In the domain of drugs we have medicines that vivid imagination has endowed with presumed affinities for locations that are diseased. They enter the circulation and happily get off at the right spot, to act curatively; but no theories are advanced as to how they aid in the construction of new cells or atoms, or how they aid in the disposal of the old ones.
Construction, destruction! There is no death of atoms: really nothing is generated, nothing destroyed: the change is but the rearranging of ultimate elements; and how is a drug to influence any more than would be in case of the affinities of chemistry?
Hazy conceptions, crude means! The ultimate cell multiplies by division to become bone, nails, hair, ligaments, muscles, fat, the brain, the whole body. Where along the line in the reconstructive work called by a disease or injury is a medicine to apply with power to aid? In what way the need to be expressed, in what operative way the helpful assistance made clear, that faith without works that are seen can be made strong?
The chemist never rushes into print with news that another element has been discovered until demonstrative evidence has placed the matter beyond all question. If anything new is discovered in the firmaments, adequate means to an end will be able to reveal it to all interested eyes.
The impressions of science are quite different from the impressions of the materia medica; and the miracles of cure that are displayed by the column in even the highest class public prints are never in reach of scientific explanation.
A new element is announced; we know instantly that it has been actually discovered. A new cure is announced; we instantly may know that the evidences will never be displayed along the lines of science.
I now unfold a theory of my own of the origin and development of disease, and the development of cure, in which the physical changes involved in some of the processes are in reach of the microscope.
It is my impression that, with rare exceptions, people are born with actual structural weaknesses, local or general, that may be called ancestral legacies. These are known as constitutional tendencies to disease.
In parts structurally weak at birth the bloodvessels, because of thin and weak walls, are larger than in normal parts, and because of dilatation the blood circulates slower. There is an undue pressure upon all between-vessel structures, a pressure that must lessen the nutrient supply more or less, according to its degree. The death of parts in boils and abscesses is due, I believe, to strangulation of the nerve-supply. The bloodvessels are elastic, and capable of contraction and dilatation, a matter regulated by the brain.
Now in these weaknesses always lie the possibilities of disease; they may be supposed the weak links in the constitutional chain, and can no more be made stronger than the constitutional design than can the body as a whole. By whatever means brain power is lessened abnormality is incited in the weak parts; hence gradually from the original weakness there is a summing up, as a bronchial or nasal catarrh, or other acute or chronic local or general disease.
The first step in any disease is the impression that lessens brain power; the slightest depressing emotion, the slightest sense of discomfort, lessens brain power, and to a like degree the tone of all the bloodvessels; hence dilatation in degree. That the stomach, as the most abused organ of the body, plays the largest part in over-drafts upon the brain is not a matter of doubt.
Let us develop a chronic disease along these lines, with nasal catarrh for an illustration. As tone is regulated entirely by the brain system, all taxing of the brain increases the debility of the nasal structures. In course of time the debility so increases through whatever also debilitates the brain, that a stage is reached when water in the blood begins to escape through the thin walls of the vessels and mingles with the natural secretion of the membrane, and a catarrhal discharge is the result. In severe cases a time may be reached when death of parts from the strangling pressure may occur, and then we have an ulcerative catarrh.
This evolution will go on as determined by the gravity of the ancestral weakness, by the natural strength of the dynamo, the brain, and the severity of the debilitating forces to which it may be subjected.
No one is ever attacked by a nasal or any other catarrh, nor by any other chronic ailings. They all start from structural weaknesses that are inherited, and they are the evolutionary results of brain-wearying forces.
If a specialist were asked to express the actual condition of a diseased structure that seems to call for medicinal aid, and to tell just how medicated sprays, washes, and douches are to reach all the parts involved, with healing power, and in what way that power is exercised—in other words, what work actually is to be done, and how medicine is to do it—he would not be able to enlighten his questioner no matter how fertile his conception, how dexterous his use of language. In fact, the healing power of drugs exists in fertile imaginations rather than among those ultimate processes where disease is cured, where disease destroys.
As the care moves by the power evolved in the dynamo, so do the bloodvessels contract and relax as determined by brain conditions. Dilating bloodvessels, effusion of water from thinning walls, the between-vessels starving pressure, increasing general debility of all the structures involved—this is the gradual evolution of catarrh and of all other chronic diseases.
From this it was seen that no form of local treatment can avail to relieve the operative cause in cases of this kind. Tone must be added to all the weakened, dilated vessels, in order to contract and thicken their walls so as to stop the leakage, and to relieve that pressure upon the between structures that have become anaemic through lack of nourishment.
That an evolution in reverse is the one need scarcely calls for argument. It is the brain that needs our attention, and we meet its need by saving its rare powers from wasting.
We will do this by cutting down, as far as possible, all the activities for which it furnishes power, even as we would diminish the number of cars where power in the dynamo had become deficient; we will either sever the wires that connect with the stomach, or make a marked reduction in the labor to be performed in the stomach. With power accumulating in the brain, power will reach the utmost recesses of debility and disease, with Nature to do all the healing.
To reinforce this physiology, this statement may be made with the strongest emphasis: the medical treatment of chronic disease fails inevitably because it fails to consider the vital force involved. The brain has no part in the treatment of chronic disease by the specialist, where drugs are a means to an end never reached: there are only a disappointment and an interchange of pocket-books.
In all parts suffering with pain there is congestion, swelling. The bloodvessels are distended; hence the nerves suffer violence in stretching or from pressure. The pain simply adds to the abnormal conditions by causing an active determination of the blood to the involved parts. To relieve pain, then, is curative, because it lessens the abnormal congestion.
The no-breakfast plan with me proved a matter of life unto life. With my morning coffee there were forenoons of the highest physical energy, the clearest condition of mind, and the acutest sense of everything enjoyable.
The afternoons were always in marked sluggishness by contrast, from the taxing of digestion.
Without realizing that the heavy meals of the day were a tax upon the brain, I would scarcely get away from the table before I began to feel more generally tired out than the severest taxing from a long forenoon of general activity ever made me. With the filled stomach, fatigue, general exhaustion, came as a sudden attack rather than as an evolution from labor, and there would be several hours of unfitness for doing any kind of service well.
In the application of this method to others I had the great satisfaction of good results without any exceptions; and the missionary work was begun by friends among friends, fairly spreading better health and adding thereby more and more disaster to my name.
More and more I became a focus of adverse criticism in all matters where level-headedness was deemed important. My acute cases began to be watched with hostile interest, as if homicide from starvation were the inevitable result in all cases. My country had become the country of an enemy.
Not being able to give my patients clearly defined reasons for the general and local improvements resulting from a forenoon fast as a method in hygiene, it had to be spread from relieved persons to suffering friends; and according to the need, the sufferers from various ailings would be willing to try anything new where efforts through the family physician or patent medicines had completely failed; it was spread as if by contagion, among the failures of the medical profession.
Among those to become interested at an early date was a prominent minister who wore the title of D. D., and for a time his interest was intense. He came to me one day with word that a member of his household, well known to me as a young woman of unusual ability and culture, had not been able to take solid food at his table for a year, and he believed that my treatment would avail in her case. To this she was very averse, since every treatment her hapless stomach had received had only added to the debility, until disability had become the result. She finally came to me to be relieved from the forceful importunity of her reverend friend, who had excited my eager interest with a prophecy that unusual literary distinction would follow a cure, as there were abilities of the very highest order, in his estimation.
She came, and I had no difficulty in securing such a vacation for the worn-out stomach that it could begin with solid food when the time to eat arrived. The vacation was so brief and power had accumulated so rapidly that almost any food could be taken without discomfort, and no trouble ever came not invited by a relapse from the better way of living that had really created a new stomach.
This case caused more notoriety over the no-breakfast plan than any that ever occurred in the city. As a writer of biographies and of articles in high-class journals and magazines, this talented woman has been a miracle of patient, persistent study and investigation.
This endorsement in high places greatly added to my reputation as a physician with distorted mind, for the idea that any good could come from a short fast, to be followed by the giving up of that needed morning meal, was too absurd for sober reflection, too violently revolutionary to be even patiently considered.
The no-breakfast plan was not so very long in becoming known over the entire city; a bridge had been crossed, and every plank taken up and destroyed; thence the ways into new families were nearly closed.
I am enlarging a little upon the opposition that met me from all points, because all who are to be convinced that these are the true ways in health culture will begin at once to enlighten their ailing friends, and will, therefore, encounter the same opposition. "Sir, you have not had enough opposition," said bluff, old Samuel Johnson. There will be no need to complain of any lack of this kind in the efforts to render suffering friends the only aid possible, that will be in persistent efforts of Nature.
My medical brethren considered the scheme only as they would consider an invasion of smallpox or a heresy whose methods were a danger to life. One physician, a woman specialist, informed me that she was continually importuned as to her professional opinion of the new craze that had invaded the city. That all other physicians were equally called upon, that they would condemn, was inevitable; and I permitted them the largest liberty without the least resentment; but there was the sustaining cheer of seeing the happiest faces that only increased as the heresy spread.
My attendance upon the severely sick became more taxing because of the exceeding concern in the immediate environment, that the pangs of starvation were being added to the pangs of disease.
As none of my professional brethren ever manifested any desire to be enlightened on this subject, I did not volunteer, since I felt the wiser way would be to wait an adequate amount of evidence before making any public announcements of presumed important discoveries in practical hygiene.
My experiences in the rooms of the sick had convinced me, long before I gave up my morning meal, that death from starvation was so remote as practically to exclude it from consideration; hence with the great improvement that was the immediate result in my own case I could from the first speak with a "thus saith the Lord" emphasis on the safety of going through a forenoon "on an empty stomach."
