reanimated, and
vital elements made lifeless again; that is, life changed again into

And it is in this circulation that our "Nutrition," or, more precisely,
the "Change of Matter in Man," consists, an important link in the
life-preserving chain of nature.



From what has been said, it must appear evident that only such dishes
make good food as contain the same constituents as the blood.

To have these constituents, food must contain salt, fat, and sugar; all
these ingredients must, of course, be in a certain proportion.

That water is essential for the support and renewal of the body is clear
to every one. The flesh we eat, contains nearly eighty per cent. of
water, and yet a man must die, if he were to eat nothing but meat and to
have no water, for the reason that the eighty per cent. of water he
takes in would by no means be sufficient to form all the liquids
necessary for the human body.

The albumen that we eat, forms in the blood chiefly the substances
composing the muscular part of the flesh. But it is an error to suppose,
that therefore it is absolutely necessary to eat eggs--the white of an
egg is nearly pure albumen--because the caseine (cheese) contains
precisely the same ingredients as the albumen; for we have seen before,
and our readers are doubtless aware of it, that the mother's milk
contains caseine, while it is entirely free of albumen. Hence, he who
eats plenty of caseine, as do shepherds in Switzerland, for example,
scarcely needs any meat. But besides caseine there is another element,
viz., the vegetable albumen called gluten, which contains albuminous
matter; so do all glutinous plants. Peas, beans, and lentils in
particular form food productive of flesh.

The salts that must be given to the blood, do not only consist in the
common kitchen-salt. By the expression "Salts" are meant various
combinations of substances which are usually not considered articles of
food, for example, the combinations of phosphorus, iron, etc., but are
not visible to the eye. They help to form bones, teeth, nails,
cartilages, and hair.

The fat which we take, appears to many people to be a very important
part of our food, and they believe that by eating much fat, one may
become fat. But this is not correct. Ferocious animals that live only on
meat and fat, do not get fat; while herbivorous animals fatten
excessively, if provided with good mast, consisting of course but of
plants. Yet fat is, for all this, by no means superfluous to our body.
Man needs it, because it is the fat which chiefly supports his
respiration. But the fat that is needed for the body, is formed by man
himself; so that but little of it need be eaten, and that little only
for the purpose of helping to form new fat from sugar.

It is therefore best to consider fat and sugar as food belonging
together; for the fat is formed in the body from sugar, and the small
quantity of fat which we take daily is only to promote the
transformation of sugar into fat.

But let no one believe that one must needs actually eat sugar; no, every
food that contains starch supplies the place of sugar very well, as
starch is changed, when in the body, first to sugar and then to fat. The
potato contains starch and serves its purpose well; it is necessary,
however, to put butter with it in order that the starch and sugar formed
from the potato in the stomach, may be easily converted into fat.

An excellent article of food is bread, for it contains nearly all the
elements of nutrition. It contains vegetable albumen, and therefore is
converted into flesh. It has nearly all the salts that are essential to
the body; moreover, it contains starch from which fat is produced.
Therefore, by the mere addition of a little butter in order to make the
formation of fat easier, and by drinking water besides, the human body
is able to exist. On the other hand, the potato, if taken alone, is an
insufficient means of nutrition. Neither would meat or albumen, if taken
alone, be able to preserve life.

Various experiments have been tried with animals, and a great deal of
information about the best means of feeding the body has been collected.
In order to investigate the effect of the nutritive qualities of food,
inquiries have been made especially at military establishments, such as
barracks, etc.



In obedience to the demands of modern science, numerous experiments
about nutrition have been made, in regard to digestion as well as to the
effects of hunger and of various elements of food.

As to digestion, the most excellent observations were made on men
afflicted with a fistula in the abdomen, that is, a wound penetrating to
the stomach. By means of this wound, it was ascertained very minutely
how long it took to digest food, and what kind of transformation it
underwent. From this and other experiments it appeared, that the time
for digestion, though varying greatly with the various articles of food,
lasts from one and one-half to five and one-half hours. Those most
quickly digested are: soft sweet apples, beaten eggs, and cooked brain.
To digest boiled milk, raw eggs, soft sour apples, roasted beef, liver,
two hours were required. Cooked spinal marrow, raw cabbage, fresh milk,
roasted beef, oysters, soft-boiled eggs, and raw ham, took nearly three
hours. Wheat bread, old cheese, potatoes were digested in nearly three
and one-half hours; pork, boiled cabbage, lamb's fat, not before five

The experiments about the effects produced by hunger were tried only on
animals. The results were that during the state of starvation
three-fourths of the blood disappeared; the fat was almost entirely
consumed; the flesh disappeared one-half; even the skin diminished
one-third, and the bones lost about one-sixth of their weight. The
least decrease was found to be in the nerves, a striking proof that
nerves possess a great power of self-preservation, provided there be but
a minimum of matter to feed them. From numerous experiments the
conclusion was drawn, that an adult weighing about one hundred and
thirty pounds must die if he were to lose, say fifty pounds, by

With regard to the effects of the various articles of food, experiments
applied to dogs have shown that they can live on bones for a long time;
but that they die if fed on sugar only, and when examined after death,
no trace of any fat is to be found.

Animals fed on substances that contained no phosphorus and lime became
fat; but they died for want of the proper nourishment for their bones.
Animals died also when nourished only with pure albumen or pure caseine.
The most remarkable fact in this connection is, that they perished in
the same length of time in which they would have died, _if they had
taken no food whatever_.

Experiments tried on man have shown that it is injurious to eat
_uniform_ food. A constant change in our food is extremely nourishing
and healthy. This is an experience made in prisons and barracks; changes
of food are made there every day during the week, so that each day they
have a different dinner. Once, a physician in England wished to try the
effects of uniform food on himself. He took nothing but bread and water
for forty-five days; in consequence of this he decreased eight pounds.
Then he ate for four weeks but bread and sugar, then bread and oil three
weeks; but finally he succumbed under his experiments, and died, after
having experimented thus for eight months.

We must not, therefore, call it daintiness when we feel an appetite for
more variety of food, or if we soon get tired of uniform meals: a
constant change in this respect is necessary. Experiments have shown
that rabbits continue their health, if alternately they receive one day
potatoes, the next day barley; but if they receive exclusively potatoes
or barley, they soon die.

In conclusion, we will mention a few articles of food and their
qualities. Among grains, wheat is known to be the most nutritive, and
wheat bread and meat taken together is always good, wholesome food. Rice
produces fat, but if taken by itself, it is not worth much, since it is
nourishing only if eaten with butter, or fat, and a little meat. Potato
is a cheap, and yet an expensive food; for it contains very little
nutriment. In order to be of benefit it must be eaten in great quantity;
besides, it is necessary to season it with salt, butter, or fat, as
otherwise it would be totally useless. A good diet is peas, beans, and
lentils; but their hulls are indigestible, and must be removed.

In general, beverages are not counted among articles of food; and
kitchen-salt is commonly believed to be but a matter of taste; but this
is a great mistake. Coffee and tea, too, are nourishing in their way;
good beer is equal to half a dinner, and as to salt, a frequent relish
of the same is an excellent means of nutrition.

Cheap coffee, cheap beer, and cheap salt are therefore a great benefit
to the people.





From time to time we hear of plans to illuminate whole cities by a great
light from a single point. The credulity of the newspaper public about
affairs belonging to Physics is so great, that we are not surprised if
such plans are spoken of as practicable; though, indeed, one needs but
cast a glance of reflection on them, to be at once convinced of their

The impracticability does not consist so much in this, that no such
intense light can be made artificially, as in the circumstance that the
illuminating power of light decreases enormously as we recede from it.

In order to explain this to our readers, let us suppose that on some
high point in New York city, say Trinity-church steeple, an intensely
brilliant light be placed, as bright as can be produced by gases or
electricity. We shall see, presently, how the remoter streets in New
York would be illuminated.

For the sake of clearness, let us imagine for a moment, that at a
square's distance from Trinity church there is a street, intersecting
Broadway at right angles. We will call it "A" street. At a square's
distance from "A" street let us imagine another street running parallel
to it, which we will call "B" street; and again, at a square's distance,
a street parallel to "B" street, called "C" street; thus let us imagine
seven streets in all--from "A" to "G"--running parallel, each at a
square's distance from the other, and intersecting Broadway at right
angles. Besides this, let us suppose there is a street called "X"
street, running parallel with Broadway and at a square's distance from
it; then we shall have seven squares, which are to be illuminated by one
great light.

It is well known that light decreases in intensity the further we recede
from it; but this intensity decreases in a peculiar proportion. In order
to understand this proportion we must pause a moment, for it is
something not easily comprehended. We hope, however, to present it in
such a shape, that the attentive reader will find no difficulty in
grasping a great law of nature, which, moreover, is of the greatest
moment for a multitude of cases.

Physics teach us, by calculation and experiments, the following:

If a light illuminates a certain space, its intensity at twice the
distance is not twice as feeble, but two times two, equal four times, as
feeble. At three times the distance it does not shine three times as
feeble, but three times three, that is nine times. In scientific
language this is expressed thus: "The intensity of light decreases in
the ratio of the square of the distance from its source."

Let us now try to apply this to our example.

We will take it for granted that the great light on Trinity steeple
shines so bright, that one is just able to read these pages at a
square's distance, viz., on "A" street.

On "B" street it will be much darker than on "A" street; it will be
precisely four times darker, because "B" street is twice the distance
from Trinity church, and 2 × 2 = 4. Hence, if we wish to read this on
"B" street, our letters must cover four times the space they do now.

"C" street is three times as far from the light as "A" street; hence it
will be nine times darker there, for 3 × 3 = 9. This page in order to be
readable there, would then have to cover nine times the space it
occupies now.

The next street, being four times as remote from the light as "A"
street, our letters, according to the rule given above, would have to
cover sixteen times the present space, for it is sixteen times darker
there than on "A" street.

"E" street, which lies at five times the distance from the light, will
be twenty-five times darker, for 5 × 5 = 25. "F" street, which is six
times the distance, we shall find thirty-six times darker; and, lastly,
"G" street, seven times the distance from the light, will be forty-nine
times darker than "A" street, because 7 × 7 = 49. The letters of a piece
of writing, in order to be legible there, must cover forty-nine times
the surface that our letters cover now.

But the reader will exclaim: "This evil can be remedied. We need but
place forty-nine lights on Trinity steeple; there will then be
sufficient light on "G" street for any newspaper to be read." Our friend
will easily perceive, however, that it is more judicious to distribute
forty-nine lights in different places on Broadway, than to put them all
on one spot.

This is sufficient to convince any one that we may be able to illuminate
large public places with _one_ light, but not the streets of a city, and
still less whole cities.



It was demonstrated above, that it is impossible to illuminate large
distances by a single light. Yet we must acknowledge that nature herself
does this, and that the sun is the only light which shines throughout
the solar system; for the light which is seen in the planets is but
light received and reflected from the sun.

This is sufficient reason for us to believe, that there are not on every
planet creatures as we see them on our earth; but that, on the contrary,
each celestial body may be inhabited by creatures organized according to
the distance of the planet from the sun; that is, adapted to the degree
of light produced there by the sun.

For the natural sciences teach us, that solar light is subject to the
same laws as our artificial light: it decreases as the distance
increases. The planets more remote from the sun are illuminated less
than those nearer to it. The ratio in which this light decreases, is
precisely the same as that of the terrestrial light illustrated above,
viz., according to the square of the distance. In other words, when the
distance is double, the intensity of the light is one-fourth as great;
when three times, one-ninth as great; when four times more remote,
one-sixteenth as strong, etc.; in short, at every distance as much
weaker as the distance multiplied by itself.

Presently we shall see that the planets are illuminated in inverse
proportion to their distance from the sun. From this alone we come to
the conclusion, that on every planet the living beings must necessarily
be differently constituted.

The name of the planet nearest to the sun is Mercury. It is about two
and a half times nearer to the sun than our earth, therefore it receives
nearly seven times as much light. We can scarcely conceive such an
intensity of light and all the consequences resulting from it. If
instead of one sun we should happen to have three, there is no doubt
that we should go blind; but seven suns, that is, seven times the light
of our brightest days, we could not endure, even if our eyes were
closed; the more so, as our eyelids, even when firmly closed, do not
protect us from the sun's light entirely. This is a proof of our
assertion, that the living beings on the planet Mercury must be
differently organized from us.

Venus, the third planet, is one and a third times nearer to the sun than
we are. The light on that planet, therefore, is nearly twice as bright
as on ours. But inasmuch as even this would be unbearable for us, the
creatures on this planet must likewise be different from us.

The third planet is the earth we inhabit. The intensity of the sunlight
in bright summer days is well known to us from experience, although no
one has as yet been successful in measuring its degree as precisely as
has been done with heat by the thermometer. It is true that in modern
times a certain Mr. Schell, in Berlin, proposed to measure light
accurately, in a way that elicited the approbation of naturalists,
especially of Alexander von Humboldt. However, the experiments proposed
have not yet been properly carried out, though they are very useful to
photographists. Therefore we do not know, up to the present time,
whether there is any difference in the light of two cloudless summer
days; just as little are we able to determine how much the moon's light
is weaker than the sun's.

The fourth planet's name is Mars; its distance from the sun is one and
a half times our distance from the sun. There the sun's light is about
half as strong as with us. Now, although we often may have days which
are half as bright as others, it is yet very doubtful whether we could
live on Mars; for light does not act upon our eyes only, but on our
whole body and its health. It is likely that the very want of light
there would prove fatal to us.

The twenty-four newly discovered planets have days that are nearly six
times darker than ours. The daylight on these planets is probably as it
was with us during the great eclipse of the sun in July, 1851. This
light was very interesting for a few minutes, but if it were to continue
it would certainly make us melancholy.

Far worse yet fare the remoter planets. On the planet Jupiter it is as
much as thirty times darker than with us. On Saturn, eighty times. On
Uranus, even three hundred times; and upon the last of the planets,
Neptune, discovered in 1845, light is nine hundred times more feeble
than upon our globe.

Although it is true that all of the remoter planets have many moons or
satellites, yet it must not be forgotten that the moons themselves are
but very feebly illuminated; that their light benefits during the night
only, and even then only lovers and night revellers.





Many people are greatly surprised, that when a new planet is
discovered--and within late years this has been frequently the
case--astronomers should be able to determine a few days afterwards its
distance from the sun, together with the number of years necessary for
its orbit. "How is it possible," they ask, "to survey a new guest after
such a short acquaintance so accurately, as to foretell his path, nay,
even the time of his course?"

Nevertheless it is true that this can be done, and certainly no
stage-coach nor locomotive can announce the hour and minute of its
arrival with as much accuracy as the astronomer can foretell the arrival
of a celestial body, though he may have observed it but a short time.

More yet is done sometimes. In 1846, a naturalist in Paris, Leverrier by
name, found out, without looking in the sky, without making observations
with the telescope, simply by dint of calculation, that there must exist
a planet at a distance from us of 2,862 millions of miles; that this
planet takes 60,238 days and 11 hours to move round the sun; that it is
24 1/2 heavier than our earth, and that it must be found at a given time
at a given place in the sky; provided, of course, the quality of the
telescope be such as to enable it to be seen.

Leverrier communicated all this to the Academy of Sciences in Paris. The
Academy did not by any means say, "The man is insane; how can he know
what is going on 2,862 millions of miles from us; he does not even know
what kind of weather we shall have to-morrow!" Neither did they say,
"This man wishes to sport with us, for he maintains things that no one
can prove to be false!" Nor, "The man is a swindler, for he very likely
has seen the planet accidentally, and pretends now that he discovered it
by his learning." No, nothing of the kind; on the contrary, his
communication was received with the proper regard for its importance;
Leverrier was well known as a great naturalist.

Having thus learned how he made the discovery, the members of the
Academy felt convinced that there were good reasons to believe his
assertions to be true.

Complete success crowned his efforts.

He made the announcement to the Academy in January, 1846; on the 31st of
August he sent in further reports about the planet, which he had not
seen as yet. The surprise and astonishment on the part of scientific men
can scarcely be imagined, while on the part of the uneducated there were
but smiles and incredulity.

On the 23d of September, Mr. Galle--now Director of the Breslau
Observatory, at that time Assistant in that of Berlin, a gentleman who
had distinguished himself before by successful observations and
discoveries, received a letter from Leverrier, requesting him to watch
for the new planet at a place designated in the heavens. Though other
cities at that time possessed better telescopes than Berlin, this city
was chosen because of its favorable situation for observations.

