National Geographic : 1988 Sep
retreat near Baddeck, Nova Scotia, to which he gave the Gaelic name Beinn Bhreagh (pro nounced Ben VREE-ah), meaning "beautiful mountain." Though he had become a United States citizen, he was soon dividing his year between Beinn Bhreagh and Washington. Y THEN, as he entered his 40s, Bell's mien had grown appropriately baro nial. Soon after inventing the tele phone he had begun to put on weight, an accepted-indeed, expected mark of Victorian success. From the slender, dark-haired suitor of Mabel Hubbard, Alec (as she spelled it) became her stout, prema turely graying husband. On their honeymoon he had grown a connective copse of whiskers between his sideburns and now rivaled the physical presence of his uncle David Bell, whom George Bernard Shaw once character ized as "by far the most majestic and impos ing looking man that ever lived on this or any other planet." Alec and Mabel made a striking couple. With a heritage of Yankee leanness, she re mained slim and graceful all her life, the pic ture of elegance on formal occasions. Her startling facility in speechreading helped her feel at ease in such gatherings and bring her sometimes reserved husband into more social contacts. They leaned on each other. "Deaf mutes, gravitation or any other hobby has been too apt to take the first place in my thoughts," he wrote her once, "and yet ... you have grown into my heart, my dar ling, and taken root there, and you cannot be plucked out without tearing it to pieces." They needed that mutual support when their two sons died in infancy, losses that haunted them throughout their later lives. But their daughters, Elsie and Marian (known to the family as Daisy), both destined to long life, not only gave them comfort and joy but also, in time, a growing clan of descen dants. Seven children were born to Elsie and her husband, Gilbert H. Grosvenor, including Melville Bell Grosvenor, in youth a lively companion for his grandfather and in maturi ty his father's successor at the helm of the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC magazine. Daisy and her husband, the noted botanist David Fairchild, added three more to the roster of Bell descendants. With all these, as well as the Bells' parents and other relatives by blood or marriage, there were times when the big house 374 Dr. Bell Radium Pioneer PROPOSED NEW CANCER METHOD Letter of 1903 Revealed Washington Scientist First to Suggest Imbedding of Ra dium in Bodily Tissue. Wahlnutlon lhyslelata are wondeorlng If Dr. Alexander OrabhotBall. investor of the telephoa eandformerpresidentof the NationalGeographiloSaoety.was not the fnrt personto augest the Imbeddleff ot radim in bodily tissuea a curative agent for dWseeatedtcers, They have discoveredA clopy of 1'Olot." of July SI.190.InIwih 1s a letter written by Dr. Bl.l tO Dr. 2 'T. Swers of Washlneton. dated July 8. es. whichthey believeto rentlas the 1llret falles far til applleateonef rttum in the way that the mostreat experimentsIn the world'sscientificcent oraehve proved moat bemelloll. The letter ale appearedi the olentiao Amerieanoa SeptemberI, 1m. Tht letter jwuittenIn Badlcl Nova Seds, nearly even year Rgo,follOwe! SI"Dear Dr. Sowors: I undorstandtrom u that he Roentgen X-rays and the rays emitted by ra&dum,hare thon found to have a mTariedcuratlvOeffect trm external cancers,buathat the etl eot upoenderp-eautdcancers have tuas iar proved unalnfactory. It has to. arrd to mo that onerse"forn toe tun sat ateor) nature of theo latter e* permenmtarlse feom the feet that the iraos.havebeenua.lid externally. thus hvlnar to pm thlrOlt healthy tissues of variou .'JptbtIt oler to reach the ,Cancerous matter. '*"ThCroolb tlho. jrom wheih tile *Roentgerolu are emiUttcdls eour c, tbut blk beadmtted intothn middle Ocfthe meaj of Coacr, at thoro ft no Onwhy tiy fragment of radlum stilled up in a fil ltesstube shouldnot be lusetrOdInto tle very heart of the cancer. ths nctlnt directly rpon the dise material.WouldIt not he worth "Ide umt lnatpe2tt alon wih line?" Dr. Iowerarnllud as follows: "Dear Dr. Boll: The fisgseatlou with yut mskeIn reKardo tVo ap I litlO ol the radhlL raystothetubltan of doeop eMatedcancerI regardas very wvalable. If ouch e=apotmentvshould be maded1 have no doubtthty wouldproveouste ful In many caoeawherewe now have When thi letter werecalledtotlo at. tesntloof Dr. Bolt byphaltlano here r etntly he modestydeclinedto cOkJmthai hie was the first siUeeaUoni. It added, however, that should an tnveastUto u1--- AL XADRR ttoAAlt BIEL prove thlto b(e t so nohte wouldI tero him more. WaneomalUai men heo ave not mod as cxhaunutve etavl to fnd If Dr. B1l. was the oriintor aOfthile"ImlxBdl In tnulno" Idea, they belelovethat atual work along thi line did not ocuar until thr or ar f wyrar later. Tiley sia n artlte, written by Dr. William HI.Die-, feonbah, of New York. In thoeMedial Raccd fa DOembor 13, 110 ion whleh the early stes In tho employment at radium as a crative absentare dscrlbed. Dr. Dieltenbah tellof seurln a tube or radlum bromde of 10.00 ativlt In sl and of dtlUoionsbiUi made to tills amount later. In lls. he ayts,solutlUsn ot 2Watactivity of radium were dissolved In glatlne, the oblest belns to Ua an IaMlnl produst as & vehlle for diseam inatig rtm witis tiaues by masas a InlUlons The phyuellp one of the ploa er In thia lin. fst toItal easuty whea the aual Imbeddll of tim rdlum Itself frt took plate. 'Whil they hiav not ben alse to fled exaetdata Ohthe lubajet physelas In' the otRe oft tho Irfeon ieMral O the Wut Department oareo opinionthat Dr. Bell'd ggestion wus thle f of It kina to be made.