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purified and transmuted by the Oxygen of the air into a homogeneous" fluid of a bright-red color.
5. But if the air we inhale is thus made to part with its Oxygen, has the air we erhale undergone no change in our service? Of course it has — a very important change! You may easily test the fact. Put a piece of quill into the nozle of a pair of bellows, cause the bellows to blow into a cup of lime-water, and you will find no change in the appearance of the latter; for through the bellows the same kind of air which we require to inhale is blown in. But put the quill into your mouth, and blow into the lime-water, and you will see it become turbid and white, and, if allowed to stand, a fine white powder will fall to the bottom. The reason is, the air which you have blown into the water has passed through your Lungs, and parted with its Oxygen, and its place has been supplied by another and a compound gas, known as Carbonic Acid.
6. We hope we are not growing tedious; but we here wish you to be distinctly impressed with the fact that the air which we take in is a very different article from that which we give out. The air we take in is a compound gas, of whose weight Nitrogen forms four-fifths and Oxygen one-fifth. The air we give out contains about eight per cent, more Carbonic Acid than it had when we inhaled it, and its Oxygen is diminished in the proportion necessary to form this acid. If the same air be respired over and over several times, all its Oxygen is consumed, and the air becomes loaded with Carbonic Acid gas.
7. Now, pray remember this: unmixed Carbonic Acid gas when inhaled is a deadly poison; and even when mixed with a large quantity of atmospheric air, it is pernicious to health in proportion to its amount beyond a certain quantity. Thrust a lighted candle into a jar full of it, and the flame will be extinguished. An ignorance of its poisonous quality, and of the importance of continuous fresh supplies of Oxygen, has often led to the destruction of life. In the year 1797, the master of a small vessel belonging to Southampton, in England, had seventy passengers collected in the hold during a storm. Thinking to make them more secure, he spread a tarpaulin" over the hatches and battened it down. On opening the hold, all the passengers were found dead! The air being shut out, all the Oxygen had been consumed, and the deadly Carbonic Acid had been generated in its place. The master who had brought about this immense loss of life, through ignorance of the effects of foul air, became mad, and died soon after.
8. The same catas'trophe was repeated, December 22d, 1848, on board the steamer Londonderry, from Sligo, bound for Amer> ica viaB Liverpool. Into a space about eighteen feet long by ten or twelve in width, one hundred and fifty human beings were packed. It was ventilated by only one opening, the coin panion-way, as it is called; and, lor fear that the water would get admission, this aperture was at length closed, and a tarpaulin nailed over it. In the darkness and heat and loathsomeness of their airless prison, the wretched inmates shrieked for aid; but the boisterousness of the storm was such that they co-ild not make themselves heard by those on deck. When at lengtu an opening was made, it was found that the floor was covered with dead bodies to the depth of some feet. Seventytwo men, women, and children, perished on this occasion, through the ignorance of the captain and mate of the facts that we have been endeavoring to impress upon you!
9. Perhaps you will cry out against this most culpable ignorance. Alas! every day we witness instances of similar heedlessness, which, if not so instantly fatal, do undoubtedly operate to undermine the health and shorten the lives of thousands. In the sleeping-room, the parlor, the school-room, the church, and the hall of assembly, men, women, and children, are too often subjected to the inhalation of an atmosphere partially poisoned, the effect of which must unavoidably be mischievous in a greater or less degree. We have sometimes wished that air might become dyed of a different color after having been used, that those who live in a perpetual terror of fresh air might see the poisonous atmosphere to which they condemn themselves. It would seem as if some people were so in the habit of avoiding pure air, that if you were to shut them up in a bottle they would call out to you to put in the cork!
CLXX.— THE COMPLAINT OF A PAIR OF LUNGS.
1. Ahem! It is our mistress's fault, and not ours, if we occasionally are obliged to stop in order to cough. We had almost forgotten our own private grievances in speaking of the general suffering to our fraternity resulting from an insufficient supply of pure air. We were born into what we may not improperly style "this breathing world" a very healthy and perfect pair of Lungs. But we had not been in it long, before the nurse to whom our young lady had been confided caused us great suffering by covering her with blankets and ithawls so as (o exclude the pure air, thus introducing into om laboratory air which had already lost a good part of its Oxygen, and which was wholly unfit for our purposes. The emanations of the skin also, being confined by superfluous swathings, gave new force to our first and worst enemy, Carbonic Acid, and contributed to weaken and perplex us in our operations.
2. Many infants in our neighborhood died under a similar course of inaMiaatment, having been almost smothered under the coverlid, in a room the atmosphere of which had been vitiated by the presence of a number of visitors. It is a wonder that our young lady survived as she did. We made the most, however, of the little Oxygen we managed to get, and kept up a vigilant warfare against Carbonic Acid until the summer came, and open windows and out-of-door exercise fed us with invigorating drafts, and enabled us to overcome the tendencies to disease which an impure atmosphere had generated.
3. No sooner had we escaped the perils of infancy, however, than our little mistress was placed at a school where we had to undergo a new series of trials. Some twenty pupils were kept five hours a day in an apartment, about sixteen feet long by fourteen wide, the windows and doors of which were carefully closed. By an accurate arithmetical calculation, we convinced ourselves that, supposing the room to be filled with fresh air when the pupils entered, it would be all used up in just three minutes afterwards, at the end of which time we poor Lungs had to inhale the waste animal matter and Carbonic Acid with which the atmosphere was loaded. Languor, irritability, and dulness of the intellect, were the sure result; and then the chil
* dren were rapped over the knuckles for faults which a little fresh air would have prevented.
