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From Blackwood's Magazine. but Science as yet has been unable to furnish HUNGER AND THIRST.
any sufficient explanation. Between the HUNGER is one of the beneficent and terri- gentle and agreeable stimulus known as ble instincts. It is, indeed, the very fire of Appetite, and the agony of Starvation, there life, underlying all impulses to labor, and are infinite gradations. The early stages moving man to noble activities by its imperi- are familiar even to the wealthy; but only ous demands. Look where we may, we see the very poor, or those who have undergone it as the motive power which sets the vast exceptional calamities, such as shipwreck and array of human machinery in action. It is the like, know anything of the later stages. Hunger which brings these stalwart navvies We all know what it is to be hungry, even together in orderly gangs to cut paths very hungry; but the terrible approaches of through mountains, to throw bridges across protracted hunger are exceptional experirivers, to intersect the land with the great ences. From materials furnished by sad eriron-ways which bring city into daily com-periences, both familiar and exceptional, I munication with city. Hunger is the over- will endeavor to state the capital phenomena seer of those men erecting palaces, prison- and their causes. houses, barracks, and villas. Hunger sits at
In every living ganism there is an incesthe loom, which with stealthy power is weav- sant and reciprocal activity of waste and reing the wondrous fabrics of cotton and silk. pair. The living fabric in the very actions Hunger labors at the furnace and the plough, which constitute its life, is momently yieldcoercing the native indolence of man into ing up its particles to destruction, like the strenuous and incessant activity. Let food coal which is burned in the furnace: so much be abundant and easy of access, and civiliza-h coal to so much heat, so much waste of tissue tion becomes impossible ; for our higher to so much vital activity. You cannot wink efforts are dependent on odr lower impulses your eye, move your finger, or think a in an indissoluble manner. Nothing but the thought, but some minute particle of your necessities of food will force man to labor, substance must be sacrificed in doing so. which he hates, and will always avoid when | Unless the coal which is burning be from possible. And although this seems obvious time to time replaced, the fire soon smoulonly when applied to the laboring classes, it ders, and finally goes out; unless the subis equally though less obviously true when stance of your body which is wasting be from applied to all other classes, for the money we time to time furnished with fresh food, life all labor to gain is nothing but food, and the flickers, and at length becomes extinct. surplus of food, which will buy other men's Hunger is the instinct which teaches us to labor.
replenish the empty furnace. But although If in this sense Hunger is seen to be a the want of food, necessary to repair the beneficent instinct, in another sense it is ter- waste of life, is the primary cause of Hunrible, for when its progress is unchecked it ger, it does not, as is often erroneously becomes a devouring flame, destroying all stated, in itself constitute Hunger. The abthat is noble in man, subjugating his human- sence of necessary food causes the sensation, ity, and making the brute dom inant in him, but it is not itself the sensation. Food may till finally life itself is extinguished. Beside be absent without any sensation, such as we the picture of the activities it inspires, we express by the word Hunger, being felt ; as might also place a picture of the ferocities it in the case of insane people, who frequently evokes. Many an appalling story might be subject themselves to prolonged abstinence cited, from that of Ugolino in the famine- from food, without any hungry cravings; tower, to those of wretched shipwrecked and, in a lesser degree, it is familiar to us all men and women who have been impelled by how any violent emotion of grief or joy will the madness of starvation to murder their completely destroy, not only the sense of companions that they might feed upon their Hunger, but our possibility of even swallowflesh.
