Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

passion of regretful love and tender- which sorely tried the temper and digness.

nity of Mr. Jenkinson, and at 2.15 set Good-by, my own sweetheart !" off on his journey with an unknown obhe said again.

ject-his journey which might be the Good-by, Bernard dear; and be beginning of a new life, or merely the sure you let me know when you're com- seal affixed to the relentless obduracy of

one train of circumstances for which he On his way to town he stopped at a was in no way responsible. It was in post-office, to send off a telegram to the bitter, sarcastic nature of the man Mr. Whaley, promising to be at Hawes to contemplate the latter possibility as at the time mentioned. And then he being the more probable one. — Temple went on to the warehouse, and asked for Bar. leave of absence with a cool hardihood

ing home."

WHAT IS A COLD ?

BY A MEDICAL MAN.

To enjoy life, one must be in good apparatus. What is called a cold, then, health ; and to remain free from disease is in reality a fever ; and though in the is the desire of all. Yet there are some majority of instances it is of such a trivial ailments which do not interfere very nature as to necessitate few precautions much with the pleasures of life, and being taken during its attack, yet in therefore are not dreaded in conse- some cases it runs a most acute course, quence-nay more, they are frequently and may be followed by great prostratreated with neglect, although in many tion. Even when the premonitory sympinstances they are the precursors of more toms of a cold are developing themserious disorders which may in not a selves — when, for example, what a few cases have a fatal termination. medical man calls a rigor, or as it is How often to the usual greetings which popularly designated, a shivering is felt, one friend exchanges with another is the when we would naturally suppose that reply given : “Very well, thank you, the animal temperature is below par, it except a little cold.” A little cold; is at that very moment higher than the and yet how significant this may be. In normal ; thus showing the onset of fever. how many cases do we find a " little Before going at once into the sympcold” resemble a little seed which may toms and nature of the disease under sooner or later develop into a mighty discussion, it will be advisable to dip a tree. A little cold neglected may and little into that most interesting departfrequently does prove itself to be a thing ment of medical science – physiology, not to be trifled with. Let me then and indeed, without doing so, it would pray my readers to remember that small be quite impossible for the majority of beginnings in not a few instances have my readers to understand the manner in big endings, and this especially where which cold acts in producing the inflamdisease exists. Let us then consider matory condition of the mucous memwhat is a common cold.

brane of the nose, or as it is called, In the first place we must be para- the Schneiderian membrane-which indoxical, and affirm that it is not a cold flamed condition constitutes a cold in at all.

It is rather a heat, if I might so the head. It will be necessary to underexpress myself—that is, it is a form of stand what a mucous membrane is, what fever, but of course of a very mild type, its duties are, and how these duties are when it is uncomplicated by other dis- performed, before entering upon a deeases.

It is certainly in the majority of scription of a disease attacking it. To instances due to the effects of cold play- take the mucous membrane of the nose ing upon some portion of the body, and as an example. We find that it is a reacting upon the mucous membrane membrane spread out over a very large through the intervention of the nervous area, lining as it does a great many unNew Series.-Vol. XXXIII., No. 6

53

dulations caused by the arrangement of that people who have what is called an the bones composing the walls of the irritable mucous membrane are so susnostrils, so that a very much greater ceptible of cold. They have, in fact, a surface is required to be traversed by chronically congested mucous membrane, the air entering the lungs through the which, however, is usually associated nose—the natural passage--than is re- with and dependent upon a disordered quired by the actual length of the canal. digestion. Yet notwithstanding these The object of this is obvious, when we facts, a cold is not produced by cold air take into account the fact that the tem- acting upon the surface which suffers. perature of the air is usually either below It is quite true that there are individuals or above that of the human body, and with peculiar idiosyncrasies who take that it is almost invariably loaded with catarrh when they smell certain subparticles of matter which would irritate stances. For instance, many cannot go the lungs did they find access to them. into a room where powdered ipecac is

