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THE NEW MARRIAGE ACT.
My client, Jack Junk, with a heart hot as Ætna,
My female complainants are equally busy,
Case one.—Kitty Crocodile married Ned Bray,
Case two.-Captain Boyd, to his tailor in debt,
say, if eight hundred per annum Miss Pirouette May get back from Boyd, by a count Quantum meruit !
Case three.—Martha Trist, of Saint Peter-le-Poor,
Case four.-Captain Sykes won the heart of Miss Dighton
and mustachios are too much for hers. They married : the Captain was counting his gain,
and rum grew a drug in Mark-lane. In temper both fired : 'twas a word and a blow: (See Dibdin's Reports, Captain Wattle and Roe,) And both, while the stool is at either head Aung, Try to tear with their teeth what they tied with their tongue. Please to study the Act for this couple, and tell'em If they can't be replaced “ statu quo ante bellum.”
Case five.—Doctor Swapp'em, allied to a peer,
But see, while my pen your Opinion implores,
THE PHYSICIAN.-NO, II.
On Sleep. The different powers which set the machine of the human body in motion may be divided into two principal classes; since some of them may be compared with those which animate vegetables, while others are peculiar to animals alone. The faculties of digestion and of the elaboration of the alimentary juices; those which circulate these juices in the blood-vessels; those which secrete from them other fluids for our nourishment and preservation; and those which expel the superfluous matters, belong alike to vegetables and animals. In every healthy individual these vessels perform their functions without interruption from the beginning to the end of life: the suspension of any of them is a disease; the cessation of all, death.
The locomotive powers, which give us as animals an advantage over vegetables ; such as receive their impulse from the feelings and conceptions of the soul; those of voluntary action; and all the faculties of the external senses, are of a totally different kind. After they have continued their operations a short time they begin to tire, and in a few hours become so exhausted, that their most obvious effects cease, though the movements of the first kind continue. The state in which we then are is called sleep. It is, therefore, an exclusive property of animal bodies; the sleep attributed to plants being an improper expression, founded on a very slight analogy.
Since all the mechanical powers of animals are determined as well by the structure of the body, as by a certain sensibility which animates the whole machine ; we may easily conceive that in sleep those faculties also which we possess in common with vegetables undergo a change, and that these too, according as they operate in various ways, and exert or waste the animal powers more or less, must promote, disturb, or prevent sleep.
Sleep, therefore, is in reality the repose of animated nature, the time in which it recruits its exhausted powers. The human body has often been compared with a watch: I should say, that the mechanical nature, or the vegetable life of animals, is like a perpetual motion, which, when once set going, continues to act till the machine itself is so worn out as to be unsusceptible of repair. The animal nature, on the other hand, resembles a watch, which must be wound up at least once in twenty-four hours; and this winding up is sleep.
It is a law of Nature that animals must sleep; and if I may so express myself, the more they are animals—the more animal their nature —the more evident symptoms of actual sleep we find in them. The insects, which have scarcely any brain, seem rather to rest only, or to be rendered torpid by cold, than really to sleep. In the latitude of Hudson's Bay, Ellis found on board his ship masses of congregated flies, and on the banks of the rivers frogs frozen as hard as ice : on removing them to a warmer place, they recovered feeling and life : but if they were afterwards frozen, they could not be again recovered. It is obvious that this state was more like torpor than regular sleep. Man, on the other hand, cannot keep awake twenty-four successive hours without difficulty, and without involuntarily falling asleep, Most quadrupeds resemble him in this particular; but among the various species of them we observe great differences in regard to the necessity of sleep. In like manner there are various kinds of clocks, some of which require winding up every twelve hours, others every week, others again every month, and others at still longer intervals. Thus the swallows, on the approach of winter, retire to caverns and morasses, where they sleep for five months together, till the return of warm weather. Such, too, is the case with the frogs; and serpents also have been found in winter in subterraneous holes. The tortoise, during that season, burrows the deeper into the sand, the colder it is; and lives in this torpid state, excluded from the air, till called forth by the warmth of spring. Even the fishes, in severe frost, bury themselves in the mud, and there pass their state of torpidity. The bear, the badger, and the marmot, lie the whole winter in holes, and it is related of the last, that it will not wake even when wounded with knives. This animal repairs, at the beginning of winter, to a hole which is the hereditary abode of a whole family of marmots from generation to generation. It first collects a quantity of hay, with which each individual of the family prepares a bed for itself. When they are all assembled, they close up the entrance to their retreat, lay themselves down, and sleep so profoundly that, as we are assured, they may be taken up and carried away without waking. It is said that, for a fortnight previously to its long sleep, this animal eats nothing, but drinks only, in order to cleanse the stomach, otherwise the food, by remaining in it so long, might become putrid; and it lies with its snout close to its belly, lest by respiration it should lose too much moisture. Thus each animal has its peculiar wants; and to such as would scarcely be able to find subsistence in winter, Nature has given bodies that require a sixmonths sleep, during which they need neither food nor drink. The bears have the precaution to gorge themselves against winter to such a degree, as if they meant to eat enough to last them all their lives. They go into winter-quarters with their hides distended by a load of superfluous fat; and waste away during the period of their sleep in such a manner that in spring they come forth again mere skeletons.
