On this Day 6th April 1904

Elixirs for the People of Penwith

To be sure, the modern world is an alarming place, what with motors, socialism, and the old Queen gone. In today’s Cornishman alone, several regrettable instances of weakness: a father drunk in charge of his child at Falmouth; an article about the regrettable tendency amongst young men to shirk the responsibilities of the married state. And there’s a chap at Ludgvan been sent to prison for failing to pay a bastardy order – says he isn’t the father, refuses to pay. He’s been told he’ll find himself in prison for the next 14 years, until his child can earn its living, if he doesn’t mend his ways.

Advertisement for Casumen. (courtesy of The Cornish Studies Library)All the more reason to trust to a learned man – an expert. An expert – a Professor, indeed - who is prepared to share with us “the Secret of Life”, as he puts it. For now, in the 20th century, we have at last been granted the elixir; “The Secret of Living”. Should you be prey to anaemia, indigestion, rheumatism, gout, or impure blood – here is your remedy. It prevents and may cure consumption and childhood convulsions. It will “give straight limbs, muscle, nerve, keen sight and intellect to growing children”. With Casumen in the larders of the nation, there will be “no more weakly, stunted men”.

If you wish to make life worth living”, as the men of science say, “to live long and happy, use Casumen at every meal”. My fellow chapel-goers will not be surprised to read that the ‘secret’ lies in our daily bread. And the bread is the purest white “far more nourishing than any brown or patent bread yet offered”. And there is more: the boon of Casumen flows into biscuits, chocolate, arrowroot, cocoa. St Ives folk may resort to Mr Major of Tregennan Place; Penzance shoppers should patronise Mr Symons in Market Place.

For all that we need for sustenance in this life is protein. Let the Professor speak for himself: “We might, indeed, manage to live on proteid matter alone, for it contains not only nitrogen, but also carbon and hydrogen, and out of it, with the help of a few minerals, we might renew our whole blood and build up any and every part of the body."

To be sure, a mere glance at the other pages reveal other products that might serve for particular ailments. Mother Siegel’s Syrup, for example: with just 30 drops a day, “dyspeptics, nervous, debilitated, half-dead people can new life, energy and strength”. A poor chap “in a low state” after years of asthma, bronchitis, coughing blood and “off work for six months”, is “cured” by Veno’s Lightning Cough Cure. “I cannot realise”, he says, “after so much doctoring and suffering, how your Cough Cure has cured me so quickly”. And – without wishing to labour the point - there’s always Beecham’s Pills, Angier’s Emulsion, Bile Beans. As you turn the pages of today’s newspaper, you will see that they all have their place. But Casumen is the stuff to put heart into the nation.

Sir Michael Foster by John Collier (a photo of the original artwork from Wikipedia)Some favour a vegetarian diet, and the chap who walked from Lands End to John O’Groats recently without so much as a rasher passing his lips is certainly a fine example of health and fortitude. But I will place my faith in protein, the Bread of Heaven, and Sir Michael Foster. I have snipped out the details with care.



Cornishman Thursday 6th October 1904, Casumen advertisement and Falmouth story page 2; Mother Siegel’s Syrup advertisement page 3; Ludgvan story page 4; Veno’s advertisement, vegetarianism and marriage stories, page 6.

Casumen is still available for nervous PLHG readers who wish to become brave; for weak On This Day followers who would like to be made strong. http://chestofbooks.com/health/nutrition/Diet-Dietetics/Directions-For-The-Preparation-Of-Certain-Foods-Useful-In-The-Treatment-Of-Anore.html Do let us know how you get on.

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Penwith Local History Group
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Growing Up in West Cornwall. A Publication by the Penwith Local History Group

"Growing Up in West Cornwall"

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Sally Corbet

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