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certain qualities, or raised to unusual
temperatures, attract, as at Spa and many of
the German baths, crowds of visitors, the
great majority of whom are flaunting
pleasure-seekers, the small majority invalids
seriously in search of health. But having
seen, at Amélie-les-Bains,* in the department
of the Oriental Pyrenees, the Thermal
Etablissement Militaire in working trim
I wish to give a slight idea, with the help
of Dr. Henri Lespiau, of the way in which
a great nation treats and nurses the suffering
individuals of its army and navy who
are likely to be benefitted by such treatment.
Everything that is done in the
Etablissement Militaire at Amélie is
medically based on the supposed efficacy (and
on nothing else) of the thermal waters
there, which are affirmed to be sovereign
for scrofulous, and rheumatic affections,
especially when obstinate and of long standing.
When a patient (soldier or sailor,
officer or private) falls ill with a complaint
which does not, or is known not to yield to
the influence of the waters, he is sent away
to Perpignan, where there is a good military
hospital for the treatment of diseases in
general, all and sundry.
* See ALL THE YEAR ROUND, New Series, vol. ii.,
p. 513.

The great object of the French Government
is to procure for its sick and wounded
soldiers and sailors the same attentions
which they would receive in a family in
easy circumstances; and this laudable
endeavour is, as near as may be,
accomplished in the naval and military hospitals
in which acute diseases are treated.
Chronic diseases were formerly held to be
a sufficient reason for premature discharge
from the service. At the present time,
soldiers and sailors are enabled to try
the beneficial effects of natural mineral waters
at their source, the quality of the spring
being selected according to the nature of
their chronic disease, or their wounds
contracted in the service.

Within the last fifteen years, the French
minister of war has been put in possession
of several thermal establishments in which
sailors are received on the same terms as
soldiers. Vichy represents the group of
alkaline waters; Bourbonne is the station
for complaints which require the employment
of hot saline springs; Barèges and
Amélie-les-Bains are the military posts
for thermal sulphureous waters. But the
former, which has a magnificent hospital, is
high up in the Hautes-Pyrénees, is
uninhabited in winter, and enjoys a detestably
variable climate in summer. The site,
moreover, is so displeasing that a cheerful
person sent there would soon get the blues.
Amélie has the advantage of a lower
elevation, being only two hundred and twenty
mètres, or seven hundred and thirty-eight
English feet, above the level of the sea.
The winters are mild, allowing private
individuals to make use of the waters all
the year round, although the heats of
summer are often great. Consequently, the
season of the Etablissement Militaire lasts
all the year, with the exception of November,
March, and April, the months in which
trying weather for invalids (if not actually
inclement for persons in health) may be
expected. Amélie has also the great
advantage of being pleasantly and
picturesquely situated.

Soldiers and sailors are sent to Amélie
by the respective doctors of their regiment
or their ship. Each patient may remain
there as long as the doctor thinks fit.
This kind and hospitable entertainment is
not exactly gratuitous. The inmates of the
Etablissement Militaire do not get lodging,
board, and medical attendance absolutely
for nothing. For instance, from the pay
of captains two francs per day is deducted;
from that of lieutenants, one franc and a
half; but they are maintained exactly as
in a well-appointed hotel, at the cost, to
the State, of at least seven francs, per officer,
per day.

The cooks, gardeners, bath-attendants,
&c., employed at the establishment, about
one hundred altogether in number, are
"infirmiers," that is, soldiers, healthy men,
whose respective services are paid. The
patients, however slight their ailments or
however advanced their recovery, are not
called upon to do anything in return for
the benefits they receive. Two meals a
day is the general allowance for everybody,
great and small; only, for convenience
sake, the hours are not exactly the same.
The officers take their déjeuner (a more
substantial meal than an English family
breakfast) at half-past nine, and dine at
five; the privates breakfast, I think, at nine,
and dine at half-past four.

The refectories for the men, private
soldiers and seamen, are an airy suite of
dining rooms communicating with each other
by archways instead of doors. They are
lighted mainly by borrowed light, which has
to traverse an arched corridor; and the
windows have outside wooden shutters, as a
protection against the excess of heat and
glare which may be expected at forty-two
degrees of north latitude in summer. The
dining tables (on whose outer edge the