The tortuous passage of the nose thus exposed without immediately catching tends in the first place to equalize in catarrh in the nasal passages ; and there some measure the temperature of the at- is reported the case of a man who could mosphere inhaled, with that of the not smell a rose without being affected lungs ; and in the second place, the in a similar way. mucus which is secreted by the Schnei- We must now go a step further before derian membrane being of a tenacious we can understand the modus operandi nature, tends to attract and ensnare the by which a cold in the head, or in any impurities which the air may contain. other region, is produced. It has been We thus see that the nostrils act as a fil- shown that one of the functions of a ter to the air taken in by inhalation. If mucous membrane is to secrete mucus. we observe any mucous surface we can- But what is it that makes the secretion not help remarking its deep-red color, vary in quantity? Well, an irritant apthis being due to the close network of plied directly to the surface may problood vessels ramifying on its surface. duce an excessive flow, and this superIn consequence of this accumulation of abundance of mucus is thrown out by an minute arteries and veins through which effort of nature in its endeavor to shield warm blood is constantly flowing, a the delicate membrane and remove the pretty high temperature is constantly irritant; this may happen also when maintained in any cavity lined by mucous there is an excessive amount of blood in membrane. There is therefore little the vessels, which is the case when condifficulty in understanding how important gestion exists, the distension of the a part the nostrils play in preparing the blood vessels acting as an irritant, and air for its entrance into the sensitive supplying in greater amount the fluid structure of the lungs. But the nostrils from which the mucus is extracted, thus do not only temper the air—they also tending to excite the secreting power to yield to it an amount of moisture which greater effort.

Thus we have an explarenders it still more bland and less irri- nation of the excessive discharge in tating. We see, then, that the functions catarrh of the nose. But when the of the nostrils as regards the atmosphere direct irritant is removed, the unnatuinhaled are threefold-(1) in equalizing rally abundant discharge ceases. Not its temperature, (2) in moistening, and so, however, when the superabundance (3) in filtering it. The latter function is due to the effects of cold; for in the is materially aided by quite a forest of latter case a diseased condition is set minute hairs which guard the entrance up, which will only disappear when the to the passages.

effects of the exposure upon the nervous Having noticed how distended the system have passed away. blood-vessels of the mucous membrane Having demonstrated that cold is not naturally are, it will not be difficult to produced by the action of cold air playunderstand how slight a disturbance of ing upon the part affected, but that, on the balance of blood-supply will be the contrary, it is an effect of cold actnecessary to produce congestion or in- ing upon a distant part of the body, it flammation of the structure, and such is will be necessary to explain how this is really the case ; and it is because of this brought about. If a person sits in a

6

draught of cold air, and this draught is to one part of the body are thereby redirected upon the back of his head, the flected to other parts. Instances of rechances are that a catarrh of the nasal flex action may be seen frequently in passages will result, and this is produced every-day life. Take, for example, the by what is called reflex action of the action of the eyelid when an object nerves. Here it will be necessary to threatens to enter the eye. The retina diverge a little and explain what reflex perceives the object advancing ; this is action is. It must be understood, then, telegraphed to the nervous centre supthat there are numerous nervous centres plying the muscles which open and shut connected with the spinal cord. These the eyelids, and immediately a message nervous centres send filaments of their is sent back to the eyelids to shut and nerves to various portions of the body. exclude the particle of matter that For example, a nerve centre may be threatens to enter the eye. All this is placed alongside the spine in the neck, done so quickly that it is hardly possiand from this point nerves may be dis- ble to realize that there is time for reflex tributed to the back of the head and the nervous action being brought into play. mucous membrane of the nose. One Another instance of reflex action, but important function of these little bodies this time influencing the secretions, may is to control the supply of blood to be cited. Who is not familiar with the different surfaces and tissues and organs. effect of a savory smell or the sight of This is done by a system of minute some luxury upon the salivary secretion, nerves which are distributed on the so that, to use a common expression, arteries, by which the vessels are kept the mouth waters.' In the first, the in a state of contraction. Now, if these olfactory nerve is the means by which nerves are severed from the main trunk, the impression is conveyed to the nerve the blood-vessels immediately expand to centre; in the other, it is the optic the full extent of their calibre, and con- nerve which is the transmitting agent ; gestion is the result ; or if these nerves but in each case the impression is reare paralyzed, the same effect is pro- flected to that nerve controlling, the duced. Sometimes a very slight shock salivary secretion, with the effect of proproduces a temporary paralysis of these ducing an increased flow of saliva. We minute nerves when a rush of blood thus see that the secretions can be influtakes place into the arteries, of which enced by one nerve conveying its imblushing is a good example; but the pression to another whose filaments take nerves soon recover their control over origin in a common centre. the blood-supply, and the blush passes Now, to come to the subject more away.

