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PETROLEUM AS A BEVERAGE

A man has been discovered in San Fraucisco who habitually indulges in petroleum, and from his own account is very partial to the beverage. Mr James Lee, the gentleman in question, can, we are credibly informed, be found at his usual haunt in one of tho side streets of tne city at any hour of the day, and a fair proportion of the ni^ht.

The drink and the manner of taking it is thus described : " The barman, in answer to his request to "give me a little of the usual," drew a mug half full of beer and then get out a tin can with a spont to it, such as are used to fill lamps with, and which contained petroleum. Lee poured about two ounces of the kerosene into the half glass of beer, and then with a careless "Here's luck," poured the contents down his throat, Lee was shortly afterwards asked to have another drink, and in response called for a 'cocktail,' which was made up of peppermint, bitters, a few drops of gin, and about half the quantity of petroleum. No water was added to the compound, which Lee drank off with evident gusto.

Lee, it is stated, is a man of about forty-five years of age, and appears to enjoy excellent health. When started on his favourite hobby— petroleum as a beverage — he will, we are told, talk for hours of his twelve years' experience of it. He says that it is an infallible cure for aIJ lung diseases, for the reason that it clears those organs of the clogging phlegm, and other matter that is at the root of all disorders.

'Tbe trouble with tbe doctors,' said Lee, 'is that they are always trying to build a lung up, instead of cleaning it out. When your watch gets dirty the jeweller doesn't make a new one, he just cleans it well. That's what ought to be done with a bad lung. "When a man gets to wheezing with ■with bronchitis or asthma, or any of them things, just pump a good dose of petroleum oil into him. The first time ho takes it the chances are ten to one he'll throw up everything he ever ate in life ; but the fumes will get to his lung?, and in a little while he's as good as ever.* Lee having warmed to his subject, and having had two or three more of liis 'cocktails,' went on to say that he had travelled all through Ohio as a self-made doctor, and that his whole prescriptions were petroleum and sawdust.

He further said, "of course I had no right to practice, because the nearest I ever came to studying medicine was when I was about eighteen years of age, and got a month's job carrying coal into the fourth storey or* a ;New York Medical College. Common sense and experience taught me what I know about petroleum/ In answer to a question as to what effect the saw-dust had, Lee stated that it was rich in turpentine, and Borne people with weak stomachs can take it wh»n they couJdn't get the petroleum far enough down to have any effect. Lee says he discovered the medicinal properties of saw-dust by accident. 'When I was in the army there was an oificer in my company with weak lun^s, and" when we got into the mountain he was everlasting chewing the gum and pitch out of fir and pine trees. Then he was always free from coughing, which he never was in the plains. 'Afterwards I was in the navy, and one night I was ashore witk one of

my chums who suffered fearfully from asthma. We turned in together, and in: the night he started a fit of cough ing that I thought would have choked him. He shouted for water, and the only thing I could find was a bottle in ! the sink outside. The bottle. though I didn ? t know it at the. time, bad petroleum in it. I filled it with water from the tap, and gave him the bottle. He took a good drink before he found out what it was. My chum nearly died vomiting, but after it was over he went to sleep as peacefully n? a child, and the next nay was bcUei than he had been for years.

l lt strucA me like a flash, and nf tt->r softening the oil with jomo liquor. I got him to try it again. Ho kopfc on with it, and from that day to this he has never been troubled with asthma.

Lee. further stated that later on he had had asthma, and also tried tho petroleum cure, which worked fine. 'You "wouldn't think that my i 11112;:---were weak ?' he asked, sounding the lowest note of the basso profuii'lo. 'Well, they are naturally, but petroleum keeps them in working order.'

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PETROLEUM AS A BEVERAGE Bay of Plenty Times, Volume XV, Issue 2294, 15 June 1888

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