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nothing; that he had neither learned to read, nor to swim: "Nec literas didicit, nec natare.' But besides the gaining a skill, which may serve him at need; the advantages to health, by often bathing in cold water, during the heat of summer, are so many, that I think nothing need to be said to encourage it; provided this one caution be used, that he never go into the water, when exercise has at all warmed him, or left any emotion in his blood or pulse.
§ 9. Another thing, that is of great advantage to every one's health, but especially children's, is, to be much in the open air, and very little, as may be, by the fire, even in winter. By this he will accustom himself also to heat and cold, shine and rain; all which if a man's body will not endure, it will serve him to very little purpose in this world: and when he is grown up, it is too late to begin to use him to it; it must be got early and by degrees. Thus the body may be brought to bear almost any thing. If I should advise him to play in the wind and sun without a hat, I doubt whether it could be born. There would a thousand objections be made against it, which at last would amount to no more, in truth, than being sunburnt. And if my young master be to be kept always in the shade, and never exposed to the sun and wind, for fear of his complexion, it may be a good way to make him a beau, but not a man of business. And although greater regard be to be had to beauty in the daughters, yet I will take the liberty to say, that the more they are in the air, without prejudice to their faces, the stronger and healthier they will be; and the nearer they come to the hardships of their brothers in their education, the greater advantage will they receive from it, all the remaining part of their lives.
§ 10. Playing in the open air has but this one danger in it, that I know: and that is, that when he is hot with running up and down, he should sit or lie down on the cold or moist earth. This, I grant, and drinking cold. drink, when they are hot with labour or exercise, brings more people to the grave, or to the brink of it, by fevers, and other diseases, than any thing I know.
These mischiefs are easily enough prevented, whilst he is little, being then seldom out of sight. And if during his childhood he be constantly and rigorously kept from sitting on the ground, or drinking any cold liquor, whilst he is hot, the custom of forbearing, grown into a habit, will help much to preserve him, when he is no longer under his maid's or tutor's eye. This is all I think can be done in the case. For, as years increase, liberty must come with them; and, in a great many things, he must be trusted to his own conduct, since there cannot always be a guard upon him; except what you put into his own mind, by good principles and established habits, which is the best and surest, and therefore most to be taken care of. For, from repeated cautions and rules, ever so often inculcated, you are not to expect any thing, either in this, or any other case, farther than practice has established them into habit.
§ 11. One thing the mention of the girls brings into my mind, which must not be forgot; and that is, that your son's clothes be never made strait, especially about the breast. Let nature have scope to fashion the body, as she thinks best. She works of herself a great deal better and exacter, than we can direct her. And if women were themselves to frame the bodies of their children in their wombs, as they often endeavour to mend their shapes, when they are out, we should as certainly have no perfect children born, as we have few well-shaped, that are strait-laced, or much tampered with. This consideration should, methinks, keep busy people (I will not say ignorant nurses and boddice-makers) from meddling in a matter they understand not; and they should be afraid to put nature out of her way, in fashioning the parts, when they know not how the least and meanest is made. And yet I have seen so many instances of children receiving great harm from strait lacing, that I cannot but conclude, there are other creatures, as well as monkies, who, little wiser than they, destroy their young ones, by senseless fondness, and too much embracing.
§ 12. Narrow breasts, short and stinking breath, ill lungs, and crookedness, are the natural and almost constant effects of hard boddice, and clothes that pinch. That way of making slender waists, and fine shapes, serves but the more effectually to spoil them. Nor can there, indeed, but be disproportion in the parts, when the nourishment, prepared in the several offices of the body, cannot be distributed, as nature designs. And therefore, what wonder is it, if, it being laid where it can, or some part not so braced, it often makes a shoulder, or a hip, higher or bigger than its just proportion? It is generally known, that the women of China, (imagining I know not what kind of beauty in it,) by bracing and binding them hard from their infancy, have very little feet. I saw lately a pair of china shoes, which I was told were for a grown woman; they were so exceedingly disproportioned to the feet of one of the same age, amongst us, that they would scarce have been big enough for one of our little girls. Besides this, it is observed, that their women are also very little, and short-lived; whereas the men are of the ordinary stature of other men, and live to a proportionable age.. These defects in the female sex of that country, are by some imputed to the unreasonable binding of their feet; whereby the free circulation of the blood is hindered, and the growth and health of the whole body suffers. And how often do we see, that some small part of the foot being injured, by a wrench or a blow, the whole leg or thigh thereby loses its strength and nourishment, and dwindles away? How much greater inconveniencies may we expect, when the thorax, wherein is placed the heart and seat of life, is unnaturally compressed, and hindered from its due expansion?
