Blanch the almonds in boiling water and grind in a nut-mill. Put about a tablespoonful at a time into a mortar with a teaspoonful of cold water, and work with the pestle till as smooth as butter, no particle the size of a pin's head being left. Mix in a little more cold water till of the consistency of clotted cream, and scrape out on to a dish. It is better to have only a small quantity at once in the mortar, or the smoothness is not so uniform. The nut-mill should be taken to pieces (one easy screw undoes the whole) every day and well scalded, for almonds turn as sour as milk, especially after they have been wet. For this reason, the almond cream should be freshly made every day.For travellers who prefer almonds to cheese, but cannot venture to eat them whole, this form of cream is excellent for sandwiches.Children and invalids, too, can digest them in this way. When I had been three months on this diet, I caught another bad chill, which brought on a severe relapse of the gastrointestinal inflammation, and again for two weeks I had to have a nurse and be kept in bed.For four days various invalid foods - barley water, beaten white of egg, champagneandsoda-water, weak solution of Plasmon, &c. - were tried inteaspoonfulsat the time, and all with equallydistressing results. Finally a nutrient suppository was tried, which also proved a failure, and still further reducedmy strength.Then, having convinced my nurse that the very things administered with the time-honoured idea of "keeping up my strength" not only failed to do this, but actually drained the little I had by causing sickness and pain, I insisted on a fast of twenty-four clear hours, to give the stomach a chance of righting itself. The thirst, which was intense, I relieved partly by holding a piece of ice in a bit of linen on the lips, and rinsing the mouth from time to time with bicarbonate of soda.Even a spoonful of hot or cold water instantly produced sickness, and there was nothing to be done but leave things alone and wait.At the end of twenty-four hoursI took20 grains bicarb, soda in half-a-pint of hot-water - a teaspoonful every two minutes.After thirty hours I took, with comfort, 2 oz. Mellin's Food of the strength given to infants of four months, and this I repeated three times a day for two or three days, after which the quantity, though not the quality, was gradually increased - thebicarb, being taken an hour before each meal of Mellin's Food.Dr. Haig again most kindly came down from London, and said the starvation treatment was the only one for the case - there being no risk whatever in fasting for five days, so long as I had 10 lbs. of flesh on my bones. His advice for future diet was to drop almonds entirely till all sign of weakness had disappeared in stomach and bowels, and to "feel my way "slowly on to a diet of bread, potatoes, milk, fresh curd cheese, fruit, with oil, cream, and butter ad lib. The bread to be stale, home-made, white (i.e. the wholemeal minus the bran), the potatoes to be steamed or baked in the skins to preserve the alkaline salts so valuable in all forms of gout and rheumatism (colitis being a kind of intestinal gout); the fruit to be ripe and uncooked, and always eaten with potatoes to prevent acid dyspepsia, and plenty of oil or butter to aid digestion. After being on this diet for a month, I dropped everything but bread and fruit, and recovery became so much more rapid that I have kept to this permanently with Dr. Haig's full approval, and have already built up a reserve of strength such as at one time seemed impossible to all the doctors I consulted.'
A young man I know has had eczema from his birth and, with every chance of consulting many physicians, no one had been able to cure it, eczema being one of the illnesses which, like leprosy, seem, on their own confession, to baffle doctors, though many remedies make it apparently better for a time. After two and a half years of a form of the simpler foods which suited him, he seems, for the first time in his life, to be quite free from it. Having just heard of this cure, the following story in the papers (July 1902), of the tragedy in the home of an artisan (a marble-polisher) seemed to me peculiarly distressing. The mother had been very despondent because her two little boys were severely afflicted with eczema. She had taken them to several hospitals in vain, and at last, in despair, drowned them in a tub. 'It was God's curse!' shesaid tothepolice; 'theneighbours used tocall their children away from playing with them, and it broke my heart. I put them into a tub of water and put them into the bed. I did not know what I was doing.' A verdict of 'wilful murder' was brought in against her. This probably means a lifetime in Broadmoor. I quote this humble tragedy because I feel that, of all disorders, skin disease is most obviously cured by diet.
After writing these long, and perhaps boresome, chapters on the subject of health, it was with no small comfort that I found in Mr. Maeterlinck's latest book of essays, 'The Buried Temple,' in a chapter headed 'The Kingdom of Matter,' the following passage, which brought me that best of all consolations on a road that is unpopular and strange, namely, to feel'Verily, I am not travelling alone' :
We have said that man, in his relation to matter, is still in the experimental, groping, stage of his earliest days. He lacks even definite knowledge as to the kind of food best adapted for him, or the quantity of nourishment he requires; he is still uncertain as to whether he be carnivorous or frugivorous. His intellect misleads his instinct. It was only yesterday that he learned that he had probably erred hitherto in the choice of his nourishment ; that he must reduce by two-thirds the quantity of nitrogen he absorbs, and largely increase the volume of hydrocarbons; that a little fruit, or milk, a few vegetables, farinaceous substances - now the mere accessory of the too plentiful repasts which he works so hard to provide, which are his chief object in life, the goal of his efforts, of his strenuous, incessant labour - are amply sufficient to maintain the ardour of the finest and mightiest life. It is not my purpose here to discuss the question of vegetarianism, or to meet the objections that may be urged against it; though it must be admitted that, of these objections, not one can withstand a loyal and scrupulous inquiry.
