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HEART

 

HEART, n. An automatic, muscular blood-pump. Figuratively, this useful organ is said to be the esat of emotions and sentiments — a very pretty fancy which, however, is nothing but a survival of a once universal belief. It is now known that the sentiments and emotions reside in the stomach, being evolved from food by chemical action of the gastric fluid. The exact process by which a beefsteak becomes a feeling — tender or not, according to the age of the animal from which it was cut; the successive stages of elaboration through which a caviar sandwich is transmuted to a quaint fancy and reappears as a pungent epigram; the marvelous functional methods of converting a hard-boiled egg into religious contrition, or a cream-puff into a sigh of sensibility — these things have been patiently ascertained by M. Pasteur, and by him expounded with convincing lucidity. (See, also, my monograph, _The Essential Identity of the Spiritual Affections and Certain Intestinal Gases Freed in Digestion_ — 4to, 687 pp.) In a scientific work entitled, I believe, _Delectatio Demonorum_ (John Camden Hotton, London, 1873) this view of the sentiments receives a striking illustration; and for further light consult Professor Dam's famous treatise on _Love as a Product of Alimentary Maceration_.
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