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Aerophobic Germany

From Pilgrimages to the Spas in pursuit of health and recreation; with an inquiry into the comparative merits of different mineral waters: the maladies to which they are applicable, and those in which they are injurious by James Johnson M.D. (London 1841). A fresh air fiend Britisher attacks unhealthy Germans...

Aerophobia. From one end of Germany to the other, among all ages, ranks, and professions, an AEROPHOBIA, or dread of fresh air, universally prevails ! If you take a seat in the diligence or eilwagen, your German neighbour in the corner closes the windows immediately, lest a breath of pure air should enter the vehicle. On arriving at the hotel, half poisoned by the disoxygenated atmosphere of the coach, and enter your chamber, you find all the windows securely fastened, and the air of the apartment a mass of heavy mephitic vapour, like that which issues from a long unopened tomb. If you descend to the spies-saal, where the air is still farther vitiated by the fumes of tobacco, and throw open a window, you are stared at by the ober-kellner, the under-kellner, and every "GAST" in the "HAUS," as a person deranged. I had long puzzled my brains to account for this aerophobic phenomenon, and, at last, traced its cause to the GERMAN STOVE that black brewery of mephitism, which, bearing a mortal antipathy to the fresh air of Heaven, imbues every one who sits near it with the same prejudice. In fine, the German exhibits as great a horror of oxygen, as he does a mania for azote! [Azote = Nitrogen]

And what is the consequence of this? Why, that the Germans are ten times more susceptible of colds, rheumatism, face-aches, and tooth-aches, than the English, who live in a far more variable, wet, and ungenial climate. This aerophobia is one of the causes too, of that sallow, unhealthy aspect which all Germans, who are not forced to be much in the open air, exhibit. It is no wonder that they swarm like locusts round their numberless spas, in the Summer, to wash away some of those peccant humours engendered by their diet, and fermented by their stoves.

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