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not till the evening. And more than one set meal a day was thought so monstrous, that it was a reproach, as low down as Cæsar's time, to make an entertainment, or sit down to a full table, till towards, sunset. And therefore, if it would not be thought too severe, I should judge it most convenient, that my young master should have nothing but bread too for breakfast. You cannot imagine of what force custom is; and I impute a great part of our diseases in England to our eating too much flesh, and too little bread.
15. As to his meals, I should think it best, that, as much as it can be conveniently avoided, they should not be kept constantly to an hour. For, when custom hath fixed his eating to certain stated periods, his stomach will expect victuals at the usual hour, and grow peevish if he passes it; either fretting itself into a troublesome excess, or flagging into a downright want of appetite. Therefore I would have no time kept constantly to for his breakfast, dinner, and supper, but rather varied, almost every day. And if, betwixt these, which I call meals, he will eat, let him have, as often as he calls for it, good dry bread. If any one think this too hard and sparing a diet for a child, let them know, that a child will never starve, nor dwindle for want of nourishment, who, besides flesh at dinner, and spoon-meat, or some such other thing at supper, may have good bread and beer, as often as he has a stomach: for thus, upon second thoughts, I should judge it best for children to be ordered. The morning is generally designed for study, to which a full stomach is but an ill preparation. Dry bread, though the best nourishment, has the least temptation and nobody would have a child crammed at breakfast, who has any regard to his mind or body, and would not have him dull and unhealthy. Nor let any one think this unsuitable to one of estate and condition. A gentleman, in any age, ought to be so bred, as to be fitted to bear arms, and be a soldier. But he that in this, breeds his son so, as if he designed him to sleep over his life, in the plenty and ease of a full for
tune he intends to leave him, little considers the examples he has seen, or the age he lives in.
§ 16. His drink should be only small beer; and that too he should never be suffered to have between meals, but after he had eat a piece of bread. The reasons why I say this are these:
§ 17. 1. More fevers and surfeits are got by people's drinking when they are hot, than by any one thing I know. Therefore, if by play he be hot and dry, bread will ill go down; and so, if he cannot have drink, but upon that condition, he will be forced to forbear. For, if he be very hot, he should by no means drink. At least, a good piece of bread first to be eaten, will gain time to warm the beer blood-hot, which then he may drink safely. If he be very dry, it will go down so warmed, and quench his thirst better: and, if he will not drink it so warmed, abstaining will not hurt him. Besides, this will teach him to forbear, which is an habit of greatest use for health of body and mind too.
§ 18. 2. Not being permitted to drink without eating, will prevent the custom of having the cup often at his nose; a dangerous beginning and preparation to good fellowship. Men often bring habitual hunger and thirst on themselves by custom. And, if you please to try, you may, though he be weaned from it, bring him by use to such a necessity of drinking in the night, that he will not be able to sleep without it. It being the lullaby, used by nurses, to still crying children; I believe mothers generally find some difficulty to wean their children from drinking in the night, when they first take them home. Believe it, custom prevails as much by day as by night; and you may, if you please, bring any one to be thirsty every hour.
I once lived in a house, where, to appease a froward child, they gave him drink as often as he cried; so that he was constantly bibbing: and though he could not speak, yet he drank more in twenty-four hours than I did. Try it when you please, you may with small, as well as with strong beer, drink yourself into a drought. The great thing to be minded in education
is, what habits you settle: and therefore in this, as all other things, do not begin to make any thing customary, the practice whereof you would not have continue and increase. It is convenient for health and sobriety, to drink no more than natural thirst requires: and he that eats not salt meats, nor drinks strong drink, will seldom thirst between meals, unless he has been accustomed to such unseasonable drinking.