ing the food which an hour before was cravWhat is this Hunger—what its causes and ingly desired. Further, it is known that the effects ? In one sense we may all be said to feeling of Hunger may be allayed by opium, know what Hunger is ; in another sense no tobacco, or even inorganic substances introman can enlighten u8 ; we have all felt it, duced into the stomach, although none of
these can supply the deficiency of food. The animal body is often compared with a Want of food is therefore the primary, but steam-engine, of which the food is the fuel not the proximate, cause of Hunger. I am in the furnace, furnishing the motor power. using the word Hunger in its popular sense As an illustration, this may be acceptable here, as indicating that specific sensation enough, but, like many other illustrations, it which impels us to eat; when the subject is often accepted as if it were a real analogy, has been more fully unfolded, the reader will a true expression of the facts. As an analosee how far this popular sense of the word is gy, its failure is conspicuous. No engine applicable to all the phenomena
burns its own substance as fuel : its motor We can now understand why Hunger power is all derived from the coke which is should recur periodically, and with a fre-burning in the furnace, and is in direct conquency in proportion to the demands of stant proportion to the amount of coke connutrition. Young animals demand food sumed; when the coke is exhausted, the more frequently than the adult; birds and engine stops. But every organism consumes mammalia more frequently than reptiles and its own body; it does not burn food, but fishes. A lethargic boa-constrictor will only tissue. The fervid wheels of life were made feed about once a-month, a lively rabbit out of food, and in their action motor power twenty times a-day. Temperature has also is evolved. The difference between the orits influence on the frequency of the recur- ganism and the mechanism is this; the prorence: cold excites the appetite of warm- duction of heat in the organism is not the blooded animals, but diminishes that of the cause of its activity, but the result of it; cold-blooded, the majority of which cease whereas in the mechanism the activity origito take any food at the temperature of nates in and is sustained by the heat. Refreezing Those warm - blooded animals more the coals which generate the steam, which present the curious phenomena of and you immediately arrest the action of the " winter-sleep,” resemble the cold-blooded mechanism; but long after all the food has animals in this respect; during hybernation disappeared, and become transformed into they need no food, because almost all the the solids and liquids of the living fabric, sital actions are suspended. It is found that, the organism continues to manifest all the at this temperature of freezing, even diges- powers which it manifested before. There tion is suspended. Hunter fed lizards at is of course a limit to this continuance, inasthe commencement of winter, and from time much as vital activity is dependent on the to time opened them, without perceiving any destruction of tissue. The man who takes indications of digestion having gone on; and no food lives like a spendthrift on his capital, when spring returned, those lizards which and cannot survive his capital. He is obwere still living, vomited the food which they served to get thin, pale, and feeble, because he had retained undiġested in their stomachs is spending without replenishing his coffers ; during the whole winter.
he is gradually impoverishing himself, because Besides the usual conditions of recurring Life is waste; for Life moves along the stepappetite, there are some unusual conditions, ping-stones of change, and change is death. depending on peculiarities in the individual, If we examine the blood of a starving or on certain states of the organism. Thus man, we shall find its elementary composiduring convalescence after some maladies, tion to be precisely similar to that of the especially fevers, the appetite is almost in- same man in his healthy state, but the processant; and Admiral Byron relates that, portions of that composition will be greatly after suffering from a month's starvation altered; the globules—which may be deduring a shipwreck, he and his companions, nominated the nutritive solids of the bloodwhen on shore, were not content with gorg- are much diminished in quantity, the inoring themselves while at table, but filled their ganic constituents, which are the products of pockets that they might eat during the inter- destroyed tissues, much increased. In fact, vals of meals. In certain diseases there is a these inorganic products, like the pawncraving for food which no supplies allay ; | tickets found in the spendthrift's desk, are but of this we need not speak here.
significant of the extravagance and the pov* Hunter: Observations on Certain Parts of erty which point to ruin. the Animal Economy.
We cannot say how long such a spend27
thrift life may continue, because Time has | answer; and as a contribution towards the no definite relation to the phenomena of formation of a definite and philosophical starvation ; these depend on certain specific judgment, I will state some of the most changes going on in the body, which may striking cases on record, and the physiologioccur with indefinite rapidity. Within the cal principles implied in them. same period of time the whole cycle of The human body is in many respects so change necessary for destruction may have different from that of animals, especially in completed itself, or only a few of the stages its complexity, that we can draw no very acin this cycle may have been gone through ; a curate conclusion from their powers of enman under certain conditions will not survive during abstinence; but after all, the differsix days' fasting, and under other conditions ences will only be differences of degree, and he will survive six weeks. But if we cannot and the same physiological laws must reguwith any precision say how long starvation will late both, so that we may be certain of the be in effecting its fatal end, we can say how effect of abstinence on man not being essenmuch waste is fatal. From the celebrated ex- tially dissimilar to that on all other warmperiments of Chossat on Inanition,* it appears blooded animals. Let us therefore first see that death arrives whenever the waste how the case stands with animals. The exreaches an average proportion of 0.4. That periments of Pommer establish that carniris to say, supposing an animal to weigh 100 orous animals resist starvation longer than Ib., it will succumb when its weight is re- the herbivorous; birds of prey longer than duced to 60 lb. Death may of course ensue birds feeding on seeds and fruits. I think before that point is reached, but not be pro- we might a priori have deduced this conclulonged after it. The average loss which can sion from the known differences in the interbe sustained is 40 per cent; sometimes the vals of recurring Hunger, and in the differloss is greater, especially if the animal be ent quantities of food eaten by the two very fat: thus in the Transactions of the classes. The carnivorous animal eats roraLinnæan Society, a case is reported of a fat ciously when food is within reach, but having pig which was buried under thirty feet of satisfied his appetite, he remains sereral chalk for one hundred and sixty days; his hours before again feeling hungry; and in a weight fell in that period no less than 75 per state of nature the intervals between his cent. Curiously enough, as an illustration meals are necessarily variable, and often of what was just said respecting Time not much prolonged, because his food is neither being an index, fishes and reptiles were abundant or easy of access. The herbivofound by Chossat to perish at precisely the rous animal, on the other hand, has his food same limit of weight as warm-blooded ani- constantly within reach, and is almost always mals, but they required a period three-and-eating, because an enormous amount of vegtwenty times as long to do it in : thus if the etable food is needed to furnish him with experiment be performed of starving a bird sustenance. The lion, or the cat, becomes and a frog during the warm weather, al- inured to long abstinence; the rabbit or the though both will perish when their loss of cow scarcely knows the feeling. It is clear, weight reaches 40 per cent, the one will not therefore, that the one will better endure survive a week, the other will survive three-long fasting than the other. Chossat's experand-twenty weeks.
