31. Alcohol in Hot Regions.—Bruce, Livingstone, and Stanley, and all great African travellers, condemn the use of alcohol in that hot country as well as elsewhere. The Yuma Indians, who live in Arizona and New Mexico, where the weather is sometimes much hotter than we ever know it here, have made a law of their own against the use of liquor. If one of the tribe becomes drunk, he is severely punished. This law they have made because of the evil effects of liquor which they noticed among the members of their tribe who used to become intoxicated. Do you not think that a very wise thing for Indians to do?
32. Sunstroke.—Do you know what sunstroke is? If you do not, your parents or teacher will tell yow that persons exposed to the heat of the sun on a hot summer day are sometimes overcome by it. They become weak, giddy, or insensible, and not infrequently die. Scores of people are sometimes stricken down in a single day in some of our large cities. It may occur to you that if alcohol cools the body, it would be a good thing for a person to take to prevent or relieve an attack of sunstroke. On the contrary, it is found that those who use alcoholic drinks are much more liable to sunstroke than others. This is on account of the poisonous effects of the alcohol upon the nerves. No doctor would think of giving alcohol in any form to a man suffering with sunstroke.
33. Effects of Alcohol upon the Tissues.—Here are two interesting experiments which your teacher or parents can make for you.
Experiment 1. Place a piece of tender beefsteak in a saucer and cover it with alcohol. Put it away over night. In the morning the beefsteak will be found to be shrunken, dried, and almost as tough as a piece of leather. This shows the effect of alcohol upon the tissues, which are essentially like those of lower animals.
Experiment 2. Break an egg into a half glassful of alcohol. Stir the egg and alcohol together for a few minutes. Soon you will see that the egg begins to harden and look just as though it had been boiled.
34. This is the effect of strong alcohol. The alcohol of alcoholic drinks has water and other things mixed with it, so that it does not act so quickly nor so severely as pure alcohol; but the effect is essentially the same in character. It is partly in this way that the brain, nerves, muscles, and other tissues of drinking men and women become diseased.
Eminent physicians tell us that a large share of the unfortunate persons who are shut up in insane asylums are brought there by alcohol. Is it not a dreadful thing that one’s mind should be thus ruined by a useless and harmful practice?
1. Alcohol is produced by fermentation, and obtained by distillation. It will burn like kerosene oil and other burning fluids.
2. The vapor of alcohol will burn and will sometimes explode.