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The San Francisco call. [volume] (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, November 08, 1896, Image 17

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Your Life May Be Indefinitely Prolonged by Scientific Means.
Three score years and ten has been for
the majority of mankind the accepted
term 01 human life. Not that all men live
seventy years; far from it Occasionally
'an individual is remarked whose span of
earthly existence reaches much beyond
that length of years; but the greater num
ber of human beines succumb long before
the centennial year is reached. The gen
eral sense of the phrase "three score years
and ten" is that a man ought to live that
length of time provided he obeyed the
laws of health. As a matter of fact, the
man who lives according to the laws of
na;ure will be in his prime, and a long
ways from dissolution on the attainment
of his seventieth birthday. The familiar
phrase originated in the early ages of the
present civilization, when sanitation was
an unknown quantity, and the present
knowledge of the conservation of energy
undreamed of. It can only apply to the
present by the permissible neglect of those
who do not care for anything better.
Death comes to the human individual
(accidental deaths, and these include such
as result from inherited taints of vital
disease, are not considered in the present
mention) as the result of a failure of the
power of assimilation.
Our physical bodies are changing every
moment of our lives. It used to be said
that the human body was changed every
seven years. It is constantly changing.
We exist partly by the food we eat and
•partly by the appropriation of the invisi
ble molecules surrounding us. Deprived
of air we should" die, although surrounded
by the most bounteous provision of tempt
ing viands. Insensibly our bodies are feed
ing through a million mouths, and through
a million pores of exit are passing off the
waste products. An atom of carbon, an
atom of iron and an atom of this and that
is taken possession of by our bodies and
used by the operation of what is known as
the process of assimilation. Provided this
] rocess goes on with undiminished vigor
there can be no death. It is only when
' for so:ne reason, generally a lack of vital
energy, this process becomes feeble, that
senile decay is apparent.
. Within late years extended researches
Van Dyck Brown 's Story of William Morris, the Beloved Poet of Merton Abbey
In the death of William Morris — poet,
artist, manufacturer and philanthropist —
England has lost one of the most interest-
ing personalities of the last half century.
. If his wonderful versatility almost pre
. eluded absolute supremacy in any one
• direction.it gave infinite opportunity for
a broader development, a wider influence
for good, a humane and never-failing in
terpst in every subject that could affect
the artisan, the artist or the man of ele-
pant leisure.
He belonged to that remarkable circle !
called at first in scorn the pre-Raphaelite
Brotherhood— Ford Madox Brown, John I
Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and later i
B'mie-Jones. His personal appearance
•was striking and among facetious Oxford
men he was called "The Lion," not only
. for the leonine character of his head, but
for his habit of roaring, when annoyed, in
stentorian tones.
He had a massive forehead with a great
■ thatch of unruly, shaggy hair; a big
beard hid his rather grim mouth and j
chin. His manners were abrupt, at times
A Genuine Old-Fashioned Country Road Within the Limits of the City of San Francisco,
What other city in the world the size of
San Francisco can boatt of a country road
within its limits, only a short distance
.away from the busy marts of trade?
By this is not meant a street with a rural
appearance, but a real road, without side
walks or lamp-posts, that winds among
tree-covered hills, past ranches and gar
dens and pretty homes, with vines and
. flowers in the yard?, at the same time be
ing shut out from all sight and sound of
the busy metropolis. It is very likely that
the city by the Golden Gate stands alone
in this respect, as she does in many others.
It is also likely that comparatively few of
the residents of this City know of such a
road's existence, although most of them
have undoubtedly been within a few hun
i dred feet of one end of it.