§ 19. Above all, take great care that he Strong drink. seldom, if ever, taste any wine, or strong drink. There is nothing so ordinarily given children in England, and nothing so destructive to them. They ought never to drink any strong liquor, but when they need it as a cordial, and the doctor prescribes it. And in this case it is, that servants are most narrowly to be watched, and most severely to be reprehended, when they transgress. Those mean sort of people, placing a great part of their happiness in strong drink, are always forward to make court to my young master, by offering him that which they love best themselves: and, finding themselves made merry by it, they foolishly think it will do the child no harm. This you are carefully to have your eye upon, and restrain with all the skill and industry you can: there being nothing that lays a surer foundation of mischief, both to body and mind, than children's being used to strong drink; especially to drink in private with the servants. 20. Fruit makes one of the most difficult chapters in the government of health, especially that of children. Our first parents ventured paradise for it: and it is no wonder our children cannot stand the temptation, though it cost them their health. The regulation of this cannot come under any one general rule: for I am by no means of their mind, who would keep children almost wholly from fruit, as a thing totally unwholesome for them by which strict way they make them but the more ravenous after it; and to eat good and bad, ripe or unripe, all that they can get, whenever they come at it. Melons, peaches, most sorts of plums, and all sorts of grapes in England,
I think children should be wholly kept from, as having a very tempting taste, in a very unwholesome juice; so that, if it were possible, they should never so much as see them, or know there were any such thing. But strawberries, cherries, gooseberries, or currants, when thorough ripe, I think may be very safely allowed them, and that with a pretty liberal hand, if they be eaten with these cautions. 1. Not after meals, as we usually do, when the stomach is already full of other food. But I think they should be eaten rather before, or between meals, and children should have them for their breakfasts. 2. Bread eaten with them. 3. Perfectly ripe. If they are thus eaten, I imagine them rather conducing, than hurtful, to our health. Summer-fruits, being suitable to the hot season of the year they come in, refresh our stomachs, languishing and fainting under it and therefore I should not be altogether so strict in this point, as some are to their children; who being kept so very short, instead of a moderate quantity of well-chosen fruit, which being allowed them would content them, whenever they can get loose, or bribe a servant to supply them, satisfy their longing with any trash they can get, and eat to a surfeit.
Apples and pears too, which are thorough ripe, and have been gathered some time, I think may be safely eaten at any time, and in pretty large quantities; especially apples, which never did any body hurt, that I have heard, after October.
Fruits also dried without sugar I think very wholesome. But sweetmeats of all kinds are to be avoided; which, whether they do more harm to the maker or eater, is not easy to tell. This I am sure, it is one of the most inconvenient ways of expense that vanity hath yet found out; and so I leave them to the ladies. § 21. Of all that looks soft and effeminate, Sleep. nothing is more to be indulged children than sleep. In this alone they are to be permitted to have their full satisfaction; nothing contributing more to the growth and health of children than sleep. All that is to be regulated in it is, in what part of the twentyfour hours they should take it: which will easily be re
solved, by only saying, that it is of great use to accustom them to rise early in the morning. It is best so to do, for health and he that, from his childhood, has by a settled custom made rising betimes easy and familiar to him, will not, when he is a man, waste the best and most useful part of his life in drowsiness and lying a-bed. If children therefore are to be called up early in the morning, it will follow of course that they must go to bed betimes; whereby they will be accustomed to avoid the unhealthy and unsafe hours of debauchery, which are those of the evenings: and they who keep good hours seldom are guilty of any great disorders. I do not say this, as if your son, when grown up, should never be in company past eight, nor never chat over a glass of wine till midnight. You are now, by the accustoming of his tender years, to indispose him to those inconveniencies as much as you can; and it will be no small advantage, that contrary practice having made sitting-up uneasy to him, it will make him often avoid, and very seldom propose midnight revels. But if it should not reach so far, but fashion and company should prevail, and make him live as others do above twenty, it is worth the while to accustom him to early rising and early going to bed, between this and that, for the present improvement of his health, and other advantages.
Though I have said a large allowance of sleep, even as much as they will take, should be made to children when they are little; yet I do not mean, that it should always be continued to them, in so large a proportion, and they suffered to indulge a drowsy laziness in their beds, as they grow up bigger. But whether they should begin to be restrained at seven, or ten years old, or any other time, is impossible to be precisely determined. Their tempers, strength, and constitutions must be considered but some time between seven and fourteen, if they are too great lovers of their beds, I think it may be seasonable to begin to reduce them, by degrees, to about eight hours, which is generally rest enough for healthy grown people. If you have accustomed him, as you should do, to rise constantly very early in the