Read CHAPTER XI of The No Breakfast Plan and the Fasting-Cure , free online book, by Edward Hooker Dewey, on ReadCentral.com.

NOTES AND PRESS COMMENTS ON VOLUNTARY FASTS.

The first voluntary protracted fast for the cure of chronic ailing to reach the public prints as a matter of interesting news occurred in the case of Mr. C. C. H. Cowan, of Warrensburg, Ill., early in 1899. He had been on the two-meal plan for a time, and wishing for something more radical wrote to me as to his entering upon a fast. I probably wrote him as I now find it necessary to write all who feel that fasts are necessary and cannot have my personal care, “Go on a fast and stick to it until hunger comes or until your friends begin to suffer the pangs of sympathetic starvation; then compromise with the sin of ignorance by eating the least that will bring peace to their troubled souls.”

The results were summed up by the Morning-Herald Dispatch, Decatur, Ill., April 16, 1899:

“A few years ago Dr. Tanner, in New York City, fasted for forty days and forty nights, and all the world wondered. Up to that time the feat was considered impossible. From day to day the papers told of his actions and his condition, and the entire people became deeply interested in the performance. Medical men and scientists became interested in the performance, and the laity watched the faster through curiosity. Tanner’s accomplishment was considered marvellous by the medical profession and laymen alike, but Dr. Tanner has long since been a back number, and his performance is not now regarded as remarkable, although there are not many persons who would care to attempt the fast. Tanner was simply trying to prove that the thing could be done. He did it, and within a year the man who held the attention of the people of the country for forty days was a visitor to this city. What Tanner did has been more than accomplished by a Macon County man, but he went about his undertaking quietly, and the fact that he was fasting was known to only a few of his friends. The man is C. C. H. Cowan, of Warrensburg, and for forty-two days and nights he abstained from the use of food in solid or liquid form. He began his fast on March 2 and broke it on the evening of April 13 at supper-time. With the exception of the loss of thirty pounds of flesh, which materially changed his personal appearance, Mr. Cowan shows no ill-effects of his undertaking. When he began he weighed one hundred and sixty-five pounds, and when he quit he weighed one hundred and thirty-five pounds. Before his fast he was inclined to be fleshy, and now, while still in fairly good flesh, his clothing manifests a desire not to hold close communion with his body. Mr. Cowan was in the city Saturday, and some of his friends did not know him. He related his experience to some of them, but he did this cautiously, and with the oft-expressed hope that the papers would not devote any attention to the affair, because he was not seeking and did not want notoriety. At different times during his fast the Herald-Dispatch has referred to the fact in short items. Cowan is a disciple of a Dr. Dewey, living at Meadville, Pa., who is an advocate of fasting as a means of curing many of the ills to which the body is heir. Dr. Dewey has many pamphlets touching the subject, and has also written some books for his belief, and his reasons have been made so plausible that a number of persons have coincided with him. Cowan says the efficacy of the treatment has been established in many instances, a fact that he can prove by ample testimony. During his long abstinence from food he had numerous letters and telegrams from Dr. Dewey, encouraging him in the undertaking. When asked why he had fasted, Cowan explained that for years he had suffered from chronic nasal and throat catarrh which would not yield to medical treatment. His appetite was splendid, and he ate many things that he really did not want. He read Dr. Dewey’s ideas, and became convinced that his system needed general overhauling, and that this could be accomplished through faithful adherence to the theory of Dr. Dewey. One of these theories is to the effect that fasting rests the brain, which is ofttimes overworked as a result of heavy feeding. It is also supposed that the body throws off old mucous membrane of the stomach and bowels, and that these are immediately supplanted by new lining. Believing that he could get rid of his catarrhal trouble and get the new lining referred to, Cowan decided to fast, and without noise about the matter he commenced, and up to Thursday evening he did not allow a bite of food to pass his lips. The only thing that he took was water. Of this he did not drink much, and he claims that he suffered no pain or pangs of hunger. Looking at the matter now, it does not seem to have been much of an accomplishment. After he once got started he said it was an easy matter to carry out his plan except for the worry of his family and some of his friends. They thought that he was losing his mind and tried to induce him to relinquish his idea, but he took some of them under his wing and reasoned with them on the beauties of the treatment, expounded the strong points, gave them reasons, showed them testimony of others, and kept on fasting. When he began he had no idea that he would continue for forty days; but as he progressed he had no desire for food, and therefore did not desist. Thursday evening he began to feel hungry, and that night he ate a reasonably good supper. The return of hunger, according to his theories, was the signal of the return of health. He feels confident that his stomach has been relined, and for the present he knows that his catarrh has left him. He is a firm believer in the new method of curing bodily ailments, and says that during his fast he was able to be around the village of Warrensburg every day, and was able to perform his duties. His abstinence from food apparently has not weakened his constitution. Since breaking his fast he has partaken sparingly of food. Cowan’s friends are very much interested in the recital of his experience.”

