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may be, the death of some of his family, or, at great inconvenience, leave the house, and, perhaps, risk an action at law with the landlord.
If the landlord decline to make the necessary alterations before the tenant enters into possession, have nothing to do with the house.
To the case of inhabited houses, where ventilation or other sanitary matters are defective, most of what has gone before will apply. I would urge all persons not to allow defects in drainage or ventilation to exist an hour longer than is absolutely necessary. How many outbreaks of cholera can be traced to a defective drain or foul cesspool, and people have said “Oh, it is in the air," or in this, or in that, while the real cause was, perhaps, under their very feet.
With regard to country houses, which, from their isolated position, are beyond the reach of a system of sewerage, it must be admitted that many difficulties are presented to us.
Sewage must be disposed of by irrigation on the land, for there is no other successful method of dealing with it at present known, and therefore towns and villages have been empowered by various Acts of Parliament to acquire land for this purpose. Private persons have not this advantage and in their case the cesspool has always, until lately, been regarded as the only resource. But it is a very dangerous resource. Ask how the liquid gets away from the cesspool and you will probably be told that it percolates through the brickwork forming the sides, the bricks being laid dry on purpose, and passes into the surrounding soil. Yes, percolates underour houses, into the springs, pollutes the wells, until, as at Rugby before the sewerage works were executed, things come to such a pass that the fluid thrown into the cesspool in the morning is pumped from the well at night! Or, perhaps, the cesspool is well built and the sewage retained in it, but the mass of putrid filth must be taken away, and I suppose many persons have been disgusted at some time or other with this sickening process.
The remedy is not hard to find, but the means to be adopted will depend greatly upon the conditions of each individual case. Moreover, this belongs to another branch of sanitary science, and I am wandering away from ventilation.
What has been said with respect to ventilating drains connected with sewers will apply with more force where there are cesspools. For in the former case there may be no evolution of foul and dangerous gases even for years, while in the latter it is certain and continuous.
It is of no use to try and enclose it in the cesspool, free vent must be given if you would keep death and disease out of your houses.
In concluding these somewhat disjointed observations on a very important subject, I would ask the reader to remember that the whole paper has been written at different times, when a few moments could be spared from more pressing matters, and if I have not adhered strictly to ventilation, pure and simple; yet drainage and warming are so intimately connected with it, that it is difficult to treat of one without drawing in the others also.
Very much more might have been said about ventilating public buildings, such as churches for instance, where no attempt seems ever made to get fresh air in, or foul gas out of the building, but I have simply endeavored to convey a little useful information to the reader, which will, I hope, be of service in improving domestic comfort, and keeping disease away from our homes.