As no one could come into my office without my being able to give the assurance of at least some relief that would be immediately realized, that would be felt even to the finger-ends, my office became more and more a lecture-room, a school of health culture for the education of missionaries, for a friend-to-friend uplifting into higher life.
All I needed for my own sake was that missing link to clothe my words with all the desired power. With so much to enliven, to encourage, it was as if I were sitting at the very feet of Nature, so thrilled by her wonderful stories that I was utterly unconscious of the storm of ridicule and epithet to which I was subjected.
Once in a while Nature would favor me with a miracle in the way of an inspiring change. A man in the early prime of life had reached a condition in which he habitually rejected every breakfast. Two trips to Europe and a year in the hands of a Berlin specialist for the stomach failed to relieve; and yet he was not so disabled as to prevent him attending to his ordinary business affairs; the stomach seemed to be eccentric in being merely irritable without structural disease.
I asked him if he felt that the breakfasts which would not stay down were doing him any good. To this he had to assent that they were not. I told him if the breakfast only to result in a heave-offering were omitted he would be better able for his duties of the forenoon. He began at once to raise his brows.
It was not difficult for him to see that if no breakfasts were put into his stomach none would have to be thrown up with sickening effort, and hence he could not but be better for the forenoon services if the sick spell were omitted. The fact was, the breakfast would soon be rejected, and then the hours of rest would enable the stomach to handle the dinner without the repetition of the morning sickness.
Only a few words from me of this kind, and thence on there were no breakfasts; and from the first all the complaints from the stomach ceased, and he used to remark that he began to get well as soon as I began to talk to him.
Now this man with his family was a recent arrival in this city, and his first intimate acquaintance was one who had been relieved of weekly headaches of a skull-bursting kind through the no-breakfast plan—thus the missionary contagion.
For many years I was content to allow people to have the morning coffee or tea as desired, with the largest liberty of dinner gluttony; and this was really the only means possible for the introduction of an innovation so radical. To have given nothing to relieve the morning want for something in the stomach to set the wheels of life in motion would have been a failure from the first. With all the coffee break of the fast was attended by so marked an increase of cheer and general strength, and the enjoyment of the general meal at or before noon was so immeasurably increased, that the method spread as a contagion against which professional denouncement and ridicule were in vain.
And with all converts I found that the experiences in the penalties of gluttony were so enlightening, so restraining, that there was apparently little need to say much more as to the quantity or quality of food, what and how to eat.
The enthusiasm of all over the forenoons of power and comfort, to be followed by a luxury of meals never before realized, fully satisfied my pride in professional success; and all the more because the penalties of gluttony were seldom charged to my account.
It was only after the missing link was found and added to the chain that I could fully realize the enormous waste of strength and the mental and moral degradation from eating food in excess, because the enticements of relish are taken for the actual needs of the body. Think of it! Actual soul power involved in ridding the stomach and bowels of the foul sewage of food in excess, food in a state of decomposition, to be forced through nearly two rods of bowels and largely at the expense of the soul itself!!
Oh, gluttony, with its jaws of death, its throat an ever-open gate to the stomach of torment!
When I finally arrived at a point of vision where I could see the stomach as a mere machine, that it could no more act without brain-power than brawny arms with their nerves severed could wield a sledge, I began a study of digestion with new interest, with a view to save power from undue waste.
It is the sense of relish, of flavor, that is behind all the woes of indigestion, and not the sense of hunger. The sweetened foods; the pies, cakes, puddings, etc., that are eaten merely from a sense of relish after the sense of hunger has become fully sated, and generally by far more of the plainer foods than waste demands, is the wrecking sin at all but the humblest tables.
Rapid eating, by which there is imperfect solution of the tougher solids and a filling of the stomach before the hunger sense can naturally be appeased, is the additional evil to insure serious consequences to the stomach and brain.
For merely practical purposes, all that is necessary to know about the digestive process is that by a peculiar arrangement of the muscle forces of the stomach the food is made to revolve in such a way as to wipe the exuding digestive juice from the walls; that, therefore, the finer the division of the solids by mastication the more rapid the solution to the absorbing condition. That meat in finer particles will sooner dissolve than meat in large, solid masses is clearly seen.
It will be recalled that digestive conditions are really soul conditions, as if there were actual wires extending from the very depths of the soul itself to each individual gland, with power to ebb and flow as the mental condition shall determine.
It may be presumed that power to digest is the power to revolve food in the stomach and the power to generate the gastric juice as determined by the power of the brain, the glands themselves not holding their juice in mere reserve, but power to generate in reserve. Thus it is seen that food in excess is in every way exhaustive as the immediate result.
These may be called the subjective conditions of digestion. Now let us consider some of the objective conditions from the standpoint of moral science. What the sunshine of a warm day is to all growing things on the earth, so is that shining seen in other faces that reaches the depths of the human soul with brightness and life.
Overeating is so universal from the general ignorance of practical physiology that few stomachs have a time for a full clearing with the needed rest before the time of another filling arrives. It is therefore a matter of sheer necessity not only to attain and maintain the utmost possible cheer of soul, but it is also a necessity to have cheer in other souls with whom relations are intimate.
As a matter of extraneous digestive aid, a cheerful soul in a family is an abiding source of digestive energy to all in social contact. It affects the digestive energy of all, as the breeze the fire, as the clearing sky the low spirits from the gloom of chill and fogs. The eyes that do not glisten with higher life, the lines upon the face that are not alive with cheerful, kindly emotions, the frowning look, the word that cuts deeply, have their repressive effects upon digestive energy within their remorseless reach.
The moral science of digestive energy is a new study; it is not known as a factor in the process of digestion; but the time is coming when cheer of soul will become a study as of one of the finer arts, and then human homes will not be so much like lesser lunatic asylums without the restraining hands of a wise superintendent.
Life will be different in homes when all within the age of reason shall realize that their words without kindness, their looks without cheer, are forces that tend to physical and moral degradation, really nothing less than death-dealing energies upon all lives within their reach. The power of human kindness has ever been a favorite theme with the moralist, but it has not been considered with reference to its power upon digestion.
Anger is mental and moral chaos; it is insanity; it is revenge in the fury of a hurricane; and sensitive natures have the greatest need for the largest measure of health in order that these human tempests shall be under larger restraint.
The gloomy, the irritable, the dyspeptic Christian is a dispenser of death and not of the higher life, and his religious faith does not spread by the contagiousness of example: and because of the solemnity, of the exceeding importance of his sense of the possibilities of the life beyond death he has all the more need to have that physical and moral strength that his daily walk, conversation, and mien may be consistent, forceful, and uplifting.
To this great end study, study to see cheer everywhere, and above all things to possess it. Good health is also contagious, and, no less than disease, has a reflex impression. Only above the chill dampness, the fogs, and clouds is the clear sky with the blazing sun. There are undreamed-of possibilities of getting above the worriments of life through an intelligent understanding and application of the physiology of cheer as the chief force in the life of the body, mind, and soul.
Having finally arrived at the conviction that from the first wink in the morning until the last at night strength departs, not in any way to be kept up by food, that from the last wink at night until the first in the morning strength returns, I became fully endowed to tell all the sick and afflicted in the most forceful way that with the strength of the brain recharged by sleep is all the labor of the day performed, and that no labor is so taxing upon human muscles that it cannot be performed longer without fatigue when the breakfast is omitted.
That this is possible came to me as a great surprise and in this way: a farmer with a large assortment of ailments came to me for relief through drugs. He was simply advised to take coffee mornings, rest mainly during forenoons, and when a normal appetite and power to digest would come he would be able to work after resuming his breakfasts. This man, who was more than fifty years old, was the first manual laborer to be advised to observe a morning fast.
Several months after, he came to me with news that his ailing had all departed, and that he had been able to do harder work on his coffee breakfasts than ever before with breakfasts of solids. And if he so worked with power during forenoons, why not others? Why not all?
This no-breakfast plan was so contagious that I was not long in finding that farmers in all directions were beginning to go to their labors with much less food in their stomachs than had been their wont, and in all cases with added power of muscle.
Only recently three farmers went into the field one hot morning to cradle oats, the most trying of all work on the farm; two of them had their stomachs well filled with hearty foods. With profuse sweating and water by the quart because of the chemical heat arising from both digestion and decomposition, these toiled through the long hours with much weariness. The third man had all his strength for the swinging of the cradle, the empty stomach not even calling for water; with the greatest ease he kept his laboring friends in close company and when the noon hour came he was not nearly so tired as they.
A man who had been a great sufferer from indigestion, a farmer, found such an increase of health and strength from omitting the morning meal that he became able to cradle rye, a much heavier grain than oats, during an entire forenoon "on an empty stomach." Later he went from one December to the following April on one daily meal, and not only with ease, but with a gain in weight in addition. During these months this man did all the work usual in farm-houses, besides riding several hours over a milk route during the forenoons.
In this city resides a carpenter, formerly subject to frequent sicknesses, who for the past five years has walked nearly a mile to the shop where he is employed without even as much as a drink of water for breakfast; and this not only without any sicknesses, but with an increase in weight of fifteen pounds also.
More than a dozen years ago a farmer who was not diseased in any way, but who had been in the habit of eating three times a day at a well-spread table, and at mid-forenoon taking a small luncheon for hunger-faintness, omitted his breakfast and morning luncheon, and has been richly rewarded since then in escaping severe colds and other ailings. He conclusively felt that his forenoon was the better half of the day for clear-headedness and hard labor; he has added nearly a score of pounds to his weight, and his case has been a wonder to all his farmer friends, who see only starvation in cutting down brain and needless stomach taxing.
