There is no doubt whatever that the house-fly is a main source of the dissemination of the microbe of infantile diarrhoea, and the cause annually of hundreds of thousands of deaths of children in the great cities of Europe and America.
If we only had the power of inquiring into the matter, we should find not only that each individual creature that once inhabited one of the minute shells that go to the building of England’s fortress walls of chalk was absolutely unlike all the others, but that even the poor microbe himself, who in these days is so maligned, is also very intensely an individual.
A showman and a politician must be allowed a little liberty of statement, or they couldn't carry on their business. Well, as I was saying, thishyer Major Microbe was in my show a matter of ten years ago, when we were in Cincinnati, and he was about as vicious as they make them.
Moreover, since, according to one of our recent Communications, anthrax is not recurrent, each of our attenuated anthrax microbes is, for the better-developed microbe, a vaccine that is to say, a virus producing a less-malignant malady.
I found by patient experiment that the health microbe becomes active at fifteen, reaches maturity at twenty, begins to lose its vigor at forty, and is quite useless as a tonic when, as someone has tersely expressed it, a woman's kisses begin to "taste of her teeth."
Any one who has noticed the remarkable influence of locality in the more evident vegetation such, for instance, as lichens will be able to suppose the possibility of minute organisms microbe, bacteria, whatever you like to call them being more persistent in one spot than in another.
You and I, who have seen neither, must perforce take the testimony of others. The evidence for the microbe may be conclusive, the evidence as to apparitions may be worthless; but in both cases it is a case of testimony, not of personal experience.
Some one has since said that the Emperor must have meant pine trees. Working ever in the dark, either owning or influencing newspapers, the great munition and arms factory of the Krupp's insidiously poisoned the minds of the people with the microbe of war.
And it is another real microbe who may have already made up his or her mind that you shall finish your days helpless and incapable on the flat of your back. "Suppose you to be dead what would happen? You would leave debts, for, although you are solvent, you are only solvent because you have the knack of always putting your hand on money, and death would automatically make you insolvent.
During my adventurous career I had faced death a score of times without the slightest emotion or semblance of fright, but as I floated about on that broad expanse of water alone I then realized for the first time in my life what a tiny, helpless microbe I really was.