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in danger of forgetting that though “ the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee, nor again, the head to the feet, I have no neeil of you,” there will come a time when the thinking spirit, grown to full stature, shall say to all of them, “I have no need any longer of any of you.”
The consideration of the subject of Ventilation properly comes under this division, for pure air is as much food for the body, as meat or bread. This whole matter, however, seems to be practically not well understood, if we may judge from the results so far, and no extended discussion of the means will be in place here. It is sufficient simply to indicate its immense importance. But that bad air is likely to be a more active cause of disease in America than elsewhere seems true, for in no other country are furnaces and closed fire places in so general use. Moreover, the women and girls who spend most of their lives in the house, will be expected to show the evil effects more than the men and boys, who do not. The practical suggestions on this point are apparent to every one.
One more thing which the body, to be healthy, demands for food is Sun-light, that invaluable medicine for all forms of nervous disease, which Americans, more than any other people, curtain carefully out for fear of fading carpets and furniture. But what are French moquettes, brocade, or satin, compared with rosy cheeks, clear complexions, and steady nerves? If we would only draw up the shades, open the shutters, and loop the heavy curtains out of the way, or, better still, take them down altogether, might we not look for a marked improvement in systems affected by nervous diseases ? This want of sun-light may be expected also, of course, most to affect those who remain within doors, and who, even in walk ing, shade themselves with veils and sun-shades from the life-giving rays of the sun.
Sleep.—To many of the organs of the body there have been allotted seasons of comparative quiet and repose, even during the day. If the rules for food be observed, the stomach, for instance, has, as stomach, its vacations from labor, by means of which it is enabled to prepare for, and perform, its regularly recurring work with vigor. Even with organs where this is not the case, the action is slackened very materially at times, as in the case of the heart and lungs during sleep. They must continue to work, though more slowly, and the part of the nervous systein which carries on their involuntary and mechanical action, has also then a partial relief. But the only rest for the thinking brain is to be found in normal sleep. From the instant when, in the morning, we become conscious of the external world, to the instant late at night, or, it may be, early in the morning, when we pass through the gates of sleep, out from companionship, into an utter solitude, it never rests from its work. Whether, by volition, we summon all our intellectual power to the closest attention, and turn, as it were, the whole energy of our being into one thought-channel, till the organs of sense become simply outside appendages which disturb the internal self with no imported knowledge, or whether, lying idly, as we say, on the sofa, we let our thoughts wander as they will, thought still goes on. Coming and going more rapidly than the shortest pendulum can swing, interweaving more subtly than the threads of the most complicated lace under the fingers of the skillful worker ; "trains of thought” pass and repass through our minds, following,
as we mechanically express it, the Laws of Association. Only in losing consciousness, do we cease to destroy the brain cells; it is only in sleep that the brain can rest.
But it must be remembered that the matter which is thus destroyed, is, as Maudsley* so finely shows, the very finest result of the creative life-process, the most precious es
It is like the oil of roses, to produce one drop of which, unnumbered roses must be crushed. The force required to produce a nerve cell is said to be immeasurably greater than that demanded for a cell of muscle, of bone, or of cartilage. In the nerve cells, lies not only the directive force of the whole complicated machinery, but the material with which the creative intelligence must work. Let us also remember that our waking hours far outnumber those spent in sleep, and we shall begin to realize the immense importance of sleep, even to the fully developed organism. But when we add to the mere labor of repairing the daily waste, the task of construction, which has to be performed during the years of growth, we shall only deepen the impression. I believe that every school-girl under eighteen years of age, and manş over
should have at least nine hours of uninterrupted sleep in pure air, and the younger ones need even more.
Much, at least doubtful, advice, has been given on the subject of early rising. That the system which has, perbaps, taken no food since six in the evening, should be ready for any amount of labor in the morning before breakfast, does not seem a rational conclusion, and I believe that many nervous diseases must be charged to the idea, that there is virtue in early rising, this implying, generally, either work before breakfast, or, at best, a shortening of the hours of sleep. It should, however, be remembered that in some cases, the greater amount of sunlight obtained by rising with the sun, may, and probably does, compensate for lack of other food. But when early rising means, as it often does, rising long before the day begins, this cannot be said, and sooner or later, the over demand upon the system will make itself felt when it is too late to remedy the evil.
* Body and Mind, 2d Ed., p. 300.
The habit of regular sleep is also one which should be forined by education. The child who is accustomed to go to bed at a regular hour, will also generally form the habit of falling asleep regularly.
If parties for children and young people could be made fashionable under the name of matinées, they might not have bad results; but as they are at present carried on, they are an unmitigated evil, and one that is sapping to a fearful degree the nervous force of our girls. What inother would give her little girl a cup of arsenic, no matter how tearfully or earnestly she might plead ? The very idea of education lies in the directing of the capricious and irrational instincts, the blind and ignorant forces, into their proper channels, by the rational and enlightened will of the educator. But if, instead of this, the unformed will is made the guide, the very reverse of education is taking place. It makes no difference to the physical forces, however, whether the hours lost from sleep be lost at a party or at a lecture, a sermon, or tableaux for the benefit of foreign missions. Nature makes no distinctions of motive.
for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” is her inotto. opposes himself to her laws, the offender, not she, goes
down; and as Sancho Panza very wisely remarks, “Whether the stone hit the jug, or the jug the stone, it is bad for the jug."
It is remarked by all foreigners, that in America the children rule the house. This is simply saying that we are, as a general rule, an uneducated people; which is undoubtedly true. When we learn the immense importance of sleep to the health of our girls, and when we know that our rational convictions should lead them, and not their irrational desires, us, we shall hear less about their breaking down in health as they grow toward maturity. We shall see fewer pale faces and angular forms; thongh they will probably never, while they live in this climate, acquire the ruddy glow of the Englishwoman or the German, or the rounded outlines of the nations of Southern Europe.
Clothing.–With the external form of the dress as to cat, trimming, or color, this essay has nothing to do. Unless a dress be cut so low in the neck that it becomes an unhealthful exposure after taking off warmer clothing, it in no wise concerns this branch of the subject. I wish to speak only of the under-clothing habitually worn by our girls, and its mode of adjustment; these being, as I believe, the causes of much exhaustion and dis
If technical terms, uncomprehended by any class of readers, be used, it is simply for the sake of brevity; and because, as Kant says, “completeness must not be sacrificed to popularity,” the attainment of which would be “a didactic triumph, attained only by omitting everything complicated, and saying only what exists already in the consciousness of every one.”