V Nevertheless the road exists and is not
at all hard to find. It is down on tbe map
of San Francisco as "the Alnuhouse
Road," and the end nearest town starts at
Stanyan street, 3 blocks south from the
Height-street entrance to the Park.
have been made in the field of material
physics which liave developed the fact
that the basis of all physical action is
vibration. It is now a conceded fact that
the process of assimilation is a vibratory
one. I do not mean that our foods and
our beverages are transformed into be
coming parts and portions of our living
organisms by a process of shaking recog
nizable by human vision, but that every
atom of matter, be it of whatever kind,
has a definite rate of vibration, and that
changing the rate of vibration of that
atom changes its form of manifestation.
So that an atom of iron entering into the
human frame is by the rate of vibration
of the assimilation process so acted upon
as to have its rate changed, making it a
component part of our system. This
means that there b work to be done.
Measured by our finite scales it would not
appear that a very great amount of dy
namic force was necessary to change the
rate of vibration of a single atom. Inves
tigation of the laws of molecular attrac
tion demonstrate that in a single drop of
blood there are no less than five hundred
thousand million million millions of
atoms, each separated from each other by
spaces larger than the atoms. The figures
are almost too great for our mental grasp,
and yet they are demonstrable. Thus,
while the operation of a single atom may
be but the expenditure of an infinitesimal
force, yet the operation of the aggregate
involves the exercise of enormous energy.
If these premises are correct, and they
are virtually established, then it follows
that if the vibratory force of assimilation
can by any means be maintained at its
normal rate without slackening, the pro
cess of appropriation, use and ejection of
atoms by the human system will go on ad
infinitum, and there will be no decay and
consequently no death.
We require to know the rate of vibration
of assimilation.
The foremost scientists of the age have
enunciated that there is but one form of
the primitive atom, and that all other
atoms, of whatever name, are but the dif
ference in the grouping and motions of the
a little uncouth, and he detested the no
toriety he could hot escape. It was re
lated that an American, a great admirer
of the author of "The Life and Death of
Jason," desired to make his acquaintance ;
after being kept waiting for an intermina
ble time, the unfortunate stranger wns re
ceived by the poet, with a shout of:
"Wei', sir. what the devil do you want?"
His obstinate nature, his high but gen
erous temper, his love of argnment, even
of a stormy violence, made him a difficult
man to associate with; especially as his
views, so firmly maintained, were gener
ally, at first, utterly impracticable;
founded on the quick enthusiasm of a na
ture at once idealistic and inclined to
pessimism. He had the eyes and the ex
pression of a dreamer, absent minded and
meditative, in strong contrast to the
rugged modeling of his great brow and
no*e and chin.
The poet left us the inheritance of "The
Life and Death of Jason," "The Earthly
Paradise," "The Defense of Gucnevere,"
and in later years "The Hou«e of the
At this point there is nothing unusual
lookine about the road.it having much
the appearance of many of the newly laid
out streets in the victnity. It starts up a
gradual incline and goes through a cut in
the hill only about a block away. A little
has been done in the way of improvement
here. Wooden curbs have been put in
and the center of the road is covered with
crushed stone the same as 1* used in the
But go up to the cut in the hill and
look beyond. The entire aspect changes
j and every bit of suggestion of a city street
disappears. The roadbed is simply laid
on the surface of the ground and almost
nothing done in the way of grading. On
both sides there are hills and trees with
vacant lots divided by fences.
About two hundred feet from the end
of the road it makes a curve and a descent
at the same time, then a sudden ascent.
Here there are a few small houses, and by
turning back one can look over the park
and even beyond and see tbe smoke of the
Wolfings" and the "Story of Sigurd the
Volsung." His artistic work was in many
directions. It was the result of many ar
guments that had originally turned him
from architecture to poetry, but in his
la*er work there were always traces of that
precise early training. One of his earliest
friends, Faulkner, bursar of an Oxford
college, himself a strong-willed, argu
mentative man. was generally his host,
in the early sixties and an Oxford student
of that period, who was invu d to Faulk
ner's Sunday breakfasts, had an unusual
opportunity to listen to the "sound and
fury" of dialectical battles. In this case
they wrre productive of unusual results.
