« AnteriorContinuar »
more than they are aware of. I knew the case of a labourer who called his earnings &s. 6d. a week, and on that statement had his rent partly paid by the parish; yet it was afterwards proved that he had advantages equal to more than 20s. a week. He must have known that he had more than he said, but he certainly was not aware to what extent; and the appearance of himself and his family, and their apparent mode of living, were in conformity to the sum he gave in. Mismanagement is a necessary art with paupers, and they are at such pains to conceal their real state from others, that they very rarely know it themselves."
THE ART OF ATTAINING HIGH HEALTH.
It is observable that animals, accustomed to feed in company, almost always fall off, if placed alone; and with men in training to fight or run, it is of great importance to have some one constantly present, to keep their spirits in a pleasing state of excitement. I will here mention two instances of the effect of the want of mastication. One is in horses; when any derangement in the teeth prevents them from chewing their food, the hide becomes hard and dry, more like the covering of a hair trunk than of a living being. The other instance is of a young lady, who was subject to dreadful fits, for which no remedy could be discovered, till a physician found out that her teeth were in such a state as effectually to prevent mastication. He adopted the strong measure of causing all her teeth to be drawn, and a fresh set put in, from which time she completely recovered. A skilful dentist once told me that there were people so ignorant, especially ladies, as to avoid mastication in order to save their
teeth; whereas the very act is beneficial to them, but still more the effect upon the digestion, upon which the soundness of the teeth depends. Instead then of swallowing the food whole and drowning it in liquid, which many think harmless provided it is not strong, the proper course is to masticate thoroughly, in a cheerful, composed humour, and to drink in sips, rather than in large draughts, so as to reduce what is taken into the stomach into a pulpy state, easily and speedily acted upon by the gastric juice. If more liquid is required, it is better to take it in moderation an hour or two after eating, when it facilitates instead of impeding digestion; and by this course exercise, at least of a gentle kind, is allowable, almost without restriction as to time, after meals.
A good preventive against a habit of taking large draughts, is to use small cups and glasses till a contrary habit is formed ; and in general I find a wine glass a very good regulator in drinking malt liquor, and that it makes a smaller quantity suffice without the danger of forgetting the rule. With moderation in liquids it is much more easy to measure the appetite, and there is very little danger of taking too much solid food. When the appetite is weak, it is difficult to know where is the proper limit in supplying it, as there is no marked sensation. When it is vigorous, we eat heartily to a certain point, and then feel distinctly satisfied, without any oppression. This is a sort of first appetite, and the moment it is satisfied we ought to leave off. If we go on, the stomach seems to suffer a sudden extension, which enables us to eat, without inconvenience at the time, a great deal more than the body requires. Sometimes the extension is longer delayed, and only produced by the action of quantity, or some particular stimulant; and accordingly we see people refuse to eat more in the first instance, and then go on with great willingness. But all this is pernicious, and produces that superfluity in the system, which creates a disposition to disease, and which, when carried far, renders disease dan
gerous or fatal. How common it is to hear people remark that they have dined after the first dish, and then to see them go on for an hour, sacrificed to the absurdity of the repast! Pressing to eat or drink, especially children, is a species of civility more honourable in the breach than in the observance. The appetite ought to be in such a state of vigour, that, when satisfied, the solid food seems immediately to identify itself with the system; and we ought to feel the liquid we take, instantly, to use Falstaff's phrase, "course from the inwards to the parts extreme." Then we rise from meals refreshed, not encumbered. The signs of this desirable state, as exhibited in the countenance, are clearness and smoothness of complexion, thinness of lips and nose, no wrinkles under the eyes, the eyes bright, the mouth inclined to a smile, not drawn down with a sour look, as is the case with an overcharged digestion. There should be no fulness in the under lip, or uneasy sensation, when pressed, which is a sure sign of derangement of the stomach. Most especially, the lower part of the nose should have a clear, healthy appearance, not thickened and full of dark dots and inflammatory impurities, as is so frequently to be observed. The difference between a pure state and that of irregular living is so great, as to produce in many people an almost complete change of appearance in expression of countenance and personal attraction; and attention to diet is of the first consequence to those who wish to improve or retain their looks, as well as to enjoy the perfect possession of their faculties.
As a proof of the efficiency of diet, I will here mention what I experienced from attention to it on a particular occasion. In the middle of August, 1822, I travelled in a private car riage from Stutgard to Paris without stopping, except for an hour and a half each morning to breakfast, being on the road four days and three nights. The course my companion We had a basket, which we
and myself pursued was this. kept constantly replenished with poultry or game, and bread,
and fruit. We ate sparingly whenever we felt inclined. We never drank when we eat, but took a little fruit instead. About a couple of hours after a meal, if we felt at all thirsty, we took a little water at the first post-house we came to. By this plan the motion of the carriage did not at all disturb digestion; and notwithstanding the time of year, we were entirely without fever or feverishness. We arrived at Paris perfectly fresh, and after taking a warm bath, supped in the Palais Royal. I afterwards walked on the Boulevards till past midnight, and rose the next morning at six, in as composed a state as I ever was in my life.
When we left England in the preceding November, my companion felt heated and much inconvenienced by travelling, even so late as ten at night, and we were obliged to remain three days at Lyons to give him time to recover. Between Stutgard and Paris he enjoyed perfect composure, and on our arrival I observed that, notwithstanding he wore a pair of tight boots all the way, his ancles were not in the least affected with swelling; whereas the courier, who did not understand passing through Champagne without tasting the wine, though he was comfortably seated behind the carriage, had his legs so much swelled, that he had some difficulty in getting up stairs. By the same course I believe I could travel indefinitely as to time, not only without inconvenience, but in high health.
The precaution of drinking little, and particularly at a sufficient interval after eating, I take to be essential. I also think it very beneficial to have the opportunity of taking food in moderation as soon as it is desired, by which the irritation of fasting too long is avoided, and the stomach is kept in perpetual good humour. The plan of eating and drinking beforehand, instead of carrying provisions in the carriage, is a very pernicious one, as the food becomes corrupted before it is wanted, and in the mean time produces the uncomforts of fermentation. I shall in my next number continue the subject of diet.
I hate all mobs and tumultuary assemblies, on one side or the other. They are the senseless instruments of party; the clumsy machinery by which imperfect government is carried on, or opposed, by imperfect politicians. They are in their very nature unlawful and unconstitutional, directly at variance with our free institutions, which are as much opposed to anarchy as to despotism. They are alternately encouraged from interest, or tolerated from fear. The following extract from a letter from Dr. Priestley to the people of Birmingham, after the riots of 1791, is strongly illustrative of what the mob spirit is capable; and that the progress of civilisation has been able in no degree to assuage that spirit, Nottingham, Derby, and Bristol, afford indisputable proofs in recent times. The Birmingham mob was on the Tory, the others on the Whig side.
"You have destroyed the most truly valuable and useful apparatus of philosophical instruments that perhaps any individual, in this or any other country, was ever possessed of, in my use of which I annually spent large sums, with no pecuniary view whatever, but only in the advancement of science, for the benefit of my country and of mankind. You have destroyed a library corresponding to that apparatus, which no money can re-purchase, except in a long course of time. But what I feel far more, you have destroyed manuscripts, which have been the result of the laborious study of many years, and which I shall never be able to recompose; and this has been done to one who never did, or imagined you any harm."
In the article on the art of attaining high health, in my fourth number, I had occasion shortly to mention my mother. She was indeed in many particulars an example for her sex—