Then again, the shock may pro- directly under consideration in this duce quite the opposite effect ; this may paper, we must comprehend how cold be so severe as to cause such extreme acting on one part of the body produces contraction of the blood-vessels, that a catarrh of the nasal mucous membrane. deadly pallor pervades the face, as for Exposure to the most intense cold for a instance in severe shock from fear. lengthened period will not produce this This, however, is caused more by the effect. Indeed, we find it invariably the effect of shock acting upon the nerve case that severe frost in winter is, so far centres which supply the heart with as catarrh is concerned, the healthiest motor power.

can have. During the But let us suppose that one extremity prevalence of frost, as a rule, colds are of a nerve arising from a particular nerve at a minimum. The system here shows centre, is irritated ; this is communi- its power of accommodating itself to the cated to that centre, which is affected circumstances surrounding it, and actuthereby, it may be slightly or more ally benefits by the prevailing low temseverely. The irritation may be so perature. Let us, however, suppose a great as to prostrate for the time being person to be sitting in a room the temthe nerve centre, and in consequence perature of which is, say, seventy deall the nerves arising from it are thrown grees Fahrenheit, and that a current of into a state of inaction. This is called cold air is rushing in at an open door or the reflex action of that nerve centre, window and playing upon the back of because the effects of the irritant applied his head, or it may be on his legs or feet, and the probability is that he will rium of the nervous centre by another catch cold,' and in nine cases out of kind of reflex action. Sneezing in ten this cold will be a catarrh in the catarrh is a method nature adopts to head, and what may appear more re- stimulate the prostrate nervous centre, markable still, only one nostril will at and thus enable it to reassert its proper first be affected. Now, if the catarrh control over the blood-supply to the was due to the inhalation of cold air, part; indeed, it will be found that the both nostrils would suffer ; but it is not effects of being exposed to a draught of so, for as each side of the body is sup- cold air are often completely destroyed plied by its distinct set of nerves, so by a succession of sneezes. Of course only that side is affected through which nature does not always immediately sucthe reflex disturbance has been trans- ceed in these efforts ; but when she does mitted. The modus operandi is the fol- not, the shock from which the nervous lowing : The draught of cold air acting, centre suffers gradually passes away, and we will suppose, on the back of the the blood-vessels again come under the head, conveys through the sympathetic control of the little nerves which regunerve, which ramifies on the scalp, a late their calibre, and so the catarrh disshock to the nervous centre from which appears in a few hours, or at most in a these nerve fibres proceed; but we must few days. It sometimes happens that understand that this nerve centre sends the shock from the cold air acting upon its filaments to other portions of the the nervous centre is of such severity body, and so the shock which this cen- that the consequent inflammation is intre receives by one set of nerves, is re- tense enough to check the secretion of flected by another set to some surface mucus altogether, and in consequence quite remote from that primarily acted the mucous membrane is dry as well as upon; and in this way a temporary inflamed, and the suffering very much paralysis of the nerves supplying the intensified. blood vessels of the mucous membrane So far, we have only glanced at a cold of the nose is brought about. In con- in the head, which passes away in a few sequence these vessels become dilated hours, but this is not always the happy and engorged, and the shock which has termination. There is a peculiar tendbrought about this congestion continu- ency which inflammation possesses of ing, disturbs the equilibrium of the not leaving off where it commenced, but blood-supply, and so an inflammatory of invading the tissues in its immediate condition is set up. When this exists, neighborhood, and more especially when the blood-vessels are enormously distend- the tissue is continuous with that ed ; consequently an excess of blood primarily attacked, as is the case with passes through the part, the little cells the mucous membrane of the air paswhich secrete the mucus being thus ex- sages. A cold may commence in the cited and working much more rapidly head and rapidly spread by what is than when in health. In this way the technically termed continuity of tissue enormous discharge of mucus which ac- into the chest ; and so what at the first companies a cold in the head, is ac- promised to be only cold in the head counted for.

weather we

may terminate in an attack of bronchitis, Another effect of this irritation of the or even inflammation of the lungs.mucous membrane is sneezing, which is Chambers' Journal. an effort of nature to restore the equilib

THE PENNY PRESS.