It so chanced that during this fast much more than his ordinary business came to him, and without the least inability to perform it. I saw him several months later, and found his physical condition seemingly perfect. He had found out that for the best working conditions a nap at noon was better than even a light luncheon, and that one meal a day taken after his business was over was the best practice. This fast was not in the right locality to excite the attention it deserved.

The second voluntary fast was destined to reach the ends of the earth through the public prints. The following appeared in the New York Press of June 6, 1899:

“Twenty-eight days without nourishment and without letting up for a moment on the daily routine of his business is the unequalled record of Milton Rathbun, a hay and grain dealer at N Fourth Avenue, and living in Mount Vernon. He is a man of wealth, has many employes, and has been in the same business in this city for thirty-nine years.

“He fasted because he wanted to reduce his weight, fearing that its gradual increase might bring on apoplexy. He succeeded in his efforts. He weighed two hundred and ten pounds when he stopped eating; when he resumed he tipped the scales at one hundred and sixty-eight pounds, a loss of forty-two pounds of flesh.

“Mr. Rathbun’s description of how he felt as the days and weeks wore along and the pounds of avoirdupois slipped away one by one is interesting. The remarkable point about it is that he continued his work and kept well. He gave his account of it yesterday to a reporter for The Press. Mr. Rathbun is known by the business men for blocks around his own place of business, and they all know of his fast.

“Every day his friends would come in and talk to him about it. At first they told him he was foolish; that nobody could fast that length of time, much less continue his work without interruption. Then as the days went on and he kept up without a break they began to be frightened.

“A crowd would gather about him every night at 6.30 o’clock, when he would leave his office, for that was his hour for weighing. Some days he would lose two or three pounds from the weight of the day before; some days only one, but always something. And as the record was scored up on the book each night his friends would shake their heads and warn him to beware.

“Finally, on the fifteenth day, his friends and employes got together and made up their minds that something had to be done. They were afraid that Rathbun would die. They appointed a committee to wait on him in his office and beg him to eat something. The committee took dainties to Mr. Rathbun, told him their fears, and offered the good things to tempt him, but all to no purpose.

“It was the night of April 23 that Mr. Rathbun took his last bit of nourishment. He made no attempt to eat a large meal in preparation for his fast. He ate his regular supply just as if he had meant to continue eating on the following day. Then for twenty-eight days he absolutely abjured all food. He drank water, but that was all. Before going to bed he would take a pint of Apollinaris.

“Had he remained at his home in bed or taken perfect rest, his achievement would have been less remarkable. That is the course which always has been adopted by the professional fasters. Dr. Tanner, and the Italian, Succi, in their fasts were surrounded by attendants who allowed them scarcely to lift a hand, so that every ounce of energy might be conserved.

“Rathbun pursued a course diametrically opposite to this. He worked, and worked hard. He came down earlier to his office and went away later than usual. He made no effort to save himself. On the contrary, he seemed determined to make his task as hard as possible. On four of his fast days he spent the afternoons in a dentist’s chair, at which times his nerves were tried as only dentists know how to do it.