That same evening Galle directed his telescope to that spot in the sky
indicated by Leverrier, and, at an exceedingly small distance from it,
actually discovered the planet.

This discovery of Leverrier is very justly called the greatest triumph
that ever crowned a scientific inquiry. Indeed, nothing of the kind had
ever transpired before; our century may well be proud of it. But, my
friendly reader, he who lives in this age without having any idea
whatever of the way in which such discoveries are made--he does not
deserve to be called a contemporary of this age.

We will not try to make an astronomer out of you; we merely wish to
explain to you the miracle of this discovery.



When Leverrier was working at his great discovery he did not strike out
a new path in science; he was supported by a great law of nature, the
base of all astronomical knowledge. It is the law of gravitation,
discovered by Sir Isaac Newton.

Those of our readers who have fully understood what we said before (page
50) about light, will now easily comprehend, what we are going to say
about the force of gravity.

Every heavenly body is endowed with the power of attraction; that is, it
attracts every other body in the same manner that a magnet attracts
iron. If the celestial bodies, or, to speak only of one class, if all
the planets were at rest, that is, without motion, they would, on
account of the great attractive power of the sun, rapidly approach it,
and finally unite with it and form one body.

That this does not take place, may be ascribed solely to the fact that
all planets have their own motion. This motion, combined with the
attractive force of the sun, causes them to move in circles around it.

This may be illustrated by the following: Suppose a strong magnet to lie
in the centre of a table. Now, suppose some one to place an iron ball on
the table; then will this ball run straightway towards the magnet. But
if some one were to roll the ball so that it should pass the magnet, it
would at first run in a straight line, but the magnet attracting it at
every moment of time, the ball would be compelled to deviate from its
straight course and would begin to circulate round the magnet.

We see that this circular motion round the magnet springs from two
forces: first, from the hand that starts the ball in a straight line;
and secondly, from the attraction of the magnet, which at every moment
draws the ball towards itself.

Newton, the greatest natural philosopher of all times, who lived in
England two hundred years ago, proved, that all the orbits round the
sun, as described by the planets, are caused by two such forces; by the
motion of the planets peculiar to themselves, which, if not interfered
with, would make them fly through space in a straight line; and by the
attractive force of the sun, which is continually disturbing that
straight course, thus forcing the planets to move in circles around him.

But Newton has discovered more than this. He succeeded in proving that,
knowing the time of a planet's revolution around the sun, we can
determine precisely with what force the attractive power of the sun
affects it. For if the sun's attractive power is strong, the planet will
revolve very quickly; if weak, it will move slowly.

Were the sun, for example, all of a sudden to lose a portion of his
attractive force, the consequence would be that the earth must revolve
around him more slowly. Our year, which now has three hundred and
sixty-five days, would then have a much greater number of days.

Newton has also shown--and this is for us the main thing--that the
attractive force of the sun is strong in his close proximity, but that
it diminishes as the distance from him increases. In other words, the
remoter planets are attracted by the sun with less force than those
nearer to him. The attractive force decreases with the distance in the
same proportion as light, which, we saw a little while ago, decreases in
intensity as the square of the distance increases. This means, that a
planet at a distance from the sun twice as great as that of the earth,
is attracted with only one-fourth the force; one that is three times the
distance, with one-ninth of the force, etc.

This great law pervades all nature. It is the basis of the science of
astronomy, and was the main support of Leverrier's discovery.



Perhaps the question presents itself to the thinking reader: If it be
true that the heavenly bodies attract each other, why do not the planets
attract one another in such a manner that they will run round and about
each other?

Newton himself proposed this question; he also found the answer. The
attractive power of a celestial body depends upon its larger or smaller
mass. In our solar system the sun's mass is so much larger than that of
any of the planets, that the balance of attractive power is largely in
his favor; hence the revolving of the planets around him. If the sun
were to disappear suddenly the effect of the attractive influence of the
planets upon one another would be tremendous. There can be no doubt that
they would all begin to revolve around Jupiter, because that planet has
the largest mass. To give some examples in figures,--the sun's mass is
355,499 heavier, while Jupiter's is but 339 times heavier than that of
the earth. It is evident that, the sun's mass being more than a thousand
times larger than Jupiter's, so long as the sun exists the earth will
never revolve around Jupiter.

Yet Jupiter is not without influence upon the earth; and though it is
not able to draw it out of its course round the sun, yet it attracts the
earth to some extent. Observations and computations have shown us, that
the earth's orbit around the sun, owing to the attraction of Jupiter, is
somewhat changed, or, as it is called, "disturbed."

As with Jupiter and the earth, so with all the other planets; their
mutual attraction disturb their orbits round the sun. In reality, every
planet revolves in an orbit which, without this "disturbance," would be
a different one. The computation of these disturbances constitutes a
great difficulty in astronomy, and requires the keenest and most
energetic studies ever made in science.

Perhaps some of our readers may ask here, whether in course of time
these disturbances will become so great as to throw our whole solar
system into confusion? Well, the same question was proposed by a great
mathematician named Laplace, who lived towards the end of the last
century. But he himself answered the question in an immortal work, "The
Mechanics of the Heavens." He furnished the proof, that all disturbances
last but a certain time; and that the solar system is constructed so
that the very attractions by which the disturbances are caused, produce
at the end of certain periods a regulation or rectification; so that in
the end there is always complete order.

After what has been said, it is evident that if one of the planets were
invisible, its presence would still be known to our naturalists, on
account of the disturbances it would cause in the orbits of the other
planets; unless, perhaps, its mass be so insignificant as to render its
power of attraction imperceptible.

And now we may proceed to explain the subject of this chapter.

Up to the year 1846, when Leverrier made his great discovery, it was
believed that Uranus was the most distant planet revolving around the
sun. Uranus itself was discovered by Sir John Herschel in England in the
year 1781. As this planet takes eighty-four years to go round the sun,
its complete revolution had not yet been observed in 1846; in spite of
this, however, the course of Uranus was calculated and known very
precisely, because the attractive force of the sun was known; and all
the disturbances that might influence the planet were taken into

But notwithstanding all nicety of calculations, the real course of
Uranus would not at all agree with the one computed. At that time
already, long before Leverrier's discovery, the idea arose that beyond
Uranus, in a region where the human eye could, in spite of all
telescopes, discover nothing, there must probably exist a planet which
changed the course of Uranus. Bessel, a great astronomer, who
unfortunately for science died too soon, was already on the point of
finding out by computation the unknown disturber. But he died, shortly
before Leverrier's discovery. As early even as 1840, Maedler, in the
city of Dorpat, in Russia, wrote a fine article on this as yet unseen

Leverrier, however, began the task and finished it. He computed with an
acuteness that was admired by all men of science. He investigated
whereabout in the heavens that intruder must be situated, so as to be
able to trouble Uranus to such an extent; how fast this disturber itself
must move in its orbit, and how large must be its mass.

We live to see the triumph of Leverrier's being able to discover with
his _mental_ eye, by means of computation only, a planet at a distance
of millions of miles from him.

Therefore let us say: Honor science! Honor the men that cultivate it!
And all honor to the human intellect which sees farther than the human





We presume that in a state of unusual bad weather there are many
persons, who find occasion to reflect on the nature of weather in

A few years ago, we had "green Christmas and white Easter," and spring
was of course far behind when Pentecost arrived. We had still cold and
rainy days, while the nights were frosty; and, if one might judge from
appearances, it seemed that nature had made a mistake, and had not known
of our being then in the month of June, which, with us, is usually a
delightful month.

The sun alone was right. He rose on the 9th of June of that year
precisely at 4 o'clock 30 minutes, as was prescribed to him by the
calendar; and set at 7 o'clock 30 minutes, precisely according to
orders. At that time the sun was hastening towards summer, he lengthened
the days and shortened the nights; but he alone is not capable of
governing the weather, and our friends the astronomers, although they
are able to calculate the sun's course with more precision than the
engineer can the locomotive's, are themselves greatly embarrassed when
asked, "What kind of weather shall we have the day after to-morrow?"

It is unpardonable that some of our almanacs, especially those for the
farmer, contain prophecies about the weather. We cannot be too indignant
against the foolish superstition which this abuse tends to foster. And
what is worse, really shameful, is, that those who print such things do
not believe in them themselves, but consider them a necessity
sanctioned by age and custom, and offer it as such to the credulity of
the public.

The subject of this article on the knowledge of weather, is a science, a
great branch of the natural sciences; but it is a branch just
developing, and therefore has, up to the present time, not yet brought
forth any fruit.

It is very likely that at some future day we shall be able to indicate
in advance the weather of any given place. But for the present this is
impossible; and if from time to time men arise and announce that they
can calculate and determine in advance the state of the weather in any
given place--pretending to consult the planets, etc.--we take it for
granted that they are as unreliable as the weather-prophets of the

We said above that the weather might possibly be determined a few days
ahead; science is at present almost far enough advanced for it. But
there are needed for that purpose grand institutions, which must first
be called into life.

If for the proper observation of the weather, stations were erected
throughout the extent of our country, at a distance of about seventy
miles from each other, and if these stations were connected by a
telegraph-wire, managed by a scientific reliable observer; then we
might, in the middle portion of our country, be able to determine in
advance the state of the weather, though for a short time only.

For the changeableness of the weather depends on the nature and motion
of the air, and on the amount of moisture, and the direction of the
winds. It is mostly occasioned by currents of air which pass over the
earth, producing, wherever they meet, here cold, there heat--here rain,
there hail or snow.

Along a part of the coast of the United States electric telegraphs have
been established. Vessels receive, at a considerable distance, the news
of a storm approaching, together with its velocity and direction. The
electric telegraph being quicker than the wind, the vessels receive the
news in time to take their directions. Before the storm reaches them,
they have been enabled to take precautionary measures for its reception.

This is a great step forward in our new science. But not before the time
when such stations shall be established everywhere throughout the land,
will meteorology manifest its real importance. For it has, like every
other science, firmly established rules, which can easily be calculated
and verified; while, on the other hand, allowances must be made for
changeable conditions which tend to disturb the rules.

We will now endeavor to introduce to our readers these established
rules, and explain the changeable conditions to which we refer.



As we have stated above, there exist fixed rules about the weather;
these rules are simple and easy to compute. But our computations are
often disturbed by a great many circumstances beyond our reach, so much
that we are governed more by exceptions than rules.

These latter are based on the position of our earth with regard to the
sun. They are, therefore, easy to determine, for astronomy is a science
resting on firm pillars; and although nothing in the universe is so far
from us as the stars, yet there is nothing in the world so certain as
our knowledge of the courses of the constellations and their distances.
Many of our readers may be surprised, perhaps, to hear that we know more
accurately the distance from the earth to the sun than the distance from
New York to Cincinnati. Indeed, astronomical knowledge is the most
reliable in the world. No merchant is able to measure a piece of cloth
without being mistaken, to say the least, as much as 1/300 part; while
the uncertainty with respect to distances of bodies in the solar system
amounts to a great deal less than 1/300 part.

Our earth turns on its axis once in every twenty-four hours, and goes
also round the sun once a year. But the earth's axis is inclined towards
the earth's orbit--orbit is the circle which a celestial body describes
in its revolution around another--in such a manner as to cause the
earth, in its orbit round the sun, to be illuminated for six months on
one side, and for six months on the other side of the earth. Hence it
happens, that at the north pole there is continual day during six months
in the year, after which follows uninterrupted winter for the next six
months; in the same way the day on the south pole lasts six months, and
the night following the same length of time. In the middle between both
poles, however, in the regions around the equator, the day has
throughout the year twelve hours; the night, of course, the same; while
in the countries between the equator and the poles, the length of day
and night is, through the whole year, constantly varying.

We, in the United States, inhabit the northern hemisphere; when,
therefore, the time comes that the north pole has day for six months, we
in North America, being situated about half-way between the equator and
north pole, enjoy long days and short nights. The inhabitants of those
countries, however, situated on the southern hemisphere, have at that
time short days and long nights. But when the time comes that there is
six months' night on the north pole and six months' day on the south
pole, then will the inhabitants of the southern hemisphere have long
days, and we long nights.

Intimately connected with the length of day and night are our seasons,
especially summer and winter; for together with the sun's light heat is
also called forth. During our long days, therefore, it is very warm with
us, for the sun's rays heat the soil. During our short days we
experience cold, because the warming light of the sun does not reach our
earth directly. For this reason the northern hemisphere enjoys summer
while the southern has winter; and _vice versâ_, when we have
mid-winter, people in the other hemisphere are in the midst of summer.
When we are snowed up at Christmas, and seek joy and elevation by the
cheerful fireside in the brightly-lighted room, we may, perhaps, think
of our friends and relatives who have emigrated to Australia, and the
question may occur to us, how things may be with them this cold
weather, and how they are enjoying the holidays?

Now, would not the uninformed be surprised, if a letter were to arrive
from Australia, written at Christmas, telling how the writer enjoyed
Christmas in his vine-arbor, where he had sought shelter from the
terrible heat of the day, and that he had but late at night gone to his
room, and he could scarcely sleep then on account of the heat, and the
longing for his former home in the United States, where he could always
enjoy cool weather at Christmas.

The uninformed will now learn that Australia lies in the southern
hemisphere, while we are in the northern, and that there they live in
midst of summer, while we are buried in snow. Nor will he now be
surprised when he reads, that it snowed in Australia in the month of
August, and that his friend or relative there reposed by the fireside,
and read the letter from home by the light of the lamp, at the same hour
that we here were taking an afternoon walk in the summer shade.

The heat of summer, however, does not altogether depend upon the length
of the day; nor does the cold of winter upon its shortness; but
principally on this, that during summer-time the sun at noon stands
directly over head; that therefore his vertical rays are enabled to
pierce the soil with intense heat; while in winter-time the sun at noon
stands nearer to the horizon; his rays fall on the earth obliquely,
therefore heating the soil with but feeble power.

We shall presently see that this position of the sun exercises great
influence upon the weather.



In order to fully understand the conditions of the atmosphere, one must
carefully notice the following:

Though the sun produces summer and winter, and although his beams call
forth heat, and the absence of heat causes intense cold on the surface
of the globe, yet the sun alone does not make what we call "Weather."

If the sun's influence alone were prevalent, there would be no change at
all during our seasons; once cold or warm, it would invariably continue
to be so, according to the time of the year. The sun, however, produces
certain movements in the air; currents of air or winds pour from cold
countries into warm ones, and _vice versâ_ from warm ones into cold
ones. It is this that makes our sky be cloudy or clear; that produces
rain and sunshine, snow and hail, refreshing coolness in summer and
warmth sometimes in midwinter, as also chilly nights in summer and thaw
in winter. In other words, it is more properly the motion of the air,
the wind, that produces what we call _weather_; that is, that
changeableness from heat to cold, from dryness to moisture, all of which
may be comprised in one name, weather.

But whence does the wind arise? It is caused by the influence of the
sun's heat upon the air.

The whole earth is enveloped with a misty cover called "air." This air
has the peculiar quality of expanding when it becomes heated. If you put
a bladder that is filled with air and tied up, into the pipe of a heated
stove, the air inside will expand so much as to burst the bladder with
a loud report. The warm expanded air is lighter than the cold air, and
always ascends in the atmosphere.

Lofty rooms are therefore difficult to heat because the warm air ascends
towards the ceiling. In every room it is much cooler near the floor than
near the top of the room. This accounts for the singular fact that in
winter our feet, though warmly clad in stockings and shoes or boots,
feel cold more often than our hands, which are entirely uncovered. If
you ascend a ladder in a tolerably cold room, you are surprised at
finding it much warmer above than below in the room. The flies take
advantage of this in autumn, when they are seen to promenade on the
ceiling, because there it is warm as in summer, while near the floor it
is cold; owing to the circumstance that warm air, being lighter than
cold, ascends.

Precisely the same takes place on the earth. In the hot zone near the
equator the sun heats the air continually; hence the air there ascends.
But from both the northern and southern hemispheres, cold air is
constantly pouring towards the equator in order to fill the vacuum thus
produced. This cold air is now heated also and rises, while other cold
air rushes in after. By this continued motion of the air towards the
equator, however, a vacuum is created also at both poles of the earth;
and the heated air of the equator, after having ascended, flows towards
these two vacuums. Thus arise the currents in the air; currents which
continue the whole year, and cause the cold air to move from the poles
to the equator along the surface of the earth; while higher in the
atmosphere the heated air flows from the equator back to the poles.

