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er's case seems almost hopeless, but a few suggestions, which if carried out would do much to remedy the evil, can do no harm.
The educational interests of our country are in the worst possible state of disorganization. Each State, each county, each district, manages its own affairs, and pays no attention to the rest. This certainly is a sad condition of affairs, and must beeds be changed before any good can be accomplished. There must be a settled, definite policy for the whole country; in other words, there must be national supervision, with a national superintendent of education, who will be a cabinet officer. There must be one system, one uniform plan of instruction, modified to suit local needs, and harmonious laws all over the United States. In after years when this comes, as it surely will, people will look back with wonder upon these "dark ages," educationally, when there was no system or coherence in our schools. The only wonder is that so much has been accomplished with such inadequate means, and that so much has been accomplished is much to the credit of those engaged in the work.
Another needed reform, and this would come with national supervision, is in the direction of a thorough training of teachers. If no one was allowed to teach until be had a diploma from a government normal training school, which diploma was a life certificate, many of the difficulties of the teacher's life would disappear, for then there would be encouragement to enter the work for life, instead of merely taking it up as a temporary makeshift, as so many do at present, owing to which skilled and unskilled labor is brought into unfair competition, as most people think that anybody who can obtain a certificate, of however low a grade, can teach school; and, legally, anybody can. Experienced teachers have to compete with those who have had little or no experience, so it is no wonder that wages are low. Think of a first class carpenter having to compete with a man who has a hammer and a saw and can build a pig-pen!
Again, the injustice of requiring a teacher to take an examination every time he crossed an imaginary line, and, no matter what his experience and success, to be re-examined at stated periods, would be done away with, for these diplomas would be good in every state in the union. The periodical examinations are the bane of the teacher's life, for when he should be broadening his outlook, he must be preparing for them, so the effect is very narrowing, to say the least.
With national supervision teaching would be a profession, and the teachers more professional in their dealings with each other, nor be so ready to take advantage of complaints about others to advance their own interests. The code of ethics among them should be as strict as that governing the medical profession, and should be adhered to as closely. With their work a profession, teachers would have heart to magnify their calling; to have an ideal, and so far as in them lay to strive to attain is, for then they would feel an energy and interest in their labor which now they cannot, for not only could the teacher lay his plans for the future and inaugurate much needed measures, not attempted now for lack of time, and the uncertainty of position as well, but he could have a home, could be a citizen, and could take a citizen's interest in local affairs, nor endanger his official head by being a man among men.
Will these reforms ever be made ? Not with public opinion as it is. Teachers themselves must be roused from their apathy, must strive to“ work out their own salvation," they must not be so hopeless for the future, The
people must be made to realize the frightful waste of force, the irreparable injury to their children, under the present lack of system, so that they will demand more sensible and humane management, and greater justice to both teachers and pupils. The press must be enlisted in the cause, and the great magazines, which are fairly teeming with educational articles of the rarest value, and which are always in the lead where the uplifting of the general public is concerned, will aid the movement, and all working together, these changes will come about sooner, perhaps, than we expect, for events cul. minate rapidly in this age of progress, and in this country of ours.
E. L. COWDRICK HEALTH AND BEAUTY. THE household article in greatest use is probably the “looking glass." What person is there handsome or homely who does not question the mirror daily?
The love of beauty is one of the most firmly implanted qualities of the human mind, and only those who are mentally deficient fail to appreciate it.
From the human standpoint there is no edifice so beautiful as that earthly temple which enshrines the soul. Very little defacement, however, converts this beautiful structure into a loathsome thing, and to prevent it constant care and watchfulness is necessary. It needs no Roentgen ray to penetrate the walls of this edifice in order to discover the condition of the occupant. The drunkard, the roué and the sloth all show their vice indelibly impressed without.
Stamped in various places are the marks the fool has paid for his folly.
People who live without thinking why or how they live, cannot appreciate on what apparent trifles their physical and moral well being depend. The person who bolts his food and rushes off to work or exercise does not stop to think that he has loaded his stomach with a mass which will ferment or even putrefy before it can be digested.
The food must be thoroughly masticated and incorporated with the saliva before it is swallowed. Gladstone is said to owe much of his vigorous constitution to the fact that he makes it a rule to chew each mouthful thoroughly. The anecdote says he chews each mouthful thirty-nine times before swallowing. I do not know if the story is true, but it is plausible, and in a measure may well account for his splendid bealth and longevity.
It should be remembered that digestion takes a considerable amount of energy, and that if we work or make much effort after eating a full meal we draw away from the stomach the nervous force that is absolutely necersary to enable it to perform its function.