“It was his idea to continue the fast until he began to feel hunger. After the first twenty-four hours his hunger disappeared, and he had no desire for food until the end of the fourth week, when the craving set in, and he immediately set about satisfying it in a moderate and careful manner. He consulted two physicians while the fast was going on, to see that he was suffering no injury that he could not appreciate himself. One was Dr. F. B. Carpenter, of Madison Avenue and thirty-eight Street, and the other, Dr. George J. Helmer, of Madison Avenue and Thirty-first Street. He saw Dr. Carpenter on the eighteenth and the twenty-first days, and Dr. Helmer on the twenty-fifth day. Both expressed surprise at his long fast and astonishment at his excellent condition.

“Mr. Rathbun is fifty-four years old, and five feet six inches in height. He does not look more than forty years old, and he is as active as a man of that age. He says he never felt better than when he was fasting, and that he has experienced no bad effects of any kind, while, on the other hand, he has reduced his weight to a normal limit and removed all danger of apoplexy.

“He got the idea of the fast from the new theory exploited by Dr. Edward Hooker Dewey, a practising physician of Meadville, Pa., who recommends fasting as a cure for many ailments, and advises all persons to go without breakfast and eat only two meals a day.

“‘I became intensely interested in this new system,’ said Mr. Rathbun yesterday, ’and I decided to put it to a practical test. Dr. Dewey had said that he had many patients fasting all the way from ten to thirty and forty days, and I concluded that if it did them so much good it would be just the thing for me. So I tried it.

“’On April 23 I ate my last meal, and from then until May 24 I had absolutely nothing to eat. I drank water, of course, for that is a matter of necessity. One cannot do without drink; but I took no nourishment. For the first twenty-four hours I was very hungry, and would have liked very much to take a square meal; but I resisted the temptation, and after the expiration of one day I had no desire to eat.

“’I had been in the habit of getting to my office about 8; now I get there at 7. I generally had left at 5.30; I now stayed until 6.30. I had been in the habit of taking an hour or an hour and a quarter for luncheon. The luncheon was now cut off, so I stayed in the office and worked. I sat there at my desk and put in a long, hard day’s work, constantly writing.

“’At night I drank a bottle of Apollinaris, and went to bed at 8.30 and slept until 4 in the morning. I never enjoyed better sleep than in those four weeks. And I was in excellent condition as far as I could see in every other way. My mind was clear, my eye was sharper than usually, and all the functions were in excellent working order.

“’I had many amusing experiences. I went to a dentist on the first day. I had some work requiring several hours’ labor on the part of the dentist. I said nothing to the doctor on the first day. Four or five days afterward I kept a second appointment with the dentist, and he asked me how the teeth worked which he had fixed before. I said to him: “I haven’t tried them yet.”

“’You can imagine the look of surprise on his face. When I told him that I was fasting, and had been since he had seen me before, he showed the greatest concern, and said he did not think I could go on with the dental work on account of the weakness of my nerves. He solicited me to go out and have just a bite of something. I refused, of course, and he continued the work. I visited him on two days after that until he had finished the work.

“’The men in my employ were greatly concerned about me, and thought I would break down. I used to weigh every night before leaving the office, and as they saw my constant wearing away they became more and more frightened, and finally appointed a committee to wait on me. The committee was headed by my manager, who begged me to eat. He brought along some fine ripe cherries to tempt me. I told him I would not eat them for one thousand dollars, for I was interested thoroughly in the fast by that time and would not have stopped.

“’After that they made no more attempts to stop the fast; but my friends all shook their heads, and said that when I started in to eat again I would find I was without a proper stomach.

“’On the twenty-eighth day the hunger began to come on again, and I began to eat under the advice of Dr. Carpenter. On the twenty-ninth day I drank a little bouillon, and afterward from day to day increased the amount of food to the normal. I suffered no inconvenience.’

“Mr. Rathbun says he is a firm believer in the no-breakfast system of hygiene advocated by Dr. Dewey, and that neither himself, his wife, nor any of the servants in his house eat breakfast, and as a result all are remarkably well. His two sons, one of whom was graduated at Harvard in 1896, and a second, who is still at Harvard, practise the no-breakfast system.