Therefore the air is said to circulate below from the poles to the
equator, but above to go back from the equator to the poles.

He who is in the habit of noticing phenomena of nature, may often have
observed something of the kind when opening the window of a room filled
with smoke. The smoke escapes above, while below it seems to come back
into the room again.

But this is an illusion which has its origin in the fact, that above the
warm air of the room goes out of the window, and, of course, takes the
smoke with it; below at the window, however, cold air pours in from
without, driving the smoke that is below back into the room. The
attentive observer may also see how the two currents of air above and
below move in contrary directions; while in the middle part they repel
each other, and form a kind of eddy which may be clearly perceived by
the motion of the smoke.

What takes place on our earth is nothing different from this, and we
shall presently see the great influence this has upon our weather.



The air which is continually rising in the hot zones and circulating
towards the poles and back again to the equator, is the prime source of
the wind. This latter modifies the temperature of the atmosphere; for
the cold air from the poles of the earth, in coming to the equator,
cools the torrid zone; again, the hot air going from there to the poles
heats the colder regions. This accounts for the fact that very often it
is not so cold in cold countries as it really would be, were it not for
this circulation of the air; and that in hot countries we never find the
degree of heat that there would be if the air were continually at rest.

According to what has been said, however, but two different winds would
exist on the earth, and these two moving in fixed directions; one
sweeping over the earth from the poles to the equator, with us called
"North wind," and one from the equator to the icy regions, with us the
"South wind."

But we must add here something which considerably modifies this, viz.,
the revolution of the globe. The earth, it is well known, revolves round
its axis from west to east once in twenty-four hours; the atmosphere
performs this revolution also.

But since that part of the atmosphere nearest to the equator must move
with greater velocity than the part nearer the poles, it may with a
little thinking be easily understood, that the air which goes on the
surface of the earth from the poles to the equator, passes over ground
which moves faster east than the air itself; while, on the contrary,
the air coming from the hot zone starts in an eastern direction with the
velocity it had on the equator; but, as it is moving on, it passes
over that part of the earth which rotates with less velocity.

This gives rise to what are called the _trade-winds_, so very important
to navigation. In our hemisphere the trade-winds come in the lower
strata of the air from the northeast; while in the upper strata they
move towards northeast, they come from the southwest. On the other
hemisphere the trade-winds in the lower strata of the air move in a
northwesterly direction; in the upper they move in a southeasterly

From this arise our rules respecting the weather.

The idea that many persons have that wind and weather are two things
entirely different, is wrong. Weather is nothing else but a condition of
the atmosphere. A cold winter, cold spring, cold summer, and cold
autumn, do not mean, as some believe, that the earth, or that part of it
on which they live, is colder than usual; for if we dig a hole in the
ground, it will be found that neither cold nor warm weather has any
influence upon the temperature below the surface of the earth. At the
small depth of thirty inches below the surface, no difference can be
found between the heat of the day and the cold of the night. In a well
sixty feet deep no difference is perceivable between the hottest summer
and the coldest winter-day, for below the surface of the earth the
differences of temperature do not exist. What we call Weather is but a
state of the atmosphere, and depends solely upon the wind.

It has been stated already that there are fixed rules of weather, or,
which is the same thing, that there are laws governing the motion of the
winds; but we have added also, that there are a great many causes which
disturb these rules, and therefore make any calculations in advance a
sheer impossibility.

We have seen that these rules are called forth, 1st, by the course of
the sun; 2d, by the circulation of the air from the poles to the equator
and back again; and 3d, by the revolution of the earth, causing the

All these various items have been calculated correctly; and, owing to
this, we have now a firm basis in meteorology. But in the next article,
we shall see what obstacles are put in the way of this new science by
other things; and the allowances to be made for these disturbances
cannot be easily computed.



Let us now examine the causes which disturb the regular currents of air,
and which render the otherwise computable winds incomputable, thus
producing the great irregularities of the weather.

The main cause lies in this, that neither the air nor the earth is
everywhere in the same condition.

Every housewife that but once in her life hung up clothes to dry, knows
full well that air absorbs moisture when passing over, or through, wet
objects. If she wishes to dry her clothes very quickly, she will hang
them up where there is much wind. And she is perfectly right in
maintaining that the wind dries clothes better than the quiet sunshine.

Whence does this come?

From this: dry air, when coming in contact with wet objects, absorbs the
moisture, and by this dries the object somewhat. If there be no wind,
the moistened air will remain around the wet object, and the drying goes
on very slowly. But so soon as a little wind arises, the moist air is
moved away, new dry air constantly takes its place, and coming into
contact with the wet article, effects in a very short time the desired

Hence, it is not heat alone that causes the clothes to dry; for in
winter-time, though it is so cold that the clothes on the line freeze to
stiffness, they dry nevertheless, if it be very windy. It is the wind
which dries them by allowing fresh air to pass through them continually.
For the same reason our housewives open doors and windows after a room
has been scoured, so that by a thorough draft of air, the floor may dry
quickly; a large fire in the stove or fireplace could not effect it so

From all this we may learn that the air absorbs particles of water. It
will now be evident to every one, why water in a tumbler, standing
uncovered at the open window for a few days, constantly decreases, until
it finally disappears entirely and the tumbler is dry. Where has the
water gone? The air drank it off, little by little, until at last the
tumbler was emptied.

"But," you will exclaim, "what does the air do with all the water it
drinks? The air goes over the whole ocean; over lakes, rivers, brooks,
and springs; over woods and fields, and everywhere it takes in particles
of water. What becomes of them?"

After being absorbed, the particles of water unite and form clouds; then
they fall down in the form of fog, rain, snow, or hail.

Many persons, even highly educated ones, have false ideas about these
phenomena of the atmosphere.

Some think a cloud is a kind of bag that contains the rain which is let
fall by the cloud. This is entirely false. The clouds are nothing but
fogs in the upper regions of the atmosphere; fog itself is nothing but a
cloud immediately over ground.

It is easy to obtain a correct idea of the formation of fog and rain;
one need but observe for one's self.

He who has ever blown upon his hands in winter-time in order to warm
them, will have observed that his hands become moist from his breath. If
a window-pane is breathed upon, it is covered by a thin coat of water.
What is the cause of this? It arises from the fact that the air we
exhale contains water-particles from our blood. We do not see them when
it is warm, because they are airy themselves; everybody knows that they
become visible so soon as the air turns cool; or that they appear like
fog when one is in a cold room in winter; that they form drops when you
breathe upon cold objects; that they freeze and become snow; nay, that
in severe cold weather, after a long walk outdoors, they even cling to
one's moustache like icicles.

This may illustrate, that these particles of water are invisible in the
warm air, but that when the air is colder they appear as fog; when still
colder, as drops of rain; and in very cold weather they turn to snow,
while in severe cold they freeze and form ice.



The air imbibes particles of water from all parts of the earth; and thus
charged with water it is the same and operates the same as our breath.

So soon as a stratum of air that contains water-particles, meets with a
colder stratum, these airy particles of water immediately flow together
to form fog. But fog, as has been said, is nothing but a cloud. He who
has travelled in mountainous countries, has often noticed this. From the
valley it often appears that the top of a high mountain is wrapped in
clouds; and his curiosity may be excited to ascend the mountain in order
to examine these clouds. But when he arrives there, he sees nothing
whatever either before or behind him but fog, which most assuredly he
has often seen before without so much trouble. The ignorant person who
believes that a cloud is something else than fog, and who fancies that
the clouds which he saw from below have disappeared during his ascent,
leaving but a mist behind, will be no little amazed when he has arrived
at the foot of the mountain again, to see the cloud above as before, and
to perceive that he actually walked among the clouds.

Hence it is understood now, that the particles of water in the air form
fog, or, which is the same, clouds, so soon as they come into a colder
stratum. But the cloud is not rain as yet; the change into rain will
depend upon circumstances that may be easily guessed. If a warmer and
dryer stratum passes over the one containing the newly formed clouds,
then this warmer stratum will absorb the water-particles of the other.
The moist air fares like the wet clothes we spoke of; the warm dry air
absorbs its particles of water. But if a colder stratum of air
approaches the stratum containing clouds, then the water-particles of
the latter are condensed; the cloud becomes small drops of water; these
drops are too heavy to be supported in the air, and they fall down as

During its descent, the drop of rain is steadily increased by the
water-particles of the air through which it passes. Thus it happens,
that rain often arrives at the earth in the form of large drops of
water, while when yet in the air and beginning to fall, it consisted of
tiny drops. It is well known that the rain-drops on the roof are smaller
than those that fall on the street. The difference is so great, that on
the roof of the royal castle in Berlin, Prussia, there falls four and a
half inches less rain during the year than on the square before the

Our readers may now imagine, without difficulty, how in a similar way,
snow is formed. If a stratum of air saturated with moisture meets a very
cold one, the fog begins to freeze, and becomes specks of snow. They,
too, increase while falling, and on arriving upon the earth they are
large flakes.

On the occasion of a lecture about the formation of snow in the
atmosphere, Professor Dove once told an anecdote, which is as
interesting as it is instructive. A musician in St. Petersburg gave a
concert in a large hall, where the fashionable world had assembled in
great numbers. It was an icy cold night, such as is almost unknown with
us; but in the overcrowded hall there was such excessive heat as only
Russians can endure. Soon, however, it became too intense even for them.
The hall was densely crowded; the throng was alarming; several ladies
fainted. An effort was made to open a window, but without success--the
window was frozen fast. A gallant officer devised means; he broke the
window in. And what happened? _It commenced to snow in the concert
room!_ How did this come? The vapor exhaled by the multitude of persons
in the hall had collected above, where the air was hottest. The sudden
entrance of the icy air through the broken window changed the particles
of water into snow. Thus it was this time not heaven, but the upper
space of an unventilated concert-hall, that sent down snow.

In a similar way hail is formed in the atmosphere; this we shall
consider at more length hereafter. At present we must turn our attention
to the influence of these phenomena upon cold and heat; for it is a
known fact, that rain and evaporation are not only engendered by cold
and heat, but, _vice versâ_, that rain and evaporation, in their turn,
engender cold and heat in the air.



In the preceding chapter it was shown how warm air produces evaporation,
and how cold air causes rain and snow. In this chapter we desire to
demonstrate how the reverse may take place, viz., the engendering of
cold and heat by evaporation and rain.

Although what we wish to prove in the following is firmly established,
yet it is not easy to make it understood. For this reason many educated
men, who have read much about "free and latent heat," have mistaken
ideas about it.

In order that what we shall explain may be in the reach of every one, we
must again choose our examples from life itself, and request our readers
to come to our aid with their thoughts.

Every one knows how water is boiled. It is placed over the fire, the
heat of which communicates itself to the water and heats it more and
more. Now, where does the heat of the fire go? It is taken up by the
water; thus to speak, the water absorbs the heat. This explains why a
cooking-stove on which a dinner is cooked, does not get near as warm as
it would, if the same quantity of fuel had been used without any cooking
on the stove. For a portion of the heat being absorbed by the meat, it
cannot heat the stove; hence the stove fails to receive the amount of
heat that is used in cooking the meat.

What will be the effect of taking boiling water from the stove and
placing it in the room somewhere? Where will the heat of the water go

We all know that in this case the water cools down by degrees. The water
gives out its heat. Now, it is evident that while on the fire, the water
had absorbed heat; and that it gave out that heat on being put in a
colder place.

But what will become of the water if it is allowed to continue to absorb
heat? What becomes of a pot of water, if, on beginning to boil, it is
not taken off the fire? Does such water continue to absorb heat?

Observation shows that this is not the case. Put a thermometer into
boiling water; it will immediately rise to 212 degrees; let it remain
there ever so long, it will not rise a degree higher. But during that
time there was a brisk fire; it is evident, therefore, that heat was
continually passing into the water. Where, then, is this heat? It has
not remained in the water, or else the thermometer would have continued
to rise. It must be, then, that it has passed away with the burning hot
steam which has been constantly rising and floating about in the room.
Moreover, it is well known that water, when allowed to continue to boil,
decreases in quantity. Our housewives call this "_boiling down_." In
truth, however, the water boils _up_; for, if you notice carefully, a
part of the water, while boiling, is changed into steam, which may be
seen rising from the pot and ascending in the air. The question
naturally arises now, where is the heat that the boiling water has been
continually absorbing? It has not remained in the water, or the
thermometer would have continued to rise. The answer is now evident: the
heat has risen with the steam, and with it floats about in the air; or,
in other words, the heat has been absorbed by the steam; or, which is
the same, the heat has become latent in the steam. Therefore we are
correct in saying, _it takes heat to change water into steam_. We know
now where the heat has gone; it has become latent in the steam.

The next question might be: Can this latent heat become free again?
Certainly it can; and many a good housewife has convinced herself of it
very often, though perhaps she did not philosophize about it. When
touching unawares the spout of the tea-kettle with her hand she felt as
though her hand was wet, and scalded besides. Whence did this come? The
hand was wetted by the steam, which, on coming in contact with the hand,
changed to water again, but in the same moment, also, the steam gave up
its heat to the hand by scalding it. Steam, therefore, when changing
into water, gives its latent heat up again; or, the latent heat becomes

This phenomenon, which may be witnessed in every kitchen, happens in
nature on a larger scale; by what powerful effects it is accompanied, we
propose to show in the next chapter.



He who considers how water when heated is transformed into steam, and
how this steam has absorbed the whole portion of heat that was necessary
to form it, will easily understand, that places where vapor is formed
must become cooler. Just as the fire used for cooking purposes cannot
heat the stove, so that portion of the sun's heat which changes the
water on the surface of the earth into vapor, cannot heat the earth.
Hence it follows, that wherever water evaporates, the air _turns cool_,
because the heat, instead of being imparted to the air, is used in
forming vapor; this vapor, then, contains the same portion of heat that
was necessary to form it; or, scientifically speaking, vapor makes heat

When in summer it is oppressively hot, and a heavy shower comes, it is
often more oppressive during the rain than before; but _after_ the rain
the weather is, as we call it, _cooled off_.

What is the cause of this? After the rain the surface of the earth is
wet, and the moisture begins to evaporate. In other words, the
rain-water changes again into vapor. To do this, heat is necessary, and
is withdrawn from the air and from the surface of the earth; by this
means air and earth become _cool_.

It is very agreeable during the summer-time to have the streets of
cities sprinkled with water, and it is also very healthy, because the
evaporation of the sprinkled water renders heat latent, and thus cools
off the air.

The reverse, however, may also take place. As the housewife's hand is
scalded when the steam changes on her hand into water, that is, as the
steam by turning into water again gives up the heat it possessed, just
so acts nature. When vapor in the air turns into rain, it gives up that
portion of heat which it had held latent, and hence it is, that
_before_ a rain or snow-storm the weather turns warmer.

When in winter it suddenly turns a little warm, that is, when the cold
suddenly diminishes, we know that it is going to snow. The only reason
why it has become warm is this, that in the air above, vapor has changed
into snow, thus giving up its heat, the benefit of which we feel. Thus
in summer-time, when the sun becomes fiercest, people say "The sun draws
water, it will rain." The truth is, that the vapors in the air change
into water, and thus give up their heat; people now think the sun has
become hotter.

Another consequence of this phenomenon is the fact, that in countries
where there is much water, the air in summer is much cooler, because a
great deal of water evaporates there, by which means heat is absorbed or
made latent. In winter the air in such countries is warmer, because much
vapor is changed into water; thus heat becomes free.

It is evident that all this has a great influence upon the weather--an
influence that may be calculated even in advance.

To state an example: The positions of Berlin and London are such, that
the summer-heat and the winter-cold ought to be equal in both places.
But because England is an island in the ocean, that is, surrounded by
large masses of water, the evaporation of water is in London much
greater; hence the summer there is cooler. For the same reason rain and
fog are much more frequent there, and the winter, consequently, is less

In the course of this work we shall see how similar conditions have very
great influence upon whole countries, and therefore often cause,
contrary to the rule, cold summers and warm winters.



If we cast a glance upon the phenomena of our atmosphere, we find that
they are indeed computable, and that the weather in general may be
foretold, even for large countries, with some degree of certainty. Nay,
there are countries where the weather is not variable at all, but
changes at regular periods and according to fixed rules.

