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fakir, or Arab priest. The little dog looked very round and fat, and was, I believe, covered over with oil. All at once the sounds of music were heard without, and a strange group made its appearance. A boy carried a flag of red and white, a tall respectable-looking Arab played a tambourine, a young man a long drum, and another a pair of castanets. They all sung in a low voice; and in the midst was a fakir, for whom all the display was made. He was a very good-looking man, with a full florid face, a black bushy beard, and his thick hair in wild disorder. He moved his head up and down strangely in time to the music, and joined in the chant with the others. He came into the hut where I was, and behaved with great ease and civility; and seemed more a man of the world than a self-denying saint.
The figure of the beautiful woman in the book, which the two Arabs had kissed with earnestness, the fakir seemed to view with dislike, as the Koran forbids a fondness for pictures. The Prophet was right, perhaps, in prohibiting the use of pictures or images to his people; the wretched paintings of the Virgin and the saints, male and female, in the Greek church may have quite as much effect on the imagination, if it can at all be excited by such things, as the vile statues of the Catholics. The only human figure I saw in Greece that was better worth worshipping, if I may be allowed the expression, than half their marvellous calendar, was a young Greek girl at Tripolitza. She was dying—but her figure was symmetry itself. Her father was a priest, and her mother was, as she was well termed, a magnificent woman, of large size, stout, and her features bad a noble and imperial character, quite unlike her daughter, who was of the smallest size in which loveliness could well inhabit. The girl was laid in the corridor to breathe the fresh air. She did not speak; but her elegant yet emaciated limbs, but ill concealed by the loose drapery, were moved at times, in agony, while a hurried ejaculation escaped her, and her face was buried in the long tresses of her beautiful hair. Never does a woman arrest every feeling so irresistibly as in hopeless sorrow and anguish; if experience among both the unhappy Greeks and Turks could confirm this, it were easy to appeal to it. I have heard the lament of a mother over all her murdered family; of a widow for her husband torn from her arms, and slain ; the parting of a lady from her son, whose father lay covered with wounds; but in the touching and impassioned expression of sorrow the Christian must yield to the Ottoman :—the men take it calmly and passively; but the Turkish women—there is the very soul of sorrow there, and of tenderness.
THE PHYSICIAN.NO. XIV.
Of the Diseases of the Dog-days. The everlasting infancy of the vulgar must plead their excuse, if in their ignorance they adopt errors and prejudices, and if the strength of their faith is in an inverse ratio to the extent of their knowledge. Their superstition explains to them without difficulty all the secrets of Nature, about which the philosophers of all ages have to no purpose puzzled their brains. The term sympathy enables them to comprehend the reason why the magnet attracts iron; and spirits explain to them the nature of the ignis fatuus. The most obstinate diseases they attribute to the agency of the devil ; any unusual circumstance to the power of witchcraft; the unequal effects of medicines to the arbitrary influences of the moon, and the causes of death to the position of the stars in the heavens, and the howling of dogs upon the earth.
The origin of the propensity of mankind to blame Heaven and the stars for the effects of their own actions, I cannot ascribe to any thing but their self-love: for this alone can produce in them a wish to be considered wiser and more innocent than they really are. It is related concerning Democritus the philosopher, that having one day some figs which tasted of honey brought to his table, he immediately repaired to the spot where the fruit had been gathered, to exercise bis ingenuity in discovering whether this flavour was derived from the soil, the juices of the trees, or some other hidden circumstance. His housekeeper, perceiving his intention and wishing to spare him needless trouble, confessed with a smile that she had accidentally put the figs into a jar which had previously contained honey. The philosopher was extremely angry, not on account of the mistake, but because she had acquainted him with it; as he had fully determined to discover a much more profound cause of the phenomenon. Such was his disposition, and such too is that of many scholars and men of science at the present day, who seek truth not in knowledge but in the invention of ingenious errors, to adopt far-fetched causes for natural events, merely that they may flatter themselves with the false reputation of being great philosophers. To this silly propensity we have to attribute so many erudite theories, so many specious systems, so many elaborately devised errors, and so many romances concerning the natures of the world and of man, by which the learned have rendered themselves eminent among their contemporaries and ridiculous to the next generation. They will not have the truth for nothing ; and thus truth fares exactly like certain commodities which are thought of no account unless they cost the purchaser a high price. At the same time, nothing is more certain than that those truths which are most essential to our well-being, seldom lie so deep as we seek them, and that we should find them much more easily if we did not give ourselves a great deal more trouble than we need do in the search. The following observations will confirm the accuracy of this position. They will show that men have at all times laboured to seek at a very great distance for the causes of natural infirmities, the grounds of which they have so near them, in order to appear wiser than they need be, or indeed than it is possible for them to be. The reader will at the same time perceive, that it is not the pride of wisdom alone which torments us with such bootless
ingenuity; but that we likewise strive thereby to excuse the depravity of our hearts, and to set ourselves up in our sufferings for martyrs of virtue. We never like to acknowledge that our afflictions are the effects of our own misconduct or imprudence; and therefore we seek the cause of them any where else, even at the extreme limits of the universe, rather than in the little corner of our own heart, where the turbid source of them is constantly flowing. We should be obliged to look upon ourselves as suicides, as self-tormentors, if we were to admit that we drew disease and death upon ourselves, merely because we would not attempt to control our appetites; and we fancy that we clear ourselves from this reproach by assigning some external cause to which we firmly believe we owe our misery.
