During the pre-tubercular stage the breathing capacity rarely falls so much as 33 per cent. below the healthy standard, but it is never up to the normal vital volume. This fact is most significant, especially when it occurs in an individual whose relatives have succumbed to this disease; but it rarely attracts sufficient attention from such persons as to induce them to have their breathing capacity measured, much less to take effective measures to bring and keep it up to the healthy standard. So long as there are, to them, no tangible symptoms of approaching mischief, and they feel fairly well, they act as if they thought “that all men were mortal but themselves.” Yet it is from among persons who have an inherited but latent tendency to tubercular disease, and whose lung power is below par, that the great army of consumptives who die every year is recruited. It is very difficult to induce persons who ought to be interested in this matter to take effective measures for their future safety when the terrible symptoms accompanying the last stages of the disease often fail to shake the sufferer’s confident expectation of recovery; and we sometimes see them engaged in laying plans for the future when death is imminent. I regret deeply to be obliged to make these statements, because I am convinced that if the suggestions laid down in this work were generally reduced to practice by those who have reason to dread the development of tubercular disease, many valuable lives would be saved.
During the digestive processes the starchy, saccharine, and albuminoid elements of food are dissolved, and the fatty matters are emulsified. A uniform milky solution is thus formed, which is rapidly absorbed into the general circulation; some of it passes directly through the walls of the vessels into the blood, and some is taken up by the lacteals and reaches the vital fluid by traversing the complicated series of tubes known as the absorbent system, and the numerous glands connected with it. The chief function of the starchy and fatty food elements is to keep up the physical temperature, by being submitted to oxidation in the organism; therefore it is not necessary that they should experience any vitalizing change, but are fitted to discharge their duties in the vital domain by simply undergoing the solution that fits them for absorption. But the materials intended to enter into the composition of the body must be developed into living blood, in order to be fitted to become part and parcel of the organs by which power is evolved, and through the use of which we see, hear, feel, think, and move. This wonderful process begins and is carried forward in the absorbent system, which has been described by Dr. Carpenter as a great blood-making gland. But the vital transformation is not completed until the nutritive materials have been submitted to the