I, for my part, can affirm that those whom I have known to submit themselves to this regimen have found its result to be improved or restored health, marked addition of strength, and the acquisition by the mind of a clearness, brightness, well-being, such as might follow the release from some secular, loathsome, detestable dungeon. But we must not conclude these pages with an essay on alimentation, reasonable as such a proceeding might be. For, in truth, all our justice, morality, all our thoughts and feelings, derive from three or four primordial necessities, whereof the principal one is food. The least modification of one of these necessities would entail a marked change in our moral existence. Were the belief one day to become general that man could dispense with animal food, there would ensue not only a great economic revolution - for a bullock, to produce one pound of meat, consumes more than a hundred of provender - but a moral improvement as well. . . . For we find that the man who abandons the regimen of meat abandons alcohol also; and to do this is to renounce most of the coarser and more degraded pleasures of life. And it is in the passionate craving for these pleasures, in their glamour, and the prejudice they create, that the most formidable obstacle is found to the harmonious development of the race. Detachment therefrom creates noble leisure, a new order of desires, a wish for enjoyment that must of necessity be loftier than the gross satisfactions which have their origin in alcohol. But are days such as these in store for us -these happier, purer hours ? The crime of alcohol is not alone that it destroys its faithful and poisons one-half of the race, but also that it exercises a profound, though indirect, influence upon those who recoil from it in dread. The idea of pleasure which it maintains in the crowd forces its way, by means of the crowd's irresistible action, into the life even of the elect, and lessens and perverts all that concerns man's peace and repose, his expansiveness, gladness, and joy; retarding, too, it may safely be said, the birth of the truer, profounder, ideal of happiness; one that shall be simpler, more peaceful and grave, more spiritual and human. This ideal is evidently still very imaginary, and may seem of but little importance; and infinite time must elapse, as in all other cases, before the certitude of those who are convinced that the race, so far, has erred in the choice of its aliment (assuming the truth of this statement to be borne out by experience), shall reach the confused masses, and bring them enlightenment and comfort. But may this not be the expedient Nature holds in reserve for the time when the struggle for life shall have become too hopelessly unbearable - the struggle for life that to-day means the fight for meat and for alcohol, double source of injustice and waste whence all the others are fed, double symbol of a happiness and necessity whereof neither is human?'
I owe most of my scientific instruction in the non-meat diet to Dr. Haig, but I was favoured by a leading vegetarian with the following list of medical men in different parts of England who agree with him, to the extent, at any rate, of recommending a non-flesh diet. I thought the list might be of some service to those of my readers interested in the health question :
Dr. R. Edmund Deane, Wilmslow, Manchester.
Dr. Pullar, 111 Denmark Hill, London, S.E.
Dr. A. B. Mercer, Kinchme, Carlisle Road, Eastbourne.
Dr. Charles Reinholdt, 16 Blagrave Street, Beading.
Dr. Charles White, Studley, Upper Parkstone, Dorset.
Dr. W. H. Ackland (J.P.), Fairhaven, Compton Gifford, Plymouth.
Dr. Mitchell, 21 Park Lane, Little Horton, Bradford, Yorks.
Dr. D. Geo. Carmichael, 68 Kenmure Street, Pollockshields, Glasgow.
Dr. Blacker, The Boltons, Farnborough, Hants.
Dr. J. Shaw Lyttle, Dundela, Cilfynydd, Pontypridd.
Dr. Thos. Mowat, Barns Place, Clydebank, Glasgow.
Dr. Benham, Earl's Court Square, London, S.W.
Dr. E. Howard, Curfew Cottage, Datchet.
Dr. W. J. Fernie, 4 Pembroke Villas, The Green, Richmond, S.W. (Author of 'Herbal Simples,' ' Kitchen Physic,' &c, &c.)
Dr. Flint, Scarborough.
Dr. Oldfield, Cam Brae, London Road, Bromley.
Mrs. Fleetwood Taylor, M.D., c/o H. Phillips, Esq., 16 Farringdon Street, E.C.
Dr. George Black, Greta Bank, Chelston, Torquay.
Dr. Hadwen, Brunswick Square, Gloucester.
Dr. Helen Wilson, 381 Glossop Road, Sheffield.
Dr. Arnold, Moss Lane East, Manchester.
Dr. Genny, Lincoln.
Dr. Walters, Stonehouse, Glos.
Dr. Johnston, Ambleside.
Dr. Crespi, Wimborne.
Dr. Haig, 7 Brook Street, Hanover Square, London, W