“Just before beginning his fast Mr. Rathbun ordered a suit of clothes at his tailor’s. He did not go for it until the end of his long fast. Being something of a practical joker, besides a man of great nerve, he walked into the tailor-shop and let the tailor try his new suit on to see if it was all right.

“When he slipped on the coat the tailor stood aghast. There was apparently the same man he had measured twenty-eight days previously standing before him in perfect health, but as to dimensions not at all the same man.

“‘It doesn’t fit any part of you,’ said the tailor, after the suit had been tried on. In the tailor’s book Rathbun’s measurement was entered: ’Forty-three inches around the waist and forty-two around the chest.’ When he went for his suit his measurements were thirty-eight around the waist and thirty-eight around the chest.

“Dr. Dewey’s theory, which led Rathbun to make his long fast, is that the brain is the centre of every mind and muscle energy, a sort of self-charging dynamo, with the heart, lungs, and all the other parts only as so many machines to be run by it; that the brain has the power of feeding itself on the less important parts of the body without loss of its own structure, and that as the operation of digestion is a tax on the brain, a long period of fasting gives the brain a rest, by which means the brain is able to build itself up, which means the upbuilding of the whole body.

“In this way, it is asserted, the alcohol habit is cured and other diseases eradicated.

“Dr. F. B. Carpenter said yesterday to a reporter for The Press that he had not recommended Mr. Rathbun to take the fast, but had advised him while it was going on and after it was over. The doctor said he was inclined to believe there might be something in the no-breakfast system, as a great many persons eat and drink altogether too much.

“Dr. Helmer said he had examined Rathbun on the twenty-fifth day, and had found him in surprisingly good condition.”

Mr. Rathbun had been on the no-breakfast plan for several years, and he was one of the first to write me after my book came out. It was not without reason he feared apoplexy, for Ex-Gov. Flower, an over-weighted man, had gone down to instant death though seemingly in perfect health and in the prime of business energy and mental capacity. During his fast my only trouble with him was in his drinking so much water without thirst, thus greatly and needlessly adding to the work of the kidneys.

Mr. Rathbun was so disappointed over the skepticism of New York physicians as to the reliability of the fast that he determined to undergo a longer one under such surveillance as would enforce conviction. He was mainly actuated, however, to go through the ordeal in the interests of science.

Again I had trouble with him on the water question, wishing him to drink only as thirst incited. He was differently advised by an eminent Boston physician, who, taking a great interest in the case, wrote him that he should have great care to drink certain definite amounts for the necessary fluidity of the blood. I had to respond that thirst would duly indicate this need; that in my cases of protracted fasts from acute sicknesses not one had been advised to take even a teaspoonful of water for such reasons; that at the closing days before recovery of such cases there was only the least desire for water, and this with no indication of need from the blood. Mr. Rathbun did not escape some trouble from overworked kidneys, and he became convinced that my theory and practice were more in line with physiology.

This fast was made a matter of daily record by the leading New York journals, and he became such a subject of general interest that in addition to his ordinary business he was greatly overtaxed, and was compelled to give up the fast on the thirty-fifth day, in part from the exhaustion of over-excitement.

This case was summed up as follows by the New York Press, February 27, 1900:

“Milton Rathbun has ended his long fast.

“After thirty-five days, in which solid food or any liquid other than water was a stranger to his palate, he became extremely hungry on Sunday night. At first he resisted the longing to eat and tried to sleep it off. But he awoke in a few hours hungrier than ever, and then he decided he had fasted as long as was good for him.

“He ate a modest, light meal and went back to bed, only to awake still hungry. Then he ate an orange, and was asleep again in a jiffy. A bowl of milk and cream and crackers sufficed for his breakfast, and at noon yesterday he enjoyed his first hearty meal.

“As he walked around the parlor of his home in Mount Vernon, lighter by forty-three pounds than he was on January 21, this man of fifty-five years and iron will said:

“’I feel like a boy again. I think I could vault over a six-foot fence.’

