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nal air is virtually stopped. Hence the value of fires as aids to ventilation. Not only do they change the atmosphere more rapidly while they are burning, and at the same time draw all lingering damp from walls, and floor, and furniture, but they dry and keep free the permanent channel of ventilation.
But this means will be found insufficient where the air of the room is to supply many pairs of lungs. A nearer and more direct channel becomes necessary; and there is none better than that given by lowering the windows a little space, according to the state of the weather, at the highest point above the heads of the inmates. Through this opening the effete air will pass, and its place be supplied, and motion obtained, by the admission of fresh air through other channels. But, for the nursery, even this will be found inadequate to the preservation of a pure atmosphere, and the process just recommended for the beginning of the day should be repeated at given periods throughout its course-namely, the setting wide open of every window and door, while its inmates have been withdrawn. Pure air is as important as proper food—if possible, more so ; for, while the natural effects of improper food may be resisted by the counter-influences of air, bathing, clothing, and exercise, nothing can counteract the influence of impure air. The organs of mastication, digestion, and assimilation will all have an influence on the conversion of food into blood; but air passes through no intermediate channel, undergoes no intermediate operation—at once from lip to lung it passes, and the union for good or for evil is final. Life may be supported many days without food; it cannot be supported many moments without air.
In the living organism, from the hour of birth there is going on a continual process of death and decay among the particles which make up its tissues; each particle preserves its vitality for a limited space only, and then separates from the tissue of which it has formed a part, and resolves into the inorganic
There is thus going on a continual disintegration and separation from the body of all its tissues. This process is greatly influenced by the activity of the bodily functions, every operation of the muscles or nerves involving the disintegration and decay of a certain part of their substance. We cannot lift a finger, we cannot execute a movement so slight as the raising of an eyelid, or the opening of the lips to speak a word, without causing a change in certain of the molecules or particles which compose the muscles and nerves employed in the execution of the movement, and in those which compose the nerve-centre in which the movement originates; and this change involves their death or decay. This being the case, it is obvious that a second process is necessary to repair the loss thus sustained by the body in the discharge of its manifold functions, and which is in relation to their activity. This reparative process is performed by the blood, which, in its neverending circulation, bcars to each tissue the material for the replacement of all waste and for the building up of all additions; and, as this material is borne along through channels penetrating to every part of the organism, each tissue, by a law incomprehensible but unerring, selects from it and appropriates that particular pabulum which is fit for its special use, and that only. At every point of the body is this law in unceasing operation; a loss of vital power, followed by disintegration, decay, and removal, to be met by a replacement of material, a reproduction of parts, a renewal, an increase of vital power. And, as the disintegration of each part is hastened by its activity, so, by an equally unerring law, is the flow of blood bearing the renewing material increased in that part. Wherever nervous or muscular action is in fullest force, there will be the fullest distribution of life-restoring blood. From the moment of birth does this war between growth and decay, between life and death, go on. During the period of growth and development, the formative capacity, by a property
than the liability to decay, the supply fied, but at intervals of days or even is ever in excess of the waste, the gain weeks, or at the slightest indication of is ever in advance of the loss, so that a dislike or indifference to that which is gradualaccumulation of bulk is sustained, in use, that the digestive organs may be with a progressive development. As the sustained in their natural tone, and the body reaches maturity, the formative varied wants of the growing frame duly power gradually diminishes, until these supplied. processes of waste and supply, disin- The food of young children should be tegration and, renovation are equally simple and unexciting, because their balanced ; and, in proportion as it nervous and circulatory systems are approaches old age, does the loss exceed readily irritated; but it should be nourishthe gain, the decay over-master the ing and abundant. During the period renewal, until death overtakes life, and of growth the demand for nourishment thus is closed the circuit of our material is very great, both from the supply being.
required for the additions to the growThe blood, then, being the source ing frame, and from the great physical from which every part of the body activity for which all healthy children derives its nourishment, and the blood show so strong an inclination. It is itself being formed from the food, too not true, as is often asserted, that most much importance cannot be attached to children are overfed. Children can the proper selection and judicious · scarcely be restricted in food without administration of the food of the young. loss, provided it is judiciously chosen and The food of the infant, indeed, is so their exercise is sufficient; and it is to important that nature retains this in her errors in these two respects that those own hands. Very clearly given also is evils are usually due which are wrongly the information as to when the fluid ascribed to over-feeding. Many chilshould give place to solid food, by the dren suffer from being brought up under appearance of the organs of mastication; the mistaken idea that an invalid diet, and very significant is the fact of their so to speak, is the most desirable one appearing singly or in pairs, and at for them ; and, at the very time when intervals, so that the transition from the they are in most need of abundant and fluid to the solid shall, in conformity nourishing food, it is doled out to them with all her changes, be gradual-linger- in limited quantity, and still much more ing long on the debateable point where often in deficient quality. I have met with the food is neither actual fluid nor solid, many families where the children were yet partaking of the characteristics of only allowed to have meat two or three both.
