The Path to Public Service at SEAS
Should Supreme Court Justices Have Term Limits? That ‘Would Be Fine,’ Breyer Says at Harvard IOP Forum
Harvard Right to Life Hosts Anti-Abortion Event With Students For Life President
Harvard Researchers Debunk Popular Sleep Myths in New Study
Journalists Discuss Trump’s Effect on the GOP at Harvard IOP Forum
MY friend Diogenes last Saturday proposed that we should take a Turkish bath. It had long been my desire to experience "one of the greatest luxuries of the age," and we started immediately. As we passed through the Port in the luxurious horse-car, I began to feel a strange apprehension. I recollected that I had seen persons who had tried Turkish baths and repented. When we reached our destination I was in a strangely nervous condition.
There was a small window, like a ticket-office, at which I presented myself. A diminutive, pale man came up and looked at me, then smiled, - it seemed like a smile of pity! There was a girl in the office, - she smiled! If I could have honorably backed out I should have done so. The small man pointed to a register, and I registered, thinking it a precaution in case of accident, heart-disease, etc. Had I heart-disease undeveloped, but only needing something like this to bring it out?
Pale man said, "Pull the bell." I passed into a gloomy passage and pulled a bell; a distant tinkle sounded at the end of the passage, a door opened, and a solemn man in a girdle received me. In the distance I caught sight of a room like a hospital ward, - narrow beds, exhausted sufferers. Something was the matter with my guide; instead of speaking he pointed. I longed to get out into the open air. He directed me by signs to a little room and a girdle. After girdling I followed him to a door; it opened, and I was in an oven, - thermometer 130. Solemn man pointed to a chair, and then left the room.
My attendant, coming back, felt my pulse, then the doctor came and felt it, then a cold bandage was put on my head, and my feet were put into hot water, a tumbler of cold water was administered. I said to myself, "I 'm one of those that can't stand it; but they are going to put me through at all risks." I was roused from my stupor by silent attendant's shaking me, and pointing to a door. Tried to go through the door, but backed out instantly. After another effort, succeeded, and found myself again in a chair; thermometer here was 30 higher, - 160 in the shade.
Solemn attendant now perpetrated a joke; my eyes opened wide at the word "Sherry," but it was only water he handed me! - joke; like the place, ghastly. Another shake, another pointing of the finger, and I found myself in what would have done well for a glass furnace. Thermometer here made desperate efforts to get out of the case. I was just about saying, "I shall put off my bath till another day," when my guide came in and sadly led the way to a little room in which was a slab. Obeying signs, I stretched myself out and felt ready for dissection. Very much like dissection was the process that followed. First he carelessly sprinkled over me a few handfuls of boiling water, and then, raising his hand, he brought it down "so as to make the blood circulate." This was explained to me after wards. I should have circulated myself at the time, had I been able to get up. My friend Diogenes, in the next cell, laughed at my groans, but he soon stopped. After making my circulation perfect, my operator stood me up, and a stream that would have taken the prize at an engine trial was played, from a hose, into each particular ear and eye. What was left of me then took a feeble paddle in water that felt like ice, though its temperature was 80. One of the hospital beds received me after this.
Did n't I feel calm and quiet? I did. Nothing but an explosion could have roused me. Did n't I feel pure? Yes, almost too pure for this earth. I believe now that a little dirt is healthy. I never wish to come so near being boiled into a spirit again. The Doctor said it was good for a cold. It was; I have had one ever since.
Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.