Confessions about diet - Cures for rheumatism - Effects of tea-drinking - Sparing animal life a bad reason for vegetarianism - The Berlin foot-race - Mrs. Crow in Edinburgh - Bagehot on luxury - A word about babies - German and English nurseries - Sir Richard Thorne Thorne on raw milk - The New Education - Difficulty of understanding young children - Gardening - Cooking.

I feel at last the moment has come when I must make a confession. I am a non-meat-eater! I know that this will probably entail the loss of the good opinion of my readers, and I should never have dreamt of bringing forward so personal a matter, had I not felt compelled to do so in consequence of the numbers of letters I have received in which the writers deplore their loss of health, their gout and rheumatism, and the general ailments that prevent their going into the garden, etc. This strikes me as unnatural and wrong. There is no reason at all, unless there be actual disease, that sickness should as a matter of course accompany old age any more than any other period of life.

This chapter is not intended for the young or the healthy or the really sick, but for those chronic sufferers who are constantly appealing to the medical profession for 'something' that will cure their aches and pains, their sleepless nights, their stiff joints, and their neuralgias, and who put all their faith in drugs which, even when they seem to do good, turn out to be palliatives, not cures - that is, in the case of constitutions where the ailments are the result of gout and rheumatism.

Some years ago all these symptoms in various degrees were mine, and I fully expected that they would increase with age; but I was wrong - by gradual steps they all disappeared. Nothing of course makes the old young; but bad health, the chief dread of old age, I no longer have. I can work out in the garden with even greater impunity than I could have done twenty years ago. I take long journeys - say, of twenty-seven hours - without fatigue, and I sleep excellently. This all reads like an advertisement for a patent medicine, but it is nothing of the kind; in fact, for years I have taken no medicine at all. But if I am asked to account for this improvement, in one word it is - Diet. I have become an ardent advocate of non-meat-eating, but without any of those sentimental feelings about the killing of animals which many people have who yet continue to partake of ordinary food; nor did it begin from the belief that meat is a frequent conveyor of poisons. I left it off at first simply as an experiment. I believe that meat, especially if eaten daily - the small quantities ferment the other foods - is on the whole deleterious to the health of the human race, and simply poisonous to the gouty, the rheumatic, or the neuralgic.

All through my lifetime there seems to have been the strongest belief everywhere in Europe, amongst all classes (especially those who are habitually over-fed), that if they feel weak or anaemic, or what is called 'below par,' therefore they must try and eat more, and cram themselves with stimulating food, such as meat-juices, beef-tea, or even raw beef, and - as with drugs or alcohol - for a time it often answers. The origin of this belief, no doubt, has come from the teaching of the medical profession, only disputed now and then by a solitary member.

Surely this system is nearly on the level, and only one degree less harmful, than yielding to the request of the poor drunkard, who wildly cries for more of the very poison that is killing him. The immediate relief is actual and visible; the after-reaction in both cases being the cause of fresh suffering.

My object as a propagandist in the cause of non-meat-eating is merely to give others my experience, with the ordinary human desire that they may try a cure which has been so beneficial to myself. When some years ago chronic rheumatism was gaining upon me, I resorted to the usual solaces of the well-to-do. I consulted doctors, I took drugs, I left off wine - which before the age of forty I had rarely taken, and after forty only in small quantities. I went to Aix-les-Bains. I got momentary relief from all these cures, but on the whole the malady gained upon me, and I looked forward to a cripply old age with great dread, knowing full well that it would prevent my enjoying my favourite occupation of gardening. My family physician summed up the case with: 'Well, Mrs. Earle, at your age this rheumatism which has settled in the hips is extremely difficult of cure.' I repeated this to a vegetarian friend, who lent me a book called 'The Science of Healing,' by L. Kuehne, a German non-medical man who practises a strict vegetarian water-cure at Leipzig. In consequence of reading this book I undertook to try and cure myself. The results have been simply wonderful, and I find the kind of food I eat, now that I am used to it, entails no self-denial at all. I carried out the cure strictly for many months - almost as strictly as Kuehne recommends, only breaking his rule by a small amount of milk and butter, and I was greatly the better for it. I took absolutely no animal food, and neither cheese nor eggs. If ever I relapsed into ordinary diet, after a very little time the old pains re-asserted themselves. My friends declared I looked old and ugly, and most of my family thought the first illness would play the part of the legs in the epitaph:

Two bad legs and a troublesome cough, But the legs it was that carried her off.

My own faith in the matter only grew and grew, but it has taken four or five years for me to be absolutely free of pain, and even to this day I occasionally feel twinges, which I immediately treat by diminishing in quantity what I generally eat. The result is invariably satisfactory and unaccompanied by any feelings of weakness or fatigue. Last year I became the object of considerable jealousy to one of my friends, who could not understand why I had grown so much better. I, loth to encounter the anger of her numerous family by recommending my method, remarked - what I did not believe - that very likely my diet would not suit her. I am so tired of hearing that 'One man's meat is another man's poison'! Seeing the marked improvement in me, and thinking the matter over after I had left, she telegraphed to her London doctor, saying: 'Who is the great authority in London at this moment on gout and rheumatism?' He wired back: 'Dr. Haig of Brook Street.' She accordingly went to him. When next we met, one of her first remarks was: 'A most extraordinary thing has happened to me. I have been to a new doctor for my rheumatism, and his printed paper on diet is in all essentials what you practise, except that he orders more milk and cheese.' She handed me the leaflet, and from this I got to know Dr. Haig and his most interesting book, 'Uric Acid as a Factor in the Causation of Disease.' This book is rather medical for the ordinary public, who had better begin with his two-shilling book called 'Diet and Food considered in Relation to Strength and Power of Endurance, Training and Athletics.' On Dr. Haig's recommendation I deserted the extreme strictness of the German cure, and I have undoubtedly felt stronger for taking more skimmed milk (separated would be better) and a little cheese, though whenever I am less well I go back to the Kuehne diet. It was the greatest satisfaction to me to find a man whose years of study and scientific investigations entirely corresponded with my own groping experiences. If anybody now ever asks me about the matter, I say: 'Read Dr. Haig's books, and then consult him or not as you like.' His tables of diet are so severe that I am afraid they may tempt a great number of people to agree with the late Lord D------, who, when sent a sample of sherry which was recommended to him as being essentially wholesome, wrote back that he found it so bitter and dry he much preferred the gout.