I must now ask the reader to bear with me while I apply the principles of this new hygiene with a good deal of reiteration, trying to vary them in utterance as far as possible. The need of daily food is primarily a matter of waste and supply, the waste always depending upon the amount of loss through the general activities, manual labor being the most destructive.
Across the street from where I live a new house is being built: for many days during the chilly, windy month of March several men have been engaged high in the air, handling green boards, studs, and joists for ten hours each day; and yet these men are not eating more food daily than hundreds of brain-workers who never have general exercise. The workmen across the street eat to satisfy hunger; the brain-workers, to satisfy the sense of relish; and the meals of the latter are habitually in excess of the real demands because of wasted bodies.
In spite of the apparent overeating of the brain-worker, I believe the farmer and the manual laborer break down at an earlier age, for the reason that they overwork and generally eat when too tired to digest fully: the farmer is rarely content to do one day's work in one day when the crop season invites him to make the most of fair days.
With successes rapidly multiplying in all directions within my circuit, the desire became urgent for some way to make my new hygiene known to the public. My first thought was to get some eminent divine interested through a cure that would compel him to a continual talk as to how he became saved.
At a great denominational meeting in Chicago I chanced to hear a splendid address from a sallow-faced professor of a divinity school, the Rev. Dr. G. W. N.; and after a great deal of reflection I resolved, without consulting him, to write him a series of letters on health culture, hoping that he would become so immediately interested as to permit me a complete unfolding of my theory and practice.
I began the series, taking all the chances to be considered a crank; they were continued until the end without response, when later I received a brief note with sarcasm in every line. At least my letters had been read; for he informed me that he had no confidence in my theory, giving me a final summing up with his estimate that there were more "cranks" in the medical profession than in any other. I was not in the least cast down at this long-range estimate, since I had become quite used to close-at-hand ridicule.
There was before me the unknown time when a still more eminent D. D. would both accept and practise my theory, and also give the world his estimate in an elaborate preface to a book that in the fulness of time the ways opened to me to write and have published.
I was sent for by a man who had become a moral and physical wreck, his body being reduced to nearly a skeleton condition from consumption. As he was taking an average of two quarts of whiskey per week, I accepted the charge of his case with reluctance.
I was not able in any way to change his symptoms for the better; there had been no hint of hunger for many weeks, and the mere effort to swallow or even taste the most tempting dainties was painful to witness. He was taken with a severe pain in his side, which was fully relieved with the hypodermic needle, and there followed several hours of general comfort and no desire for the alcoholic. Seeing this I was strongly impressed that by continuing the dosings for a time the seared stomach might get into a better condition and the fast be followed by a natural hunger.
This is what actually followed: in about a week the dosings were reduced to mere hints, and without any desire for stimulants there came a desire for broiled steak and baked potatoes, which were taken with great relish. Thence on this was mainly the bill of fare, and the half-filled bottle remained on his table untouched, undesired; and in time there were added more than a score of pounds to his wasted body.
Now it chanced that this regenerative work was seen day after day by his friend, who was badly in need of an all-round treatment to meet the needs of his case; he was a man of keen intellect, of real ability of both mind and muscle. Becoming deeply interested in the theory behind the miracle he saw unfolding day after day, and all the more because of a total extinction of the drink-habit that was deep seated through long duration, he began to omit his morning meals.
He saw more than his own case. He had been a manager of book agencies, and when he found also his desire for the cigar undergoing a rapid decline, he became possessed with the idea that a book might be written on the subject. The time came when he could sit down in the office of the Henry Bill Publishing Company, Norwich, Conn., a picture of health, to interview Mr. Charles C. Haskell on the subject of publishing a book. Mr. Haskell had known him in less healthful years, and he marvelled at the change.
I had duly suggested, and with great emphasis, that no publisher would listen to him unless he were sick enough to be interested in the theory and would give a test by actual trial. He found Mr. Haskell in very low health. Experts had sent him on a tour through Europe in search of that health he failed to find; his body was starving on three meals a day that were not digested, and he began to arrange his affairs with reference to a near-at-hand breakdown.
To this man was made such an appeal as men are rarely able to make, because a regenerated life was also vocal in utterance. To him a miracle seemed to have been wrought, and he listened to each word as if to a reprieve from a death seemingly inevitable.
As there was no disease of the stomach, it required only a few days for Mr. Haskell to acquire so much of new life that he felt as one born again, and a week had not passed before I had his earnest request to put my hygiene into a book, he taking all chances of failure.
He began to advise all ailing friends to give up their breakfasts or to fast until natural hunger came, getting many marvellous results. One of his first thoughts was to have the forthcoming book introduced by some eminent divine who could write through the inspiration of experience.
In a visit to Norwich of that evangelist of world-wide eminence, George F. Pentecost, D. D., then of London, Eng., the opportunity came, and for a case of "special conversion" he was made the guest of Mr. Haskell. He was easily persuaded to the system, and his need is expressed in the following from the introduction of The True Science of Living, which was actually written without his having read a single line of the manuscript.
"Taking the theory upon which this system of living is based into account—and even to my lay mind it seemed most reasonable—and the testimony which I personally received from both men and women, delicate and biliously strong, workingmen, merchants, doctors, and preachers, delicate ladies for years invalided and in a state of collapse, and some who had never been ill, but were a hundred per cent. better for living without breakfast, I resolved to give up my breakfast. I pleaded at first that it might be my luncheon instead, for I have all my life enjoyed my breakfast more than any other meal. But no! it was the breakfast that must go. So on a certain fine Monday morning I bade farewell to the breakfast-room. For a day or two I suffered slight headaches from what seemed to me was the want of food; but I soon found that they were just the dying pains of a bad habit. After a week had passed I never thought of wanting breakfast; and though I was often present in the breakfast-rooms of friends whom I was visiting, and every tempting luxury of the breakfast was spread before me, I did not desire food at all, feeling no suggestion of hunger. Indeed now, after a few months, the thought of breakfast never occurs to me. I am ready for my luncheon (or breakfast if you please) at one o'clock, but am never hungry before that hour.
"As for the results of this method of living, I can only relate them as I have personally experienced them:
"1. I have not had the first suggestion of a sick headache since I gave up my breakfast. From my earliest boyhood I do not remember ever having gone a whole month without being down with one of these attacks, and for thirty years, during the most active part of my life, I have suffered with them oftentimes, more or less, every day for a month or six weeks at a time, and hardly ever a whole fortnight passed without an acute attack that has sent me to bed or at least left me to drag through the day with intense bodily suffering and mental discouragement.
"2. I have gradually lost a large portion of my surplus fat, my weight having gone down some twenty pounds, and my size being reduced by several inches at the point where corpulency was the most prominent; and I am still losing weight and decreasing in size.
"3. I find that my skin is improving in texture, becoming softer, finer, and more closely knit than heretofore. My complexion and eyes have cleared, and all fulness of the face and the tendency to flushness in the head have disappeared.
"4. I experience no fulness and unpleasantness after eating, as I so often did before. As a matter of fact, though I enjoy my meals (and I eat everything my appetite and taste call for) as never before, eating with zest, I do not think I eat as much as I used to do; but I am conscious of better digestion; my food does not lie so long in my stomach, and that useful organ seems to have gone out of the gas-producing business.
"5. I am conscious of a lighter step and a more elastic spring in all my limbs. Indeed, a brisk walk now is a pleasure which I seek to gratify, whereas before the prescribed walk for the sake of exercise was a horrible bore to me.
"6. I go to my study and to my pulpit on an empty stomach without any sense of loss of strength mentally or physically—on the other hand, with freshness and vigor which is delightful. In this respect I am quite sure that I am in every way advantaged."
Rev. George Sherman Richards, after more than fifteen years of frequent severe headaches that were supposed to be due to heredity, has had entire freedom during the five years of the No-breakfast Plan. He can hardly be surpassed as a picture of perfect health.
One of the first prominent converts who finally surrendered to Mr. Haskell, whose persistence was beyond fatigue, was the editor of the Norwich, Conn., Bulletin, a special friend. There was no want of conviction on his part, but the evil day to begin the morning fast was continually postponed. Finally, one morning when he was specially busy and charged with impatience, the beaming and hopeful face of Mr. Haskell appeared. Said the busy man, "Mr. Haskell, if you will walk right out of that door, I will promise you to begin tomorrow morning to do without breakfasts." Mr. Haskell walked out—the breakfasts were given up, and some years later I was personally informed that he believed that his life had been saved thereby.
One of the expedients was to send a circular about the book to every foreign missionary of every denomination, and as a result one of these fell into the hands of Rev. W. E. Rambo, in India. He had become a mere shadow of his former self from ulcerated bowels, the sequel of a badly treated case of typhoid fever. For seven months there had been daily movements tinged with blood; the appetite was ravenous, and large meals were taken without any complainings from the stomach. Before a well-spread table his desire to eat would become simply furious, and it was indulged regardless of quality and quantity. His brain system had become so exhausted that reason and judgment had no part in this hurricane of hunger.
There were seven successive physicians in this case, some of them with many titles. The first one he called on reaching New England cut his food down to six bland meals daily. All of them had tried to cure the offending ulcers by dosings. Think whether bleeding ulcers on the body would get well with their tender surfaces subjected to the same grinding, scratching process from bowel rubbish!