HALF a century ago, or thereabouts, panting for knowledge, and nothing it was the dream of a number of amiable stood in the way of their gratification and philanthropic persons that society but the various duties levied by the excould be regenerated by means of the cise upon the materials of printing and penny press. The working classes were, upon paper, It must be owned that it was somewhat gratuitously assumed, there was but little foundation for this notion, and that it was rather a ques

tion almost fabulous. It is probably no tion of what ought to be than what act- exaggeration to say that between five ually existed. There were, it is true, a and six millions of penny papers are circertain number of working men anxious culated in London alone every week. for self-improvement, but their number Scarcely any of them are absolutely was not large, nor, in view of the pecu- vicious in character- thanks to the liar circumstances of their class, is it energy which the police as a rule display probable that it ever will be.

A man

in carrying out the provisions of Lord must be very exceptionally constituted Campbell's Act-but there are not a few it, after nine or ten hours passed at a which trench on the border land of vice ; carpenter's bench, or in an engineer's while of the great majority which reworkshop, he is prepared to sit down to main, the principal characteristic is a mathematical or general scientific study. senile imbecility on the one hand, or an Persons of this type are, perhaps more irrational sensationalism on the other, numerous than they were, and with the equally destructive to anything like masextension of education their number may culine vigor of thought. Reading is, acbe expected still farther to increase. cording to the copy-books, an intellectSuch working men will, however, always ual occupation, but few will be hardy remain exceptions to the general rule, enough to contend that such intellectual and that fact it will be as well to recog- fare as that provided by the non-political nize. Brougham, and the philanthropic penny press requires the smallest amount founders of the Society for the Diffu- of mental power for its assimilation. Its sion of Useful Knowledge, failed to do readers are indeed not those who want so, and to that circumstance must to think, but those who wish to escape be attributed the comparative fail- from thought ; and there can be very ure of the Society, and of the almost in- little doubt in the minds of most people numerable Mechanics' Institutes which as to the fact that it would be desirable at one time dotted the surface of on every account if those who are in this England. Had there been a little latter case should seek their diversion in more practical common sense, and a avowed recreation rather than in the enlittle less unworldly theory to guide feeblement of their intellects by idle and them, the founders of the Useful Knowl- enervating reading. It is perhaps hopeedge Society might have accomplished less to expect that this view of the matter infinitely more than they did. Their will meet with any general acceptance. mistake lay in supposing that any con- Anything in the shape of a book is of siderable proportion of the working consequence in the minds of some peoclasses would invest an appreciable pro- ple ; and thousands more are still under portion of their scanty earnings in the the dominion of those manuals of advice purchase of the interminable numbers of for students and aspiring working men a Penny Cyclopædia, and in believing which hold up for emulation the examthat they could be induced to read, ples of certain of their heroes who in much less to buy, such literary bran as their leisure time occupied themselves, Brougham's “ Dialogues on Instinct, not with such frivolities as chess, or or Harriet Martineau's “Illustrations draughts, or backgammon, but invariof Political Economy. The collapse ably sought their amusement among of the society, and the fact that no at- books. Still, an examination of the tempt has been made to resuscitate it, matter which forms almost the only sufficiently prove the accuracy of this intellectual food of a vast proportion of view, while the present condition of the the inhabitants of this country, may not penny press of this country affords an be without interest, though the concluample confirmation of it, supposing such sions arrived at may not be precisely further confirmation to be necessary. those in favor of the admirers of “cheap

Leaving newspapers out of the ques- literature for the people." tion, the weekly and monthly publica

In this connection newspapers may tions issued at this price may fairly be fairly be left out of account, though it is a said to present one of the most remark- somewhat unpleasant reflection that there able phenomena of modern times. Their are millions of Englishmen who never number is enormous, and their circula- read anything else, and that among them

« VorigeDoorgaan »