The principal and most brilliant of the stars composing the constellation of the Little-Dog, is called by the name of the whole constellation, and this is the reddish Dog-star, or Sirius, from which the Dog-days have received their appellation.
Observers have remarked that the celestial hemisphere undergoes an almost imperceptible change from day to day, and that the sun, besides his daily motion from east to west, which produces day and night, has another apparent motion from west to east, by means of which, at the expiration of 365 days, he is again at the same star from which he receded six months, and to which he has been again approaching in the six succeeding months. The period of this last movement is termed the solar year. The different seasons were therefore distinguished according to the constellations which the sun passed through in his annual course, that is, according to the periods at which these different constellations gradually lose themselves in his rays. It was remarked, for instance, that at the beginning of spring the constellation of Aries, or the Ram, set with the sun ; that summer commenced when he was seen in the constellation of Cancer; autumn, when he entered the constellation of Libra; and winter when he came to that of Capricorn. His annual course was divided into twelve constellations, which were denominated the twelve Signs of the Zodiac, or the twelve Houses of the Sun, from his abiding in each for the space of one month.
Our summer therefore begins when the sun enters the sign of Cancer, which occurs about the 21st or 22d of June. The sun is then at the highest above our horizon, and his rays approach the nearest to vertical. This period is succeeded by the heat of summer, which gradually increases in the following months, the more the earth becomes heated by his rays; for the longer the heat continues in any place, the more intense it seems to those by whom it is felt. This is the true reason why the heat in Italy seems to be more oppresive than in France, though the thermometer demonstrates that the degree in both countries is for a period alike.—Hence, it is that July and part of August are in general the hottest season of the year, and experience proves, that the greatest heat usually occurs between the 20th of July and the 20th of August. About this period the sun must of course be near some constellation, and it so happens that the Dog-star is the most brilliant of those with which at this time it appears to be in contact. For the space of a month it is withdrawn from our view, and lost in the sun's rays, as is successively the case with all the constellations at which the sun arrives in his annual career. The month when the Dog-star is invisible is the interval which we call the Dog-days.
Because the heat is most intense during the Dog-days, the effects of the heat have been ascribed to the influence of the Dog-star on the earth, on brute animals, and on man! There was no necessity whatever to go so far, to produce so lame a conclusion. If it were even true that of two things which are constantly connected together, one must be the active cause of the other, a notion which no reflecting mind could ever adopt-still this would not authorize us to regard the Dogstar as the cause of the circumstances that befal us in the Dog-days. For, on a closer investigation of the matter, we find that the disappear. ance of the Dog-star in the sun's rays does not always happen at the season of the year when the heat is most intense, and that the month which we call the Dog-days may belong to winter as well as summer, as the following explanation will demonstrate.
It is well known that the stars have an apparent motion round the pole of the ecliptic, by means of which they advance about one degree in seventy-two years. The sun which, at the time of the expedition of the Argonauts, rose with the constellation Aries, when spring began about the 20th of March, does not now reach that constellation till towards the end of April. Since that period the Dog-days have been thrown just so much later ; and in point of fact they do not now commence till towards the end of August, and terminate about thc 201h of September. Our almanac-makers, therefore, can no longer with a good conscience place against the 20th of July in red or black letter, the words Dog-days begin, and against the 20th of August Dog-days end. They would err at least a whole month, and deceive themselves and those who relied on their calculations. Meanwhile the Dog-star steadily pursues its course, and will, in process of time, reach October and November, nay even Christmas itself, and then what will become of the Dog-days?
