The Romance of Medicine

9780217369251: The Romance of Medicine

This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated.1907 Excerpt: ... CHAPTER VII. BACTERIA AND THEIR CHARACTERISTICS. Bacteria--Their littleness--Their ubiquity--How they multiply--Their voracity--Their versatility--Their indispensability--their vitality. The most important of microbes are the bacteria. Bacteria are the most minute, ubiquitous, and versatile of vegetables. So minute ac ria are they as to be invisible to the naked eye, so ubiquitous as to be found almost everywhere, so versatile as to be capable of almost anything. The liliputian dimensions evade even imagination and " dodge conception to the very brink of heaven." To such pigmies a pin-point is a plateau, _,, and a pin-hole an abyss. Ten thou dimensions. san( of e sturdiest of them, shoulder to shoulder, do not extend an inch; billions of them do not weigh a grain; and their little cousins, the moulds and the mushrooms, seem in comparison inconceivably colossal. A microbe is to a mushroom as a comma to a cathedral, and if a midge and a bacterium could be magnified, pari passu, under the same microscope, the midge would out-measure Sindbad's roc or Gargantua's mare before the bacterium would be well visible. And the ubiquity of the bacteria is as amazing as their insignificance. Earth, air, water, are full of them. We swallow and breathe them in count, less multitudes. A pint of milk,.eirtt contains innumerable millions of them. Cream, butter, and many other substances swarm with them. In a glass of good water they are " thick as autumnal leaves that strow the brooks in Vallombrosa," and it has been shown "that even the ice upon the summit of Mont Blanc has its complement of bacterial flora," that hailstones as they descend upon the earth contain bacteria, and that snow, the emblem of purity, "is but a whited sepulchre and will on demand deliver up its bacter...

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