A hobbyhorse Morris could always ride
was the hideousness of ordinary surround
ings. He could demolish in a rage of con
tempt the conservative manufacturers who
turned out year after year abomina
tions in the way of wallpaper and carpets,
furniture and ornaments. It was a time
when Pater was first publishing his deli
cately elaborate essays, when Rossetti and
Swinburne and Morris himself were puo
big Cify mingling with the clear blue of
the sky. But keep on and another descent
will lead into a canyon and a few hun
dred feet up this and all sight of the big
City is lost.
When once within this big canyon it is
hard to realize that only a few hundred
feet to the northeast there is a big City
throbbing and pulsatine with life. There
is no suggestion of it here, and as far as
the general aspect of nature goes one
might as well be in the depths of the
Sierras. Away to the south the road can
be seen winding among the hills, every
now and then disappearing behind a bluff
only to reappear a short distance fartner
on. There is a breath of autumn in the
air. The grass on the hill sides is sparse
and brown, but the birds are singing and
the murmur of the brook can be heard as
it tumbles over the rocks. A gentle wind
rustles the dead weeds and sends the dried
leaves flying. Listen. Not the faintest
sound of the big City comes in here. Surely
this cannot be San Francisco. But it
lishing poems making the desire for
beauty almost a moral law. And from
theje Sunday breakfasts, where the very
crockery was iin periled by the force of
the arguments, the schema, so visionary
at first, was practically evolved to found a
business — a firm of decorators and up
holsterers who were to revolutionize Eng
land. The curious and unusual part of it
is that for once the dreamers succeeded —
not after straggle and labor, but immedi
ately. Not a university don in Oxford but
owned an esthetic coal Bcuttle; not one
of the tutors' wives but pointed proudly
to a wall covered with a Morrisoniau
design of flowering pomegranates.
The firm was called Morris, Marshall,
Faulkner & Co., and their first house was
in Red Lion square. Later they opened
in Oxford street and finally moved to
Merton Abbey, where they still remain.
And the widespread influence of this firm
of decorators was and Is remarkable. He
may be said to have revolutionized Eng
lish taste in decorative art. His idea was
that designs should be at once graceful and
natural, reproduced !rom natural outdoor
objects; that fabrics should be of substan
tial worth, whether they be the simplest
cotton stuffs or the most exquisite silks or
satins or brocades ; that colors should be
used that would stay fast through shade
and sun.
At present his work has met the inev
itable fate ' of any success; it has been
imitated and distorted .by the manufac
turers in England and America, less
scrupulous as to the quality and design;
it has been cneapened and made common
place, until it has been made to encourape
the very taste "for useless ornaments,
sham art and stupid bric-a-brac" ho was
most anxious to destroy. His name be
came falsely associated with that modern
fashion he^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^l
silly trifles that, to use his own worus,
"make our stuffy, art-stifling houses more
truly savage than a Zulu's kraal or an East
Greenlander's snow hut." He loved "frank
color?," pure and solid, and yet, as he
himself said with whimsical despair, "he
is supposed to have brought into vogue a
dingy, bilious-looking yellow-green — a
color of which he had a special and per
sonal hatred." His theories were simple
in the extreme. "Nothing can be a work
of art which is not useful, that is to say
which does not minister to the body when
well under command of the mind, or
which does not amuse, soothe or elevate
the mind in a healthy state. What tons
upon tons of unutterable rubbish, pretend
ing to be art in some degree, would this
maxim clear out of our houses if it were
understood and acted upon. If you can
not learn to iove real art at least learn to
hate sham art and reject it. Learn to do
without— there is virtue in these words—
and then from simplicity of life would
rise up the longing for beauty; and we
know that nothing can satisfy that de
mand but intelligent work, rising grad-
ually into irnacinative work, which will
turn all operators into workmen, into art
ists, into men."
