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Of this effect, said I, I do not in the least doubt, but I do not approve of the reason they give for it. For if any one should admit these pores (which some are so unreasonably fond of) to be in the flesh, he must needs make it a very soft, loose, flabby substance; and that the same parts do not receive the meat and drink, but that they run [p. 346] through different canals and strainers in them, seems to me to be a very strange and unaccountable opinion. For the moisture mixes with the dry food, and by the assistance of the natural heat and spirits cuts the nourishment far smaller than any cleaver or chopping-knife, to the end that every part of it may be exactly fitted to each part of the body, not applied, as they would have it, to little vessels and pores, but united and incorporated with the whole substance. And unless the thing were explained after this manner, the hardest knot in the question would still remain unsolved. For a man that has a thirst upon him, supposing he eats and doth not drink, is so far from quenching, that he does highly increase it. This point is yet untouched. But mark, said I, whether the positions on my side be clear and evident or not. In the first place, we take it for granted that moisture is wasted and destroyed by dryness, that the drier parts of the nourishment, qualified and softened by moisture, are diffused and fly away in vapors. Secondly, we must by no means suppose that all hunger is a total privation of dry, and thirst of humid nutriment, but only a moderate one, and such as is sufficient to cause the one or the other; for whoever are wholly deprived of either of these, they neither hunger nor thirst, but die instantly. These things being laid down as a foundation, it will be no hard matter to find out the cause. Thirst is increased by eating for this reason, because that meat by its natural siccity contracts and destroys all that small quantity of moisture which remained scattered here and there through the body; just as it happens in things obvious to our senses; we see the earth, dust, and the like presently suck in the moisture that is mixed with them. Now, on the contrary, drink must of necessity assuage hunger; for the moisture watering and diffusing itself through the dry and parched relics of the meat we ate last, by turning them into thin [p. 347] juices, conveys them through the whole body, and succors the indigent parts. And therefore with very good reason Erasistratus called moisture the vehicle of the meat; for as soon as this is mixed with things which by reason of their dryness, or some other quality, are slow and heavy, it raises them up and carries them aloft. Moreover, several men, when they have drunk nothing at all, but only washed themselves, all on a sudden are freed from a violent hunger, because the extrinsic moisture entering the pores makes the meat within more succulent and of a more nourishing nature, so that the heat and fury of the hunger declines and abates; and therefore a great many of those who have a mind to starve themselves to death live a long time only by drinking water; that is, as long as the siccity does not quite consume whatever may be united to and nourish the body.
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