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Wear and Tear or, Hints for the Overworked   By: (1829-1914)

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WEAR AND TEAR,

OR

HINTS FOR THE OVERWORKED.

BY S. WEIR MITCHELL, M.D., LL.D. HARV.,

MEMBER OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES, PRESIDENT OF THE COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS OF PHILADELPHIA, ETC.

FIFTH EDITION , THOROUGHLY REVISED.

PHILADELPHIA: J.B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY. LONDON: 10 HENRIETTA STREET, COVENT GARDEN.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1871, by J.B. LIPPINCOTT & CO., In the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.

PRINTED BY J.B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY, PHILADELPHIA.

PREFACE.

The rate of change in this country in education, in dress, and in diet and habits of daily life surprises even the most watchful American observer. It is now but fifteen years since this little book was written as a warning to a restless nation possessed of an energy tempted to its largest uses by unsurpassed opportunities. There is still need to repeat and reinforce my former remonstrance, but I am glad to add that since I first wrote on these subjects they have not only grown into importance as questions of public hygiene, but vast changes for the better have come about in many of our ways of living, and everywhere common sense is beginning to rule in matters of dress, diet, and education.

The American of the Eastern States and of the comfortable classes[1] is becoming notably more ruddy and more stout. The alteration in women as to these conditions is most striking, and, if I am not mistaken, in England there is a lessening tendency towards that excess of adipose matter which is still a surprise to the American visiting England for the first time.

I should scarcely venture to assert so positively that Americans had obviously taken on flesh within a generation if what I see had not been observed by many others. It would, I think, be interesting to enter at length upon a study of these remarkable changes, but that were scarcely within the scope of this little book.

[Footnote 1: Happily, a large class with us.]

WEAR AND TEAR.

OR

HINTS FOR THE OVERWORKED.

Many years ago[1] I found occasion to set before the readers of Lippincott's Magazine certain thoughts concerning work in America, and its results. Somewhat to my surprise, the article attracted more notice than usually falls to the share of such papers, and since then, from numerous sources, I have had the pleasure to learn that my words of warning have been of good service to many thoughtless sinners against the laws of labor and of rest. I have found, also, that the views then set forth as to the peculiar difficulties of mental and physical work in this country are in strict accordance with the personal experience of foreign scholars who have cast their lots among us; while some of our best teachers have thanked me for stating, from a doctor's stand point, the evils which their own experience had taught them to see in our present mode of tasking the brains of the younger girls.

[Footnote 1: In 1871.]

I hope, therefore, that I am justified in the belief that in its new and larger form my little tract may again claim attention from such as need its lessons. Since it was meant only for these, I need not excuse myself to physicians for its simplicity; while I trust that certain of my brethren may find in it enough of original thought to justify its reappearance, as its statistics were taken from manuscript notes and have been printed in no scientific journal.

I have called these Hints WEAR and TEAR, because this title clearly and briefly points out my meaning. Wear is a natural and legitimate result of lawful use, and is what we all have to put up with as the result of years of activity of brain and body. Tear is another matter: it comes of hard or evil usage of body or engine, of putting things to wrong purposes, using a chisel for a screw driver, a penknife for a gimlet. Long strain, or the sudden demand of strength from weakness, causes tear. Wear comes of use; tear, of abuse... Continue reading book >>




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