In countries near the equator, where the sun's heat is very strong,
heat, calm, and dryness prevail during the summer-time. This state of
the atmosphere continues uninterruptedly until winter; nor can there be
any frost there in winter, because even then the sun's rays fall with
but little obliquity upon the surface of the earth. But inasmuch as the
sun no longer heats the earth to the same degree, the air ceases to
retain the same amount of heat, and as a great deal of cold air is
constantly passing in from the poles, the vapor spoken of above is, at
that season of the year, changed back into water. Thus, winter there is
merely a long, uninterrupted rainy season.

We see that for the warmer countries the rules of temperature are pretty
constant and sure; there one is not surprised by irregularities of
weather such as occur with us. Summer brings heat, calm, and dryness;
winter, east winds, thunder-storms, and continual rain. The rain once
ceasing, the sun reappears in a few days, and everything begins to bloom

This holds good only for the countries near the equator. The further
you go towards the poles, the more varied become summer and winter, the
length of day and night, heat and cold, and consequently, also, the
condition of the atmosphere and of the weather proper.

A glance upon the map will convince any one, that it is with us that the
weather is most changeable. The reasons for this may now be more closely
examined. Our country lies nearly half way between the pole and the
equator. From our pole we constantly receive a cold wind, the north
wind. And above, in the atmosphere, a warm wind, the south wind, goes
continually from the equator to the pole. Through the rotation of the
earth around its axis from west to east, the north wind becomes an
easterly, that is, a northeast wind; and the south wind in the upper
atmosphere becomes a westerly, or southwest wind. The former, coming
from cold countries, carries no vapor with it; hence, during northeast
wind we have clear sky, or sunshine, but without heat. If this wind
occurs in winter, it brings us dry frost; in daytime the sun shines
splendidly, at night the stars sparkle brilliantly; yet our breath
freezes on our lips. The same wind when prevailing in the first days of
spring, causes us, in spite of the glaring sun, to feel considerably
cold in the shade.

And it is but natural that it should be so.

The wind comes from the north; there ice and snow are just melting, and
the sun's heat being employed for this "melting business," the air
cannot receive much of it.

This kind of weather would be regular with us; but, as we know already,
the heated upper air flows from the equator to the north pole; now we
live in the very region where this upper air, in its descent towards the
poles, at times touches the surface of the earth, thus causing warm
currents of air, which occasionally are followed by cold ones.

Near the equator the cold current of air moves below and the warm one
above; while in our regions, both currents meet near the surface of the
earth, struggle with each other, seek to repel one another, rush and
roll in all directions over the land, and bring us such varieties of
weather as will exasperate all weather prophets, and greatly increase
the difficulty of scientific solutions in meteorology.

In the next chapter we shall endeavor to prove that this state of
affairs, together with the situation of our country, are the main causes
of the changeableness of our weather.



We have endeavored to explain why our weather is so uncertain and
incomputable. As we have seen, it has its origin in this, that in our
regions the warmer equatorial currents of air no longer move _above_ the
colder ones, but that they descend here, and pursue their northern
course alongside and opposing the colder currents. This often gives rise
to a struggle between cold and warm currents. In summer we witness such
combats very frequently. The sky is at first bright; the sun sends down
his most powerful rays; in the shade we are refreshed by a strong
draught, which keeps the sky clear, and free from clouds. Suddenly there
comes a calm. Even in the shade the heat now becomes intolerable. The
trees stand immovable; no leaflet stirs. The complete calm becomes
unendurable, and causes anxiety. "Always a calm before a storm," say the
people, and hasten to seek shelter in their houses--and well! for it is
not long before a counter wind commences to blow. The weathercock turns
round, the dust in the streets is whirled up in eddies, and here and
there rises in clouds to the house-tops. Suddenly clouds are seen to
form themselves; the trees shake their crowns; the leaves rustle, and
before one is aware of it, we have storm, thunder, and violent rain,
which cool off the earth.

Whence came this weather; more especially, whence came the calm
preceding it, and the whirlwind following?

There were two opposite currents of air, which for a time avoided each
other, but at length met over our heads. Each current at first pressed
on the other with equal force, so that they mutually were brought to a
stand-still; this we called a _calm_. But such an equilibrium does not
last long, for one current must in the end overcome the other; they
whirl through one another, raise the dust in high columns, seize the
trees and give them a thorough shaking. The cold current changes the
vapor of the warm current into clouds, then into rain. The pouring down
rain immediately sets free the heat. At this stage electrical phenomena
are witnessed, such as lightnings, claps of thunder, and concussions of
the air. And this continues until one current of air has carried the
victory over the other; not till then does the weather become quiet

Besides these opposing currents of air, which come from the north and
south, there are other causes disturbing our weather, viz., the
geographical position of our country in regard to the east and west.

A glance on the map reminds us that our continent borders, on the east
and west, on that immense waste of water, the ocean. We know now that
the air above the water is always saturated with vapors, while the air
over the land is comparatively dry. And moist air contains heat, dry air
does not; both, however, are continually tending towards equilibrium and
wish to exchange temperatures from each other. As our dry air is
surrounded on both sides by moist air, it is evident that we must more
or less partake of both heat and cold; but it moreover accounts for the
happy circumstance that we have much rain; hence our soil is well
watered, and this is a blessing to any country.



Having now explained the rules referring to the conditions of our
weather, and proved that owing to the geographical position of our
country, to determine the weather in advance, is difficult, we wish to
examine this difficulty a little more closely in pointing out the wrong
direction which has hitherto been pursued in the science of meteorology.

The main difficulty in predicting the weather for any given place
consists in this, that a change in the atmosphere need not originate in
the place where it occurs. Thus, to-morrow's weather in New York is not
a consequence of the condition of the air as it exists there to-day; for
the air is continually moving, and, owing to many disturbances, is
carried over city and country. We have no sure means of ascertaining
whence the wind will come to us to-morrow. All we know is, that from all
sides currents of air are moving simultaneously; from the north pole a
cold current, from the equator a warm one, from the ocean one saturated
with moisture. All these winds are in continual commotion, and have the
characteristics of the neighborhood from which they come. If from the
state of the weather in New York to-day it were desired to predict the
weather there for to morrow, one ought to be able to overlook a space of
about a thousand miles around; in other words, it must first be
ascertained what is the state of the atmosphere within about a thousand
miles of the city. Besides, there should be known the direction of all
the winds within this wide space, and their speed, and whether they
contain much moisture or little. Not without this information could a
calculation be made about the velocity with which a change of the
weather would take place in New York; what results the meeting of two or
more currents of air might call forth; and what kind of weather this
might produce there.

Weather, therefore, for the present state of meteorology, is but a
subject of investigation into the existing condition of existing
phenomena, and not a subject of prediction of coming phenomena. It is
true, there are general rules by which a proximate success in predicting
may be obtained. If winter begins mild, or, better, if southwest winds
and rain prevail till the middle of January, it is very likely that this
will be counterbalanced by a northeast wind in the latter part of the
winter. The saying, therefore, is correct, "green Christmas and white
Easter;" but this rule is by no means infallible, the counteraction may
be accelerated by violent storms, or greatly retarded by mild currents
of air.

Not before the time that meteorological stations are established
throughout the land, and connected by electric telegraphs--a project
which to us may seem immense, but to our children will appear very
simple and natural--not before that time will a city like New York, for
example, receive timely information about the conditions of the currents
of air at all the stations. At each of these places the force of the
current, its warmth, moisture, and weight will be accurately ascertained
by instruments. Then, and then only, we may calculate what currents will
meet and where, and what effects the meeting will have. If this be done
on Saturday, the Sunday papers will be enabled to state precisely
whether the church-goers must provide themselves with umbrellas or

But not for Sunday alone will this be of importance. It will be long
after their establishment, that such weather-stations, connected by
telegraphs, will prove their real efficiency and blessing; and our
descendants, perhaps, will wonder how we could live without an
institution, which to them will appear as simple and natural as do to us
gaslights and railroads, which by our forefathers would have been
rejected as idle dreams or works of witchcraft.



We wish to speak here a few words about the false methods, that have
hitherto been applied to the investigation and foretelling of the

The weather prophecies of the almanac are a disgrace to our advanced
age. Those who still print them deserve that their productions should
nowhere find sale. We are not of those who expect everything of the
magistrates and their orders; but an example should be set to prevent
the publishers from dishing up to the people such absurdities.

Some of these wily prophets pretend to read their predictions in the
course of the planets. For this purpose, they have divided the planets
into two classes, according to their positions in regard to the earth
and sun: 1st, those that produce cold, and 2d, those that produce heat.
By this means they pretend to prophesy how many degrees of heat or cold
there will be every day at sunrise or sunset.

When critically analyzed, these prophecies prove to be theoretically and
practically nothing but charlatanry.

It is beyond all doubt that the position of the planets is, to state an
example, for Boston the same as for the city of Washington; if there are
any heat or cold-producing planets, they would have the same effect at
Boston that they would at Washington. But this is not the case. Boston
has often cold weather when in Washington it is very warm, and _vice
versâ_. Besides such a heating or cooling influence of planets would be
perceivable on every spot of the earth alike which again is not
warranted by facts. On the contrary it often happens that when cold
winds are passing over one part of the country, warm winds are passing
over another. It is almost certain that cold winters in Europe always
accompany warm winters in America; and again, that cold winters in
America usually accompany warm ones in Europe. On a closer examination
of the facts in the case, we must conclude that, on the whole,
weather-prophets take things very easy. Noting the mean heat of each
day, and trusting to their good luck, they prophesy one or two degrees
above or below. Now, there is no great risk in doing this, and as a
matter of course such prophecies are realized one out of two. But at
times, almanacs announce an extraordinary increase of cold or heat for a
given day, although the situation of the planets does not change
suddenly in one day. Then, their predictions very seldom prove to be

In such cases the almanac-makers know how to manage affairs. The country
being very large, they send for information to those places where
observations on the weather are made. It is almost certain that
somewhere in the land their prophesy has come true. Very likely the cold
may have increased extraordinarily in the course of a day at New York,
Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, or St. Louis, etc., afterwards the
weather-prophets compare their predictions with the results of
observation in the various cities, and publish whatever of them are
found to have been true.



The idea that the moon exercises an influence upon the state of the
weather is very general, not only with the people, but also among the
better educated. What induces them to entertain it, is not real
observation of nature, but a belief which is not without a semblance of
truth. If, they say, the moon has enough influence upon our waters to
produce tides, it must exercise a still greater influence upon the sea
of air surrounding us, and hence it must be of the greatest importance
to our weather.

This is, however, an illusion. A long time ago it was proved by Laplace,
that tides are caused by the great weight of a liquid. If the ocean were
filled with mercury instead of water, the tides would reach a formidable
height. Tides, then, do exist in the atmosphere, but in comparison much
less than in the water, because the air is so much lighter. It happens
that we do not live on the surface of the atmosphere, but in the lowest
strata of this airy sea; and in these strata, where the weather
manifests itself, the effect of the tides in the upper air is so
insignificant, that nothing of it has yet been discovered in spite of
most diligent barometer observations.

Learned men have had such a respect for this popular belief, that
thorough observations and investigations have been made in order to
settle the question.

Those investigations were of three kinds:

1st. What influence with regard to heat and cold has the nearness or
remoteness of the moon upon our weather? 2d. What influence has the
same upon rain or dryness in the atmosphere? 3d. Has the change of the
moon any bearing upon the variability of our weather?

For the reply to these questions, some naturalists have made use of the
minutest observations for a period of nearly forty years; during which
time the temperature, pressure, and moisture of the air have been
measured daily.

These observations have been scrupulously examined; the conclusion
arrived at is, that the moon is not quite without influence upon the
state of our atmosphere; but this influence is so very small, that it is
not brought to bear at all on meteorology.

When the moon is nearest to the earth, it is certainly a little colder
than when she is farther off; but the decrease of heat amounts in the
average scarcely to one-fifth of a degree, and this is a quantity
entirely imperceptible in our weather. As to rain, it is a little less
frequent in the time of the moon's greatest distance from the earth; but
this difference, too, is imperceptibly small. In one thousand
rain-storms there are four hundred and eighty-eight during the moon's
greatest distance, five hundred and twelve during her nearest. As to the
pressure of the air, it is during the moon's greater distance somewhat
greater than when she is nearer, but this difference is still less than
the preceding ones, so much so that a common barometer does not even
indicate it.

The most thorough investigations have been made about the influence of
the waxing and waning moon upon the weather, because it was on this
subject that the greatest illusion prevailed. The result here is
likewise, that scarcely any difference exists, and that it is a mere
superstition for people to maintain, that when the moon changes, the
weather changes also. The change in the moon, moreover, does not take
place all of a sudden, but with great regularity from day to day, from
minute to minute; while the weather, especially with us, changes often
very abruptly.

It is therefore certain, that in meteorology one has only to observe the
earth and her position with regard to the sun, together with the
currents of air and the position of land and water. Other phenomena of
the atmosphere may be entirely omitted.





Our articles of food are also called _articles of life_, and very
properly so; for that which lives in us is, indeed, nothing but food
transformed into ourselves.

According to this, it is very easy to determine what a man must eat in
order to live; what kind of food can best maintain his health; what
constantly renews his working-power; what compensates for the loss he
experiences by emission of breath, perspiration, and excretions.

This easy task many have proposed to themselves. They believe they have
solved the problem, if they can but prove that all parts of the human
body are fed by the blood; and, the constituents of the blood being well
known, they believe they have done enough, if they designate that food
as the most proper for man which contains the constituent parts of the
blood, or which, by digestion, may be changed into blood.

As a general thing this is true; yet it is not sufficient to give the
necessary information about the principal articles of our food.

The poor Irishman, who lives almost exclusively on potatoes, has as much
blood in his body as the Englishman, whose workmen threaten him with a
strike, if they do not earn enough to have a piece of meat and a good
glass of beer for breakfast. The Irishman's blood contains quite the
same elements that the Englishman's does, and yet their food is very
different; and the Irishman is as justly called "poor," as the
Englishman is said to be "well fed."

It is evident that the blood alone does not account for this, nor can it
do so. There must be other additional items; and these we shall try to
learn before we speak of the different articles of food and their worth.

The first principle which we must set up before all others, runs thus:
Nutrition does not depend on the blood, but rather on its quick renewal.

The blood resembles the capital which a man possesses. No one can live
on his capital without consuming it; he must live on the interest of the
capital; he must live by constantly turning the capital over. And so
must it be with the blood. The comparison seems so perfect, that we can
illustrate our idea best by an example.

Imagine two merchants, each of whom has but a hundred dollars. Both
merchants are therefore equally rich in capital. But there is the
following difference between them: the one goes to the country twice a
week and buys cattle and brings it to market, where he sells it again.
By doing this he realizes every time five dollars on his capital. The
other establishes a notion-store, buys himself a hundred dollars' worth
of goods, which he sells in a month, and thereby gains twenty-five
dollars. Now, which of these two fares the better? The notion-dealer,
who with his hundred dollars has earned twenty-five dollars, or the
cattle-dealer, who gained but five? Most assuredly the cattle-dealer.
For while the other has twenty-five dollars to live on, the
cattle-dealer has eight times five, or forty dollars. Whence does this
come? In a month the notion-dealer turns over his capital but once,
while the cattle-dealer turns his eight times.

The same holds good with the Irishman and the Englishman. Both have the
same quantity of blood; it is their capital, and the same for both. But
the renewal is not the same. The Englishman works vigorously and eats
vigorously. When he works, he spends his capital, his blood; by every
blow of the hammer particles of his body are wasted; the activity of his
body is great and his appetite is great. He invests his capital again
and again in rapid succession, and he takes it in just as rapidly and
fares well with it. The poor, unhappy Irishman, however, spends his
blood but very slowly; he does not work; he eats potatoes, which, taken
alone, are bad food; thus, he invests his capital very slowly and takes
it in again very slowly; and though the capital is in both cases the
same, its slow renewal is the cause of the Irishman's being miserable,
dull, and lazy, while the Englishman is sound in body and soul.

Therefore the blood alone is not all, but its rapid consumption and
renewal is the most important object.