If we consider all this, we shall clearly perceive that the Dog-star cannot possibly be to blame for all the accidents that befal us during the period of the most intense heat. It is quite unnecessary to extend our enquiries farther, as the heat is of itself sufficient to afford a satisfactory explanation of all these phenomena. If wine or beer turn in bad cellars, if fermenting matters become sour, if standing waters and wells are dried up, there is no occasion to seek the cause of these effects in any thing else than the heated air, as they may all be produced at every season of the year by artificial heat. If dogs go mad about this time, it cannot possibly be because the Dog-star is then concealed by the sun; for I have just observed that this no longer takes place in the Dog-days. But supposing that it did, other animals and even men are as liable to be seized with madness in excessive heat as dogs; and neither brutes nor men are affected by it when the Dog-days are cold, and other incidental causes are wanting. But I must not dwell any longer on these follies, which, strictly speaking, are not within my sphere.
The universal propensity of mankind to insist on their innocence when they suffer has hitherto cherished the error, so flattering to their selflove, of charging the diseases which they induce by their misconduct during the heat of summer to the account of the Dog-star. Ridiculous as all the trash of the astrologers is become at the present day, the motion of the influence of the Dog-star still in some measure keeps its ground. During these days various dangerous diseases occur, especially putrid fevers with cutaneous eruptions, gall-fevers and dysentery. No
person would have it supposed that he has contracted such severe and dangerous disorders through his own negligence and indiscretion ; and the Dog-star has the kindness to take all the blame upon itself. But I have undertaken to clear it from all these false imputations, and I shall take the liberty of putting our own folly in its place.
Putrid fevers have received their name from the putridity with which our juices are affected in these diseases. In my next paper I intend to show how liable the heat of the atmosphere is to produce putrefaction in the animal juices; and to give directions for obviating the ill consequences of that heat; and how tó avoid taking cold, in particular during perspiration. For the present, therefore, I shall confine myself to some hints relative to cold water, which some are in the habit of drinking copiously in hot weather.
I cannot approve the practice of plunging liquids into ice in hot weather to render them cold. In all that we eat and drink, a certain proportion should be observed in the temperature, that they may not occasion too rapid and violent a change in the body. But let us only compare the degree of heat of the blood and stomach in the hottest of the Dog-days, with the icy coldness communicated to the liquids which we swallow, and is not this correcting one extreme by another? How liable are the overheated juices to become congealed by the great degree of cold! How easily may the minutest vessels in which they circulate be thereby contracted! And how soon may not these combined causes produce obstructions of the juices in these minute vessels ! Hence arise the fatal inflammatory fevers which are so common in hot weather, and which we denominate inflammations of the stomach, and pleurisy. Seven days, and even a shorter period, are frequently sufficient to terminate in this manner the life of a person who was previously in robust health ; and it is not the Dog-star, but the luxurious gratification which we seek in cooling ourselves by refrigerants, that occasions this catastrophe. Hence I should wish that all those who during these days send to the ice-cellars for ice to cool their liquors, might fare like a certain labouring man, who, being ordered to fetch some ice for his master, put it into a sack, which he threw across his shoulder, and had to carry a couple of miles one very hot sunny day. The sack became gradually lighter and lighter the farther he proceeded ; so that, when he reached his journey's end, his load was completely dissolved, and he brought his master nothing but a wet sack to cool his liquor.
Water from deep wells, when fresh drawn, is quite cold enough to lower the temperature of liquids sufficiently for drinking, and even to produce fåtal effects, if taken by one who is overheated. The ancient Îndian practice of fastening wet cloths round drinking vessels, setting them in a draught of air, and keeping them moist, is also adequate to this purpose. But the more thirsty and the hotter a person is, the more cautious he should be in drinking it; and in order to abate the keenness of his thirst before he drinks, it is advisable for him to chew a morsel of bread for the purpose of increasing the flow of the saliva. The bread, if swallowed, lays a foundation in the stomach, which prevents the liquid from coming into immediate contact with the latter and cooling it too suddenly.