« السابقةمتابعة »
so well covered his head with hair, and strengthened it with a year or two's age, that he can run about by day
, without a cap, it is best that by night a child should
а , also lie without one; there being nothing that more exposes to head-ach, colds, catarrhs, coughs, and several other diseases, than keeping the head warm.
$ 6. I have said [he] here, because the principal aim of
my discourse is, how a young gentleman should be brought up from his infancy, which in all things will not so perfectly suit the education of daughters ; though, where the difference of sex requires different treatment, it will be no hard matter to distinguish. $ 7. I would also advise his feet to be
Feet. washed every day in cold water; and to have his shoes so thin, that they might leak and let in water, whenever he comes near it. Here, I fear, I
, shall have the mistress, and maids too, against me. One will think it too filthy; and the other, perhaps, too much pains to make clean his stockings. But yet truth will have it, that his health is much more worth than all such considerations, and ten times as much
And he that considers how mischievous and mortal a thing taking wet in the feet is, to those who have been bred nicely, will wish he had, with the poor people's children, gone barefoot ; who, by that means, come to be so reconciled by custom, to wet their feet, that they take no more cold or harm by it than if they were wet in their hands. And what is it, I makes this great difference between the hands and the feet in others, but only custom ? I doubt not, but if a man from his cradle had been always used to go barefoot, whilst his hands were constantly wrapped up in warm mittins, and covered with handshoes, as the Dutch call gloves; I doubt not, I say, but such a custom would make taking wet in his hands as dangerous to him, as now taking wet in their feet is to a great many others. The way to prevent this, is to have his shoes made so as to leak water, and his feet washed constantly every day in cold water. It is recommendable for its cleanliness : but that, which I aim at in it, is health. And therefore I limit it not precisely to
pray, that any time of the day. I have known it used every night with very good success, and that all the winter, without the omitting it so much as one night, in extreme cold weather : when thick ice covered the water, the child bathed his legs and feet in it ; though he was of an age not big enough to rub and wipe them himself; and when he began this custom, was puling and very tender. But the great end being to harden those parts, by a frequent and familiar use of cold water, and thereby to prevent the mischiefs that usually attend accidental taking wet in the feet, in those who are bred otherwise ; I think it may be left to the prudence and convenience of the parents, to choose either night or morning. The time I deem indifferent, so the thing be effectually done. The health and hardiness procured by it would be a good purchase at a much dearer
a rate. To which if I add the preventing of corns, that to some men would be a very valuable consideration. But begin first in the spring with lukewarm, and so colder and colder every time, till in a few days you come to perfectly cold water, and then continue it so, winter and summer. For it is to be observed in this,
as in all other alterations from our ordinary Alterations.
way of living, the changes must be made by gentle and insensible degrees; and so we may bring our bodies to any thing, without pain, and without danger.
How fond mothers are like to receive this doctrine, is not hard to foresee. What can it be less than to murder their tender babes, to use them thus ? What ! put their feet in cold water in frost and snow, when all one can do is little enough to keep them warm ! little to remove their fears by examples, without which the plainest reason is seldom hearkened to ; Seneca tells us of himself, ep. 53 and 83, that he used to bathe himself in cold spring-water in the midst of winter. This, if he had not thought it not only tolerable, but healthy too, he would scarce have done, in an exuberant fortune, that could well have borne the expense of a warm bath ; and in an age (for he was then old) that would have excused greater indulgence. If we think his
stoical principles led him to this severity; let it be so, that this sect reconciled cold water to his sufferance: what made it agreeable to his health ? for that was not impaired by this hard usage. But what shall we say to Horace, who armed not himself with the reputation of any sect, and least of all affected stoical austerities? yet he assures us, he was wont in the winter season to bathe himself in cold water. But perhaps Italy will be thought much warmer than England, and the chilness of their waters not to come near ours in winter. If the rivers of Italy are warmer, those of Germany and Poland are much colder, than any in this our country; and yet in these the Jews, both men and women, bathe all over, at all seasons of the year, without any prejudice to their health. And
And every one is not apt to believe it is a miracle, or any peculiar virtue of St. Winifred's well, that makes the cold waters of that famous spring do no harm to the tender bodies that bathe in it. Every one is now full of the miracles done, by cold baths, on decayed and weak constitutions, for the recovery of health and strength; and therefore they cannot be impracticable, or intolerable, for the improving and hardening the bodies of those who are in better circumstances.
If these examples of grown men be not thought yet to reach the case of children, but that they may be judged still to be too tender and unable to bear such usage ; let them examine what the Germans of old, and the Irish now do to them; and they will find that infants too, as tender as they are thought, may, without any danger, endure bathing, not only of their feet, but of their whole bodies in cold water. And there are, at this day, ladies in the Highlands of Scotland, who use this discipline to their children, in the midst of winter ; and find that cold water does them no harm, even when there is ice in it. $ 8. I shall not need here to mention
Swimming. swimming, when he is of an age able to learn, and has any one to teach him. It is that saves many a man's life: and the Romans thought it so necessary, that they ranked it with letters; and it was the common phrase to mark one ill-educated, and good for
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 adAir.
vantage 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 borne. 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
Habits 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
Clothes. 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 monkeys, who, little wiser than they, destroy their young ones by senseless fondness, and too much embracing.
§ 12. Narrow breasts, short and stinking breath, ill