The result is indigestion with its train of ills. Few realize what a train these are. The food lies in "a lump," and distresses the sufferer. This distress tortures and exhausts him. The stomach walls are excited, irritated, and inflamed. After a time nature, unable to get rid of the mass by natural digestion, tries to dissolve it by fermentation, and gases are given off wbich distend the stomach, causing it to encroach upon the space needed by the lungs and heart. The latter is embarrassed; palpitation and strange sensations are felt; breathing is difficult. The sufferer in nine cases out of ten believes be has heart disease. Fermentation goes on to putrifaction, and poisonous matters are developed in the mass of putrefying food.
These still further irritate the stomach. But worse even ; a portion are absorbed and cause various nervous symptoms. Headache, neuralgia, dizziness, and so called “hot flashes" affect the sufferer.
Tender spots varying in size from a silver dollar to three inches in diameter develop over the chest and head. The patient feels so ill he commonly suspects that he is suffering from heart disease, Bright's disease, or some illness having a certain fatal termination.
The painful neuralgia in his chest or back confirms this fear. Often the stomach derangement is so insidious that even a physician is misled and does not suspect that the symptoms so far removed from that organ have their origin there.
Moreover, the weakened, debilitated condition which quickly results from stomach derangement, the half-starved, anamic state which follows, renders the patient peculiarly liable to contract and develop the infectious and contagious ailments.
Though consumption and other communicable disease may attack strong, healthy persons, it is extremely rare for them to do so. The dyspeptics and the weaklings oin ninety-nine cases out of every hundred are their victims.
The cure of dyspepsia, when it has advanced to the stage of catarrh of the stomach, is often very difficult, weeks and even months being sometimes necessary to effect it.
If the disease has extended beyond the stomach into the intestines, the nervous paroxysms that are of almost daily occurrence render life unendurable.
Now, while the cure of the condition I have described is difficult, nothing is easier than its prevention. Nowhere is the difference between tbe proverbial ounce and pound better exemplified. A little time devoted to proper eating, a little rest after meals so that the stomach may get a good start to do its work again, and all may be avoided.
When I first began to practice my profession, I was amazed at the number of women of my acquaintance whom I saw, not only professionally but socially, who were afflicted in some degree with some ailment. It was very difficult to find a healthy woman. Even now, though conditions have greatly improved and are still improving, I believe a perfectly healthy woman is quite a rarity. I recently instituted a sort of rough census with the purpose of ascertaining in a general way the percentage of healthy women to the general mass of womankind. Four of my friends whose interest I awakened made personal inquiries among their acquaintances. The inquiries reached 239 women. Out of this number only 14 could boast of perfect health. How many women owe their ill-health to modern modes of living, improper eating, and improper clothing!
Tight lacing and its evils are hackneyed themes, but I cannot pass them by without just a word of denunciation. The bodily distortion that results from compressing the vital organs and displacing them from their proper positions is answerable for much misery. “Can a woman ride a bicycle when she is tightly laced ?" I asked an enthusiastic lady cyclist, when I first noticed women were taking up the fad. “She can," was the reply, “but she is the most uncomfortable person on the face of the earth, and she cannot climb a hill to save her life.” I soon noticed that among a large class of women tight lacing was the exception. The bicycle is doing more toward curing this evil than all that has been written or cried against it,
The bicycle may prove one of the greatest benefactors of the human race. It may, however, work great harm, and in four ways accomplish it. First, by injudicious long-distance riding. Ambitious riders who attempt to accomplish “centuries" and “double centuries" may do so at the expense of their entire future well-being. Peculiarly favorable physical conditions may make it safe for a person to ride four or even five hours a day, but as a rule an hour or two is amply sufficient to obtain good results, Second, by riding on a badly constructed saddle, which distributes the weight of the body over parts which were not intended to withstand pressure. Third, riders suffering from diseases affecting the pelvic organs are apt to unduly congest these. In all these diseases the return circulation is impeded, i. e., the blood vessels leading from the parts toward the heart are more or less compressed by the swelling or enlargement which naturally accompanies the disease. Of course, the exercise in. creases the blood supply to the parts, and this cannot be returned to the heart in proportion to the increase. The swelling is naturally enlarged and the inflammatory condition aggravated. Fourth, by the “scorcher pos. ture," by which the chest is contracted, the lungs squeezed, so to speak, into a space too small to hold them. The air cannot properly dilate them and consumptive tendencies are greatly favored. The spine is formed by a number of bony rings bound together by ligamentous and muscular bands. Between each of these rings is a disc made of elastic cartilage resembling India rubber in consistency. These make the spine flexible in all directions. If the spine bends toward the front, the discs are compressed in front and expand behind. If the spine bends backward, the discs contract and expand in the opposite direction. Now, if we remain in a bent-over position and the discs are kept for a period of time compressed, they lose their elasticity and remain compressed on one side and expanded on the other. After a time the cartilage becomes hardened as bone and holds the person hent over with a curvature of the spine.
