« PreviousContinue »
I know nothing of the scaphandre of M. de la Chapelle.
I know by experience that it is a great comfort to a swimmer, who has a confi. derable distance to go, to turn himself sometimes on his back, and to vary in other respects the means of procuring a progressive motion.
When he is seized with the cramp in the leg, the method of driving it away is to give to the parts affected a sudden, vigorous, and violent shock; which he may do in the air as he swims on his back.
During the great heats of summer there is no danger in bathing, however warm we may be, in rivers which have been thoroughly warmed by the sun. But to throw oneself into cold spring water, when the body has been heated by exercise in the sun, is an imprudence which may prove fatal. I once knew an instance of four young men, who,
having worked at harvest in the heat of the day, with a view of refreshing themfelves plunged into a springof cold water: two died upon the spot, a third the next morning, and the fourth recovered with great difficulty. A copious draught of cold water, in similar circumstances, is frequently attended with the same effect in North America.
The exercise of swimming is one of the most healthy and agreeable in the world. After having swam for an hour or two in the evening, one sleeps coolly the whole night, even during the most ardent heat of summer. Perhaps the pores being cleansed, the insensible perspiration increases and occasions this coolness. It is certain that much swim. ming is the means of stopping a diarrhea, and even of producing a constipation. With respect to those who do not know how to swim, or who are affected with a diarrhoea at a season which does
not permit them to use that exercise, a warm bath, by cleansing and purifying the skin, is found very falutary, and often effects a radical cure. I speak from my own experience, frequently repeated, and that of others to whom I have recommended this.
You will not be displeased if I conclude these hasty remarks by informing you, that as the ordinary method of swimming is reduced to the act of rowing with the arins and legs, and is consequently a laborious and fatiguing operation when the space of water to be crosfed is considerable ; there is a method in which a swimmer may pass to great diffances with much facility, by means of a sail. This discovery 1 fortunately made by accident, and in the following man
When I was a boy I amused myself one day with flying a paper kite; and approaching the bank of a pond, which
was near a mile broad, I tied the string to a stake, and the kite ascended to a very considerable height above the pond, while I was swimming. In a little time, being desirous of amusing myself with my kite, and enjoying at the same time the pleasure of swimming, I returned ; and loosing from the stake the string with the little stick which was fastened to it, went again into the water, where I found, that, lying on my back and holding the stick in my hands, I was drawn along the surface of the water in a very agreeable manner. Having then engaged another boy to carry my clothes round the pond, to a place which I pointed out to him on the other side, I began to cross the pond with my kite, which carried me quite over without the least fatigue, and with the greatest pleasure imaginable. I was only obliged occasionally to halt a little in my course, and resist its progress, when it appeared that, by following too