“Mrs. Rathbun herself knows what it is to fast. For five years such a thing as breakfast has been an unknown quantity in her house, save when guests were present or for the servants. To this abstinence Mrs. Rathbun attributes the curing of catarrh, from which she had suffered previously. And as she and her husband do, so do their two sons.

“After the first few days of abstinence he had felt no desire to eat until Sunday evening. Then he became hungry ravenously so. His first fast of a year ago it was twenty-eight days then had taught him that sleep took away the longing for food, and, too, he had said he would make his fast last forty days this time. So he went to bed and to sleep.

“But he awoke at 11 o’clock; he was hungrier than ever, and he decided not to resist his inclination for food. Calling his wife he asked her for an orange, and ate it; then he took another. His next demand was for oysters, and a dozen large, juicy ones disappeared rapidly, to the accompaniment of five soda crackers. Then he drank about two-thirds of a cup of beef-tea, and some Oolong tea. His appetite was not sated by any means, but he knew the danger of overloading his stomach, so he stopped.

“He soon was slumbering again, but he was wide awake at 2 o’clock in the morning. And his hunger was with him still. He ate an orange to appease the craving, and again sought his pillow. He slept again until 6 o’clock, and then, breaking some crackers in a bowl of milk and cream, he ate again.

“At noon a meal was served to the still hungry man. He began with a little clam-broth; then came half a dozen steamed clams, followed by a small portion of mock-turtle soup. Of a squab he ate one-half, and with it some canned pease and fried potatoes; while for dessert he had a little lemon ice.

“‘That was good,’ he exclaimed, as he finished. The remark was unnecessary; the relish with which he had eaten was convincing testimony of his enjoyment. Asked why he had decided not to fast for the full forty days, he said:

“‘I ate just because I was hungry.’

“Asked how the weather affected him, he said:

“’When I began there was a spell of cold weather, and I found it rather hard to keep warm at night. But it soon passed away, and I made it a point to wear the same underclothing and outer garments as usual. Oh, yes; I did wear a different pair of trousers. I had them made five years ago, but they were so tight around the waist I could never wear them. They are as loose as can be now, however.’

“‘From a scientific standpoint,’ said Professor R. Ogden Doremus yesterday, ’it is the most interesting and valuable experiment I have known. Mr. Rathbun is a man of great nerve force. The very fact that he attended to his business was what saved him, in keeping his mind away from the thought of food. He could not have done it had he been on exhibition or if he had remained at home. If he had been at sea, in an open boat, he could not have lasted more than ten days. He would have had nothing to think of but his hunger.’

“Dr. George J. Helmer, who has given no little attention to Mr. Rathbun, said:

“’I have examined him several times; I did so when his thirty days were up. Well, it was remarkable. It’s a wonderful exhibition, that will attract the attention of the medical world. His heart is as clear as a bell and his kidneys are perfect. He is in absolutely rugged health. His temperature was normal, his eye clear, and to-day, upon examination, any insurance company would rate him as an A1 risk.’

“Following is from the diary kept during his fast, and furnished by Milton Rathbun to The Press:

First Day, Ja, 8.45 A. M -- Weight, 207 pounds; height, 5 f-1/2 inches; chest measure, 43-1/2 inches; waist measure, 43-1/2 inches; hip measure, 46-1/2 inches; calf measure, 17 inches; biceps measure, 14 inches; forearm, 12 inche P. M., feels well, but hungry. In the evening felt well, not being hungry or thirsty. Have taken no water.

Tuesday, Ja -- Slept well until 6 A. M. Rested a while, then took sponge bath and rubdown. At 8.45 weighed 200 pounds. Feel good, but a little wea o’clock M., no appetite and feveris P. M., weighed 199 pounds; went home; drank one pint of water during the evening.

Wednesday, Ja -- Slept well for nine hours. Got up at 6 A. M., drank one glass of water and took train to the cit.30 A. M., weighed 198-1/2 pounds; only half pound lost, which shows how greedily the tissues absorb moisture and add to weigh o’clock M., have no appetite nor thirst, and no fever. Retired at 9 o’clock, feeling comfortable but a little feverish.

