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chanted a thousand inspired poets.
On the hill was set a stake around which were piled the fagots-of green wood so they would burn slowly.
Michael Servetus was a devoted believer in God, and even warmly attached to the person of Christ, but because he rejected the Trinity, the multitude considered him an incorrigible atheist, and a child who was present at the execution might have used the words Shelley wrote when a boy:
Mixed with a quiet smile, shone calmly forth:
His death-pang rent my heart! the insensate
Uttered a cry of triumph, and I wept.
Has said, There is no God.
By several twists of an iron chain, Servetus was bound to the stake. To mock him, a crown of straw dipped in sulphur was put upon his head. By his side they tied the child of his brain
-the book that should have made an epoch. The torch blazed, and a hot sheet of flame, as if it were the spirit of Calvin, leapt high in air and pounced upon his body Thru the escaping smoke Michael Servetus lifted his unseeing eyes to heaven, and cried in agony, Misericordias! Misericordias!
O miracle accursed-Spain had come to Switzerland-Behold, how the crimson sun did streak the skies with blood!
It is nothing to give pension and cottage to the widow
The Key to
The fruit of the tree of knowledge which Man is supposed to have eaten. long ago, must have been a trifle rotten at the core: it did not teach him to regulate the number or the sex of his offspring.
If human beings could prevent the birth of children at inconvenient times, a new joy would thrill the earth. But that tainted pippin which Man bit must have perverted his taste, for he has attached a peculiar odium to all discussions of the most important of problems. Practical and feasible methods for judiciously restricting the number of immigrants that pass beneath the pubic arch are now known, but our laws forbid this information to be imparted to those who need it. The sad result is that the people at large must keep on attempting unhealthy and unscientific methods for limiting offspring. For it it obvious that if no means were employed to prevent conception, the average wife would be chronically pregnant from her marriage-night to the menopause. And enlightened medical sociologists claim that such a state would be disastrous for the female organism-and likewise for the male salary.
On the other hand, there seems to be no objection to examining the puzzle of the determination of sex. But as the proportion of the sexes always remains approximately equal, this
1 "The Key to Sex Control, or The Cellular Determination of Sex and the Physiological Laws which Govern its Control," by Percy John McElrath, M. D., Bramweil, West Virginia. Illustrated, 232 pages, price $3. Published by the Author, 1911.
question is not of paramount importance. Still, it is glorious to wrest secrets from nature, and we hope the day will come that when the nurse begins to announce. "It's a-," the head of the house will interrupt her, saying, "Now we know perfectly well just what it is; my wife and I settled that nine months ago.'
If the enigma of sex determination is still far from solution, it is not because speculation has been lacking. On the contrary, on this topic there has been such an immense amount of guesswork that it is a task to keep track of it all; Canestrini said that sex is determined by the number of spermatozoa that enter the ovum; Thury said that eggs fertilized soon after ovulation give rise to females, while those impregnated later produce males; Yung said that when tadpoles are fed on frog-meat the percentage of females. greatly increases; Mrs. Treat said that starved caterpillars turn into males; Geddes said that femaleness was due to anabolism, and maleness to katabolism; Castle said there are two kinds of eggs, male and female, and two kinds of spermatozoa, male and female; Ackermann said that sex is determined by conditions of gestation; Erasmus Darwin said that sex is due to the imagination of the male; Ahfeld said that the father has no influence whatever on the sex of the offspring; Mayrhofer said that the spermatozoa are both male and female and the mother has nothing whatever to do in the determination of the sex of the
child; Schenk said that if the mother's urine contains sugar, the offspring will be female; Beard said that the determination of sex takes place at the time of the reduction of the number of
chromosomes; Born said that concen
trated semen produces males, and dilute semen females; Romme said that sex favors the less vigorous parent, a weak father having mostly boys, and a weak mother a majority of girls; Hough said that males are produced when the maternal system is at its best, and that a female indicates an undesirable condition; Rumley Dawson said that the ovaries ovulate on alternate months, and that the right ovary is responsible for boys and the left ovary for girls; Mrs. Laura Calhoun-who experimented with the Hubbard squashsaid that a woman who rides horseback sideways cannot give birth to a boy, but may produce female twins; Frank Kraft said that all ova fertilized while the moon is rising from the horizon to the meridian result in males, while all ova fertilized when the moon is falling from the meridian to the horizon result in females.