§ 13. As for his diet, it ought to be very Diet. plain and simple; and, if I might advise, flesh should be forborn, as long as he is in coats, or at least, till he is two or three years old. But whatever advantage this may be, to his present and future health and strength, I fear it will hardly be consented to, by parents, misled by the custom of eating too much flesh them
selves; who will be apt to think their children, as they do themselves, in danger to be starved, if they have not flesh, at least twice a day. This I am sure, children would breed their teeth with much less danger, be freer from diseases whilst they were little, and lay the foundations of an healthy and strong constitution much surer, if they were not crammed so much as they are, by fond mothers and foolish servants, and were kept wholly from flesh, the first three or four years of their lives.
But if my young master must needs have flesh, let it be but once a day, and of one sort, at a meal. Plain beef, mutton, veal, &c. without other sauce than hunger, is best and great care should be used, that he eat bread plentifully both alone and with every thing else. And whatever he eats, that is solid, make him chew it well. We English are often negligent herein; from whence follows indigestion, and other great inconveniencies.
§ 14. For breakfast and supper, milk, milk-pottage, water-gruel, flummery, and twenty other things, that we are wont to make in England, are very fit for children: only in all these let care be taken, that they be plain, and without much mixture, and very sparingly seasoned with sugar, or rather none at all: especially all-spice, and other things that may heat the blood, are carefully to be avoided. Be sparing also of salt, in the seasoning of all his victuals, and use him not to high-seasoned meats. Our palates grow into a relish and liking of the seasoning and cookery, which by custom they are set to; and an over-much use of salt, besides that it occasions thirst, and over-much drinking, has other ill effects upon the body. I should think that a good piece of well-made and well-baked brown bread, sometimes with, and sometimes without, butter or cheese, would be often the best breakfast for my young master. I am sure it is as wholesome, and will make him as strong a man as greater delicacies; and if he be used to it, it will be as pleasant to him. If he at any time calls for victuals between meals, use him to nothing but dry bread. If he be hungry, more
than wanton, bread alone will down; and if he be not hungry, it is not fit he should eat. By this you will obtain two good effects: 1. That by custom he will come to be in love with bread; for, as I said, our palates and stomachs too are pleased with the things we are used to. Another good you will gain hereby is, that you will not teach him to eat more nor oftener than nature requires. I do not think that all people's appetites are alike; some have naturally stronger, and some weaker stomachs. But this I think, that many are made gormands and gluttons by custom, that were not so by nature: and I see, in some countries, men as lusty and strong, that eat but two meals a day, as others that have set their stomachs by a constant usage, like larums, to call on them for four or five. The Romans usually fasted till supper: the only set meal, even of those who ate more than once a day: and those who used breakfasts, as some did at eight, some at ten, others at twelve of the clock, and some later, neither ate flesh, nor had any thing made ready for them. Augustus, when the greatest monarch on the earth, tells us, he took a bit of dry bread in his chariot. And Seneca in his 83d epistle, giving an account how he managed himself, even when he was old, and his age permitted indulgence, says, that he used to eat a piece of dry bread for his dinner, without the formality of sitting to it: though his estate would have as well paid for a better meal (had health required it) as any subject's in England, were it doubled. The masters of the world were bred up with this spare diet: and the young gentlemen of Rome felt no want of strength or spirit, because they ate but once a day. Or if it happened by chance, that any one could not fast so long, as till supper, their only set meal; he took nothing but a bit of dry bread, or at most a few raisins, or some such slight thing with it, to stay his stomach. This part of temperance was found so necessary, both for health and business, that the custom of only one meal a day held out against that prevailing luxury, which their eastern conquests and spoils had brought in amongst them and those, who had given up their old frugal