iments on eight-and-forty birds and animals Having clearly fixed these principles, we show that the average duration of life er may proceed to consider the many remarka- ceeded nine days and a half—the maximum ble cases of prolonged fasting which appeal being twenty days and a half, the minimum to the credulity of the public, and which find a little more than two days. The young ala piace even in very grave treatises, as well ways die first, the adult before the aged: this as in the less critical columns of newspapers. is true of men as of animals. Some of the Are we to believe these marvels, or reject simpler animals exhibit remarkable powers them ? and on what grounds are we justified endurance. Latreille pinned a spider to a 'in rejecting them ? Such questions the cork, and after four months found it still reader will frequently be called upon to alive. Baker kept a stag-beetle three years
* Cuossat: Recherches Experimentales sur l'in a bos without food, and at the end of that Inanition.
period it flew away. Müller relates that a
scorpion not only survived the voyage from “But all these stories are surpassed by Africa to Holland, but continued without food that of a woman who remained fifty years for nine months afterwards. Rondelet kept without food ; it is added, however, that she a fish three
years without food, and Rudolphi sometimes took skimmed milk.” a Proteus anguineus five years !
Admitting,” says M. Bérard, “ that there
Snakes, has been deception in some of these cases, we know, live for many months without eat- and that the love of the marvellous has preing; and Redi found that a seal lived, out of sided over the narrations of others, we canwater and without food, four weeks. In not refuse to believe that some are authentic. these cases, except the fish kept by Ronde- Every year such cases are registered. In let, the animals were quiescent, and did not 1836, M. Lavigne invited me to visit a wowaste their substance by the ordinary activi- man of fifty-two, who, after having reduced and with regard to the fish, some doubts teen months, lad taken nothing in the shape
herself to å glass of milk daily during eighmay be entertained whether it did not find of food or drink during the last five months. worms and larvæ in the water.
In 1839, M. Parizot communicated to me Passing from animals to man, we find that the fact of a girl at Marcilly who had taken death arrives on the fifth or sixth day of total no solid nutriment for six years, and for the abstinence from food and drink. But this is last five years no liquid or solid. In 1838, a general statement to which various excep- seen a woman at Ayrens, aged eight-and
M. Plongeau wrote to me to say that he had tions
may be named. Much depends on the forty, who during the last eight years had repeculiar constitution of the individual, his ceived no nourishment whatever."* age, health and other conditions. Some die
It is rather startling to find so learned a on the second and third days; others sur- physiologist as M. Bérard recording such vive till the tenth, eleventh, and even six
cases, and trying to explain them. The teenth days. Again, considerable differences possibility of deception and exaggeration is will result from the different situations in so great, that we are tempted to reject alwhich the men are placed—such as those of quiescence or activity, of temperature, mois-ject all physiological teaching,
most every one of these cases rather than re
, ture, &c.
The following is one of the most extraThe examples of protracted fasting re- ordinary of the cases which are repeated by corded are, as usual, deficient for the most modern writers with confidence. Janet part in' that rigorous authenticity which is M’Leod after epilepsy and fever, remained demanded by science; many of them are five years in bed, seldom speaking, and reobviously fabulous exaggerations. M. Bérard ceiving food only by constraint. At length has borrowed the following from Haller, add- she obstinately refused all sustenance, her ing some cases which camt under his own
jaws became locked, and in attempting to knowledge. I give them as specimens, not force them open two of her teeth were broas data.
ken. A small quantity of liquid was intro“ A young girl, ashamed to confess her duced by the aperture, none of which she poverty, went without food for seventy-eight swallowed, and dough made of oatmeal was days, during which she only sucked lemons. likewise rejected. She slept much, and her
« Another woman of the same place remained four months without food, and another head was bent down on her breast. In this fasted a whole year.
deplorable state she continued four years, " Haller reports two other cases of fasting without her relatives being aware of her refor three and four years.
ceiving any aliment except a little water ; “Mackenzie reports in the Philosophical but after a longer interval she revived, and Transactions the story of a young girl who subsisted on crumbs of bread with milk, or had lockjaw for eighteen years, and had taken no food during four years.
water sucked from her hand.