times a week, and lived principally upon When regular diet has been adopted, bread, rice, sago, puddings, and similar it cannot be too regular ; but it must be food—the fact being overlooked that carefully and systematically varied. such articles contain, in a large bulk, but This is most important; for, when the a small proportion of those compounds child had but its one article of nature which go to the repairing and adding provided food, it had that which in to of the most important tissues of the itself contained material for the supply- body. Such food is of course valuable ing of all its wants-material for the when taken in combination with the maintenance and increase of every bone, more nourishing kinds, because it supmuscle, and nerve, of every cell of every plies that bulk or quantity which is organ in the body. But there is no essential to healthy digestion ; but an other all-sustaining, all-sufficing article exclusive diet of it, though it may be of diet, and therefore is judicious very suitable to the Brahmins of an variety necessary, not to be produced Indian climate, is wholly inadequate to at the same meal, to excite the appetite supply the needs of the active, growing by sight or smell, or to gratify the frames of English children. Its results palate after the appetite has been satis- I have ever found to be the same. If the children are able to resist the attacks of nursery dinner. No beer or wine should disease, they grow up to be small, puny, be given, except by medical advice. Tea feeble men and women.
should be an hour or two before going There is another form in which chil. to bed, and should be a repetition of dren are very often insufficiently fed breakfast in its simplest form ; for the namely, when they are allowed to eat at digestive organs have been busy all day, any time, and of almost any food which and sleep, sound dreamless sleep, is inclination or fancy may direct. Their necessary for the recruitment of the appetite for proper and natural food is little weary frame. Since day-dawn, thus perverted, and their stomachs are hands and feet, legs and arms, body and loaded with what, so far from being brain, have been busy, and have all useful, is positively destructive. It some little addition to make to their would be well if parents would recollect, stature and their strength; and this that it is not what is eaten merely, but cannot be done if the process of digeswhat is digested and assimilated, that tion has still to be carried on. supports life and growth, and that a It is, doubtless, desirable that perfect child may very easily be starved, without propriety and decorum should be preever feeling hungry.
served at the nursery table; but this That insufficient food is the cause of may be done, and still the laughter be many of the evils existing among those louder than the clatter of spoon on who can get no better, is a well-known plate ; for be it remembered, that good fact. Cases are continually brought un- digestion is promoted by contentment der our notice, of sufferings induced, and happiness at the time of eating. not by actual starvation, but by daily Air and food—these are agents esseninsufficiency; and we must not forget tial to life, essential to existence; but that these evils may be and are equally there are others which are essential to induced, whether the insufficiency lies health-such as clothing, bathing, and in the quantity or the quality, and exercise. whether it arises from the impossibility The proper treatment and protection of obtaining more and better, or from of the skin are only now being clearly the mistaken belief that that which is understood, because the actual structure already provided is enough.
and functions of the skin itself are Especially never stint a child in its of recent discovery. And nothing is morning meal, because the appetite at more surely established than the fact this time is a more truthful expression that the frequent use of water is essenof the requirements of the body than at tial to its healthy condition. any other, and also because the food Bathing must be viewed as an agent then presented is usually of a less stimu- of health in two aspects-first, as a lating and of a plainer kind than at any cleanser of the skin ; secondly, as an other period of the day. Bread and agent of considerable tonic power. In milk is an excellent general breakfast. the first aspect, it addresses the skin There is only one better; and that is the as the organ of transpiration only; in porridge and milk of the children of all the second, as the organ of common classes in Scotland. Some children sensation, possessed of great nervous awaken very early; and in these cases a sensibility and influence. In the first, plain biscuit or piece of bread will in no it addresses the skin, with the view of way interfere with the appetite for the removing from its surface all impediregular meal, but rather preserve it. ments to functional ability and arousing Midday is the time for the nursery it to greater activity. In the second, dinner; which should consist of two it acts directly, through the skin, upon dishes, one of meat, with vegetables, and the entire nervous and circulatory sysone of farinaceous or fruit pudding, of tems, either as a stimulus when dewhich there is a great variety. Water pressed, or as a sedative when under
But many parents are deterred from a young child) will gradually give place. the use of this valuable aid to health, to the cold bath of larger dimensions. by the fear that the child will catch The best method of effecting this gracold, or that he is not strong enough dual change is, first, to put a given for bathing. As well talk of a hungry quantity of cold water into the bath, child not being strong enough for food! and then to ascertain how much hot True it is, that a child who has not water is required to raise the tempefrom infancy been accustomed to the rature to the point desired—this last to use of cold water will naturally at first be diminished in quantity as the tempeshow a strong repugnance to it; and rature of the bath is to be lowered. Let the bath, in such cases, must be ap- the child sit or stand in the bath ; lave proached with the utmost caution, and the water a few times in slight handonly arrived at by slow degrees.
