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it heavier." The Athenians knew this when
they said that certain waters were heavy, and
made the mouth feel full. But this quality
is common at the present time; and Doctor
Angus Smith says, he generally "finds
that if any well is very famous in a town,
it is one which has become loaded with
salts coming from impure drainage." In one
which he tested, he found as much as an
ounce of these salts to a gallon. Good water
has only a few grains of such salts. But to go
back to rain-water. Unless properly collected
and filtered, it is worse than any other, for
human purposes; excepting that which is
actually stagnant, and full of decomposing
matter. In large towns it becomes tainted
by passing through an atmosphere laden
with soot, sulphuric and sulphurous acid,
ammonia, carbonic acid, and animal matter.
It is, therefore, unfit for drinking. And in
the country, it falls through strata charged
with pollen, and vegetable matter, with
minute animal life, and other unwholesome
emanations. The first rains, then, ought to
be allowed to run off, and only the second
taken, after the first have washed the
atmosphere clean. If collected too soon, or taken
from foul and improper placesfrom the
roofs of houses, leaden gutters, open tanks
floating with leaves, drowned insects,
particles of soot and other refuse, or from
stagnant ponds swollen with rains,—and if
used without filtration, it is of course
unwholesome. But if it has fallen on ground
where it can obtain little or nothing to
dissolve, and has passed slowly through a few
feet or even inches of fine sand, or other porous
and insoluble matter, it is the best of all
kinds. Sand is the natural filter. But
where it does need filtration, charcoal is the
best for house purposes. It must be animal
charcoal, thoroughly burnt and purified; and
next to this, in antiseptic efficacy, is a filter
of pure fine sand.

The Chinese have exceedingly bad water.
But all who have any pretensions to well
being, filter every drop before attempting
to use it. To cleanse their river water, and
to precipitate its impurities, they stir it up
with a hullo w bamboo, pierced with small
holes, and filled with alum. This practice of
itself proves the badness of their water, as
alum can precipitate only extreme foulness:
but it proves also their care and

The Parthian kings, who would drink only
of the waters of the Choaspes, which they
carried about with them in bottles, paid an
unconscious tribute to the innate force of
nature, which no art or science can attain;
always supposing that this bottled water did
not decompose from confinement, or, rather,
that the matters held in it did not decompose.
There have always been strong fancies
about springs ami streams. The ancients had
the Xanthus, which dyed the skins of sheep
red: the Cephisus, which made them white;
and the Melas in Bœotia, which turned them
black; there is now a spring in one of
the Egyptian Oases (Wah el Bahariah) which
also dyes black, and the inhabitants appear
to strangers to be always in mourning. A
fountain in Thespis made childless women
mothers; the Aphrodisium, in Phrygia, had
exactly the contrary effect, and rendered the
youngest and strongest wives barren; the
Clitor, in Arcadia, was the Hellenic Father
Mathew, and gave a horror for wine; the
Salmasius, in Crete, made those who drank
of it impudent and wanton. Near the Orchomenes,
in Bœotia, were two springs; the
one bestowed; the other destroyed, memory.
Of two springs in Phrygia, the one called
Cleon, or the weeper, made the merriest
sadthe other, Gelon, or the laugher, made
the most mournful gay;  while one supremely
useful and blessed fountain in Cysicus, cured
unhappy lovers, as our grosser northern
plum-pudding is supposed to do. And one,
which ought to have been crowned king
of all, the river Nuz, in Cilicia, gave the
drinker that most estimable gift of all, good,
sound, solid common sense. Many streams
and fountains were poisonous, or rather were
said to be so; for we learn to doubt much of
what we read of ancient imaginings and scientific
dreams. The Lake of the Nymphs, and
an Armenian lake peopled with mysterious
black fish, were the most celebrated of the
poisoned waters of olden times. Then there
were others of brighter fame. The Arethusa,
in Sicily; the Aganippe, in Bœotia; the
Castalia, in Delphos; the Dirce, and the Hippocrene,
were all famous for special virtues and
properties not to be found elsewhere. Pliny
and Vitruvius, say that Cydnus of Cilicia
cured the gout, while the bitterness of the
Nile produced the plague in Egypt. What
would the Egyptians say to that,—they who
are so proud of their river, that an Egyptian
proverb has it, "If Mahomet had ever tasted
the Nile water, he would have asked for
immortality, if only to drink it for ever."
In spite of Pliny and Vitruvius, in spite, too,
of its muddy and suspicious appearance, the
Nile was called the river of health and
abundance: as indeed it is to Egypt, which
by its own sole power it snatches from the
death of the Desert, and keeps green, living,
and flourishing. Its waters are slightly
medicinal to strangers, but neither unpleasant
nor unwholesome. When the mountain rains
begin, and the lowland river rises, it is
green, continuing so until the thirtieth day,
when this colour gives place to a brownish
red; for three months it is thick and muddy,
and must be clarified before drinking. But
it is always wholesome, and is said to hold
the same place among drinking water that
champagne does among wines.

Nearer home, we find the Scotch and Irish
were specially gifted with these wonder-working
waters; and we read in the Times,
and other profane journals, that the French

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