Thursday, Ja -- After having slept seven and one-half hours took a sponge bath and brisk rubdown. Came to the city, and at 8.25 A. M. weighed 195 pounds. Feeling good, with no fever nor appetit.45 P. M., weighed 193 pounds. At home during the evening drank two and one-half glasses of water.

Friday, Ja -- Slept eight hours. No appetite and feeling stronger. Examined by Professor Doremus and Dr. Carpenter. Retired at 9 o’clock, feeling first class.

Saturday, Ja -- Came to the city on the 7.45 A. M. train. Weighed 191 pounds. Feeling good. No fever and no appetite.

Sunday, Ja -- Drank one glass of water when I got up. During the day and evening drank three more glasses of water. Retired feeling first class.

Monday, Ja -- Slept eight hours last night, and came to the city on the 7.45 A. M. train. At 8.25 weighed 189 pound P. M., was examined by Dr. F. B. Carpenter, who found the temperature 98-1/2 deg. F., pulse regular, tongue clean. Measurements were: waist, 41 inches; chest, 41 inches; hip, 45 inches; calf, 16 inches; biceps, 13-1/2 inches; forearm, 11-1/2 inche.15 P. M., weighed 188 pounds.

Tuesday, Ja -- Slept eight hours; weighed 188 pounds, same as the night before; feeling goo.30 P. M., weighed 185-1/2 pounds.

Wednesday, Ja -- Slept 7-1/2 hours, drank one and one-half glasses of water; weighed at 8.25 A. pounds; Dr. Carpenter found temperature 98 deg. F., and pulse 88; Professor Doremus called a little later; weighed 184-1/2 pounds.

Thursday, Fe -- Rested quietly when not asleep; drank only one and three-quarters glasses of water all day; weighed 184 pounds; retired feeling good.

Friday, Fe -- Not feeling any hunger; was examined by F. B. Carpenter; temperature, 98 deg. F.; pulse, 84; weighed 183 pounds; retired feeling well, but tired.

Saturday, Fe -- Somewhat wakeful during the nigh.45 P. M., weighed 182 pounds.

Sunday, Fe -- Read all day and felt well.

Monday, Fe -- 2 P. M., temperature, 98.4 deg. F.; pulse, 82; tongue clean. Measurements were: waist, 41 inches; chest, 41 inches; hip, 43 inches; calf, 14-1/2 inches; biceps, 13-1/2 inches; forearm, 11-1/2 inches; went to bed feeling a trifle feverish.

Tuesday, Fe -- Wakeful during the nigh A. M., had my eyes examined by Dr. L. H. Matthez, oculist, and found a marked improvement in my sight over same tests of two months previous, being 7 degrees stronger; felt a little weak, but no fever or appetite; weighed 180 pounds; feeling somewhat exhausted from the day’s labor and in entertaining guests.

Wednesday, Fe -- Slept about seven hours during the night; when I awoke felt rested; temperature, 98.2 deg. F.; pulse, 80; have felt well all day; went to bed at 9.30; some fever.

Thursday, Fe -- Woke up two or three times during the night. Drank water during the night and first thing this morning when I got up. Came to the city, and at 9 o’clock weighed 182 pounds, showing a gain of two pounds over last night. Not feeling so well owing to the amount of water I drank last night, which was induced by feverishness.

Friday, Fe -- Feeling first rate. At 8.25 A. M. weighed 180 pounds. Heart action normal. No enlargement of the spleen or liver.

Saturday, Fe -- Lost nothing in weight during the day and have felt well all the while.

Sunday, Fe -- Passed the day in reading and drank frequently of water.

Monday, Fe -- This being a holiday, did not go to the city. Passed the day in entertaining callers. Have not felt quite so well owing to a slight cold settling in my left kidney.

Tuesday, Fe -- Measurements: waist, 38-1/2 inches; chest, 40 inches; hip, 43 inches; calf, 14-1/2 inches; biceps, 12-1/2 inches; forearm, 11 inches; weight, 177-1/2 pounds.