He was in condition on his arrival to lose six pounds during the first week of six "bland" daily meals. After reading the True Science of Living he discharged his physician and came under my personal care. These ulcers were treated with the idea of giving them the same rest as if each had been the end of a fractured bone. To relieve pain, to hold the bowel still, and to abolish the morbid hunger, a few doses with the hypodermic needle were a seeming necessity.
In less than two weeks this starving man of skin and bones was relieved of all symptoms of disease, and there seemed a moderate desire for food of the nourishing kind. Less than two weeks were required for all those ulcers to become covered with a new membrane: but for full three weeks only those liquid foods were given that had no rubbish in them to prove an irritant to the new, delicate membrane covering the ulcers. For a time after the third week there was only one light daily meal, with a second added when it seemed safe to take it.
In a little more than three months there was a gain of forty-two and a half pounds of flesh, as instinct with new, vigorous life as if freshly formed by the divine hand. My last word from this restored man was after he, his wife, and four children had been back in India for a year and a half, where they were all living on the two-meal plan without any sicknesses, and he had a class of one hundred and sixty native boys on the same plan.
Who can fail to see the science and the sense to relieve all diseases of the digestive tract? There are no cases of hemorrhoids not malignant in character, in which total relief will not be the result if fasts are long enough; no cases of anal fistula that will not finally close if they can have that rest from violence that is their only need; and equally all ulcers and fissures that make life a history of torture.
No case with structural disease of any part of the digestive tract not malignant has yet come under my care in which there has not been a cure, or in which there has not been a cure in sight. Through a fast we may let the diseased parts in the digestive tract rest as we would a broken bone or wound on the body.
Several missionaries have regained health on these new lines, who have returned to preach and practise a larger gospel than before. One returned from the Congo region of Africa with such wreckage of health as to make any active service impossible. Mr. Haskell met him in New York, and in time he returned with twenty-four missionaries, all as converts to the new gospel of health, and to have that sustained health only possible through a larger obedience to the laws of God "manifest in the flesh"—obedience that takes into account the moral science, the physics and the chemistry of digestion.
These and those others who have had their lives redeemed from lingering death through the simple, easy ways of Nature never suffer their enthusiasm to wane. Not to volunteer aid when unintentional suicide is going on seems nothing less than criminal.
As a means to better health the utility of the morning fast is beyond estimate. In all other modes of health culture there is a great deal of time consumed in certain exercises that are certain to be given up in time. What the busy world requires is a mode to gain and maintain the health that requires neither time nor thought—one that is really automatic.
We arise in the morning with our brain recharged by sleep, and we go at once about our business. If we take a walk or go to the gymnasium, we simply waste that much time, and we also lessen the stored-up energy by whatever of effort is called out. We can skip the dumb-bells and perform any other kind of exercise that is good for the health; and always with the certainty that we shall have more strength for the first half of the day if none is wasted in this way. As a matter of mere enjoyment, walks in fresh air are beneficial, but not as an enforced exercise for the reason of health.
For the highest possibilities for a day of human service there must be a night of sound sleep; and then one may work with muscle or with mind much longer without fatigue if no strength is wasted over untimely food in the stomach, no enforced means to develop health and strength. When one has worked long enough to become generally tired there should be a period of rest, in order to regain power to digest what shall be so eaten as to cause the brain the least waste of its powers through failure to masticate.
One need not always wait until noon to eat the first meal. Those in good health have found that they can easily go till noon before breaking the fast; but in proportion as one is weak or ailing the rule should be to stop all work as soon as fatigue becomes marked, and then rest until power to digest is restored. To eat when one is tired is to add a burden of labor to all the energies of life, and with the certainty that no wastes will be restored thereby.
For the highest efforts of genius, of art, of the simplest labors of the hands, the forenoon with empty stomach and larger measure of stored-up energy of the brain is by far the better half of the day; and, more than this, it is equally the better for the display of all the finer senses of the tastes, the finer emotions of soul life. In addition to these—and what is vastly more important—it is by far the better half of the day for the display of that energy whereby disease is cured. All this with no power lost in any special exercise for the health!
The time to stop the forenoon labor is when the need to rest has become clearly apparent; and there must be rest before eating, to restore the energy for digestion. This always determines Nature's time when the first meal shall be taken, and not the hour of the day.
This is especially important to all who are constitutionally weak or have become disabled through ailings or disease. Disappointments have come to hundreds who have given up breakfasts, because of the mistaken idea that they must wait till noon before breaking the fast, and hence had become too tired to digest; and therefore experienced a loss rather than a gain from the untimely noon meals.
The desire for morning food is a matter of habit only. Morning hunger is a disease under culture, and they who feel the most need have the most reason to fast into higher health. They who claim that their breakfasts are their best meals; that they simply "cannot do one thing" until they have eaten, are practically in line with those who must have their alcoholics before the wheels can be started.
Now it has been found by the experience of thousands that by wholly giving up the morning meal all desire for it in time disappears, which could hardly be the case if the laws of life were thereby violated; and the habit once fully eradicated is rarely resumed.
To give up suddenly the use of alcoholics or of tobacco in any of its forms is to call out loudest protests from the morbid voices that have been kept silent by those soothing powers; and yet no one would accept those loud cries as indicating an actual physiological need. The difficulties arising from giving up the morning meals—even as those from giving up the morning grog—are an exact measure of the need that they shall be given up in order that health, and not disease, shall be under culture.
I once heard a Rev. Mrs. tell a large audience of ministers that for more than a week she spent most of her forenoons in bed to endure better the headaches and other angry, protesting voices that were averse to the no-breakfast plan. She won her case, and thence on a hint of headache or other morbid symptoms was a matter of humiliation and fasting, with prayer for forgiveness and for greater moral strength against the temptations of relish.
With many people the breaking of the breakfast habit costs only less of will-power than is called out by attempts to break the alcoholic or tobacco habit; but by persistence a complete victory is certain for all, and the forenoons become a luxury of power in reserve.
Now, I must warn all that very many persons who adopt the No-breakfast Plan are disappointed, because they have become chronic in the ways of unwitting sin: they are like thin-soiled farms long-cropped without soil culture. Harvests in either case can only come by the study and practice of the laws of nutrition.
The besetting sin against all such ailing mortals, the lines of whose lives are frequently of the hardest, is that the friends all oppose cutting down the daily food from the dreadfully mistaken impression that weakness and debility from disease are the measure of the need to eat, not the measure of the inability to digest.
Scores of times I have been written to by this class of patients as to their troubles from friends in this way. Scores of times I have been consulted as to the safety of this method in daily living for the old, as if it were a tax upon the constitutional powers to stop sinning against them! As well ask whether one may get too old as to make it dangerous to cut down daily whiskey or daily labor that is clearly beyond the reasonable use of the powers.
Those who are the victims of chronic diseases and have become greatly enfeebled by overwork of body, mind, or stomach, will have to work out their salvation with most discouragingly slow progress; but not to work, not to try, is to invite the processes of disease culture.
Now, as to the time when that first meal of the day shall be taken. Since the best meal of the day in all America with the great majority of the people is at noon, this time may well be selected as the most fitting. Since the man of muscle loses no time in taking his breakfast, he should be able with good sense to rest an hour before this noon meal.
Those whose general energies give out earlier in the morning and do not care to have general meals prepared in advance of the usual hour, can put in the time in the best possible way by resting into power of relish and digestion, the evil of eating when tired being that the exhausted feeling is only increased.
Now think what forenoons may be had with no time lost over breakfasts, none in thinking about the health or in doing anything for it, and not only to have the best and strongest use of the reason, judgment, and muscles, but also to have the best possible conditions for the cure of ailings! Think, too, what it would be to the mothers of the land not to have any need to go into their kitchens until the time to prepare the noon meal arrived!
Can children while growing rapidly do without breakfasts? They certainly can without a hint of discomfort, and be all the better for it in every way.
A few months ago I spent some hours in Illinois, where the no-breakfast plan had been practised for two years. When the plan was begun there was a pale, delicate mother of four children, who was enduring a life that had no cheer. During the first year the battle was a severe one, not a little aggravated by the assurance of all sympathetic friends that resulting evil was making its mark on all the lines of expression; but health with its life and color finally came to silence the uttered disapproval.
There was a boy in the home who was subject to the severest headaches every week, and who was much wasted in his body when he began: he had become robust and wholly relieved of all his ailings. There was a plump, rosy-cheeked girl of fourteen who for a year had taken only one daily meal, and yet a better nourished body I never saw.
Now in this family the only warm, general meal, and this a plain one, was at noon. The evening meal was entirely of bread and butter taken without even a sitting at the table. What happy, healthy children they were! And the mother was in a great deal better health to do all the work of the kitchen: work, she strongly asserted, which was not nearly half of what it formerly was. For her there was a cure, a great increase of strength, and a great reduction of the most taxing of all the duties of the home-life.
If there is such a thing as an attack of disease, it cannot occur in the forenoon when there is an empty stomach and all the powers are at their best for resisting disease; and where children are fed as these are, disease, acute or chronic, is only a remote possibility.
I belong to a family of seven; the oldest is beyond seventy, the youngest beyond fifty. This No-breakfast Plan has been very closely adhered to with all for not less than twelve years, and during this time not one of us has had any acute sickness; and I am not aware that any have diseases of the chronic kind.
The accompanying illustration is that of Mrs. E. A. Quiggle, sister of the Author, after twelve years' trial of The No-breakfast Plan.
