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HUNGER is one of the beneficent and terrible instincts. It is, indeed, the very fire of life, underlying all impulses to labour, and moving man to noble activities by its imperious demands. Look where we may, we see it as the motive power which sets the vast array of human machinery in action. It is Hunger which brings these stalwart navvies together in orderly gangs to cut paths through mountains, to throw bridges across rivers, to intersect the land with the great iron-ways which bring city into daily communication with city. Hunger is the overseer of those men erecting palaces, prison-houses, barracks, and villas. Hunger sits at the loom, which with stealthy power is weaving the wondrous fabrics of cotton and silk. Hunger labours at the furnace and the plough, coercing the native indolence of man into strenuous and incessant activity. Let food be abundant and easy of access, and civilisation becomes impossible; for our higher efforts are dependent on our lower impulses in an indissoluble manner. Nothing but the necessities of food will force man to labour, which he hates, and will always avoid when possible. And although this seems obvious only when applied to the labouring classes, it is equally though less obviously true when applied to all other classes, for the
VOL. LXXXIII.—NO, DVII.
money we all labour to gain is nothing but food, and the surplus of food, which will buy other men's labour.
If in this sense Hunger is seen to be a beneficent instinct, in another sense it is terrible, for when its progress is unchecked it becomes a devouring flame, destroying all that is noble in man, subjugating his humanity, and making the brute dominant in him, till finally life itself is extinguished. Beside the picture of the activities it inspires, we might also place a picture of the ferocities it evokes. Many an appalling story might be cited, from that of Ugolino in the famine - tower, to those of wretched shipwrecked men and women who have been impelled by the madness of starvation to murder their companions that they might feed upon their flesh.
What is this Hunger-what its causes and effects? In one sense we may all be said to know what Hunger is; in another sense no man can enlighten us; we have all felt it, but Science as yet has been unable to furnish any sufficient explanation. Between the gentle and agreeable stimulus known as Appetite, and the agony of Starvation, there are infinite gradations. The early stages are familiar even to the wealthy; but only the very poor, or those who have undergone exceptional calami