+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

places of the guests are numbered), are
neatly covered with varnished cloth, which
admits of almost instantaneous cleaning.
The plates for eating from are of pewter,
but a white crockery plate fills the office
of salt-cellar.

Of course the officers have a dining-room
to themselves, which is the mess-room both
for army and navy. Three different dishes,
varied from day to day, with dessert, form
the bill of fare both at breakfast and dinner.
They have a salon, or conversation room,
and a reading-room containing some five
hundred volumes, with a liberal allowance
of newspapers and periodicals. Besides
their garden square in the centre of the
buildings, they have a reserved alley (the
lowest one), fronting the road or street,
in the vast general recreation-ground.

In this extensive playground the privates
amuse themselves with card-playing, loto,
bowls, ninepins, and other games of a
similar kind. Few seem to occupy
themselves with reading. The more ingenious
construct miniature mills, illustrative of
the various mechanical movements obtainable
from a little rill of water which
serves to irrigate the plane-trees in the
walks. A single bit of string passing
round a wheel, which you may magnify
in imagination to imposing proportions,
causes a sawyer to saw, a woman to churn,
a carpenter to plane, and other useful
tasks to be performed by the same little
wheel-of-all-work. I did not, however, see
a sample of the Swiss mode of rocking a
cradle by water-power; probably because
most of the patients were bachelors, and
likely to continue so.

In such an establishment, it will be
taken for granted that there is a well-
mounted kitchen, a store-room, a consulting
room, a pharmacy, and so on, with all the
requirements needful both for household
and hospital life. The thermes, or apartments
destined to the application of hot
mineral water in its various forms, are in a
separate building, having no connexion
with the sleeping and the eating rooms.
Here are the piscine, or hot swimming-bath,
for the officers, lined with white marble, and
a larger one, of less choice materials, for the
men. Among many strange contrivances,
is a singular instrument, to enable persons
afflicted with skin disease on the face, to
remain submerged during considerable intervals.
The patient closes his nostrils with a
pair of spring nippers, stops his ears with
wool, and then, after receiving into his
mouth a double tube of reeds (Arundo
donax), weighted at the lower end and
floated at the upper end with cork, sinks
in the piscine or in a bath, and remains
completely under water for twenty minutes at a
time, or longer.

But the most potent medication of all, is
applied in the vaporarium, or vapour-bath,
where men are steamed alive in such a way
that you fancy they would attain the state
of boiled chicken if the process were
continued a little longer. Ten minutes of this
cooking is thought as much as human flesh
and blood can bear: after which, each
patient, muffled to the eyes in hot wrappers,
instantly betakes himself to bed, as the
only safe refuge from atmospheric chills.
Affections otherwise intractable have yielded
to this violent remedy. Soldiers and sailors
are not allowed to go out beyond the walls
of the establishment and the grounds belonging
to it (which are spacious and varied,
sloping up a hill-side) without very special leave.
One can conceive the consequences, both to
themselves and the townsfolk, were they
allowed to run backwards and forward, as
they pleased. The officers are subject to less
restraint; nevertheless, they are expected
to present themselves at meal times, and at
least consult their doctor respecting an
occasional absence. The entrance of the
establishment is guarded by a porter's
lodge; and any stranger or civilian entering
is asked what or whom he wants.

The internal government and the medical
service of this thermal hospital are quite
distinct. Like everything else in France,
both are based on a system of centralisation.
At the head of all, is a sous-intendant
militaire, with the rank of colonel: in
whom is centred the administration of the
hospital, in which the medical men take no
part. The details of provisions, linen,
washing, and all housekeeping questions,
devolve on, and are superintended by, an
officier comptable, or account-keeping officer.

At the head of the medical administration
is a médecin principal, or principal doctor,
of the first class, who is physician-in-chief;
second to whom are two médecins principaux,
or principal doctors, of the second
class. These are assisted by four sous aide-
majors, also doctors of medicine. Besides
whom, the medical staff includes a
pharmacien who acts solely as the conservator
of the waters, and whose duties are confined
to verifying the qualities and the sulphuration
of the water. The need for this officer
will be shortly explained.Lastly, there
is another pharmacien or apothecary for the
service of the hospital.

The thermal establishment at Amélie-les-
Bains most frequented by civilians is built