The utility of eating with thoroughness is strongly illustrated in the following cases:
Mr. Horace Fletcher, the author and traveller, took to the one-daily-meal plan to cut down his abnormal weight, having the patience to masticate all sense of taste from each mouthful before swallowing. I saw him after he had been on this plan for some months: there had been a weight loss of some forty pounds; a nasal catarrh of many years had been cured, and he strongly asserted that in every way he felt himself twenty-five years younger.
He had been living a week on baked potatoes for experimental reasons when I met him, and without experiencing any morbid sensations: a more perfect specimen of physical health I never gazed upon. To all dyspeptics who are willing to work for their health through pains and patience, his little work, Glutton or Epicure, is strongly recommended.
A dyspeptic from Vermont came to me who for ten years had eaten three hearty meals daily, none of which had ever satisfied his hunger. He was in a very low mental state when he came, and feeble in body: for fully ten years both himself and physician had held the stomach accountable for all its complainings, and with no thought of avoidable cause.
I put him on one meal a day, as there was still some power of digestion, and with the following list for the daily bill of fare: baked potatoes well buttered, bread and butter, beans dressed with butter, fish or lamb chops, and rice or oatmeal only if strongly desired; all sugar foods debarred, and no drinks except water as thirst called for it between the meals. The constipated bowels were permitted their own times for action. The mouthfuls were small and far apart—like dashes between words—not less than forty-five minutes were spent in masticating. Very soon there was a general rousement of new life in every way. His first surprise was in an unwonted sense of relish and a complete sating of hunger long before he had eaten the old-time amounts.
There was a fresh revelation to me in this, as I had not before been so impressed that by slow eating the hunger-spell is also dissipated in part by time, and hence there is much less danger of eating to excess. Hunger comes in part from habit, and it is appeased, with or without eating, with equal completeness. The hunger-habit can be trained to come at almost any fixed time.
Not long since I read of a farmer who kept his horses in apparently perfect condition on one feeding, and only at night: they had become so trained that they had no desire for food until their labors were over. At night they both ate and rested, and made good the waste of the day; they were fully nourished and rested by morning, and could labor all the forenoon without loss of energy diverted to digestion: at noon they would rest—become strong for the labors of the day.
There can be no doubt, I think, that the strongest sense of hunger at the regular eating-time could be dissipated by a fast not longer in duration than that of an ordinary meal-time.
My patient's bowels gave no hint of their locality until the eighteenth day, when they acted with little effort; on the twenty-fourth day again in a perfect way, and thereafter daily. The mind became ecstatic through perfect relief from mental and physical depression; there were no wants for other than those simple foods, and at the end of a month he left me with new views as to Nature's power of selection to meet her needs and of the vast utility of using both time and food to dissipate hunger.
The waste with most people is so small that the cost of the food, the cost of time in preparation, could be reduced to a startling fraction if the need could be actually known, and the pleasures of the palate increased by an inverse ratio. There is no redemption for women on the earth who have the care of kitchens except through simpler, smaller meals—meals so very far apart that there shall be a maximum of the hunger-sense of relish and the resulting maximum of power to convert them into tissues instinct with life.
It may be that the waste is so very trifling, especially with brain-workers, that one may be a vegetarian, fruitarian, or even an eater of pork, without positive violence to practical physiology. There is this further very practical consideration, that when Nature is so fairly dealt with that she can speak in natural tones she will call only for those foods easily available along geographical lines.
There is this to be said about fruits, that all those containing acids decompose the gastric juice, as they all contain potash salts in union with fruit acids. As soon as they reach the stomach the free hydrochloric acid of the gastric juice unites with the potash, setting the fruit acid free to irritate the stomach. There is never any desire for acid fruits through real hunger, especially those of the hyperacid kinds: they are simply taken to gratify that lower sense—relish.
The tropical fruits are without acids, and therefore are well adapted to a class of people who have only the least use for muscle and brains. Acid fruits can only be taken with apparent impunity by the young and old, who can generate gastric juice copiously. Because of the general impression that they are healthful and no tax, human stomachs are converted into cider-mills at will, regardless of between meal-times. By their ravishing flavor and apparent ease of digestion apples still play an important part in the "fall of man" from that higher estate, the Eden without its dyspepsia.
What shall we eat? The fig-leaved savage under his bread-fruit tree, the fur-clad Eskimo in his ice-hut, need not be asked: the needed food is in all due supply with little cost of muscle and less of mind—and he has no mental condition that can disturb the digestion.
The simpler waste-restoring foods have a flavor of their own that needs little reinforcement if developed by due mastication and with adequate hunger. In my own case butter duly salted seems to be my only natural appetizer aside from hunger; and yet I must own that at times new honey has a wonderful effect on the mouth-glands.
The difference between eating from hunger and mere relish, as fruits and the various sweetened foods are eaten, is a new study in dietetics, and one more important can scarcely be conceived. It can hardly be intelligently studied without taking into due account this new physiology. With rarest exceptions the need of food is estimated by the mere pleasure that comes from relish—that kind of relish that is evolved from the pies, puddings, ice creams, the last course in Sunday dinners, never taken until the limits of stomach expansion are nearly reached.
Some of the external evidences of that general regeneration which comes through Nature will now be given. We will study the human face as we study the earth when the favoring conditions of Spring rouse all Nature to newness of life. The face shall be our human landscape.
I select a face in which the eyes are dull from debility, in which there is no sparkle of soul, and beneath are the dark venus-hanging clouds. The face has a dull, lifeless cast; the veins are all enlarged from debility, and cover the larger arteries as with a mourner's pall, save where there are patches as of clouds on fire, where disease of the skin enlivens the drear landscape. There are pimples large and small, some with overflowing volcanoes; there are no lines of expression: these are changed to lines of morbid anatomy. We listen, and there are no echoes of departed joys; look as we will, and we see no evidence of the existence of a soul.
The ultimate of this picture is death from unrecognized suicide; death, a slow dying to every sense that made life worth living. There is this about these deaths that go on through the months and years: they exaggerate the worst instincts of the soul as it is dragged down—down through brain-wasting largely avoidable if only understood.
The instant result of a total suspension of the use of the brain power in the digestive tract is the evolution of life: new life is sent to the remotest cell as by an electric charge. The nutrient vessels of the eye tone down in size, and there is polish, sparkle where there was only dimness; and on the face the venus clouds, black and red, begin to disappear; the toning of the veins condenses the skin, and thereby the ruddy arteries are uncovered, and a color that has life appears; the pimples, the hillocks, even have a brighter look as they slowly shrink from sight. Finally, the skin becomes of a plush-like texture, soft, condensed, and with tints that compare as the tints of flowers with the faded colors of the house-painter, or as the matchless tint and plush of the perfect peach to the spotted, colorless, wilted, degenerated representative awaiting the garbage-barrel; and the cherry lips, the cherry gums, and the whiter teeth—Nature does not match them otherwheres.
Landscape gardening upon the human face has the largest, most inspiring possibilities; and there are no eyes so dull, no faces so void of light and life, no skin degraded to a parchment, for a public display of an assorted collection of evidences of physical poverty, in which these changes to a higher life are not in some degree easily possible.
Face culture becomes of the profoundest interest when it is realized that whatever there is in eyes and lines of expression that reveals a soul in higher life, whatever there is in softness and delicacy of texture, in color that is alive with life, is only the external revelations of the higher life within. Nature is always at work over her waste places, whether about the roots in the mouth, or in the depths of the organs; and the aches, the pains of the living, and the agonies of the dying are only evidences of the earnestness and persistence of her efforts to right all her wrongs.
In what ways are drugs available in this kind of landscape culture; how sent through the crystalline structures of the eye with clearing effect; how to polish the retina and the surfaces to a sparkle? What drugs for such culture? And yet the materia medica needs a hoist to place it on the shelf. These external changes that become clearly apparent to even dull eyes are the changes that also go on in the very depths of diseased structure, in all the special senses, in all those higher instincts and tastes that make man the best for self, for home, State and Nation—the image of his Creator. Is this high estate ever reached through dosage?
Let this matter be again considered. In the days of the lancet, roots and herbs, of bleedings and sweatings, of fevers without water for parched tongues, throats, and stomachs, Nature had no part in the cure of disease in the professional or lay mind, except in rare instances in which there were those specially gifted with insight as well as eyesight.
Now such barbarism was inflicted with intense force of conviction, and it was patiently endured with the largest faith. When a mere child I was a witness of the bleeding treatment upon my mother of saintly memory, and my child hands carried into the back yard nearly a quart of blood drawn for a bilious attack that lasted but a few days.
There is this to be taken into account in the dose treatment of diseases—that most cases recover regardless of the time of treatment, even whether it is the most crucifying or whether there is no dosing. Therefore, the good effect of dosing is at best a matter of hazy inference, where real evidence is not possible. The lack of uniformity in the character and times of doses for similar diseases is a burlesque on science. What would a text-book on chemistry be worth with nothing more in the way of demonstrative evidence than we find in our materia medica in the summing up of the "medical properties" of drugs.
In modern times homoeopathy has come in as a protest against the drawing of blood and the administration of drugs that corrode. For a form of skin disease sulphur has been given by the teaspoonful by my brethren of the "regular" school; with equal faith, my brethren of the homoeopathic school will give the fraction of a grain whose denominator will cross an ordinary page: at which extreme is the science of dosage, if any; or where between? I can hardly resist the conclusion that faith in dosage is, by as much, inability for the deduction of science.