In the preceding article we said that the rapid conversion and waste of
the blood is the main point in nutrition. In the examination of food,
only such articles ought to be pronounced good and healthy, as are
capable of _rapidly_ replacing the blood lost by work and vital
activity. It follows from this, that our chemists do not do enough, when
they examine the food and determine its worth merely according to its
contents; articles of food must be studied also in reference to the
rapidity and ease with which they may be converted into blood.

An article that contains little of what the blood needs, but which
converts that little rapidly and easily into blood, is much preferable
to food which contains many of the constituent parts of the blood, but
turns into blood very slowly and with difficulty.

An example will illustrate this better:

It has been proved chemically, that the husks of grain, the pure bran,
contain a remarkably large quantity of vegetable albumen and fat; in
this particular, bran is richer than even flour, and a distinguished
chemist, Millon, in Paris, in 1849, created quite a sensation by his
earnest admonition to use bran no longer only to feed cattle, but to use
it mixed with flour, as food for man. He calculated minutely and proved
irrefutably, that such food must be considered a great advantage, a real

Although his investigations and computations were correct, it has since
been shown that his proposition is false. In his capacity of a chemist
he was right; but the stomach has not as much time and patience as a
studious chemist. Notwithstanding bran contains much that the blood can
use, yet it is of no avail so long as our digestive apparatus is not
organized to perform the change of the bran into blood _rapidly_ and
_easily_. If bran leaves our body undigested, which happens even to the
strongest, then it is certainly more judicious to give it to cattle;
they can digest it well, grow fat and strong upon it, and give us meat,
fat, and milk in return.

There is another truth we must constantly keep in view; it is this: Of
two like articles of food, the better and more advantageous one to us is
that which is digested, or better, converted into blood, the more easily
and quickly.

And there is a third truth, which must not be omitted. Let no one for a
moment believe, that a great variety of food is something unimportant
and indifferent; on the contrary, investigations have shown that uniform
food is hurtful, while a constant change is very beneficial to nutrition
and health.

Nor must we neglect, by way of conclusion, to mention a very important
item, viz.: that taste comes in for a large share, and that a judicious
assortment and seasoning of the food is an essential part of good
nutrition. The husband provides for his wife, it is true; but, on the
other hand, the good housewife who prepares healthy, tasteful meals,
does in truth perform a great service, and contributes more to the
working power of her husband, than most of men are aware.

After these few preliminaries, we will speak now of the articles
themselves; in doing so, we shall keep within the limits of practical
life, though we run the risk of transgressing here and there into the
domain of our good housewives, and of meddling with what, according to
their idea, is not our business.



We come now to consider the various articles of food in detail. We shall
take for guide neither the luxurious life of the rich, who, on account
of his disordered stomach, constantly tickles his palate with dainties;
nor the miserable life of the poor, who, on account of his empty
stomach, is bound to find everything palatable. We wish rather to take
into consideration the food of that class of people in which the husband
works hard to support his family; and where the wife is a good
housewife, and cares for the health and strength of her husband and
children. In other words, we wish to consider the kind of food called
_household fare_, and speak of the meals as taken every day.

It is customary with most to take coffee in the morning.

Now, what are the qualities of coffee? Is coffee an article of food? Or
is it a beverage merely to quench the thirst? Is it a means of warming?
Or is it a spice? Medicine? Or perhaps poison?

It is strange that science has not yet reached the truth about these

Coffee has been chemically analyzed, and has been found to contain a
peculiar element, caffeine, which has an abundance of nitrogen. It is
remarkable also that tea has been found to contain an element called
theine, which has the same quantity of nitrogen.

As in some countries tea replaces coffee--this is especially the case in
Russia, Holland, England, and America--the great and ingenious
naturalist Liebig has come to the conclusion that it is nitrogen which
constitutes the chief value of tea and coffee as articles of food; and
as our blood needs nitrogen, in order to be able to form our muscles and
flesh, coffee, according to Liebig, must be counted among the articles
of food.

In later times this view has been attacked. Although it is true that
nitrogen is very abundant in coffee, and that we need nitrogen to form
muscles, yet it can never be the nitrogen which incites us to the
enjoyment of coffee. It is the berry of the coffee that contains the
nitrogen; a part of it escapes during the process of roasting; a great
part is thrown away with the coffee-grounds, so that the quantity of
nitrogen actually left in the infusion is exceedingly small. Besides, if
we enjoy in coffee only the nitrogen, we pay very high for it.

In the United States, annually about two hundred and fifty millions of
pounds of coffee are used; the cost is estimated at twenty-five millions
of dollars. Since the coffee itself is not consumed, but only the
infusion, it follows that about 100,000 pounds of nitrogen are consumed
at a cost of 250 millions of dollars, which is a terrible waste,
considering that for this money seven times as much nitrogen could be
taken, if, instead of coffee, meat were used, which contains also a
large quantity of nitrogen.

The natural sciences, therefore, show among their scholars professed
enemies of coffee. They are, from a medical as well as economical point
of view, decidedly opposed to its use. Some have even gone so far as to
declare it poisonous; a naturalist by name of Zobel proved that it
contains Prussic acid, one of the deadliest poisons. Fortunately we know
that this Prussic acid is rendered ineffectual by the ammoniac which
coffee contains, and which is used as an antidote against Prussic acid.

Be this as it may, we have reason to esteem coffee very highly. A
beverage which has become such a necessity to every nation, is of great
importance; and the instinct with which millions and millions of our
fellow-men are drawn to its enjoyment, is the best proof that the use of
coffee is not hurtful, but advantageous to man; notwithstanding the fact
that in some diseases it is forbidden, and that science has not yet
succeeded in showing us the real advantage of coffee as a means of



In recent times coffee has been considered, not as an article of food,
but partly as a spice and partly as a kind of medicine. Spice it is,
inasmuch as it causes, like many other spices, the stomach to secrete an
increased quantity of gastric juice. Digestion only takes place when the
sides of the stomach secrete a liquid having the quality of digesting
food. Owing to this, well-to-do people take after dinner a cup of coffee
in order to promote digestion. It is because at night the power of
digesting is very much enfeebled--hence the bad sleep after one has
eaten something difficult to digest--and because the stomach is relaxed
and inactive, that a cup of coffee in the morning refreshes and
stimulates the coats of the stomach, and causes there renewed vigor and
activity. It is a common observation, that more appetite is felt after
coffee than before it. So much for the importance of coffee as a spice.
Very justly we ascribe to coffee also a medicinal influence; we consider
it a medicine for our mental activity, and for the activity of the

It is well known that at night coffee dispels fatigue, and that by the
use of strong coffee sleep may be banished for a long time. And more;
those that are busy mentally, often feel a fresh, invigorating impulse
after the enjoyment of coffee; when fatigued with work, they make it a
means to recruit their strength. For a similar reason, coffee can
animate conversation. When we meet elderly ladies in society, and notice
them sitting quietly and talking but in monosyllables, we need not be
surprised; they have had no coffee yet! But when, after a little,
conversation flows with full force like a rapid stream of water, we may
from this safely recognize the mighty influence of coffee; it has
loosened not only the tongues, but more--the looks, the hands, nay, the
whole body and the whole soul.

Although the mind has rested during the night, we feel in the morning
rather sleepy than otherwise, and hence it is, that we are every morning
desirous of stimulating our nervous system with a cup of coffee,
preparing, as it were, our mind for the day's work. A modern naturalist,
as genial as he is learned, Moleschott, ascribes the lately increased
consumption of coffee to the greater degree of mental activity, which
life in former times did not require to such a high extent as our
present age.

We have now sufficiently explained the need of coffee-drinking, and we
must confess that all we have said here does not in the least affect our
conviction that, according to Liebig, coffee is also nutritive. And no
one can help believing this who has seen how old people can subsist on
but very little food, provided they can have plenty of coffee. The
objection raised, that it would be better for these persons to take the
nitrogen contained in coffee in the form of meat, is correct; but, on
the other hand, we must stop to ask, whether meat would be good for the
stomach at all such times as a cup of coffee is! This would certainly
not be the case early in the morning; and if in the coffee we enjoy a
beverage which gives us nutriment, strengthens the stomach and at the
same time stimulates our mind, we have good reasons to reverence the
instinct of man which raised coffee to an essential means of
subsistence, and discovered its beneficial influence long before this
was done by science.



Since coffee possesses the quality of stimulating the nervous system, it
is a matter of course that in many cases its effect is rather injurious.
Phlegmatic people, especially, need coffee, and they are fond of
drinking it; for a similar reason it is a favorite beverage in the
Orient, where its consumption is immense. But to persons of an excitable
temperament the enjoyment of coffee is hurtful; they ought only to take
it very weak. With lively children it does not agree at all, and it is
very wrong to force them to drink it, as is often done; while elderly
people, who are in need of a stimulant for the decreasing activity of
their nerves, are right in taking as much of it as they choose.

In households of limited means it is often customary to use succory with
coffee. We do not pretend to pronounce this, if taken in moderate
quantity, hurtful; but we do say, that it is a poor substitute for
coffee, and that there is nothing in it to recommend its use. A far
better mixture is milk and sugar, and there is good reason for it; both
milk and sugar are articles of food. Milk contains the same ingredients
as blood, and sugar is changed in the body into fat, which is
indispensable to us, especially to the process of breathing. Having
taken no food through the night, the loss our blood has suffered during
sleep by perspiration, and the fat which has been lost by respiration,
must be compensated for in the morning. For this, milk and sugar in
coffee are excellent. It is good for children to have a taste for
sweetened milk, or milk-coffee, in the morning. We must not find fault
with them if they like it. Nature very wisely gave them a liking for
sugar; they need it, because their pulse must be quicker, their
respiration stronger, in order to facilitate the assimilation of food in
their bodies, and also to promote growth. Not that adults need no sugar;
but the sugar necessary for them is formed from the starch contained in
their food. For this purpose the digestive apparatus must be strongly
developed; with children this is not the case; therefore they are given
sugar, instead of the starch to make it from. Many diseases,
particularly rickets--prevailing mostly among the children of the
poor--are the consequence of feeding the child with bread and potatoes;
these contain starch it is true, but the digestive apparatus of children
being yet too weak to change them into fat, the result is that the flesh
falls away, and the bones grow soft and crooked.

But he who, to promote digestion, takes coffee immediately after dinner,
does best not to use sugar or milk; for both, so far from helping
digestion, are an additional burden to the full stomach, and disturb its
labor more than the coffee can facilitate it.

It is very good to take wheat bread for breakfast. Wheat has nearly
twice the quantity of sugar and starch that rye contains, and it is
besides easier to digest. And as it is our principal duty in the morning
to replace as quickly as possible what we have lost during the night, it
is a matter of importance to give the stomach such food as is both
nutritive and quickly digested.



Workmen, even those who must perform hard labor, are sufficiently
strengthened by coffee and wheat bread in the morning to begin their
work. But to be able to continue it, a more substantial breakfast is
necessary, since coffee and bread alone would only replace what was lost
during the night. On the continent of Europe it is therefore the custom
to take coffee, or milk, and bread very early, and, at about nine or ten
o'clock a more substantial meal, a kind of lunch.

Breakfast is with but few the principal meal of the day; for those,
however, who rise early it is the one taken with the best appetite. This
fact ought to induce all to give attention to this meal; especially
those who early in the morning have worked hard already, and those who,
mindful of the old saying,

    "Early to bed and early to rise
    Makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise,"

intend not to idle away the precious morning hours.

To him who is in the habit of laboring, and who loves to labor, an early
breakfast has a peculiar charm; and, what is yet more important to him,
it tastes well. It is customary with us to eat much bread. Bread has as
its principal constituents, starch and sugar, and if it has been well
baked, a part of the starch is already saccharine, that is, it is nearly
transformed into sugar, thus greatly facilitating the process of
digestion. French naturalists have lately written excellent treatises
about the change which fresh bread undergoes when it becomes old. They
prove that bread is most nutritive, and easiest to digest, when about a
day old.

Bread is changed in our bodies partly into fat, as all food is which
contains starch. But this formation of fat is greatly facilitated, if we
take a little ready-made fat with it. For this purpose we eat butter
with our bread. Hence we see that some people are wrong when they
believe butter to be a mere luxury; on the contrary, butter is a very
important article of food, more especially so to children.

The reason of this is, that the fat performs a conspicuous part in the
human body; it serves to keep up the process of respiration. The oxygen
which is inhaled, decomposes the fat in our body and from it forms water
and carbonic acid. The water evaporates through perspiration; the
carbonic acid is exhaled again. Now, if there is fat in us, this
perspiration and exhalation will diminish it; but this very act of using
up the fat preserves our flesh from being consumed in the process of
producing carbonic acid and perspiration, which, if there were no fat,
would greatly weaken us. Fat, thus to speak, is the spare-money, while
flesh is the capital in the body. Fat itself does not make us strong,
while flesh does. But where there is no fat, the processes of
perspiration and respiration attack our flesh, which, unless abundantly
reinforced, begins to disappear rapidly, while our strength begins to
decrease more and more.

Thence it comes that lean persons eat much, while we often are
astonished to see how little food is taken by fat people. The lean one
has no fat to meet the drain produced by perspiration and respiration;
he breathes and perspires accordingly at the expense of his flesh, and,
therefore, is obliged to continually take in a fresh supply of food. The
fat person, meanwhile, does not live on his capital, the flesh and the
blood, but on his supply of fat; as it were, he pays expenses from his
spare-money, and for this reason loses very little in strength.

From what has preceded, it follows that he who breathes much and
perspires much when at work, must eat much fat-producing food, and
besides add a little ready-made fat; while he who breathes and perspires
little, needs but little of that kind of food. This accounts for the
circumstance that in winter, when the air is denser, and therefore one
inhales more oxygen and thus uses more fat for exhalation, we must eat
more fat food; while in summer every one takes less of it. We know that
in cold countries food is taken which, on account of its containing
great quantities of fat, would in hot climates produce sickness.

A hearty worker perspires much at his labor, and, in consequence of his
increased activity, breathes more than the quiet and sedentary; he must
therefore eat with his breakfast some fat--bacon, etc.--because this
enables him to prevent his flesh and blood from decreasing. His body
will be strong and powerful, and he will at all times be able to earn
with his arm more than his stomach costs him.

But let no one believe, therefore, that fat alone is a means of food,
and, above all, beware of the mistake that ready-made fat is healthier
to eat than fat-producing articles. Fine experiments have been made
about the feeding of animals with fat. The results have shown that fat
taken alone is injurious, and goes off again without having been of any
use to the body; while, on the other hand, fat-producing food greatly
assists the fattening of animals.

He who has seen how geese are fattened, will have a correct idea about
the process of the formation of fat in the human body. A handful of
dough is forced into the mouth and gullet of the goose; during the time
of her fattening she is shut up in so close a space that she can neither
rise nor walk about. The poor creature is thus deprived of evaporation
by perspiration; the process of breathing is rendered very difficult;
and, because she breathes and perspires little, her fat does not change
into carbonic acid and water, but collects in the body in an unusual
manner, until finally the creature is relieved from her pains by being
killed. We see that her fat is nothing else than the transformed starch
of the dough, which remained in the body without being used. If we
should try, however, to feed a goose on pure fat only, she would not
fatten at all, but fall sick. Pure fat must only be taken together with
fat-producing food. The cause of this is, that only a part of the
intestines secretes a juice which can dissolve fat; while the gastric
juice in the stomach does not dissolve the fat at all, but allows it to
float on the surface, as fat does in water.

Our readers will now find it natural that a workman who perspires and
breathes much, should by all means take but little bacon for breakfast;
and this he must eat only on those days when he has much work before
him; and then he must not eat it without bread.



Is it advisable to take a "drink" before breakfast?

This is a question of the greatest importance, and requires a very clear
and impartial answer; for which our space is almost too limited.

Liquor is no article of food; if for a moment it were considered as
such, we should find that it is even less nutritious than water with
sugar in it. What makes liquor a necessary article, especially so to the
working-classes, is a certain quality it possesses, a quality just as
dangerous as it is good.