It was impossible for a man of his temp
really is, and just over the hill to the
right not much farther than a boy could
throw a stone are well laid out streets, all
the modern improvements that make up
a metropolis.
Although the road really goes up hill it
does so so gradually as to be impercepti
ble. Every step taKes one farther and
farther into the depths of nature, and the
canyon becomes almost wild for a short
distance. There are bis jagged rocks
overtianeing the way and seeming ready
to fall at any moment. At this point the
hills on both sides are so high the sea
breeze is kept out and an absolute silence
In the vicinity of the Almshouse
the roadway is lined with pretty resi
dences, and numerous ponds and reser
voirs add to the country-like effect.
Roosters are crowing, cows bellowing,
dogs barking and hens cackling, mineled
with the sound of the woodsman's ax in
the timber near by.
The prettiest portion ©< the whole road
erament to blind himself with his own
ide*ls, and the terrible problems of the
day occupied him too much — made him
sacrifice his poetry to the needs of his fel
low-men. He became a socialist, not only
in the best sense of the term, but actively,
carrying his principles of equality into his
rela ions with his workmen. The actual
condition of the poor was to him a subject
of the keenest misery to the very end of
his life, and unconsciously he, pernaps,
did more harm than good by his passion
ate pamphlets, his lectures and addresses
to the various clubs of workmen of which
he was a member.
"Dreamer of dreams, born out of my
due time, why should I strive to set the
crooked straight?" he wrote in a moment
of weariness aud despair. But he did
strive, and the striving brought that
shadow of doubt and melancholy into his
poetic work so distinguished for its calm
ness and serenity, the freshness and
sparkle of a gayety almost Chaucerian.
Tbe sympathy with socialism is not
very great in America, perhaps because
the intense depth of such poverty as
meets the eye in England is not evident
and is not even existent. Here we read
every day of men of rank and power
throwing themselves and their wealth in
to the balance against the desperate flood
of abject misery and pauperism. There is
no touch of personal interest, of desire
for applause, of political or other advan
tage in their endeavors to stop the tide,
and however vain, however wild and
visionary the attempt, we have only re
spect and admiration for the effort. Un
fortunately the very arguments that are
most convincing to the intelligent and
prosperous men, the ringing eloqupnc* of
sympathy for the wrongs of the weak £r.d
downtrodden, become firebrands in the
mouths of the Ignorant, the half-starved,
the idle, fanatical socialist workman. To
him socialism and anarchism are synony
mous terms.
In Merton Abbey, in the oeautiful
county of Surrey, where every village sta
tion is overgrown with roses and flowering
vines, it is a very sunny kind of socialism
that William Morris was responsible for,
Here in th« old Norman monastery the
"idle singer of an empty day" lived and
labored. Here to any visitor sincerely in
terested in his work on the lnbor prob
lems he was always to be found, a robust
and powerlul figure in a blue blouse, with
a great, nearty voice, and that strange
mixture of hostile reserve and fine cor
diality that made his manner so unusual.
He was always on the alert for a cynical
or a contemptuous attitude in others, but
once convinced of the contrary, and the
florid color would rise to his face, his eyes
would grow luminous and an indescriba
ble air of freedom and warmtn would
emanate from his whole personality.
Merton Abbey was originally a Norman
monastery, but from tae time of Cromwell
it has been used for manufacturing pur
Originally the y^laoe was the cradle for
textile printing in Eneland.
The house in which Morris lived was an
is just beyond the Almshonse gate. It
might properly be ramed the Eucalyptus
road, for both sidbs of the driveway are
lined with the most picturesque speci
mens of those artistic trees. The trees are
just in their prime and make a most re
freshing shade, that is pleasant to look at
in cool weather and cooling when the sun
is hot. This avenue is about 500 feet long,
and in some places tbe branches of the
trees meet overhead, forming a natural
archway, the equal of any in the State.