The latest surmise on the subject is found in The Key to Sex Control, by Dr. Percy John McElrath, of Bramwell, West Virginia. The courageous author, undaunted by the failures of his predecessors, declares that he has questioned and answered the riddle. According to McElrath, sex is determined solely by the way in which the spermatozoon enters the ovum: if the sperm cell enters completely into the cytoplasm of the egg, a male is produced; if only a part of the cell enters, a female is born. Recipes are given for effecting the desired results, interspersed with interesting observations: chaste husbands are prone to produce
female offspring, because the spermatozoa remains in their vesiculae seminales until they are old and femalebearing; brunettes, and men who are thin, produce males, while blondes, especially if stout, and men who suffer from ejaculatio praecox, produce females.
Percy John McElrath is one of those investigators who considers it superfluous to furnish proof for his statements, but we admire his simple manner of announcing the most startling discoveries: "A Graafian follicle is not mature until it can be ruptured at the moment of orgasm, during the sexual union. Its rupture may be produced by orgasm from three to five days sooner than it would if allowed to rupture of its own accord. In some cases it will not rupture at all without orgasm, as is beautifully illustrated in the case of Abraham and his wife Sarah. It seems that Abraham was unable to bring Sarah to orgasm and rupture a Graafian follicle, until three months. after he had been circumcised, when he produced his son Isaac." Mr. Clemens wept at the tomb of his ancestor Adam, but Dr. McElrath is so accustomed to pathologic conditions that he does not draw a harrowing picture of the unfortunate Sarah who reached the age of ninety before she ruptured a single Graafian follicle.
We do not mean to imply, however, that the author lacks feeling or fire, for the following passage is sufficiently sympathetic and eloquent: "When the production of a male child is desired, it is the duty of the husband and the wife to produce the best child possible, one that will be a pleasure to them, a help to the community in which he resides,
a star to his nation, and a light to the great mystery. In spite of the volume
from West Virginia, we must still admit with T. H. Morgan: the determination of sex is undetermined.
But let us no longer delay in pronouncing judgment: Dr. McElrath's key does not unlock the door of the
"The Way With the Nerves." 1
This volume purports to be a series of letters from patients to a neurologist, with the physician's replies. The idea is an interesting one, and the author's knowledge of nervous ailments is extensive, but the plan is not well executed.
Altho the letters are supposed to be from various patients, the style and make-up of each is similar. They remind us of Taine's remark: "All educated Englishmen write alike." The letters do not read like "human documents"; they sound like a professor's lectures. They are stilted, and not even those describing epilepsy, depression, hysteria, or dipsomania, contain any poignant grief. Instead of the quotations from Balzac and Sir Leslie Stephen, a reckless and half-broken sentence would have been more effective: patients who write to their physician for treatment, are not apt to indulge in literary allusions. But Dr. Collins' invalids seem to be more interested in polishing up a sentence than in obtaining relief from their maladies. In short, these letters are untrue.
The doctor's suppositious answers are no better, and his advice is most futile and fatuous. To a lady patient who complains of migraine, he recommends, "Devote your life to making this world a more attractive tarrying
"The Way with the Nerves." By Joseph Collins. M.D., Physician to the Neurological Institute of New York. 315 pages. G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1911. Price $1.50.
place for your husband, children and neighbors." To a sufferer from psychasthenia he complacently suggests “a careful study of Aristotle and Plato." How a victim of mental fatigue will be benefited by wading thru the abstruse dialectics of the Greek philosophers is not apparent. To a woman who laments her dual personality, being virtuous and wicked alternately, he offers this advice: Wait until you are. good again, and then enter a nunnery.
The platitudes, too, should have been omitted; was it really necessary for Dr. Collins to inform us that happiness cannot be compelled, and that we are unable to define electricity?
Perhaps the most interesting letter is from the fashionable woman afflicted with ennui, who admits that "the sight of King George annoys her nearly as much as that of her husband," and who wishes to become a Roman Catholic, because their ceremonials are so warm, or to meet Walter Pater, because he would understand her. Here was an opportunity for a brilliant reply, but the neurologist merely admonishes her to take an interest in this and in that, which is the one thing in the world that the ennuist cannot do.
If Dr. Collins had collaborated with a man of letters-a writer like Murger or George Moore-adding his neurological knowledge to the other's artistic sense, the result would have been a valuable volume. V. R.