"I know whereof I believe," is the language of Science. "I believe," is the language of credulity—with all the ways back to cause too hazy for the perception of even the assuring guide-boards. Said that prince of American humorists, Artemus Ward, "I have known a man who drank one drink of whiskey every day, and yet lived to be one hundred years old; but do not believe, therefore, that by taking two drinks a day you will live to be two hundred years old." "I have known a man who had not a single tooth, and yet he could play a bass drum better than any man I ever knew;" but do not infer that the pulling of sound teeth will aid in bringing out all the possibilities of harmony, melody, and delicacy of tone of this particular instrument of song without words. I have seen a man seemingly in perfect health at one hundred years old who had eaten three meals a day; but may I infer that on four meals a day he would have lived to be one hundred and thirty-three and a third years old? A hundred times I have been told by physicians that they have had the best results from certain drugs; but in not one instance was any reason for their faith advanced.
If I am to be governed by impressions as to the utility of what I may do for the sick, what is more impressive than to draw blood as they of old did, with recovery in most cases? Have we reduced the mortality of disease by a change in dosage? If so, how much, apart from the better sanitary conditions of living and from those involved in the care of the sick?
I can easily see or believe there is utility in clearing the digestive tract at an early date in the case of severe sickness; I know that stomach and bowels are as machines run by brain power; but beyond this the materia medica is summed up in this way, "I dose my sick: they get well: therefore my treatment is successful; or if they die, it is the providence of God"—and with no thought that it may have been the providence of bad treatment.
Men and brethren of the medical profession, you believe me a heretic in all my professional modes, and only endure me because I do not carry violent hands; but you would bar the sick-room from the bleeder of old. I may attack the lancet, the herbs, the ground-roots, whose doses were only as kindling-wood and sawdust a little more refined, and you will say "Amen" with emphasis. "But we, we live in a more enlightened age: our doses are more refined"—yes, but you administer them with the same force of conviction as to their utility in the cure of disease, and with little thought as to just why they are given and how they act.
It is my present conception that feeding the sick as now very generally practised will be held, in a more enlightened age, as we now hold the lancet of a darker age—a twin relic of barbarism; and there will be only wonder that attempts were ever made to convert the lower bowel into a temporary stomach thirty feet away.
How discriminating this deputy stomach that it selects the predigested food-ration from its unutterable lower bowel involvements; sending it pure and undefiled as ready-made flesh into the blood, only requiring it to be placed as bricks to a wall. Fortunately, these lower stomachs are not subject to nausea no matter how capable of otherwise rebelling, as they so often do.
Predigested foods! If they nourish the sick, why not feed the well; why not abolish our kitchens at an immense saving in the time, expense, and worry of cooking, and live on them at an immense saving of the tax of digestion and the indigestive processes? Brethren of the medical profession, make haste to let the world know when you have found a case in which you have made use of the lower bowel so to nourish the sick body that it did not waste while the cure was going on.
NOTES AND PRESS COMMENTS ON VOLUNTARY FASTS.
The first voluntary protracted fast for the cure of chronic ailing to reach the public prints as a matter of interesting news occurred in the case of Mr. C. C. H. Cowan, of Warrensburg, Ill., early in 1899. He had been on the two-meal plan for a time, and wishing for something more radical wrote to me as to his entering upon a fast. I probably wrote him as I now find it necessary to write all who feel that fasts are necessary and cannot have my personal care, "Go on a fast and stick to it until hunger comes or until your friends begin to suffer the pangs of sympathetic starvation; then compromise with the sin of ignorance by eating the least that will bring peace to their troubled souls."
The results were summed up by the Morning-Herald Dispatch, Decatur, Ill., April 16, 1899:
"A few years ago Dr. Tanner, in New York City, fasted for forty days and forty nights, and all the world wondered. Up to that time the feat was considered impossible. From day to day the papers told of his actions and his condition, and the entire people became deeply interested in the performance. Medical men and scientists became interested in the performance, and the laity watched the faster through curiosity. Tanner's accomplishment was considered marvellous by the medical profession and laymen alike, but Dr. Tanner has long since been a back number, and his performance is not now regarded as remarkable, although there are not many persons who would care to attempt the fast. Tanner was simply trying to prove that the thing could be done. He did it, and within a year the man who held the attention of the people of the country for forty days was a visitor to this city. What Tanner did has been more than accomplished by a Macon County man, but he went about his undertaking quietly, and the fact that he was fasting was known to only a few of his friends. The man is C. C. H. Cowan, of Warrensburg, and for forty-two days and nights he abstained from the use of food in solid or liquid form. He began his fast on March 2 and broke it on the evening of April 13 at supper-time. With the exception of the loss of thirty pounds of flesh, which materially changed his personal appearance, Mr. Cowan shows no ill-effects of his undertaking. When he began he weighed one hundred and sixty-five pounds, and when he quit he weighed one hundred and thirty-five pounds. Before his fast he was inclined to be fleshy, and now, while still in fairly good flesh, his clothing manifests a desire not to hold close communion with his body. Mr. Cowan was in the city Saturday, and some of his friends did not know him. He related his experience to some of them, but he did this cautiously, and with the oft-expressed hope that the papers would not devote any attention to the affair, because he was not seeking and did not want notoriety. At different times during his fast the Herald-Dispatch has referred to the fact in short items. Cowan is a disciple of a Dr. Dewey, living at Meadville, Pa., who is an advocate of fasting as a means of curing many of the ills to which the body is heir. Dr. Dewey has many pamphlets touching the subject, and has also written some books for his belief, and his reasons have been made so plausible that a number of persons have coincided with him. Cowan says the efficacy of the treatment has been established in many instances, a fact that he can prove by ample testimony. During his long abstinence from food he had numerous letters and telegrams from Dr. Dewey, encouraging him in the undertaking. When asked why he had fasted, Cowan explained that for years he had suffered from chronic nasal and throat catarrh which would not yield to medical treatment. His appetite was splendid, and he ate many things that he really did not want. He read Dr. Dewey's ideas, and became convinced that his system needed general overhauling, and that this could be accomplished through faithful adherence to the theory of Dr. Dewey. One of these theories is to the effect that fasting rests the brain, which is ofttimes overworked as a result of heavy feeding. It is also supposed that the body throws off old mucous membrane of the stomach and bowels, and that these are immediately supplanted by new lining. Believing that he could get rid of his catarrhal trouble and get the new lining referred to, Cowan decided to fast, and without noise about the matter he commenced, and up to Thursday evening he did not allow a bite of food to pass his lips. The only thing that he took was water. Of this he did not drink much, and he claims that he suffered no pain or pangs of hunger. Looking at the matter now, it does not seem to have been much of an accomplishment. After he once got started he said it was an easy matter to carry out his plan except for the worry of his family and some of his friends. They thought that he was losing his mind and tried to induce him to relinquish his idea, but he took some of them under his wing and reasoned with them on the beauties of the treatment, expounded the strong points, gave them reasons, showed them testimony of others, and kept on fasting. When he began he had no idea that he would continue for forty days; but as he progressed he had no desire for food, and therefore did not desist. Thursday evening he began to feel hungry, and that night he ate a reasonably good supper. The return of hunger, according to his theories, was the signal of the return of health. He feels confident that his stomach has been relined, and for the present he knows that his catarrh has left him. He is a firm believer in the new method of curing bodily ailments, and says that during his fast he was able to be around the village of Warrensburg every day, and was able to perform his duties. His abstinence from food apparently has not weakened his constitution. Since breaking his fast he has partaken sparingly of food. Cowan's friends are very much interested in the recital of his experience."
It so chanced that during this fast much more than his ordinary business came to him, and without the least inability to perform it. I saw him several months later, and found his physical condition seemingly perfect. He had found out that for the best working conditions a nap at noon was better than even a light luncheon, and that one meal a day taken after his business was over was the best practice. This fast was not in the right locality to excite the attention it deserved.
The second voluntary fast was destined to reach the ends of the earth through the public prints. The following appeared in the New York Press of June 6, 1899:
"Twenty-eight days without nourishment and without letting up for a moment on the daily routine of his business is the unequalled record of Milton Rathbun, a hay and grain dealer at No. 453 Fourth Avenue, and living in Mount Vernon. He is a man of wealth, has many employes, and has been in the same business in this city for thirty-nine years.
"He fasted because he wanted to reduce his weight, fearing that its gradual increase might bring on apoplexy. He succeeded in his efforts. He weighed two hundred and ten pounds when he stopped eating; when he resumed he tipped the scales at one hundred and sixty-eight pounds, a loss of forty-two pounds of flesh.
"Mr. Rathbun's description of how he felt as the days and weeks wore along and the pounds of avoirdupois slipped away one by one is interesting. The remarkable point about it is that he continued his work and kept well. He gave his account of it yesterday to a reporter for The Press. Mr. Rathbun is known by the business men for blocks around his own place of business, and they all know of his fast.
"Every day his friends would come in and talk to him about it. At first they told him he was foolish; that nobody could fast that length of time, much less continue his work without interruption. Then as the days went on and he kept up without a break they began to be frightened.
"A crowd would gather about him every night at 6.30 o'clock, when he would leave his office, for that was his hour for weighing. Some days he would lose two or three pounds from the weight of the day before; some days only one, but always something. And as the record was scored up on the book each night his friends would shake their heads and warn him to beware.
"Finally, on the fifteenth day, his friends and employes got together and made up their minds that something had to be done. They were afraid that Rathbun would die. They appointed a committee to wait on him in his office and beg him to eat something. The committee took dainties to Mr. Rathbun, told him their fears, and offered the good things to tempt him, but all to no purpose.
