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to our common-received opinions, that it was some time before I was quite reconciled to it. In theory, it was not new to me; and, as an opportunity occurred for proving the theory by practice, I was resolved not to neglect it *.
Analogous to being burnt with a cold iron, is the effect produced on the face when it is exposed to a very cold wind.The sensation is nearly the same as when it is exposed to a very hot wind, and the effect is precisely the same. When travelling in
* The idea of being burnt by a cold iron appears paradoxical, but it has been long familiar to chemists. Our great poet Milton, too, makes an allusion to the like effect of cold in his description of the residence of Satan and his compeers.-After describing Styx, he says,
"Beyond this flood a frozen continent
Lies dark and wild, beat with perpetual storms
Where armies whole have sunk: the parching air
Paradise Lost, Book II.
Frore is an old word for frosty.-We have also in
Virgil, Georg. I. 1. 93.
Borex penetrabili frigus adurat.
a hot climate, and exposed to the operation of a warm wind, I have found that my face became red and inflamed, and, as it were, scorched. If rubbed with any kind of strong spirit, it smarted exceedingly, and perhaps the skin partially came off. The same sensations, and the same effects, are produced by a very cold wind. The principle on which they act, the cause from which they proceed, is the same-the too violent passage of heat into, or out of, the part affected.
There is another effect very frequently produced by cold in this country, which bears no analogy (as in the preceding example) to any thing produced by external heat; and a dreadful effect it is-I mean frost bitten.
When the weather is very cold, particularly when accompanied by a smart wind, instances of people being frost bitten, frequently occur. Not a season passes, without some of the sentinels being frost bitten on their posts. Sometimes, their hands and face, sometimes, their feet, are affected; and a mortification of the part generally follows, if the proper remedy is not applied
in time. The remedy will seldom be applied, if you are attacked in the dark, which is often the case with those who travel at night, as well as with sentinels. Their own feelings do not inform them of the presence of the enemy; and they are not likely, in the dark, to have him discovered by other people. He insidiously makes a breach; and if he can keep his ground but for a short time, it is in vain afterwards to think of dislodging him. In the towns, during the day, there is less danger, because you will be stopped by the first person who observes the symptoms. This is readily and easily done, as the part frost bitten. becomes white, while the rest of the face is very red.
In so critical a moment, people do not stand on any ceremony, as you may suppose. They know you are not conscious of your situation; and they also know, that before they could convince you that you are frost bitten, and on the point of losing your nose perhaps, it might actually be too late to apply the remedy; they instantly take a handful of snow, and either rub the part themselves, or make you do it.
It certainly is enough to startle a stranger, to see a person, perfectly unknown to you, come running up, with a handful of snow, calling out, "Your nose, Sir,-your nose, you are frost bitten;" and, without further ceremony, either themselves rubbing it without mercy, or making you do
When this is done in due time, the tone of the part, the circulation of the blood, is restored; and, instead of losing a nose, you get off with the loss of the skin perhaps.An acquaintance of mine, who has not been long in the country, was stopped in the street the other morning." Your nose, Sir," was the salute; "it is frost bitten ;rub it with snow instantly, or you will lose it." The advice came from a quarter that commanded instant attention. Snow was immediately applied, and the bad effects prevented.
I myself, have guarded against being frost bitten, by using every necessary precaution; but I have not escaped altogether. A few days ago, had I continued a little longer exposed to the cold wind, I must have experienced its effects to a much
greater extent than I did. I had been walking quickly against the wind, which was bitter cold. I felt so much pain at last, that I was glad to turn my back on it, and get home as fast as I could. I found that one side of my face was somewhat swelled, much inflamed, and very hot. I am assured, that had I persevered in walking against the wind, I most undoubtedly would have suffered severely.
If I had continued under the influence of the frost a little longer, the painful sensation I felt, would have gone off, and I should have supposed, that the wind had become milder; whereas, the ease I should have felt would have arisen from my sensations being blunted, the blood vessels at the surface having lost their tone. After this happens, the longer one continues exposed to the cold, the greater is the progress of insensibility. It ultimately pervades all the extremities; drowsiness ensues. You would willingly lie down on the snow, were no one near to prevent you.You would fall asleep, never to awake again!
I know a gentleman, who was so far