Wednesday, Fe -- I attribute the cause of loss of sleep to a hard day’s work and in reading too long last evening.

Thursday, Fe -- Somewhat wakeful during the night. Retired at 7.30 o’clock, after a hard day’s work.

Friday, Fe -- 3.30 P. M., temperature, 98.5 deg. F.; pulse, 74; tongue clean; weighed 172-1/2 pounds. During the evening drank one cup of hot water.

Saturday, Fe -- After a restful night felt well all day.

Sunday, Fe -- Retired at 9 o’clock and have rested a good deal during the day.

Monday, Fe -- Weighed 169-1/2 pounds, and retired feeling well.

Tuesday, Fe -- Weighed 168-1/2 pounds; was examined by Dr. Helmer, who found me in excellent condition; 4.30 P. M., weighed 169-1/2 pounds, a gain of one pound during the day, on account of drinking a little more water than usual.

Wednesday, Fe -- Temperature, 98.5 deg. F.; pulse, 69; 4 P. M., weighed 168-1/2 pounds; have not felt quite so well during the day.

Thursday, Fe -- Occupied the day holiday in reading and reclining, and went to bed feeling pretty well.

Friday, Fe -- At 8.30 A. M. weighed 166 pounds; 3.30 P. M., temperature, 99 deg. F.; pulse, 98; lung expansion, 2-3/4 inches; went home and to bed, feeling considerably exhausted owing to a hard day’s work and too many callers.

Saturday, Fe -- Did not rest very well from overtaxing the brain yesterday. Do not feel quite so well this morning owing to that fact and from drinking too much water during the past twenty-four hours. At 8.25 A. M. weighed 166 pounds; went home not feeling well to-day on account of some stomach disturbance, which probably comes from drinking too much water; did not drink any water during the evening; feeling quite tired at bedtime.

Sunday, Fe -- Slept nine hours and rested well, and did not drink any water during the night. Kept quiet all day, lying down most of the time, and felt the coming of hunger about 6 o’clock.

12 o’clock noon, pulse regular; tongue clean; temperature, 98.2 deg.F.; weighed 164 pounds. Measurements were: waist, 36-1/2 inches; chest, 38 inches; hip, 40-1/2 inches; calf, 14 inches; biceps, 11 inches; forearm, 10 inches.

Was in bed at 8 o’clock, still feeling hungry, and after a short sleep woke up at 11 o’clock with a sharp appetite, and ate a dozen raw oysters, two oranges, two-thirds cup of beef-tea, five crackers, and part of a cup of Oolong tea.

I insert a photograph of Mr. Rathbun taken shortly after his second fast. There had been five years’ trial of the No-Breakfast Plan before these fasting demonstrations.”

One of the hardest things on earth as a mental operation is to be fair to the opposition. Now lest I have beguiled my readers overmuch by the force of my convictions even to the point of danger, I will give an estimate of the danger of fasting by one of the most eminent physicians of New York City, Dr. George F. Shrady. I quote from an interview reported in the New York Sun:

“The strange case of Milton Rathbun, of Mt. Vernon, who, to reduce his flesh and generally tone up his system, is said to have gone without food of any sort for thirty-six days, still continues to be the subject of more or less discussion among the medical men of the city. Dr. George F. Shrady, in speaking last evening of Mr. Rathbun’s remarkable exploit, said:

“’There are three things to say about it. In the first place, the fact, if it be a fact, as it seems to be, is astonishing; secondly, it was very foolish; and thirdly, it would be a very unfortunate and dangerous thing to popularize such experiments. Now as to whether the gentleman in question actually did go thirty-six days without taking nourishment of any sort is a matter I will not discuss. If he were a professional faster, I would hardly hesitate to say his claim was fraudulent, for I am fully convinced that all the professional fasters are frauds. They are simply adept sleight-of-hand men. They work out some adroit trick by which they may get nourishment into their systems in spite of the always more or less negligent or suspicious watchers, and then advertise for a forty days’ or sixty days’ ‘fast.’