It is a fortunate circumstance for those persons who love to improve their minds and are fond of useful employment, that we are not subject to such protracted sleep, but can make shift with a few hours' repose. I have heard, indeed, of the Seven Sleepers, and of Epimenides the Cretan, who, when a boy, went into a cave, where he fell asleep, and is said not to have awoke for forty-seven or fifty-seven years: a story which the apostle Paul perhaps had in his view, when he called the Cretans “ liars," and some other hard names. My readers need not be informed what credit is due to these tales. At the same time we are not authorised to consider them as absolutely impossible ; since many able men who have maturely weighed the matter, do not think it in itself totally unreasonable. Boerhaave admits that he discredits the story of the Seven Sleepers ; but he adds, “ I nevertheless believe that people may live a long time without meat or drink : for, when they are once completely subdued by sleep, the pores close, and they may then live a long while before they are awakened by the slow and gradual waste to which they are subject. Haller remarks, that the Turks have a similar fable concerning giants who have slept for a great length of time, and praises an idea of Reaumur's concerning this suspension of food and life. This great naturalist has demonstrated that the eggs of animals and insects, as well as the nymphs of caterpillars, may be kept merely by means of cold and the absence of exciting causes for years together before they are developed, and that the vital principle is nevertheless not extinguished, since the animals produced by the application of warmth from these eggs and nymphs are as brisk, and live as long as they would have done without this delay. On this foundation the great Maupertuis constructed a system for prolonging human life ; and who knows but the plan may be some time or other carried into execution ? I have no doubt of it for my part, if we can depend on the accuracy of the observation communicated by M. Bouguer, concerning a species of serpent in Peru, which, after being suspended to the branch of a tree or in a chimney, till quite dry, may be revived ten or twelve years afterwards, if left for some days in muddy water exposed to the sun's rays. We are so little enlightened in respect to such matters, that it may be deemed nearly as bold to laugh at this story as to give it implicit belief.
Be this, however, as it will, so much is certain, that we ordinary folks, who are neither Seven Sleepers nor Cretans, have no occasion to imitate the marmots, but that a sleep of a few hours is sufficient to recruit our lost strength, and to fit us for a new life of sixteen or eighteen hours. Corporeal fatigue, mental exertion, profound meditation, nay time itself, weaken our animal powers, and consume the vital spirits which are indispensably necessary for all occupations both of body and mind. I could relate to my readers how these effects are accounted for in the medical schools ; but when I consider that after I had done, they would be just as wise as at first, I will spare them the explanation, and give in its stead a few useful rules how to turn sleep to the benefit of their health. So much they know, that we cannot live without sleep; that we sleep because we are weary ; that we possess new strength when we wake, and hence it is to be inferred that the object of sleep consists merely in the recruiting of our strength. Well, we physicians also know just so much, and no more : for all that we conjecture beyond this is of no farther use than to relieve us from the disgrace of acknowledging our ignorance.
It is not a matter of indifference to health where we sleep. In many houses the bed-rooms are those which are found unfit for any other purposes. The poor frequently sleep in holes, where they have not so much room and air as a dog that is chained in his kennel. Many people in good circumstances have bed-chambers which are so small, dark, and dirty, that they would be ashamed to show them. This is an important error in the conduct of life. As we commonly spend a third part of the twenty-four hours in our bed-rooms, it behoves us to take all possible care that we may enjoy pure air for so long an interval, especially as we cannot well renew it in the night-time. To this end we ought never to sleep in the apartments in which we live during the day, but choose for a bed-chamber a spacious room exposed to the sun, that can be opened in the day for the admission of pure air and the dispersion of the vapours collected in the night. The beds should often be shaken up, and these as well as the bed-clothes exposed in the day to the sun and air. It is necessary to observe these rules if we would secure ourselves from the effects of a vitiated atmosphere.