Liquor is a favorite beverage because of the alcohol it contains; this
is nothing else than sugar which has undergone fermentation. Alcohol may
be made from all those plants from which starch can be obtained; for, by
the proper process, starch may be changed into gluten, gluten into
sugar, and sugar into alcohol. Alcohol therefore conveys more nutriment
to the human body than sugar itself, while it has qualities that the
sugar does not possess, and which make it an article as popular as it is
dangerous. If taken in small quantities, alcohol affects the body like
medicine; in large portions, like poison. We are therefore not surprised
if partly we cannot do without it, and if, on the other hand, we hear it
condemned every day. What makes its enjoyment so very dangerous is, that
although it is no article of food, it offers to the hungry a kind of
substitute for food, and, what is worse, a substitute which is often the
cheapest, and of most rapid effect in regard to quieting one's
appetite. It is owing to this that its enjoyment may produce the most
fatal and pernicious evils that ever were inflicted upon unhappy man.

Let us now learn the medicinal qualities of liquor, so that we may see
that it is natural for it to be a favorite; and by exhibiting the
dangers of its enjoyment, we shall succeed best in showing that people
are justified in condemning its intemperate use; but it will also be
seen that, in spite of the evident hurtfulness, its entire banishment
would be a foolishness not resulting in good.

Liquor, if taken in a very small dose, possesses the quality of
increasing the quantity of gastric juices. It excites the sides of the
stomach, and by this promotes the secretion of the juice by which food
is dissolved. It often occurs, that if but a minute quantity of fat has
been taken, it envelops the food in the stomach; and as the gastric
juice dissolves fat only with great difficulty, this food often remains
undigested in the stomach, and nutrition then is carried on but
defectively. Digestion, therefore, may be greatly improved, if the
stomach is so affected as to secrete a greater quantity of gastric
juice; this is often done by means of spice--for example, by putting a
little pepper upon bacon or ham. The pepper itself does not help
dissolve food, but excites the salivary glands and the stomach, thus
increasing the gastric juice which performs digestion.

If fat has been eaten, the same effect may be produced by a little
liquor. Indeed, it is even preferable to spice, inasmuch as it contains
ether, which alone is able to dissolve fat.

Thus we have seen that liquor is a kind of medicine. And although every
one must strive to do without medicine, still he must not condemn it; he
should scorn rather the wantonness which throws itself on the mercy of
medicine. It is right to oppose the enjoyment of much fat; but if once
too much of it has been taken, there is no reason why we should
remonstrate against the medical application of a small quantity of
liquor. To those who believe that they see in alcohol the evil spirit
himself, it may some time or other happen, that even they eat a little
too much fat, and then seek relief by taking some patent or other
medicine, dropped on sugar. Most medicines used in such cases, however,
are nothing but mixtures of sulphuric ether and alcohol; and if alcohol
is the evil spirit, he is certainly not changed into an angel by putting
him on sugar.

But liquor has yet another effect of great importance.

The alcohol it contains is immediately conveyed to the blood; through
this it affects the brain and the nerves, exciting them to increased
activity. By also affecting the nerves of the heart, it accelerates the
circulation of the blood; this produces throughout the body a more rapid
vital activity.

"Wine," the Bible says, "maketh glad the heart of man."

And wine itself is nothing else but an alcohol-combination. The
animating element in wine is the same as the one in liquor. But it makes
man's heart glad; which means as much as, it increases our vital
activity; it rouses; it strengthens the weary and him who is exhausted
bodily or mentally; it excites the body as well as the mind to move
vigorous action. Taken in very small quantity, liquor has the same
effect. It is therefore not only good for digestion, but also a prompt
remedy for exhaustion. The reanimation, however, produced by the use of
stimulants, is by no means a real gain; for he who feels tired and weary
is best restored by nature herself. Artificial stimulation is followed
by a greater reaction, by which all is lost again that has been gained
by artificial animation. Yet many cases occur in human life when there
is no time for the natural restoration of strength lost; thus, when it
is preferable to complete one's task without delay, without rest until
it is finished. In such cases the desire for artificial stimulants is
easily explained; then we ought not to condemn a moderate use of them,
because that use is necessary.

The wanderer on his travels, the soldier in camp or battle, have often
neither time nor opportunity to refresh themselves with a meal, or to
recruit strength by a good rest. With them it is important to complete
their journey or task, and to rest afterwards. A common workman may, at
times, be in the same situation. In such cases a little brandy is of
great service. It increases vital activity and courage; in many
countries the army is for this reason permitted to use liquor, although,
of course, sparingly.

Having now spoken of the medicinal use of liquor, we wish to examine
more closely its dangers, and to explain the reason why its enjoyment is
to many so great a temptation as often to become a passion.

A slight quantity of liquor taken at breakfast, makes one feel increased
vital activity. The pulse beats quicker, the mind is stirred up,
digestion easier, and before the food has been transformed into blood,
we feel animated to vigorous bodily activity and motion. The enjoyment
of spirit fills the long pause between the meal itself and its change
into blood. He who feels exhausted and eats, has yet but satisfied the
demands of the stomach, without therewith replenishing his blood. It
takes a long time, often from five to six hours, before the blood is
directly benefited. It is owing to this, that after dinner we do not
feel lively, but inactive, disposed to rest. Now, he who after dinner
cannot rest, but must continue to work, is anxious to stimulate himself
by a dram of liquor, because this will act more quickly than the food he
has taken. The spirits he took fill the long pause which exists between
his meal and its complete transformation into blood.

Is it any longer surprising, that it is the workmen who mostly are
subject to the use of spirits? No, we are not surprised; we feel sorry
that they are not taught better; that instead of imparting to the people
a knowledge of things useful to the preservation of health, we
constantly remind them of the "devil and hell;" and that in place of
teaching them, by the study of nature, how to avoid errors and dangers,
we merely try to frighten them with future punishments.

The danger of spirits consists in this, that their good qualities, their
advantageous effects, manifest themselves immediately, while their evils
appear later. Liquor is not unlike a man whose virtues are laid open to
every one; whose vices, however, are hidden, and who therefore is
seductive and dangerous. If we wish to warn our fellow-men against such
a one, we must not do it by denying or concealing his virtues; on the
contrary, we must openly tell all his good qualities; the warning in
which we lay bare his vices, will then be more, all the more readily

True, liquor is a medicine; but, like every other medical remedy, it
becomes poisonous in the body of him who puts himself continually in
such a condition as to be obliged to use it.

He who wishes to preserve his health, must not try to help nature by
artificial means; he will only become weak. To illustrate this by an
example: it is a well-known fact, that milk contains all the constituent
parts of the blood; but if we were to feed a man merely on milk, those
organs given him by nature to digest solid food, would weaken to such a
degree that he would fall mortally ill. Man is healthy only when he
permits nature the free and unlimited exercise of her functions; if he
helps nature too much he may kill himself. It is similar with the use of
liquor. The person who only now and then corrects nature, that is, when
she actually needs it, is perfectly right. But he is very wrong and
harms himself greatly, who wishes to assist nature when she needs no
help. Unfortunately, the latter is very often the case, and the prime
source of evil. The ignorant, having once had the experience that brandy
promotes digestion, thinks it is good for him to continue to help his
stomach; but he is greatly mistaken. By accustoming his stomach to
secrete gastric juice only after the partaking of brandy, he weakens it;
the natural digestion becomes defective through this; and the enjoyment
of spirits, at first a medical remedy, rapidly becomes an indispensable
necessity, with all its evil consequences.



He who accustoms his stomach to secrete gastric juice only after a
stimulus effected by spirits, destroys his digestive power. Unhappy man!
He is no longer able to digest food, unless he stimulate his stomach
with liquor. The already weak stomach is, by this habit, weakened more
and more. Soon a small quantity will no longer suffice; a larger portion
must effect what formerly was done by the smaller; this goes further and
further, until finally the _drinker_ becomes--a _drunkard_.

It is well to look at the terrible consequences of such a condition more
closely, to obtain a clear idea of it; and to examine all the
circumstances which unfortunately produce it, mostly among the poorer
and working classes.

The condition of an intoxicated person is to be distinguished from that
of a regular drunkard. The former has taken alcohol; it goes into the
blood, arrives in the brain, and excites the nerves to increased action.
The nerves of the heart are also affected by it, and cause violent
beating of the heart and pulse. The blood courses through the veins and
rushes to the brain. This produces illusions of the senses, and
confusion of sensations; sparks before the eyes; buzzing in the ears;
dizziness, which makes the walk unsteady; redness of the skin and eyes;
increased perspiration; greater activity in the lungs; a shorter and
more rapid breathing; excitement of the mind to anger, and dimness of
the faculties of judgment, causing the inebriate to believe that he
possesses superior strength. If he begins to move about, these
manifestations, and especially the dizziness, increase; the slightest
obstacle in the road causes him to stumble or fall; he cannot raise
himself to his feet, nor can he sit up; but, lying on the ground, he is
unconscious of everything around him; overcome with complete
exhaustion--the effect of the reaction--he at last falls asleep; but his
sleep does not rest him, although, if sufficiently long, it will restore
the unfortunate to consciousness. He now suffers from that peculiar
fatigue and lassitude which usually follow intoxication.

To this abject state every one is brought who in the enjoyment of
spirits loses self-control. It is an unworthy, disgraceful and
disgusting condition; but even the best of men may once fall into it;
all the more so, if he is no habitual drinker. Strictly speaking, this
subject belongs to another chapter; it belongs to that of intemperance,
dissoluteness or bad society. If such a calamity has befallen an
otherwise good man, let him amend his bodily ache by a cold bath; and
his moral ache by an earnest vow not to do the like again.

Far more serious, however, is the lot of the real drunkard. This belongs
to the chapter on nutrition, for it is true, we are sorry to say, that
drunkards are produced mostly through want of proper nutriment; and it
is always the case that constant intemperance is accompanied by that
sickly condition in which the stomach is unable to digest solid food.

In a word, he who has accustomed his stomach to perform digestion only
after the use of stimulants, has laid the foundation for drunkenness.
With wealthy people, we know it to be frequently the case, that they
take something "strong" in order to promote digestion; but the danger is
here less great. For if the rich be convinced of his wrong, even at a
late period, he can yet proceed in his reform energetically. He can
afford to take liquid, easily digestible food instead of solid. He will
eat little meat; but that little very savory and prepared in a manner to
be easily digested. He will choose but light vegetables. He will flavor
his breakfast with caviare and lemon; and at dinner he will relish rich
stewed fruit, by means of which appetite and digestion are increased.
Should he not feel strengthened immediately after dinner, he has
sufficient time to wait till his food is transformed into blood. He
takes a nap after dinner, and a pleasant walk in the open air, to get an
appetite for his well-selected supper.

Now, all these are excellent means to restore the wealthy man's appetite
and digestive powers, even if he has gone so far in drinking as to
weaken his stomach. It is not _virtue_ and _temperance_ that causes the
_less_ number of drunkards among the rich, but the ready _compensation_
they can afford, to cure themselves. And it not unfrequently occurs,
that when the rich man loses his fortune, or, in other words, when he
becomes poor, he becomes a drunkard. People generally excuse this,
saying, "it is from despair;" but the truth is, that now he can no
longer afford the costly compensation which previously preserved him
from such a fate.

But what will the poor do in such a case more especially the workman?



The poor workman who has accustomed his stomach to perform digestion
only through the excitement of a previous stimulant, cannot, even if he
knows the miserable condition he is in, abandon this bad habit without
almost superhuman efforts.

Working makes him hungry; but his stomach not being able to digest solid
food, eating becomes disagreeable to him. His relaxing strength,
however, demands support. His vital activity is suppressed; he must have
a fresh supply of strength to be able to work and earn his living. To
accomplish this, he knows no other means than liquor again! For,
unfortunately, experience has taught him that spirits not only stimulate
him for the moment and increase his vital activity, but that they can
also be to him a kind of substitute for food.

It was not until quite recently that science told us how and in what
manner the use of spirits may actually promote the working power of the
starving. It is of the utmost importance to obtain a correct idea of

Work promotes evaporation and respiration. Evaporation, however, that is
perspiration proper, is nothing but a part of the food we have taken,
and which is thus secreted from the body. Precisely the same holds good
with the breath we exhale; it consists of carbonic acid, which is
likewise formed from the food we have taken. A man in state of rest does
not perspire and breathe so much as the man at work; therefore he needs
less food. If, on the other hand, a person works without taking food,
the perspiration and carbonic acid of the breath are formed from the
muscles of his body; for which reason he must greatly decrease, both in
strength and volume. We must bear in mind, however, that it is one of
the qualities of spirits to be decomposed in the body very easily into
water and carbonic acid; the water is then secreted in the form of
perspiration; the carbonic acid, by exhalation. Thus, if a man works
without food, he becomes reduced immediately, because perspiration and
breath are supplied from the flesh of his body; while if he drinks
liquor, perspiration and breath are formed from the liquor itself,
instead of his body, which thus, partly at least, remains intact.

This is the solution of the great problem, viz., "How can drunkards live
a long time on nothing but spirits, and, moreover, how can they work?"
We know it now; liquor furnishes them the material for perspiration and
breath; and their body is not nearly so much taxed as would be the case,
if they were to take no spirits at all. Since, then, the drunkard cannot
eat, and even if he could, would not be nourished, because food passes
through him undigested, he must needs continue taking spirits even if he
works but little. Spirits help him at his work, and save his body from
being consumed.

That spirits are no articles of food, has been known long; but it was
not known until recently, why spirits can be a substitute for food, or,
more correctly, a kind of _saving of food_.

Unfortunately, liquor is as deplorable as a substitute as it is fatal as
a means of saving. It is only calculated to entirely destroy the doomed
man that uses it.

Now, is it not more judicious to understand the reason why the drunkard
cannot abstain from spirits, than to endeavor to reform him merely by
"prayer" and stories about the "devil in the alcohol?" And is it not of
the highest importance to all, that the friends of humanity should take
care that the workman has good and healthy food, and that he be always
able to earn enough, so as not to be obliged to replace bad food by

The workman who has nothing but potatoes to eat, is bound to become a
drunkard. This food is insufficient to afford him a proper quantity of
carbonic acid for the purpose of breathing; he therefore must draw for
this from his body, and, since he must needs work for his living, he
takes to spirits to save his body from being consumed. Many an "Apostle
of Temperance" would, in a similar situation, act no better. For this
reason let us all provide healthy food for the working class;
intemperance will then greatly diminish.

Owing to the importance of the subject we have spent much time over
"Breakfast," and the chapter on "Spirits" connected with the same; but
we could not help it; nay, we must ask our readers' pardon for
continuing the subject. We propose to touch upon the sad consequences of
intemperance, and desire to give the wives of the workmen a hint, by
which they may succeed in checking the vice of their husbands and the
misfortune of their families.



The digestion of the drunkard, as we have seen, is greatly impaired; the
process of nutrition entirely changed. There is a change in the tissues
of the interior of the body. The inner organs are encumbered by fat;
even under the very skin, layers of fat are formed. It is this
that gives the drunkard that bloated appearance, which is very
characteristic, and an evidence of the fact that the evil has reached a
high stage. The stomach and the heart, the latter now much enlarged, are
in an unnatural manner enveloped by fat. The action of the heart, at
times immoderately increased, at times fearfully lessened, causes the
blood to rush impetuously even to the finest blood-vessels of the skin,
and to widen them considerably. Hence the reddened face of the drunkard.
The chest being overburdened with fat, the lungs are unable to expand
properly, and cannot therefore feed the blood with a sufficient quantity
of oxygen, which would make the blood red; therefore we notice that the
drunkard's blood is of a bluish color; his nose is blue, his lips, and
often his whole face, have a bluish hue. His mind is always clouded, the
activity of his nerves partly increased, partly weakened; his hands
begin to tremble, and become unsteady; soon his very feet refuse to
serve. His breath is in the beginning saturated with alcohol, so that it
can be smelled; in a little while perspiration, nay the whole body, is
imbued with alcohol, and cases have been known in which the body, on
coming in contact with fire, began to burn, as a wick dipped in
alcohol, inflicting a terrible death upon the unfortunate victim. Many
die from apoplexy or paralysis of the brain, in most cases preceded by
delirium tremens. When it is considered that all this has its beginning
only in this, that the unhappy man has accustomed himself to promote
digestion by means of spirits--when this is well considered, no one will
find it strange that we wish to discourage from the use of liquor
everybody, especially, however, those among the laboring classes who
work with fire. He who takes proper care of himself will always know how
much of spirits he can take and when he must use it; then, and only
then, the enjoyment of the article in question cannot be considered a

It is difficult to present to our readers a general rule for temperance,
yet we may here state a _principle_, the earnest observance of which we
heartily recommend.

