Tramp Reform - A Remarkable Man - How to Enjoy Wine - Fletcherism as a Cure for Morbid Cravings - A Trial of Fletcherism and its Results - Fletcherism as First Aid

Now we come to a phase of the merits of Fletcherism which has already furnished an abundance of evidence to its credit. In my first experiment, not yet under academic supervision, with no laboratory measurements wherewith to describe the results in chemical terms, I was dealing with a company of ordinary tramps picked up in the streets of Chicago. They simply ate what they chose to order from the bill of fare of a cheap restaurant, but were told to chew everything for all it was worth, which they made no objection to doing. Time was of no value to them, and they really discovered new delights of gustatory pleasure which they had not known before. Tramps are generally persons of resourcefulness and have a cultivated appreciation. Their resourcefulness consists chiefly of being able to live without working, and their appreciation is made keen by the lottery of chance in seeking to get something for which they give nothing.

My tramps were beery and bleery as tramps generally are, but not so dirty; for I paid for baths, washing, and in some instances furnished clothing. Besides supplying these luxuries, I gave them occasionally a big silver dollar which they called a "cart wheel.,,

It was surprising to see these degenerates freshen up in appearance and lose their blotchiness and greasiness of facial appearance. I knew how to talk to them to get their confidence, and they looked on me as just another "freak" like themselves, but with some kind of a money "pull."

There were fat and thin among them, and it was a matter of surprise that after a little some of the thin got stouter and the fat fell off in weight at the same time. One of them was a belligerent socialist and the author of a well-known book which had quite a vogue in the earlier history of present-day socialism.

Up to the time I began my own experiment, I had been a social drinker of alcohol in all forms to the full extent of "gentlemanly decency," with occasional slips when near the outer edge that made me ashamed of myself after I got sober again. I am now more ashamed than ever when I am reminded of my early foolishness, but since my experiences are being turned to good account I forgive myself. Not only were social occasions an excuse, but I often ordered the social occasions to serve as an excuse. I had never resorted to snake-bites to give legitimate excuses, but I so crowded my resources in this direction that at one time I held the "record," for the community in which I lived, for what was called "hol-lowness of legs and steadiness of head," and so much was this "strength of character" valued in that community in America, that one was supposed to take pride in holding the record.

The result of my own pursuit of thorough tasting of my food had been that my own ponderosity of front weight fell off, and at the same time I had no desire for wine or beer. It was all a surprise to me, but it was not an amazing surprise until one day one of my tramp guests came to me and said: "Boss, this eatin' game is great; think of me with a dollar in my pocket and not wantin' beer."

In a short time I forgot that I had ever liked wine or beer. It never occurred to me to order it except for a guest, and then I took it with him, or, rather them, for there were usually several or many at my eating parties, but in the Fletcherian manner which is so eminently Epicurean that a few sips went as far as a half-bottle used to do. Here is an important point in profitable economics that any one can demonstrate for himself at once and not rely on my sayso, or that of any one else. Later on I will tell how to do it. The secret is worth its weight in gold as an Epicurean prize as well as a money-saver. I have to tell, a little further on, of a very large experiment which came as a surprise also. It was in a section of country, and among a class of people, where to escape from the toils of the drink demon is nothing short of a miracle.

A Remarkable Man

But before I relate this climaxic experience I will once more refer to one of the most remarkable men I have had the pleasure of meeting. His case covers more sides of healthy variety than that of almost any one, but he has even a better showing in some respects than any. He is an M.D.; a Ph.D.; an Sc.D.; an A.M.; and a P.H.D.; which last is the "stiffest exam." of them all. He is a champion athlete; the father of an all-round college champion; and as graceful a gymnast as any one ever saw do the "Giant Swing" on the horizontal bar. He is also a grandfather and now past fifty.

This was his experience in 1902 or 1903, in connection with my being called to New Haven to submit to examination under the supervision of Professor Chittenden. It is Dr. Anderson to whom I refer, and he permits my stating his experience as often as I like for the good it will do. My expression of appreciation of his academic and athletic accomplishments is all my own and not authorized.

When I was turned over to Dr. Anderson for physical examination in the Yale gymnasium, my fitness was surprising to him as he has stated in his reports. He was also ripe for the reasonableness of my revelations. He seemed to me to be in the "pink of condition" himself, and he was so, as "pink" was judged at the time, for a man of his age.

Dr. Anderson tried more careful mastication than usual, and paid more attention to the thorough enjoyment of his food with the same pleasant results that come to everybody when making the trial, no matter how moderate and temperate they have been before. It is equivalent to putting a little keener edge on appetite than usual. Children and even fine ladies will perk up a little when they are conscious of being noticed, and the human senses are human in more ways than one.

Dr. Anderson was pleased with the revelation as a pleasure promoter, but did not notice that he was forgetting to take his daily prescription of stimulant. He was a medical man, past forty, beginning to slack up a little in his elasticity and strength. He was reaching that age when even the most temperate and careful begin to be a little lenient with themselves. His doctor friends were in the habit of prescribing a little stimulant to counter-balance this expected decline in energy and he took their advice. It was the medical fad of the period.

At first, Dr. Anderson ordered for himself one small drink of good medicinal whisky a day, and the effect was as expected. By and bye, however, a little more was needed, and this increasing demand continued its insistence until three drinks were no more efficacious than one had been at first. When I was introduced to him he had begun on his fourth drink daily, and yet burned it up in his exercise without feeling it much.

A couple of weeks after he began to check up my test by personal experience, which is the only scientific way, he all at once remembered, one day, that he had forgotten to take his whisky, and yet he was fitter than usual. I had not mentioned my own experience in this regard to him, I believe, as when we were together he kept me busy with the exercises of the 'Varsity crew, and I had little chance to give him accounts of my full experience. Besides, it did not occur to me that it would interest him who seemed to be moderation and temperance personified. And so he was, according to the scientific estimate of the time, but Nature has another standard of temperance, and under her strict guidance very little but good spring water is needed or desired.