Story type: Essay
Often a man talks about like this:
“I am a regular but moderate drinker. No one ever saw me drunk, and yet I drink every day. And what’s the harm of it? Can you see anything the matter with me?”
The man would seem to have the advantage of you. You cannot SEE anything wrong with him. So far as outward appearances go the case is squarely against you. The man APPEARS to be all right.
But is he? The effects of drink upon the system do not show themselves to the extent of attracting very marked attention, at least until the conditions are fairly ripe.
In the man who comes out on to the street after a PROTRACTED DEBAUCH the effects of whiskey are visible; even the little children notice him.
He may not be drunk. It may have been hours since he touched a drop. But any one can see that his physical system has received a severe shock.
In the moderate drinker these signs are not visible, but the alcohol which he daily imbibes is doing its work, and slowly but surely his constitution is being undermined.
Now and then we run across some old man who is hale and hearty, notwithstanding the fact that he has been a moderate drinker all his life.
But no one will think of denying the fact that this old man is an exception–a very rare exception.
Many old men who SHOULD be hale and hearty are suffering from ailments born of the drink habit, by which, in their earlier days, they were enslaved.
In the “rheum, the dry serpigo and the gout” which rack their frames, make their bones ache and render miserable and thankless the evening days which should be so full of peace and beauty, they are reaping the fruits of their “harmless” moderate drinking.
Two or three weeks ago we made reference to the report by Mr. Mesureur, Director of the Department of Charities, Paris, upon the results of alcoholism in France.
That report was no sooner made public than the French liquor dealers were up in arms against it. Indignation meetings were held. The mails were flooded with all sorts of protests against the truth of Mesureur’s claim that alcoholism was slowly but surely destroying the French people.
The discussion at last became so heated that the government took it upon itself to subject the offensive report to a careful scrutiny, with the result that it was CONFIRMED in every particular.
We quote from a poster, issued by the “Investigation Council for Promoting the Public Welfare,” and now displayed all over France:
“Alcoholism is the chronic poisoning resulting from the constant use of alcohol, even if it does not produce drunkenness.
“It is an error to say that alcohol is a necessity to the man who has to do hard work, or that it restores strength.
“The artificial stimulation which it produces soon gives way to exhaustion and nervous depression. Alcohol is good for nobody, but works harm to everybody.
“Alcoholism produces the most varied and fatal diseases of the stomach and liver, paralysis, dropsy and madness. It is one of the most frequent canses of tuberculosis.
“Lastly, it aggravates and enhances all acute diseases, typhus, pneumonia, erysipelas.
“THESE DISEASES ONLY ATTACK A SOBER MAN IN A MILD DEGREE, WHILE THEY QUICKLY DO AWAY WITH THE MAN WHO DRINKS ALCOHOL.
“The sins of the parents against the laws of health visit their offspring. If the children survive the first months of their lives they are threatened with imbecility or epilepsy, or death carries them away a little later by such diseases as meningitis or consumption.
“Alcoholism is one of the most terrible plagues to the individual health, the existence of the home, and the prosperity of the nation.”
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