When the sun is low in the west and the
trunks of tbe trees cast lon shadows over
the roadway, then is it indeed a beautiful
sight. The spots of light dance as if en
dowed with life, and the whole interior <jf
the archway is filled with a soft glow that
mingles with the quivering sunshine.
Beyond the Almshouse there is a clear
ing where the inmates of the institution
are wont to come and rest while seated in
the sun on the logs of the newly felled
trees. They add considerably to the
picturesqueness of the scene, those poor
That the vibration of these atoms is a
constant thing, forever going on, and that
the cause of the vibration is the operation
01 molecular force, or, as ia sometimes
called, molecular attraction; the universal
Within the past few years some astound
ing discoveries have been made of the
phenomena of vibration. Chiefly these
discoveries have occurred in the field of
electricity. We speak of the character of
an electric current by saying it i« of a cer
tain voltage and amperage. The term
"voltage" represents its intensity, just as
we would say a stream of water is flowing
swiftly or slowly. The term "amperage"
represents quantity, corresponding to the
volume of the stream. A current of qlec
ti icily consists of a series of undulations,
and the rapidity with which these undu
lations follow one another determines the
voltage of the current. Therefore, the
higher the voltage the more rapid the vi
brations. We take hold of the handles of
a Faradic battery coil, and with a current
of a few volts we experience a sensation of
muscular contraction that becomes intol
erable if the voltage be increased to say
fifty. The trolly wire of the street rail
way carries a current of a thousand volts
coupled with large amperage. The unfor
tunate being whose physical system forms
aconnectin link between the live trolley
wire and the earth suffers a degree of
muscular contraction which renders him
helpless, and frequently death results
from a lesion due to the intense strain put
upon the muscular system by the current,
or from the enormous heating effect of the
great amperage. Yet, Tesla and, since his
experiment, numerous other experiment
ers, have passed through their bodies an
electric current of a million volts and en
joyed it. In these cases the current was
of small amperage.
If we sound at the same time a number
of musical notes, all of exactly the same
pitch, the result is a harmonious sound
of greater volume than if but one note
was sounded. If we sound at the same
time two discordant notes, inharmony re
sults. If we were to sound at the same
time every one of the sixty-three shades
old-fashioned country dwelling-house. In
a small room over the stairs was a circu
lating library, intended for the benefit of
the operatives. All the books were as
richly bound as though intended for his
own private use.
"I do not want art for the fow," he
would say, "any more than education for
a few or liberty for a few. No; rather
than that art shon'd live this poor, thin
life among a few exceptional men, despis
ing those beneath them for an ignorance
for which ti;ey themselves are responsi
ble, for a brutality which they will not
struggle with, rather than this I would
that the world should indeed sweep away
all art for a while. ♦ ♦ • Rather than
the wheat should rot in the miser's
granary, I would that tbe earth had it
that it might yet have a chance to quicken
in tbe dark."
This manufactory consists of a small
group of detached buildings. Scrupulous
neatness and order everywhere, flowers in
every window. Even the busiest rooms,
filled with the constant whirr of machin
ery, are bright with light ami air. There
was no branch of industry in which Mr.
Morris himself was not personally skilled;
he rediscovered lost methods and in
troduced new ones.
Bibliophiles point with pride to the
rragnificent volumes issued by the Kelm
scott Press, perfect in every detail that
goes to the making of a book. And still
we question regretfully whether other
old people, as they move about, many of
them attired in the most outlandish gar
ments of the brightest colors. But some
how they seem to blend with nature, and
even if the clo'hes they wear have been
out of fashion over half a century, the
wearers are proud of them ; perhaps proud
of the length of time they have had them.
Half a mile from tbe Almshouse gate
the road is of the most countryried de
scription. There are barns and stables on
both sides, and back on the hills dozens of
vegetable gardens. At present these
gardens are looking their best. Great
rows of all sorts of good things are in the
most perfect condition of greenness, and
walking among them are gardeners sing
ing at their work.