“’Now, mind you, I do not say this Mt. Vernon case is anything of this sort. I only say that if it is true it is most astounding. It is in flat contradiction of all the authorities on the subject of a human being’s ability to do without food. The extreme limit of all well-authenticated cases of total abstinence from nourishment is from nine to ten days. Imprisoned miners have been known to go that time and survive.

“’But at all events it was a very foolish thing for Mr. Rathbun to do. About that there can be no manner of doubt. What will be the future effect upon him upon his heart action, upon his impoverished blood, upon his nervous system, upon his organs of nutrition, necessarily paralyzed for days? These are grave questions, the answers to which may be unpleasant to Mr. Rathbun as they reveal themselves to him in the future. You cannot fly in the face of Nature and ignore all her laws in that way with impunity. She exacts her penalties and there is no court of appeals in her realm.

“’When I say that the extreme limits of abstinence from nourishment in clearly authenticated cases is from nine to ten days, you must not get the impression that all persons can last that long.

“’It is a question of environment, of mental condition whether buoyed by hope or stimulated by ambition to do a great feat and above all, of course, of the physical condition of the faster. Without food the body absorbs its own tissues. Mr. Rathbun, I am told, was a very heavy man with a superabundance of tissue. Naturally he could go longer without nourishment than a weak, attenuated, thin-blooded man.

“’Yet Mr. Rathbun was exercising daily and about his usual avocations, and he abstained from food for thirty-six days! Well, it’s remarkable!

“’But I sincerely hope Mr. Rathbun will have no imitators. It would be a very unfortunate thing, fraught with grave possibilities, if the newspaper accounts of his reduction in weight and general improvement in health were to move others to follow his example. Many persons would be injured for life, physically wrecked, and perhaps actually killed if they conscientiously did the fifth part of what he is said to have done.

“’And right here it may be said that there is a great deal of exaggeration in the sweeping statements made about people eating too much. If a man sleeps well, goes about his business in a cheerful frame of mind, and does not get what is called “out-of-sorts,” he may be pretty sure he is not eating too much, even though he eat a good deal. My observation is that the average man who works and gets a proper amount of exercise does not eat too much. If you want to get work done by the engine, you have got to stoke up the furnace. If a man wants to keep his vital energies up to par he has got to put in the fuel that is, the food.

“’Of course, there are those who lead sedentary lives who get too much absorbed in the pleasures of the table and overfeed. There are a sufficient number of these, to be sure, but I think they are the exception. But it will be a sad mistake if even they seek a road to health by Mr. Rathbun’s starvation methods.’”

The doctor is astonished, and so am I that he is astonished. This would seem to imply that he has never had cases of acute sickness in which the amount of food taken during many days or even weeks was too small to play any part as a life-prolonging factor.

“It was a foolish, even dangerous experiment.” How foolish or dangerous? What vital organs suffered? Was there evidence of a loss of anything but fat? What organs were “necessarily paralyzed” during the fast? Evidently not the brain, else longer days of labor would not have been possible; and the grave future possibilities in heart action, impoverished blood, nervous system, upon organs of nutrition “necessarily paralyzed” for days; and the extreme limit of nine or ten days before death from starvation; and that without food the body lives on its own tissues!

One can easily see that the earnest doctor is full of strong impressions that have little of the flavor of science: truth that is not self-evident should have the instant logic in easy reach. I may here say that my hygienic scheme has from the first been subject to similar attacks by physicians from the standpoint of impressions, but no physician has ventured into print against it after becoming aware of its physiologic basis.

I am happy to assure all readers that in all the involuntary fasts of my cases of acute sickness or in the voluntary fasts in chronic disease, has there been any other than improved general health as the result. Notably was this the case in a man who fasted ten years ago for forty days for an ulcer of the stomach, and who had been troubled with indigestion for more than forty years. He had become nearly a mental and physical wreck when he took to his bed with an abolished appetite. There have since been some ten years of nearly perfect health, and now in his seventy-seventh year he is the youngest-looking man for his age I have ever seen. He walks the streets with the gait of a youth of twenty. To do without food without hunger does not tax any vital power, as Dr. Shrady may yet become aware.