4. Persons entering, and inhaling the air thus exhausted and corrupted, would often complain of the oppressive and offensive smell. But the schoolmistress could never be made to believe that anything was wrong. She had been accustomed to it so long that she did not perceive it. The sensibility of her lungs and nostrils had become blunted. Then she had false notion! about taking cold. A current of air upon the heated body is to be avoided, as everybody knows; but taking cold is often the result of the depression of the vital powers by the absence of pure air, so that when the individual goes forth into the cold there is not sufficient reactive energy to fortify him against the effect of a change of temperature. Depressed and weakened by a want of its natural stimulus, Oxygen, the system is unprepared to meet the emergency to which it is exposed.
5. Well: no sooner had we weathered one danger than *a had to combat another. Our young lady was sent to a boarding-school; and here we not only had to inhale a foul atmos phere during school-hours, but at night we were shut up in a sleeping-room where five or six other pairs of Lungs were at work oxygenizing blood. O, the state of that room in the morning! If our old enemy, Carbonic Acid, did not have it all to himself, he was in a fair way to arrive at the supreme dominion, and to murder us in our beds. Our friend and ally, Oxygen, would be almost entirely driven from the field. Eaint and panting, it would be sometimes with an effort that he could strike a last blow in our defence. O! when will people learn that ventilation, or the means of supplying fresh air to the Lungs, is as necessary as the supply of food to the Stomach?
6. At length our young lady, who, to do her justice, was studious and capable, left school. She had become very accomplished in instrumental music, drawing, and several of the sciences; could speak French and Italian; but, alas! knew little of the commonest laws of health — not enough to take care that we had fair play in our efforts to serve her. In reading aloud and singing she was not half as successful as she might have been — owing simply to the delicate state into which we had been thrown by impure air, and the lack of plentiful out-ofdoor exercise. An awful trial now awaited us. She entered society, and her dress-maker persuaded her that an "hour-glass waist" would set off her figure to advantage. How odiously false was the advice! Every person of taste looks with pity or disgust upon the unnatural constraints employed to disfigure the body, and destroy its symmetry.
7. However, we were obliged to submit. The chest, in which we are enclosed, now being restricted to unnatural limits, the* volume of air inhaled was necessarily diminished, and thus there was an insufficient quantity of Oxygen to vitalize the blood, even though we might be in a well-ventilated apartment, or in the open air! But the evil was aggravated when our mistress began to pass her evenings in hot and badly-ventilated ballrooms or concert-rooms. Then what torments, what discouragements, did we poor Lungs have to undergo! How often wouli we sigh, "O, for a long, deep draft of Oxygen!" When will people consider that to produce ventilation there must be two constant currents; one outward, carrying off the foul air, and one inward, bringing in pure air? It is absurd to provide means for the admission of fresh air by a furnace or otherwise, unless there be some avenue for the foul air to escape.
8. By the end of our eighteenth winter, we were in such u diseased state that the doctor was called in. He sounded us with his stethoscope. Do you know what a stethoscope is? We will tell you. When the ear is applied to the chest of a healthy person, the sound of the air passing through the branches of the wind-pipe and our air-cells may be distinctly heard. This has given rise to the invention of the stethoscope, a small wooden, trumpet-shaped instrument, which transmits the sounds of respiration with great distinctness, when one end is placed against the chest, and the other against the ear of the listener. The variations of sound, produced by the modifications of disease, enable the listener to detect, though not always with infallible accuracy, the existence and extent of pulmonary affections.
9. The result of the test applied to us was, that a sea-voyage was recommended to the patient. She was sent to a relative in England, and here, under the care of a most intelligent lady, w£ were in the course of six months restored to a state of 3omparative health. Why will not our American ladies adopt some of the good habits of their English sisters in respect to exercise and pure air ?" In the United States," says the late A. J Downing, "a gentleman or lady, who is seen regularly devoting a certain portion of the day to exercise, is looked upon as a valetudinarian, — an invalid, who is obliged to take care of himself, poor soul! and his friends daily meet him with sympathizing looks, hoping he 'feels better.' As for the ladies, unless there is some object in taking a walk, they look upon it as the most stupid and unmeaning thing in the world. On the other side of the water, a person who should neglect the pleasure of breathing the free air for a couple of hours daily, or should shun the duty of exercise, is suspected of slight lunacy; and ladies who should prefer continually to devote their leisure to the solace of luxurious cushions, rather than an exhilarating ride or walk, are thought a little out of their head."
10. The consequence of this difference of habits is a marked difference in the health of the intelligent females of England and those of this country. An English woman dresses according to the climate and the state of the roads, and takes a healthful amount of exercise, let the weather be what it may. Great attention is also paid by her to the ventilation of her rooms. We had hopes that our young mistress, after her English experience, would, on her return home, devote herself to a more serious fulfilment of her duties towards us. But it is hard to overcome early habits of inattention and neglect. She is gradually relapsing into the most culpable indifference in regard to our comfort and health. Absorbed in her social and fashionable pursuits, she often allows our abominable persecutor, Carbonic Acid, to get the upper hand; and then she will stay within doors