Every foot of the Almshouse road is a
pleasure to walk over to any one who en
joys nature. Add to this tbe fact that it
is within the limits of one of tbe largest
cities in the world, and the trip over v be
comes a most unique experience.
A peculiar feature of the Almshouse
of tone that constitute the complete
octave, absolute silence would result.
The fact that the human body is able to
entertain an electric current of a million
volts, with impunity, whereas it suc
cumbs to disruption under the pressure of
a thousaml-volt current, bas set some
scientific minds to thinking.
Electrcal energy is the closest approach
to the universal force, i. c., molecular
force, that our present atate of scientific
attainment permits.
In the exhibition of the million-volt
current we were producing a sound closer
in approach to the human. When we
yhall know the exact rate (the voltage) of
an individual human, we shall then be
able to employ upon him a current of cor
responding voltage rate, and then supply
to his system a force of vibration that will
maintain bis assimilative process.
To this end a number of careful experi
ments are now being made to determine
the precise means whereby the voltage, or
rate of vibration, of the individual may be
accurately ascertained. Undoubtedly dif
ferent individuals have different rates.
Already it is ascertained that this rate, or
voltage, le somewhere between one and
three millions.
There is every reason to hope that the
opening of the twentieth century will
witness the accomplishment of the prob
lem. Once the particular voltage of the
individual is known, the proper applica
tion of a current of electric energy of a
corresponding voltage may be applied,
and the vibratory rate of the process of
assimilation maintained with as much
regularity as is now the steam in the
boiler of an ocean liner by the well-timed
feeding of the furnaces with coal.
F. M. Close, D.Sc
A .Belgian inventor has devised an im
mense lamp, such as has probably never
been seen before. The ian.p is composed
of 3000 pieces. It is six feet high and
measures thiee feet ten inches in diam
eter. It is fed with lard oil, and the con
sumption is very small, its light being so
powerful that one may read by it at a
distance of 600 feet.
men could not have been found and would
inevitably have risen with the need for
them, to bring beauty into the wallpapers
ana carpets, to remodel the furniture, to
give to kitchen pottery and the things
for everyday use some decora
tive value above their usefulness;
in short to metamorphose the home? of
this latter half of the nineteenth century.
Whether or no, we wish he had written
more poetry and fewer pamphlets for the
benefit of the working classes. With his
deep enjoyment of beauty and art there
are few poets who could have lived a hap
pier life, but his sympathies were too
large, and set not only upon "singing" of
the woes of mankind, but in being act
i ively engaged in lessening them. His ec-
centricity knew no bounds, nor his eager
ness for the success of any venture in
which he was interested. He has been ac
cused of many things, how justly or un
justly it is not necessary to inquire. His
poetry has a streak of fatalism that gives
it a touch of weakness. In reality he was
"one wno never turned his back, but
marched breast forward."
Van Dyck Brown.
London, October 24, 1896.
A lock of Napoleon's hair, cut when the
Emperor was on board the Belleroplion at
Plymouth in August, 1315, and sent with,
a letter to Capel Lofft of Troston, Suffolk,
was sold at Sotheby's in London the other
I alternoon for £30.
road is that it can be followed for j-bout
two miles and suggest nothing but the
country, but after that distance it makes
a curve toward the City, and In a mile
more comes back to the streets of San
Francisco not many blocks from where it
Hot Water for Cough.
A sudden and wearing attack of couah
ing often need 3 immediate attention, es
pecially in consumptives and those chron
ically ill. In an emergency, that ever
useful remedy, not water, will often prove
very effective. It is much better than the
ordinary cough mixtures, which disorder
the digestion and spoil the appetite.
Water almost boiling should be sipped
when the paroxysms come on. A cough
resulting from irritation is relieved by hot
water through the promotion of secretion,
which moistens the irritated surfaces.
Hot water also promotes expectoration,
and so relieves the dry cough.

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