Attention is called to the two facts of "A Scotchwoman is reported in the Philosophical Transactions, vol. Ixvii., to have Janet's seldom speaking and sleeping much, lived eight years without taking any thing because, supposing the case to be true, they except a little water on one or two occasions. materially affect the question. In a state of
" À case of fasting for ten years is cele- such quiescence as is here implied, the waste brated in many works. Fabrice de Hilden, of the body would be reduced to a minimum, who took precautions against deception, says that Eva Flegen neither ate nor drank dur
* BERARD: Cours de Physiologie, 1848, vol. i. ing six
consequently the need of food would be min-change going on in the organism; it is proimised. Nevertheless, in the present state of duced by “ direct combustion” (according to Physiology, I think we are justified in assert- the chemical school of physiologists), by "the ing that some deception or exaggeration, disengagement of heat in chemical composinot now ascertainable, is at the bottom of tions and decompositions” (according to anthis as of all similar cases; and until a case other school), and according to all schools free from all suspicion shall have been pro- the high temperature of the body depends duced for the satisfaction of Science, we are on organic processes, which necessarily imply bound to deny the probability of such stories; waste of tissue. The warmth of the bed in since that which all our knowledge shows to which the patient lies is not sufficient to prebe in itself contradictory, and, as far as we serve her temperature at its proper height; can judge, not possible, must necessarily she must burn her own substance to keep have the highest improbability, and can only up her animal heat; and when we think of he accepted on the most rigorous evidence. the high degree of temperature maintained Either we must give up our Physiology alto- during a period of four years, solely by the gether, or we must reject these stories. combustion of the body itself, we shall see
For observe, on the one hand, several of at once that it is utterly impossible any ore the reported cases of long fasting have been ganism, during so long a period, could sussubsequently proved to be impostures, and tain such waste without repair. Here, then, this naturally throws a suspicion over all is the dilemma: either Janet M’Leod did similar cases. On the other hand, physiolog- maintain the ordinary temperature of the ical laws, established by induction from body during these four years, in which case thousands of facts tested in every variety of she must have destroyed more tissue to promethod, pronounce these cases to be not posi- duce that heat than she could have had origsible: and we are called upon to decide inally; or she did not maintain the ordinary whether it is more probable that these in- temperature, in which case she would have ductions should be wrong, or that some im- died from the very want of this animal heat, posture or exaggeration should lie at the since all organisms perish when their normal bottom of the narrated marvels ? There temperature is considerably lowered. cannot be a moment's hesitation as to which. Let us now consider the second source of alternative we must accept; but the reader waste. Janet breathed during these four will naturally desire a clear conception of years ; gently we may suppose, and with no the physiological contradictions which I have deep inspirations, yet constantly, day and asserted to be implied in these marvellous night without interruption. Now, what does narratives—the more so as many professed this breathing depend on? It depends on physiologists do not seem to be aware of the constant interchange between carbonic them.
acid in the blood, and oxygen in the air. Supposing the waste of the body to be re- Unless there were carbonic acid in the blood cluced to a minimum by the perfect quies- no exchange could take place, no breathing cence in which the patients remained, we could be effected. Every moment, therefore, must still bear in mind that this diminution some small portion of carbonic acid must be is not total arrest of waste. The patient separated from the blood, and replaced by scarcely moves, seldom speaks, and sleeps oxygen. Whence came this carbonic acid ? much. Very little destruction of tissue will From destruction of tissue. Directly, or intake place, compared with the amount des- directly, carbonic acid was produced in the troyed by the same person in ordinary ac- act of waste. Its presence implies waste, tivity, and very little food will be needed to and the act of breathing implies a continurepair such waste ; but although compara- ous supply of such waste. That this is no tively small, the amount of waste will be hypothesis, but the simple expression of the absolutely large; we cannot say how large it facts, every physiologist knows. It may be will be, we can only say that it must be large. rendered generally intelligible by referring Let us fix our attention on only two sources to what is observed with the hybernating anof this waste, and the proof will be evident. imals. The dormouse begins its winter sleep The production of animal heat is only possi- well clothed with fat. It never moves for ble through a large amount of chemical months ; its respiration is slow and feeble,