The modern bed is also utterly destructive to the spine. It is soft, piled at one end with pillows, and it curves the spine exactly as is curved that of the scorcher. A flat bed and a low pillow are conducive to healthful rest and a straight, handsome frame.
If we would be happy, handsome, and healthy, we should eat carefully, avoid exertion after meals, dress loosely and comfortably, exercise moderately, and sleep not in badly constructed beds.
SHALL WE TAX THE HUMAN LEG ? THE bicycle tax was conceived in the brain of the man whose sole idea of property was that it was "something to tax." The fierce fight that is waged against it in Paris, Chicago, St. Louis and other great cities where it has been levied grows out of the instinctive, intuitive feeling among wheelmen that the tax is unjust. They have raised many objections to it, which have varied with localities. In some places it has been fcught on the ground that as other vehicles were not taxed it was class legislation. In others, az at Paris, it has been alleged that the wheel having become an object of use by workmen who go to their place of employment on it, the levy a discrimination against the poor. But this attempt to array class against another has been futile as the others. In Chicago, the recent bicycle tax ordinance evolved
long and learned aguments to the effect that the assessment meant double taxation. So everywhere the objections to this new tax have differed in accordance with the community affected. But there is one objection to the tax that is fundamental, and applies to it irrespectively of locality. The bicycle tax when stripped of the sophistries which have accompanied its elevation into municipal ordinance is simply a tax on leg power, and in that respect restricts the citizen in the exercise of his physical forces. The mere consideration of what the bicycle does for man will clearly demonstrate the unconstitutionality of the tax. The bicycle is a means by which man puts to the best use the driving power of his legs. It occupies nearly the same relation as the shoe. Foot covering enables a man to walk better, the bicycle goes little further and adds the feature of speed. If it is right to tax the bicycle it is equally right to tax the shoe. Or carry the comparison further. The crutch of the cripple enables him to utilize his powers of locomotion more than if he did not use it. It increases the speed of the legless man as much in proportion as the bicycle adds to the speed of the man with complete limbs. Is the crutch to be taxed? If not why the bicycle? In Bermuda I once saw a paralytic who could move about only by propelling himself in a perambulator. When they taxed his perambulator at the Custom House, he said with a pathos entirely lost on the officials, “Don't you know you are taxing my legs.”
The argument that the bicycle is a vehicle, and is, therefore, a proper subject for taxation is completely nullified by recent legal decisions. In Great Britain within the past year judges. have ruled that bicycles are not vehicles, and in the United States the Courts have upheld the acts compelling railroads to carry bicycles as baggage, in face of the railroads' contention that wheels were vehicles. If bicycles are baggage they are certainly not vehicles. They cannot change their character by being lifted into a car. The suddeuness with which the right to have their wheels carried free was accorded to wheelmen by legislatures was a recognition of the fact that the bicycle is part of a man's personal equipment as much as nis shoes or bis spectacles. The mind should need no special enlightenment to perceive that nothing can be logically classed as a vehicle that depends for its power on man's own physical forces. In wagons, automobiles and locomotives the power is all outside of man's muscles. This distinction is made perfectly clear when we consider the bicycle skate now coming into use on the roads. No one would seriously argue that it should be taxed, for the connection between the ley muscles and the skate is so close as to be apparent at a glance. Even though the bicycle skater should be banished to the roadway from the sidewalk, there would be no reason for taxing him. Some bicyclists seem to think that the payment of a tax entitles them to the use of the road, and it is this belief that is largely responsible for the laws taxing them. They forget that their right to use the road rests on no payment of a tax. It rests on their desire to go somewhere. As well say that the only way a man acquires the right to use a sidewalk is by the payment of a tax on shoes, or in the case of a cripple by paying to use his crutches, for it must not be forgotten that both shoes and crutches injure a roadway more than a rubber tire. Nor can a bicycle tax be justified on the ground that it is to build cycle paths. The same argument would call for a tax on shoes to provide sidewalks.
Wm. EVERETT HICKS.