There are many people who say: "I can stand a little liquor very well."
They mean by this that a little liquor does not intoxicate them. But
this is a dangerous standard to take. Not the possibility of
_intoxication_, but the welfare of one's _stomach_ should be consulted.
As long as breakfast can be digested without the use of spirits there is
no danger, even if after having eaten fat, bacon, etc., a desire for
liquor should be felt; but when a person must needs take spirits after
his breakfast in order to be able to digest it, then the danger becomes
imminent, and it is high time to consult a physician about this
seemingly insignificant circumstance; it is best to tell him frankly the
object of the visit, viz., the desire to avoid the cheap remedy, the
liquor. If the physician be the right man he will gladly spend advice
and help.

In such cases, however, the housewife can do even more than the doctor.

The attentive housewife will notice the bad condition of her husband's
stomach, and if she is judicious and wishes to be the benefactress of
her household, she can, by a small sacrifice, easily prevent great
misfortune. Above all, she must bear in mind that only a well-fed
husband can support her and her children. It is a shame that we often
see a housewife treat her husband in this respect worse than a horse.
The owner of a horse knows that his horse cannot render him good service
unless he feeds the animal well; why should woman not comprehend that
man, her husband and provider, must be properly cared for? Let every
good wife bear in mind, that if her husband takes to drinking, it is
mostly owing to her own bad and careless management of her kitchen; let
her hasten to remedy the evil. Although it may cost her a sacrifice, yet
she owes it to herself and her family to provide her husband with a cup
of broth, well seasoned with salt and pepper, when his stomach is
weakened. At times she may surprise him with a favorite dish for
breakfast, which he will eat with a relish. And let her be especially
careful not to cause him grief or anger at his return home, but let her
rather prepare for him a good savory dinner, for which he then will save
all his appetite.

Such and similar insignificant acts of womanly kindness preserve often
husband, wife, and children from disgrace; while the dutiful wife earns
the esteem and gratitude of her family and of her country. This is a
merit which in course of time will be duly rewarded.



We wish to speak now of dinner, the principal meal of the day. Here,
too, we shall take for standard neither the unhappy poor, who must eat
what little he can obtain; nor the opulent rich, who finds a pleasure in
eating what others cannot obtain. We shall take for base the plain
household of the citizen, who takes healthy meals in order to strengthen
him for renewed activity.

What may have been the reason for putting the principal meal in the
middle of the day?

It was done for the reason that eating, too, is a labor; a labor which
requires rest. Now bodily fatigue and appetite constantly keep pace with
each other; they manifest themselves in the body in intervals of three
or four hours. Since, then, we must rest at noon from the fatigue of the
morning's labor, it is best for us to use this time of rest for our
dinner; all the more so as the labor of eating ought not to be performed
during manual labor. And because just at the middle of the day we rest
from our labor and prepare ourselves for the afternoon work, it is
natural that we should eat our principal meal at that time.

But this meal needs to be prepared carefully. The housewife is chained
to the kitchen, because this meal is distinguished from others
principally in this, that it is usually taken warm.

The question arises in the first place, Why must food be cooked? Is it
not more natural to take the food as nature gives it to us? Why does man
eat nothing raw except fruit? Why does he take such pains to grind,
bake, boil, fry, etc., while the animal can live without all this?
Again, whence does it come, that man is so very dainty in regard to
eating and drinking, and that he uses an infinite variety of articles of
food, as does no other creature in the world? Are there not animals that
live on meat only, and others that live only on plants? Why, then, does
man need mixed food, that is, partly meat and partly vegetable food?

To all these questions there is but one answer.

Nature herself has pointed this out to man; and experience, the natural
instructor of mankind, has taught man how he can do best what nature
wishes him to do.

The human stomach is so constituted that it can digest but very little
of raw food. Just as the nutritive part of the pea is enclosed by a
_hull_, so in every organic food the nutritive element proper is
contained in a hull, called _cell_. The nutritive element of the potato,
for example--the starch--is enclosed in millions of small cells, which
are indigestible for our stomach. By means of good magnifying glasses,
these cells, invisible to the naked eye, may be plainly seen. If the
potato were eaten raw, these cells, together with the nutritive element
in them, would leave the body unchanged. But if the potato is boiled,
fried, or baked, the cells, by their expansion from the heat, burst, and
thus allow the starch to be free. Now, while animals have been given a
digestive apparatus strong enough to dissolve the hardest
cells--pigeons, for example, swallow and are able to digest raw
pease--man has been endowed with intelligence which enables him to
prepare his food artificially.

Cooking, therefore, is as natural to man as the act of chewing; for
chewing, the crushing of food with the teeth, on the part of animals
that live on plants, is nothing but the tearing asunder of cells.
Animals that have no teeth, birds for example, possess immensely strong
powers of digestion. It would be as unnatural for the ox, who has good
teeth to crush peas with, to swallow them entire as the pigeon does, as
it were unnatural for man to take pease raw while he has the means of
cooking them.

We often call _art_ what really is _nature_ in man; for his mental gifts
are natural to him; women, therefore, when they perform the art of
cooking, practise a natural art.



Let no one believe that it is from mere daintiness that man is
fastidious in regard to food, and that he lives on a great variety of

The human body is the transformed food which he has eaten. It is quite
correct that man can live on bread and water a long time; but man's
nature is so varied, his qualities are of such numerous kinds; his
character, his impulses and passions, his wishes and desires, his
thoughts and labors, are so infinitely varified and so much exposed to
change, that man's body, the bearer of all these elements, must also be
formed from material of the most diversified kind.

It is a common observation that animals which take uniform food are very
much poorer in mind than those animals that feed upon richer and more
various kinds of food. Nay, it has even been proved that the character,
the whole nature of an animal may be completely changed by its food.
Very properly, therefore, does the genial naturalist, Moleschott, begin
his excellent treatise, "Our Articles of Food," with the following
words: "Food has made the wild-cat our house-cat;" thus showing that
food may completely change the character of an animal, and more, it may
even change the animal's body. And if civilized man is a being of a
higher order, more spiritual and more intellectual than the savage, we
can ascribe it to no other cause than the impulse his food gives him,
not to sink down to the savage, but, by varying his food as much as
possible, to bestow upon his body many superior qualities.

Nature herself has undeniably impressed upon man, that she wishes him to
take nourishment of different kinds.

Those animals that live upon plants, and such as feed solely on meat,
are entirely different from each other in regard to their bodies. The
teeth of the former, the herbivorous, are broad and flat on the top,
like our molar teeth. They serve to crush vegetable fibres and to chew
the cells which contain the nutritive element; while the other class,
the carnivorous, have but pointed teeth, like our eye-teeth, to tear
their food asunder. The stomach of the herbivorous is also different; it
comprises several divisions which have various functions. For blood is
not so readily obtained from vegetable as from animal food, which itself
contains ready-made blood. Herbivorous animals are for the greater part
ruminators, that is, their food passes from the first division of the
stomach back into the mouth, where it is masticated a second time; this
is called "ruminating." With the carnivorous this is not the case.
Finally, the intestines of the herbivorous are long, because there the
final change of the food into blood takes place; a process requiring
more time with vegetable food than with animal. For the same reason the
intestines of the carnivorous are short, the blood to be formed being
already present there.

Considering the fact that man has sharp teeth in front, at both sides
pointed teeth, and in the rear of them molars; that his stomach is
adapted to the digestion of both vegetable and animal food, and that his
intestine is so constituted as to be able to digest and change into
blood both kinds, we can no longer entertain any doubt that nature
herself bids him to change his food constantly, and to take in such as
is of the most varied kind. If, in addition to that, we recollect that
exclusive animal food renders an animal wild, quick, and sly, while
vegetable food makes it tame, enduring, and slow in mind, it will not
be denied that food exercises great influence upon the nature of a
being, and it will now be readily understood that it would be a sin, if
man were to be forced to take uniform nourishment.

The example of the cat is very instructive; it teaches us that change of
food has transformed her into another being, mentally as well as bodily.
The wild-cat has short intestines and is an animal of prey; the tame cat
has long intestines, and betrays her old character only now and then by
cunning and slyness. We also learn from this, that variety of food
produces variety of bodily and mental qualities; and lastly, it may be
inferred that nature, having fitted man for this variety and given him
such diversity of mental capacities, wishes also that his food be well
selected and of the greatest variety.

These short remarks enable us to pass to the principal dishes
themselves; first to those constituting the principal meal of the day,
the dinner, for which very justly the greatest variety of food is



Soup, meat, and vegetables are the principal dishes of a plain household

When examining this more closely, we find the selection so judicious
that we may well admire the tact of woman, who discovered it long before
science did.

The good tact of woman does even more yet; it selects the dishes in such
a manner that they mutually compensate for their wants, that is, that
each offers to the body what is wanting in the others.

The principal dishes composing a meal are divided into fat-producing and
flesh-producing ones. All farinaceous diet provides the body with fat;
all albumen substances, with flesh. To support the body, however, it is
also necessary to give it salt, from which bones, hair, nails and teeth
may be formed.

Our domestic wives, indeed, look to all that. Long before scientific men
had investigated the necessity for nutriment of the kind, all-providing
woman had arranged culinary matters so as to be able to satisfy all the
demands of nature. But not only the proper selection of articles of
food,--the way and manner also in which they are cooked and served, are
of prime importance to a proper nutrition; and we maintain that
household fare may justly be regarded as a guide for scientific

A judicious housewife will first of all place meat on the fire, to have
good soup and well-cooked meat. She will prefer beef to any other kind,
because it contains but little fat and much albumen and animal fibre;
for this reason it makes better broth, and still preserves strength
enough to be a healthy, strength-giving dish.

Besides, meat, by cooking, becomes more nutritive, inasmuch as its
digestibility is greatly facilitated. One of the most important tasks of
the cook consists in promoting one's digestion; in other words, in
saving the stomach labor. Flesh in its raw state keeps its nutritive
elements shut up in cells which are gluey. By boiling it, the gelatine
becomes soft and mixes with the water; hence it comes that broth is
glutinous, and, if allowed to cool, becomes thick and like jelly. This
substance is in part very nourishing; it is often obtained from bones
and cartilages, and then sold under the name of "bouillon-tables,"
which, when boiled in water, make a tolerably good soup. Thus we see
that the first object of all cooking is the dissolving of the cellular
tissues. Not before this is done do we obtain the real nutritive element
of the flesh, which then is taken up by the stomach all the easier,
inasmuch as it has thus been well prepared to be easily changed into

But before the meat reaches the boiling-point, albumen is separated from
its surface and mixes with the water; it is this which gives broth its
real strength and nutritive power. Afterwards, when the water boils,
this albumen condenses; the broth becomes white, as if containing the
white of eggs; from the inside of the meat flows continually more and
more albumen into the broth, and makes it stronger and stronger. During
this time, moreover, the fat parts of the meat melt, and its salts are
also dissolved in the broth; hence a great deal of the most nutritive
parts of the meat goes over into the broth; and although much of the
strength of the meat has been withdrawn, still there is much of it left
yet, and the meat has now become easier to masticate and easier to be
digested. We need not add that a sufficient quantity of salt is thrown
into the soup, which quickly dissolves in the water; but in the same
degree that the meat excretes a part of its ingredients and gives them
to the water, in the same measure does the meat absorb salt. By this it
becomes not only more tasteful and digestible, but also more nutritive.
It was not until recently that the importance of salt as a nutritive was
recognized; this cannot be otherwise, for the tissues of the human body,
as well as its blood and cartilages, need salt for their formation and
support. Who does not know that every farmer gives his cattle salt from
time to time, so as to improve their strength and general health?

Our readers will readily understand now, that the weaker the broth the
stronger must be the meat, and _vice versâ_. It often occurs that we
care less to have good broth than good beef. In such cases we must not
put the meat into cold water, but into boiling water. So soon as the
meat is thrown into boiling water, the albumen on the outside
coagulates, surrounding the whole piece as it were with a hard crust,
which does not permit the nutritive parts of the inside to escape. The
same effect is produced by the roasting of the meat in an oven, although
here it is not covered by water. It is more judicious, however, and more
important for the household, to make good broth, and to let dinner
commence with it.

For he who has been at work all the forenoon, needs such food at first
as will not cause his stomach too much labor; and soup is that food. Let
every good housewife bear this in mind.



The answer to this question will be "Something farinaceous," and,
indeed, no better answer could be given.

Broth contains gluten and albumen, both of which are changed in the body
into flesh. Not only the animal part of our body, but chiefly the
active, working part of it requires nutriment that can be transformed
partly into fat. Breath and perspiration, so unavoidable in labor, are
supported by means of fat in our body. This explains why fat people
perspire more than others; why fat people get out of breath sooner than
lean persons; why the other sex, who are more apt to become fat than
men, perspire more; and why children, because they run about much, and
hence need more breath and perspiration, usually prefer bread to meat.

As has been said, broth, which contains only such ingredients as are
intended to produce muscle-fibres, may well be mixed with something
farinaceous, which should be thrown in and boiled with the soup, in
order to promote the formation of fat in the body. It matters little
what may be chosen for the purpose--flour, groats, barley, rice, or
potato, or any other article; provided always it contains starch; for
this becomes saccharine even when boiling; it changes in the body into
acid of milk, and lastly into fat. Perhaps it is advisable to use that
which contains most starch. Rice, for example, has much of it; probably
this accounts for the fact that lively children are very fond of it. A
hundred pounds of rice include eighty-five of starch; while a hundred
pounds of wheat contain but about seventy-four pounds. A judicious
housekeeper will know very well that a less quantity is taken of rice
than of flour. The various kinds of farina and barley possess but about
one-half the starch of rice; and potatoes are so poor in that, that five
pounds of potatoes yield no more starch than one pound of rice. All this
is a matter of great importance to our housewives.

The usefulness of soup-material lies, however, not always in its great
nutritive capacity, but very often in the facility with which it may be
cooked. Thus we cannot boil rice in the broth itself; it must, to loosen
its cells properly, be boiled first in water; this takes a little over
half an hour, and requires of course a place on the fire, and hence more
fuel. The cell of the farina or pearl-barley, on the other hand, was
crushed already by the grinding; therefore it needs but little
attention, and may be boiled in the broth itself without any loss of
time. When making scientific observations on food, such circumstances
must not be overlooked; for time and fuel cost money, and may, in the
eyes of practical housewives, raise the price of the article too much;
while to a scientific man the same article may appear very cheap.

There are other viands which, though not very nutritive, are yet very
popular and in common use. As an example of this class, we may give the

That the latter is poor in starch, was stated above. Its extensive use
is surprising, when we consider, that, according to calculation, the
little nutriment obtained from the potato is paid more highly for than
that of flour. And yet there is good reason for the extensive use of the
article. Its preparation, in the first place, is an easy one, especially
when the potato is boiled whole, without being peeled. This is a great
convenience for the housewife, who, besides the time devoted to the
house, needs time for work from the proceeds of which she may support
herself. She values, therefore, any dish which can be prepared with
little expense of time and money; more than any other article may the
potato be said to possess this quality. From it a meal can be prepared
in half an hour, and the cook need not watch it constantly; potatoes do
not boil over. Besides all this, there is another advantage, and it is
this which makes it a favorite even with the rich; already, when
boiling, its starch is transformed into sugar, giving the potato a more
pleasant flavor than any other cheap dish can be said to have. How
easily the potato starch is converted into sugar may be noticed best in
half-frozen potatoes, because there the cells containing the starch
burst during the process of freezing.



The greens which we put in soup cannot be considered nutriment, but
rather a kind of spice, and perhaps also as a means of giving us the
benefit of some medicinal qualities which they in part contain. We will
dwell no longer on this subject, but proceed to the most nutritive
articles of food we use, viz., the leguminous vegetables.

Pease, beans, and lentils are so extremely rich in fat and
muscle-forming elements, that in this regard they excel bread and are
almost on a level with meat. No wonder, therefore, that they are very
favorite articles if well cooked, when we consider the fact that they
are so very cheap. Where people are too poor to buy meat every day,
legumes must not be found wanting. They play a great part in barracks
and prisons; and in order to keep pace with the immense progress
gastronomical science has made, one of the above-named articles ought to
be used in those establishments on all days on which there is no meat.