"It was the night of April 23 that Mr. Rathbun took his last bit of nourishment. He made no attempt to eat a large meal in preparation for his fast. He ate his regular supply just as if he had meant to continue eating on the following day. Then for twenty-eight days he absolutely abjured all food. He drank water, but that was all. Before going to bed he would take a pint of Apollinaris.
"Had he remained at his home in bed or taken perfect rest, his achievement would have been less remarkable. That is the course which always has been adopted by the professional fasters. Dr. Tanner, and the Italian, Succi, in their fasts were surrounded by attendants who allowed them scarcely to lift a hand, so that every ounce of energy might be conserved.
"Rathbun pursued a course diametrically opposite to this. He worked, and worked hard. He came down earlier to his office and went away later than usual. He made no effort to save himself. On the contrary, he seemed determined to make his task as hard as possible. On four of his fast days he spent the afternoons in a dentist's chair, at which times his nerves were tried as only dentists know how to do it.
"It was his idea to continue the fast until he began to feel hunger. After the first twenty-four hours his hunger disappeared, and he had no desire for food until the end of the fourth week, when the craving set in, and he immediately set about satisfying it in a moderate and careful manner. He consulted two physicians while the fast was going on, to see that he was suffering no injury that he could not appreciate himself. One was Dr. F. B. Carpenter, of Madison Avenue and thirty-eight Street, and the other, Dr. George J. Helmer, of Madison Avenue and Thirty-first Street. He saw Dr. Carpenter on the eighteenth and the twenty-first days, and Dr. Helmer on the twenty-fifth day. Both expressed surprise at his long fast and astonishment at his excellent condition.
"Mr. Rathbun is fifty-four years old, and five feet six inches in height. He does not look more than forty years old, and he is as active as a man of that age. He says he never felt better than when he was fasting, and that he has experienced no bad effects of any kind, while, on the other hand, he has reduced his weight to a normal limit and removed all danger of apoplexy.
"He got the idea of the fast from the new theory exploited by Dr. Edward Hooker Dewey, a practising physician of Meadville, Pa., who recommends fasting as a cure for many ailments, and advises all persons to go without breakfast and eat only two meals a day.
"'I became intensely interested in this new system,' said Mr. Rathbun yesterday, 'and I decided to put it to a practical test. Dr. Dewey had said that he had many patients fasting all the way from ten to thirty and forty days, and I concluded that if it did them so much good it would be just the thing for me. So I tried it.
"'On April 23 I ate my last meal, and from then until May 24 I had absolutely nothing to eat. I drank water, of course, for that is a matter of necessity. One cannot do without drink; but I took no nourishment. For the first twenty-four hours I was very hungry, and would have liked very much to take a square meal; but I resisted the temptation, and after the expiration of one day I had no desire to eat.
"'I had been in the habit of getting to my office about 8; now I get there at 7. I generally had left at 5.30; I now stayed until 6.30. I had been in the habit of taking an hour or an hour and a quarter for luncheon. The luncheon was now cut off, so I stayed in the office and worked. I sat there at my desk and put in a long, hard day's work, constantly writing.
"'At night I drank a bottle of Apollinaris, and went to bed at 8.30 and slept until 4 in the morning. I never enjoyed better sleep than in those four weeks. And I was in excellent condition as far as I could see in every other way. My mind was clear, my eye was sharper than usually, and all the functions were in excellent working order.
"'I had many amusing experiences. I went to a dentist on the first day. I had some work requiring several hours' labor on the part of the dentist. I said nothing to the doctor on the first day. Four or five days afterward I kept a second appointment with the dentist, and he asked me how the teeth worked which he had fixed before. I said to him: "I haven't tried them yet."
"'You can imagine the look of surprise on his face. When I told him that I was fasting, and had been since he had seen me before, he showed the greatest concern, and said he did not think I could go on with the dental work on account of the weakness of my nerves. He solicited me to go out and have just a bite of something. I refused, of course, and he continued the work. I visited him on two days after that until he had finished the work.
"'The men in my employ were greatly concerned about me, and thought I would break down. I used to weigh every night before leaving the office, and as they saw my constant wearing away they became more and more frightened, and finally appointed a committee to wait on me. The committee was headed by my manager, who begged me to eat. He brought along some fine ripe cherries to tempt me. I told him I would not eat them for one thousand dollars, for I was interested thoroughly in the fast by that time and would not have stopped.
"'After that they made no more attempts to stop the fast; but my friends all shook their heads, and said that when I started in to eat again I would find I was without a proper stomach.
"'On the twenty-eighth day the hunger began to come on again, and I began to eat under the advice of Dr. Carpenter. On the twenty-ninth day I drank a little bouillon, and afterward from day to day increased the amount of food to the normal. I suffered no inconvenience.'
"Mr. Rathbun says he is a firm believer in the no-breakfast system of hygiene advocated by Dr. Dewey, and that neither himself, his wife, nor any of the servants in his house eat breakfast, and as a result all are remarkably well. His two sons, one of whom was graduated at Harvard in 1896, and a second, who is still at Harvard, practise the no-breakfast system.
"Just before beginning his fast Mr. Rathbun ordered a suit of clothes at his tailor's. He did not go for it until the end of his long fast. Being something of a practical joker, besides a man of great nerve, he walked into the tailor-shop and let the tailor try his new suit on to see if it was all right.
"When he slipped on the coat the tailor stood aghast. There was apparently the same man he had measured twenty-eight days previously standing before him in perfect health, but as to dimensions not at all the same man.
"'It doesn't fit any part of you,' said the tailor, after the suit had been tried on. In the tailor's book Rathbun's measurement was entered: 'Forty-three inches around the waist and forty-two around the chest.' When he went for his suit his measurements were thirty-eight around the waist and thirty-eight around the chest.
"Dr. Dewey's theory, which led Rathbun to make his long fast, is that the brain is the centre of every mind and muscle energy, a sort of self-charging dynamo, with the heart, lungs, and all the other parts only as so many machines to be run by it; that the brain has the power of feeding itself on the less important parts of the body without loss of its own structure, and that as the operation of digestion is a tax on the brain, a long period of fasting gives the brain a rest, by which means the brain is able to build itself up, which means the upbuilding of the whole body.
"In this way, it is asserted, the alcohol habit is cured and other diseases eradicated.
"Dr. F. B. Carpenter said yesterday to a reporter for The Press that he had not recommended Mr. Rathbun to take the fast, but had advised him while it was going on and after it was over. The doctor said he was inclined to believe there might be something in the no-breakfast system, as a great many persons eat and drink altogether too much.
"Dr. Helmer said he had examined Rathbun on the twenty-fifth day, and had found him in surprisingly good condition."
Mr. Rathbun had been on the no-breakfast plan for several years, and he was one of the first to write me after my book came out. It was not without reason he feared apoplexy, for Ex-Gov. Flower, an over-weighted man, had gone down to instant death though seemingly in perfect health and in the prime of business energy and mental capacity. During his fast my only trouble with him was in his drinking so much water without thirst, thus greatly and needlessly adding to the work of the kidneys.
Mr. Rathbun was so disappointed over the skepticism of New York physicians as to the reliability of the fast that he determined to undergo a longer one under such surveillance as would enforce conviction. He was mainly actuated, however, to go through the ordeal in the interests of science.
Again I had trouble with him on the water question, wishing him to drink only as thirst incited. He was differently advised by an eminent Boston physician, who, taking a great interest in the case, wrote him that he should have great care to drink certain definite amounts for the necessary fluidity of the blood. I had to respond that thirst would duly indicate this need; that in my cases of protracted fasts from acute sicknesses not one had been advised to take even a teaspoonful of water for such reasons; that at the closing days before recovery of such cases there was only the least desire for water, and this with no indication of need from the blood. Mr. Rathbun did not escape some trouble from overworked kidneys, and he became convinced that my theory and practice were more in line with physiology.
This fast was made a matter of daily record by the leading New York journals, and he became such a subject of general interest that in addition to his ordinary business he was greatly overtaxed, and was compelled to give up the fast on the thirty-fifth day, in part from the exhaustion of over-excitement.
This case was summed up as follows by the New York Press, February 27, 1900:
"Milton Rathbun has ended his long fast.
"After thirty-five days, in which solid food or any liquid other than water was a stranger to his palate, he became extremely hungry on Sunday night. At first he resisted the longing to eat and tried to sleep it off. But he awoke in a few hours hungrier than ever, and then he decided he had fasted as long as was good for him.
"He ate a modest, light meal and went back to bed, only to awake still hungry. Then he ate an orange, and was asleep again in a jiffy. A bowl of milk and cream and crackers sufficed for his breakfast, and at noon yesterday he enjoyed his first hearty meal.
"As he walked around the parlor of his home in Mount Vernon, lighter by forty-three pounds than he was on January 21, this man of fifty-five years and iron will said:
"'I feel like a boy again. I think I could vault over a six-foot fence.'
"Mrs. Rathbun herself knows what it is to fast. For five years such a thing as breakfast has been an unknown quantity in her house, save when guests were present or for the servants. To this abstinence Mrs. Rathbun attributes the curing of catarrh, from which she had suffered previously. And as she and her husband do, so do their two sons.
"After the first few days of abstinence he had felt no desire to eat until Sunday evening. Then he became hungry—ravenously so. His first fast of a year ago—it was twenty-eight days then—had taught him that sleep took away the longing for food, and, too, he had said he would make his fast last forty days this time. So he went to bed and to sleep.
