“ . . . Well, the other day he let me into a little secret, strictly on the quiet, about this matter of the plague.

“You see it’s booming right along in our direction—follows the Gulf Stream, you know, just as all those epidemics do, and within three months it will be just waltzing through this land like a whirlwind! And whoever it touches can make his will and contract for the funeral. Well you can’t cure it, you know, but you can prevent it. How? Turnips! that’s it! Turnips and water! Nothing like it in the world, old McDowells says, just fill yourself up two or three times a day, and you can snap your fingers at the plague. Sh! — keep mum, but just you confine yourself to that diet and you’re all right . . . . . Just eat from four to seven good-sized turnips at a meal, and drink from a pint and a half to a quart of water, and then just sit around a couple of hours and let them ferment. You’ll feel like a fighting cock next day.”

             – Mark Twain & Charles Dudley Warner, from The Gilded Age, Chapter 11

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