The element common to all three is called legumine. It is richer in
starch than bread and contains nearly three times more of it than the
potato. Partly legumes contain also ready-made sugar; this may be tasted
in green pease. Besides this, their flesh-forming parts are in greater
quantity than those of other plants, while their quantity of water is
less, and it is therefore not advisable to take them dry. New pease and
beans have, moreover, the advantage of being eatable together with their
hulls and pods, as these, when yet green, contain likewise sugar and

But we must recommend, above all, not to eat the hulls of dried legumes.
This may be avoided if, when boiled, the cook crushes them and strains
them through a coarse sieve, by which process the hulls are left. If
this is not done, we run the danger of disturbing the functions of the
body, inasmuch as these dry hulls are dissolved neither by the saliva of
the mouth nor the gastric juice of the stomach.

Most every one that once in his life had culinary labor to perform, is
acquainted with the fact that the cooking of legumes is often
accompanied by a peculiar circumstance. Pease sometimes may boil by the
hour without getting soft; it happens even that young pease, soft by
nature, become harder and harder by boiling; while, at other times, the
same pease have become soft and burst open after but half an hour's
cooking. The reason of this lies not in the pease, but in the water they
are boiled in. Our housewives undoubtedly know, from the experience of
their wash-days, that there is hard water and soft. Soap, when put in
hard water, breaks into small pieces, while it dissolves in soft water
completely and forms a slimy liquid. Science has solved this mystery:
spring-water contains lime, which combines chemically with the fat in
soap and forms with it an insoluble element; while rain-water contains
little or no lime, and therefore dissolves soap. The same is the case in
regard to the legumine. The lime in spring-water, which settles on the
bottom of vessels as sediment, combines with some constituent parts of
the pea and forms a very hard, indigestible body; rain-water, however,
dissolves legumine completely.

It must now appear evident to all, that much fuel and nutritive element
is gained by cooking pease, beans, and lentils in soft water. To comfort
those who, on the plea of uncleanliness, are opposed to rain or cistern
water, we desire to state that rain-water when poured through linen or
cotton cloth is not in the least impure; especially if it be allowed to
stand quietly for a few hours and then have the scum removed from its

Pease, beans, and lentils produce in the healthy body blood, flesh,
milk, and fat. By their being strained through a coarse sieve they lose
such disagreeable qualities as, for example, the bloating they produce
in the body, which makes them very unpopular with many.

Another great advantage in leguminous vegetables lies in this, that they
contain phosphorus, a principle needed for the formation and
preservation of the bones and brain; therefore we may justly maintain
that legumine is good for the body and mind both.



It is an old German habit to consider meat and vegetables as belonging

In the common kinds of vegetables there is very little nutriment. Nearly
nine-tenths of the weight of cabbages and other varieties consist of
water. There is therefore but little left for nutriment proper, as, for
example, vegetable albumen, gluten, vegetable fat, starch, and sugar. It
is only such vegetables as turnips, etc., that contain much sugar, for
which reason they are well adapted for children and convalescents. In
fine, if nutriment alone were considered, the enjoyment of our common
vegetables would be nothing but a luxury.

In truth, however, they possess elements which make them very beneficial
to man, if he takes them together with meat. They contain organic
acids--like fruit, which for this reason is so universally liked--and
have the quality of preserving in a state of dissolution the soluble
albumen of the meat. Thus they save much labor to the digestive organs,
and accelerate the transition of meat into chyle. Hence the well-known
fact, that after dinner, though we can eat nothing more, yet we like to
taste some good raw fruit, or cooked fruit of any kind. Vegetables are
taken for a similar purpose, and are therefore very healthy when eaten
with meat.

But why is it that our housewives often serve vegetables _before_ they
do meat, and fruit _after_ the meat?

Very likely they themselves do not know why, as is the case so often;
yet they act here, as in many other things, with wise instinct. Fruit
contains organic acid, which, in a ready-made condition, is very
beneficial to us; it needs only to be taken up by the stomach. We do
well, therefore, if we take fruit after the meat, and allow digestion to
go on with it. From vegetables, however, this acid is only produced in
the stomach, and during the process of digestion. If taken before meat,
the acid may promote the digestion of the meat; while if it is taken
after the meat, the acid comes much too late to be of any benefit. This
explains the fact, that vegetables in which this acid has been produced
by fermentation--as is the case, for example, with sour-crout--are
usually taken together with meat.

Another great advantage of vegetables is, that they are rich in mineral
salts necessary for the health of the body. There are ingredients in the
various kinds of vegetables, of which it may scarcely be believed that
they can be eaten, for they belong to the metals and metal combinations;
as, for example, chlorine, iron, potassium, and natron; these play an
important part in the body. It is, therefore, not surprising to us that
a judicious physician will more often prescribe a good vegetable than
medicine; and one ought to be thankful to him if he sends people more to
the market than to the drug-store. There are, indeed, many diseases
successfully cured by such organical remedies, which only nature knows
how to prepare. To mention but one remedy, spinage, so highly beneficial
to children and young girls of very pale appearance. Their
green-sickness takes origin from a want of iron in the blood. Though
every physician is able to prescribe medicine which contains iron, yet
the effect of such artificial inorganic remedies is often very doubtful;
while spinage itself contains iron, and therefore offers a better
organic remedy, and food.

Meat and vegetables are sufficient for the body. There is not need of
much meat. From six to eight ounces a day constitutes the quantity
sufficient for a man. Meat and vegetables compensate each other's wants;
the former is poor in water, the latter rich; vegetables are wanting in
albumen, which is found abundantly in meat. This happy circumstance is
favorable to the formation of that mixture of elements essential to the
preservation of the body.

Household fare, according to what we have seen, is precisely what it
ought to be, and does not, as some people are inclined to think, result
solely from the whims of the housewives. Thus is proved again what we
have said above, viz., that the natural instinct and tact of woman have,
by long years of practice, been guided by a better and more practical
course than science itself.

There are some other important articles of food, but we must keep them
for "Supper;" and our readers will no doubt be very glad if we conclude
this chapter, and treat in the next one the question,

"Is it good to take a little nap after dinner?"



An old adage says, "After dinner thou shalt either rest or walk a
thousand steps." Habit, however, has modified this very much; for people
nowadays neither rest nor walk; but, if they can, they lie down and
slumber. Now, it is true that sleep does not belong to the articles of
food. We might despatch the question of the nap after dinner here at
once; yet, if it has any influence upon the digestion of food, it is of
enough importance to merit a few words.

It was mentioned before, that eating and digestion are a labor. To many
it may be the most pleasant labor, to others even the only labor of
their lives; but be this as it may, it is certainly a labor for all and
every one; and it is important that during the process quiet should be
enjoyed. He who thinks he gains by not taking enough time for eating, or
he who takes his dinner while working or moving about, loses actually
more than he even thinks of winning. The activity without disturbs
seriously the activity within. The perspiration on the surface of the
body withdraws moisture from the inside of the body to such an extent as
to diminish even the saliva in the mouth, so necessary to digestion.
Have not all of you had the experience, that when fatigued you feel
dryness in the mouth; that you feel as if a piece of dry bread would not
pass down, but remain in your throat? And as with the saliva, it is with
the other digestive fluids; if there is any want of them, the food we
have taken lies in the stomach like stone.

It is therefore desirable to take a short rest before dinner, not to
perform any kind of labor whatever during the same, and, above all, not
to exercise the body immediately after dinner. Eating is an inward work,
and should not be accompanied by any labor without. As an additional
proof of what we said above, it may be stated that, as probably many of
our readers know already, even in the hottest summer, perspiration
diminishes after dinner. This will convince all, that when the digestive
apparatus is at work, the outer organs ought to be at rest. Once more,
then: before and after dinner we need rest, and it is this rest which
renders us indisposed to labor and makes us feel sleepy.

On the other hand, we must take but a short slumber. Those who have
accustomed themselves to sleep after dinner, feel that half an hour's
slumber is all that is needed, and that they even feel weary if they
have slept longer.

The reason of this is, the process of digestion is properly carried on
chemically by the food, being dissolved through the gastric juice. This
digestion, however, is greatly promoted by the motions of the stomach,
which tosses the food about from one side to the other, mixing it
entirely, and finally making a large ball of it, whose various
ingredients are, as it were, fused together. This process needs rest on
our part; during it sleep is sweet and agreeable. But for the further
digestion of food, energy is needed, which we have not during that
sleep; therefore its want makes our prolonged sleep uneasy, or renders
our digestion imperfect. This latter may be felt by every one who goes
to bed with a full stomach. His sleep during the first hour is
undisturbed and pleasant, because it is favorable to the first stage of
digestion. But after that, sleep is very uneasy; weariness and
complaints about bad digestion follow, and the imprudent person rises
next morning with headache, coated tongue, and indigestion in the

From what has preceded we may conclude, that a short nap after dinner is
conducive to good health; while if taken too long, it will produce the
contrary effect. Dizziness in the head and fetid taste in the mouth are
sure signs of one's having overslept one's self, and he who has been so
imprudent must animate his system--not by liquor, but with a glass of
fresh water; or he must, if he feels very heavy, wash with very cold
water. For this is the moment when digestion needs activity more than
anything else; the above symptoms are the indications, and man should
consider them as the summons of nature, who calls to him, "Thou hast
eaten and reposed; go, then, to thy labor; this is the time!"

Let every one obey her call, and there will be less sickness.



During the forenoon a general desire for food is felt, while in the
afternoon thirst is more common, in which case the best and most natural
beverage should always be water.

Properly speaking, water is no article of food, if by that term we
understand only animal and vegetable matter. Water is no organic, but a
mere chemical agent. But if man were to consume no water he would
perish. Therefore water is essentially necessary to man, although it
does not satisfy his appetite; for it serves to liquify our food in the
body, and our blood must contain a greater quantity of water than is
furnished us by food, although this itself contains much water.

Without water there can be neither digestion nor nutrition, nor
formation of blood, nor secretion. Furthermore, it is remarkable that
the most active of the human organs, the brain and muscles, contain the
most water; we are therefore obliged, although we are aware of its
containing no nutritious elements, to call it a nutritive; all the more,
since it is well known that we can be longer without food than without

This element plays a great part in the body; it is used in three ways.
In the first place, the ingredients of water, hydrogen and oxygen,
combine with the food, and effect its digestion. The starch which we eat
in farinaceous and vegetable food cannot without water be converted into
sugar. And the latter being transformed into fat, we should have no fat
if we took no water, though it may seem strange that water should make
us fat.

And there is the second task, viz., the preservation of all the fluids
necessary to our body. This, also, is performed by water; and as they
are excreted their loss is compensated for by water. We lose it
constantly by breathing, perspiring, and urinating; therefore we must
continually take it anew. Those who perspire and breathe much, as, for
example, workmen or foot-travellers, must take it in greater quantities.

The third reason of its importance lies in this, that it gives us much
of the salts and other ingredients that are dissolved in it, and which
the human body needs for its support. Those are wrong, therefore, who
prefer cistern or distilled water to spring-water; the former being, as
it were artificially, free from all metallic and mineral parts which are
so beneficial to our health; while spring-water contains them in
abundance, and ought, therefore, to be taken in preference even to the
purest rain-water.

But one of the most excellent qualities of water is, that one can
scarcely ever drink too much of it. If but for a moment in the stomach,
it is absorbed there and goes immediately into the blood. From this
arises its rapid cooling quality; which, however, may become very
dangerous when one is heated. There is but one case in which water is
not readily absorbed by the stomach; when it contains salts that make it
heavier than blood, for example, Glauber's salt and bitter-salt. It
passes then into the intestinal canal, and produces here--partly as
liquid, partly by its salts exciting the nerves of the intestines--that
medicinal effect for which it is famous. Many water-cures, especially
those applied in cases of abdominal diseases, are of similar effects.

Common water, however, which is immediately transmitted to the blood,
effects by this accelerated secretion of perspiration, respiration and
urine; this constitutes the beneficial effects of water-cures, where a
glass of water often produces better results than a bottle of medicine.

If we can control our thirst until several hours after dinner have
passed, a glass of beer will be a welcome beverage to us. Beer contains
nutriment; it includes more or less albumen, sugar, gluten, hops, and
alcohol. Owing to the variety in its fermentation and manufacture, we
have many kinds of beer, such as, for example, porter, ale, and, above
all others, the lager-beer.

Good beer--that is, beer well brewed and containing all the ingredients
this beverage generally does contain--is, very justly, often given to
nurses and mothers, because it assimilates easily and very rapidly. It
is a kind of soup; one may take it when a person is too heated or
fatigued to eat a regular meal. There is a kind of beer that contains
more hops, and is therefore very bitter; it is very good for the
stomach. The Bavarian beer, when genuine, contains more alcohol than the
other, which gives it the advantages of liquor without its
disadvantages. It therefore does not satisfy one's appetite, but, on the
contrary, tends to increase it; thus it is more adapted to be taken at
breakfast and supper. Another kind of beer, called white-beer, contains
more sugar and oxygen; it may, for this reason, supply the place of
sugar, and Seltzer-water, and is recommended to all those who need
Seidlitz powders.

In another part of this work we shall perhaps speak more about the
usefulness of beer. To-day we must pray our readers to be satisfied with
what we have said about it; we shall now speak about supper.



No time of the day is more pleasant than the evening hours after the
day's work is over; there is a solemn calm and quiet in them which
charms both soul and body.

This time of ease and rest must not be disturbed on our part by
overburdening the stomach. We eat only for the purpose of compensating
for the loss experienced through our work; we should not eat more than
is necessary to supply the strength lost; in other words, to give us
sufficient strength to continue our labor. And as the day's work is
finished, there being not much work before us, we need not take much

When glancing at a sleeping person and noticing his long breathing and
increased perspiration, one may be led to the belief that he loses much
oxygen and water during his sleep; that therefore we must provide
ourselves abundantly with food before retiring to bed. This is, however,
a mistake. The breath of a sleeping person is long and deep, but very
slow; and his perspiring does not cause any great loss of water, but
comes rather from this, that one's body during the night is more
protected by covers and closed windows, etc., from draft which dries our
evaporation, and therefore prevents perspiration in day-time. During
sleep we need even less of bodily strength than through the day; for
this reason we feel no hunger in the night, and, in spite of the long
fasting, no fatigue in the morning.

From this we conclude that supper should not be a meal for the night,
but merely for the last hours of the day. It should be no meal
_prænumerando_, but _postnumerando_!

It is therefore best to choose but light dishes, which, if we wish to
rest well, must be easily digested, and eaten at least two or three
hours before bed-time.

For healthy people a warm supper is unnecessary; our dinner is taken
warm for the purpose only of keeping the gluten and fat of the food
liquid; as this kind of food, however, is not proper for supper, we need
not take it at all in the evening. If we do, it is but an additional
burden to the housewife, who surely has enough trouble and labor in the
kitchen during the day. He who is not satisfied with a piece of bread
and butter and a glass of beer, may eat a piece of cheese besides; but
it must be no other kind than sour cheese--the Germans call it
_Schmierkaese_--common cheese being too heavy for night because of its
containing fat. This sour cheese, whether soft or hardened, is easily
digested; it even excites the stomach like spice, especially if you eat
it with caraway seeds, and thus promotes the secretion of gastric juice.
The other kind of cheese is, for no other reason than that, often eaten
after dinner; for, though taken by itself scarcely digestible, if eaten
in very small quantity, it increases by its action upon the stomach, the
quantity of gastric juice there, and, therefore, promotes digestion in

Should we, however, for one reason or the other, insist upon having a
more substantial supper, then let us take soft-boiled eggs. The
nutritive quality of eggs is equivalent to that of meat. They unite all
good sides of the meat; nay, we may say here, that the most nourishing
part in meat is nothing but egg-white, or, as we call it, "albumen."

We recommend soft-boiled eggs, because hard ones are difficult to
digest. They are best prepared by boiling, if the water is allowed to
boil first and the eggs put in afterwards. The reason of this is, that
the boiling water hardens the outer part of the egg very rapidly,
forming a thick crust, which prevents the heat of the boiling water from
penetrating farther.

It is a custom of our country to take tea in the evening. Tea is no
article of food, but it possesses the qualities of coffee; it warms the
blood, increases the activity of the heart, and produces a certain
freshness of the mind, which is a good remedy against ennui and
sleepiness in a company or party.

And since we are speaking of ennui and sleepiness, we think it advisable
to close our present subject, "The Articles of Food for the People," and
we part from our readers with the full conviction that they will enjoy
their real "articles of food" much better than they have relished these
scientific conversations about them.

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