"But he awoke at 11 o'clock; he was hungrier than ever, and he decided not to resist his inclination for food. Calling his wife he asked her for an orange, and ate it; then he took another. His next demand was for oysters, and a dozen large, juicy ones disappeared rapidly, to the accompaniment of five soda crackers. Then he drank about two-thirds of a cup of beef-tea, and some Oolong tea. His appetite was not sated by any means, but he knew the danger of overloading his stomach, so he stopped.
"He soon was slumbering again, but he was wide awake at 2 o'clock in the morning. And his hunger was with him still. He ate an orange to appease the craving, and again sought his pillow. He slept again until 6 o'clock, and then, breaking some crackers in a bowl of milk and cream, he ate again.
"At noon a meal was served to the still hungry man. He began with a little clam-broth; then came half a dozen steamed clams, followed by a small portion of mock-turtle soup. Of a squab he ate one-half, and with it some canned pease and fried potatoes; while for dessert he had a little lemon ice.
"'That was good,' he exclaimed, as he finished. The remark was unnecessary; the relish with which he had eaten was convincing testimony of his enjoyment. Asked why he had decided not to fast for the full forty days, he said:
"'I ate just because I was hungry.'
"Asked how the weather affected him, he said:
"'When I began there was a spell of cold weather, and I found it rather hard to keep warm at night. But it soon passed away, and I made it a point to wear the same underclothing and outer garments as usual. Oh, yes; I did wear a different pair of trousers. I had them made five years ago, but they were so tight around the waist I could never wear them. They are as loose as can be now, however.'
"'From a scientific standpoint,' said Professor R. Ogden Doremus yesterday, 'it is the most interesting and valuable experiment I have known. Mr. Rathbun is a man of great nerve force. The very fact that he attended to his business was what saved him, in keeping his mind away from the thought of food. He could not have done it had he been on exhibition or if he had remained at home. If he had been at sea, in an open boat, he could not have lasted more than ten days. He would have had nothing to think of but his hunger.'
"Dr. George J. Helmer, who has given no little attention to Mr. Rathbun, said:
"'I have examined him several times; I did so when his thirty days were up. Well, it was remarkable. It's a wonderful exhibition, that will attract the attention of the medical world. His heart is as clear as a bell and his kidneys are perfect. He is in absolutely rugged health. His temperature was normal, his eye clear, and to-day, upon examination, any insurance company would rate him as an A1 risk.'
"Following is from the diary kept during his fast, and furnished by Milton Rathbun to The Press:
"First Day, Jan. 22, 8.45 A. M.—Weight, 207 pounds; height, 5 ft. 6-1/2 inches; chest measure, 43-1/2 inches; waist measure, 43-1/2 inches; hip measure, 46-1/2 inches; calf measure, 17 inches; biceps measure, 14 inches; forearm, 12 inches. 3 P. M., feels well, but hungry. In the evening felt well, not being hungry or thirsty. Have taken no water.
"Tuesday, Jan. 23.—Slept well until 6 A. M. Rested a while, then took sponge bath and rubdown. At 8.45 weighed 200 pounds. Feel good, but a little weak. 12 o'clock M., no appetite and feverish. 4 P. M., weighed 199 pounds; went home; drank one pint of water during the evening.
"Wednesday, Jan. 24.—Slept well for nine hours. Got up at 6 A. M., drank one glass of water and took train to the city. 8.30 A. M., weighed 198-1/2 pounds; only half pound lost, which shows how greedily the tissues absorb moisture and add to weight. 12 o'clock M., have no appetite nor thirst, and no fever. Retired at 9 o'clock, feeling comfortable but a little feverish.
"Thursday, Jan. 25.—After having slept seven and one-half hours took a sponge bath and brisk rubdown. Came to the city, and at 8.25 A. M. weighed 195 pounds. Feeling good, with no fever nor appetite. 4.45 P. M., weighed 193 pounds. At home during the evening drank two and one-half glasses of water.
"Friday, Jan. 26.—Slept eight hours. No appetite and feeling stronger. Examined by Professor Doremus and Dr. Carpenter. Retired at 9 o'clock, feeling first class.
"Saturday, Jan. 27.—Came to the city on the 7.45 A. M. train. Weighed 191 pounds. Feeling good. No fever and no appetite.
"Sunday, Jan. 28.—Drank one glass of water when I got up. During the day and evening drank three more glasses of water. Retired feeling first class.
"Monday, Jan. 29.—Slept eight hours last night, and came to the city on the 7.45 A. M. train. At 8.25 weighed 189 pounds. 4 P. M., was examined by Dr. F. B. Carpenter, who found the temperature 98-1/2 deg. F., pulse regular, tongue clean. Measurements were: waist, 41 inches; chest, 41 inches; hip, 45 inches; calf, 16 inches; biceps, 13-1/2 inches; forearm, 11-1/2 inches. 5.15 P. M., weighed 188 pounds.
"Tuesday, Jan. 30.—Slept eight hours; weighed 188 pounds, same as the night before; feeling good. 5.30 P. M., weighed 185-1/2 pounds.
"Wednesday, Jan. 31.—Slept 7-1/2 hours, drank one and one-half glasses of water; weighed at 8.25 A. M. 187 pounds; Dr. Carpenter found temperature 98 deg. F., and pulse 88; Professor Doremus called a little later; weighed 184-1/2 pounds.
"Thursday, Feb. 1.—Rested quietly when not asleep; drank only one and three-quarters glasses of water all day; weighed 184 pounds; retired feeling good.
"Friday, Feb. 2.—Not feeling any hunger; was examined by F. B. Carpenter; temperature, 98 deg. F.; pulse, 84; weighed 183 pounds; retired feeling well, but tired.
"Saturday, Feb. 3.—Somewhat wakeful during the night. 5.45 P. M., weighed 182 pounds.
"Sunday, Feb. 4.—Read all day and felt well.
"Monday, Feb. 5.—2 P. M., temperature, 98.4 deg. F.; pulse, 82; tongue clean. Measurements were: waist, 41 inches; chest, 41 inches; hip, 43 inches; calf, 14-1/2 inches; biceps, 13-1/2 inches; forearm, 11-1/2 inches; went to bed feeling a trifle feverish.
"Tuesday, Feb. 6.—Wakeful during the night. 11 A. M., had my eyes examined by Dr. L. H. Matthez, oculist, and found a marked improvement in my sight over same tests of two months previous, being 7 degrees stronger; felt a little weak, but no fever or appetite; weighed 180 pounds; feeling somewhat exhausted from the day's labor and in entertaining guests.
"Wednesday, Feb. 7.—Slept about seven hours during the night; when I awoke felt rested; temperature, 98.2 deg. F.; pulse, 80; have felt well all day; went to bed at 9.30; some fever.
"Thursday, Feb. 8.—Woke up two or three times during the night. Drank water during the night and first thing this morning when I got up. Came to the city, and at 9 o'clock weighed 182 pounds, showing a gain of two pounds over last night. Not feeling so well owing to the amount of water I drank last night, which was induced by feverishness.
"Friday, Feb. 9.—Feeling first rate. At 8.25 A. M. weighed 180 pounds. Heart action normal. No enlargement of the spleen or liver.
"Saturday, Feb. 10.—Lost nothing in weight during the day and have felt well all the while.
"Sunday, Feb. 11.—Passed the day in reading and drank frequently of water.
"Monday, Feb. 12.—This being a holiday, did not go to the city. Passed the day in entertaining callers. Have not felt quite so well owing to a slight cold settling in my left kidney.
"Tuesday, Feb. 13.—Measurements: waist, 38-1/2 inches; chest, 40 inches; hip, 43 inches; calf, 14-1/2 inches; biceps, 12-1/2 inches; forearm, 11 inches; weight, 177-1/2 pounds.
"Wednesday, Feb. 14.—I attribute the cause of loss of sleep to a hard day's work and in reading too long last evening.
"Thursday, Feb. 15.—Somewhat wakeful during the night. Retired at 7.30 o'clock, after a hard day's work.
"Friday, Feb. 16.—3.30 P. M., temperature, 98.5 deg. F.; pulse, 74; tongue clean; weighed 172-1/2 pounds. During the evening drank one cup of hot water.
"Saturday, Feb. 17.—After a restful night felt well all day.
"Sunday, Feb. 18.—Retired at 9 o'clock and have rested a good deal during the day.
"Monday, Feb. 19.—Weighed 169-1/2 pounds, and retired feeling well.
"Tuesday, Feb. 20.—Weighed 168-1/2 pounds; was examined by Dr. Helmer, who found me in excellent condition; 4.30 P. M., weighed 169-1/2 pounds, a gain of one pound during the day, on account of drinking a little more water than usual.
"Wednesday, Feb. 21.—Temperature, 98.5 deg. F.; pulse, 69; 4 P. M., weighed 168-1/2 pounds; have not felt quite so well during the day.
"Thursday, Feb. 22.—Occupied the day—holiday—in reading and reclining, and went to bed feeling pretty well.
"Friday, Feb. 23.—At 8.30 A. M. weighed 166 pounds; 3.30 P. M., temperature, 99 deg. F.; pulse, 98; lung expansion, 2-3/4 inches; went home and to bed, feeling considerably exhausted owing to a hard day's work and too many callers.
"Saturday, Feb. 24.—Did not rest very well from overtaxing the brain yesterday. Do not feel quite so well this morning owing to that fact and from drinking too much water during the past twenty-four hours. At 8.25 A. M. weighed 166 pounds; went home not feeling well to-day on account of some stomach disturbance, which probably comes from drinking too much water; did not drink any water during the evening; feeling quite tired at bedtime.