fuls very gently over the head and face, But with how little discretion, or and in the same manner over the whole forethought, or comprehension of the body. Later, when confidence has been nature and value of the process upon obtained and actual enjoyment secured, which one is engaged, is this often there may be a complete immersion ; and, performed! While some delicate chil. when the child is old enough by volundren are plunged into cold water, and tary movement to aid in the process, a thereby literally “ frightened into fits," few splashes, a dip, a plunge, and then others are merely dabbed over with out, to be rapidly rubbed dry-rubbed, water up to fever-heat. All extremes not scrubbed—with the softest towel should be avoided. The power of liking applied with the lightest touch. If the bath is too valuable to be trifled the object be, as is admitted, to dry with ; and, independently of the certain the skin, this will be most effectively failure in its object and purpose, either done by a light touch and frequent extreme of temperature may lose it. change of surface, and an open and softThe hot water may give a distaste, the spun towel, rather than a rough or hard cold water a fear, a repugnance, that one. Great discomfort and irritation are may last for life. Let the temperature often caused by neglect of this precauof the water at first be that which will tion. No floss-silk is so soft, no gosbe most agreeable to the child, and samer-web is so delicate, as the skin of a afterwards gradually and slowly reduced young child. until it is taken fresh from the pump; This is the morning bath, taken on the and then not in large quantity. The instant of quitting bed. It will soon be mere bulk and amount of the water will a safe and pleasurable tonic to the skin, sometimes scare and frighten a delicate as evidenced by the ruddy hue and or timid child. It is of so much im- pleasurable glow, marking the reflux of portance that the child should take the blood, which had recoiled at the pleasure in the bath, should enjoy the sudden change of temperature. bath, that no trouble should be con- In viewing the bath in its first aspect, sidered too great to insure it. And let as a cleanser of the skin, we must rethere be no pouring of the water sud- member that the entire surface of the denly over head and face, and no tricks, body is continually pouring forth streams and no surprises, and no deceits-no- of fluid exudations, separated from the thing that might startle, or scare, or blood by the glandular roots of the pergive dislike; but gentle persuasion and spiratory and oil tubes with which the truthful example, and every word and skin is closely studded. These exudagesture and act that will inspire con- tions are of two kinds, saline and oily ; fidence and trust.
the latter being for the purpose of The basin with tepid water (and let softening the skin, and keeping it elastic the nurse be reminded that what will be and pliable, while the former consists tepid to the touch of her hand will be chiefly of watery particles with a small hot to the delicate and sensitive skin of proportion of other matters, which, being noxious to the health of the body, blood, faster, farther, and more forcibly are thus excreted from it. Now it is than before. Thus the concussion and essential to the perfect health of child reacting effort are not confined to that or adult, that these excretions should be part of the nervous and circulatory sy removed from the skin. Otherwise, their tems which forms the sensory layer of the accumulation there will block up the skin, and the fibrous bed upon which mouths of the ducts, to the enfeeblement it is extended, but are shared directly of the secreting glands, and the impair- by the entire body. ment of the healthy condition of the But bathing is not the only agent blood itself. Simple water has the affecting growth and development which power of dissolving the saline matter addresses itself to the skin. The nature exuded, but not the oily matter. and condition of the garments by which For this latter purpose soap is 'advan- it is covered exercise a material intageously employed, because the alkalies, fluence upon its health and functional which form important ingredients in its ability; and, though it must be admitted manufacture, have the property of that there are still many features in the dissolving oily matters. The tempera clothing of children which require alture of the water also greatly affects its teration, yet great has been the advancecleansing power ; for, cold water being ment of late years in this important of a temperature much lower than that respect-more, perhaps, than in any of the surface of the body, its contact other affecting the physical condition of with it causes the skin and subjacent childhood. Whereas the child was fortissues to shrink-by which the pores merly swathed like a mummy in many are closed, and the lines and declivities, yards and many folds of linen, pressing in which lie the greater part of its exuda upon chest and abdomen, hindering the tions, are contracted. A higher tempera- growth of every muscle and bone, and ture has a contrary effect. The skin checking the action of every internal expands under its influence, allowing organ, it is now clothed in a manner the deepest cutaneous deposits to be conducive to comfort and health. Inreached and removed.
deed, when we see the antiquated For this reason the evening tepid bath swathings, and reflect on their inevitable should never be omitted in the nursery. operation upon a creature so delicately By it all accumulations upon the skin fashioned, and in a state of such rapid will be thoroughly removed, and perfect growth and transition as a young child, freedom allowed for the performance of our wonder is, not that it grew up to its functions, always more active during have the use of its limbs, to have sleep ; and the morning bath may be muscles that could contract, and bones considered almost solely for its value as that could support them, but that it a tonic, both as regards temperature could grow at all; and nothing can and duration. In this aspect, the pro- more strongly impress us with the perties of the bath are in an inverse sense of the tenacity of life, and the power ratio to its cleansing properties. Here of growth of the body towards its the point desired is the sudden contrac- ultimate and destined form and use, tion and shrinking of the skin and than the fact that these abuses were subjacent parts, by which the blood ever successfully resisted. Our wonder circulating in them is driven inwards is excited when we witness the soft upon the internal organs. For this is and tender shoots of an accidentally but the rompre pour mieux sauter, the buried plant forcing their way through recoil for an energetic return. The the hard-trodden soil, upheaving and tissues through which the blood has displacing turf and stone until they been driven are greatly stimulated by reach the light and the air ; yet is the this sudden afflux; the action of the resistance it had to encounter slight circulatory and respiratory organs be- in comparison to that which awaited