Book of health

Book of health  (1830) 
by Bernhard Christoph Faust












Book of health - Title.png




The nature and purpose of this publication will be sufficiently explained by the following extract of a letter from Dr. Gregory to the Editor.

‘I have now perused, with great attention and much pleasure, the translation of Dr. Faust’s Catechism of Health, which you put into my hands a few days ago. I adhere to the favourable opinion of it which I expressed to you after reading only two or three pages of it when you first shewed it me; and, as, in reading it over carefully, I put my marks either of assent and approbation, or of dissent, or of doubt to almost every proposition in it; I can say, with confidence, that I think it a work of very extraordinary merit, and one that, if it were generally known in this country, might be of infinite use. It is, indeed, the best popular medical work I ever read: nor do I in the least wonder at the extensive distribution, and the high estimation of it in Germany.’

‘To the best of my judgment it contains more solid good sense, and more useful information, in less bulk, than any medical book I ever saw, from the Aphorisms of Hippocrates to your last edition of the Family Physician inclusive; and what I reckon of very great consequence, there is less mixture of nonsense in it, which might either confound or mislead those for whose use it is intended.’

‘I highly approve your benevolent purpose of reprinting it here, and diffusing it as generally as possible.’

‘I think you should print a great many copies on the cheapest paper, that the poor people may afford to purchase it, or, that those in more affluent circumstances may be encouraged to purchase great numbers of them, and to distribute them among their poor neighbours. By all means print a good number in the handsomest manner on the finest paper, to tempt fine people to buy and read it.’



Of Health; its Value, and the Duty of preserving it.

Q. Can we possibly promote the perfection and happiness of our souls, if we do not take proper care of our bodies?

A. No. God has so intimately united soul and body, that by a rational care taken of the body, the happiness and purity of the soul is increased.

Q. What is understood by a state of good health?

A. That the body is free from pains and infirmities, fulfils its duties cheerfully and with ease, and is always obedient to the soul.

Q. How does he feel who enjoys health?

A. Strong ; full of vigour and spirits; he relishes his meals; is not affected by wind and weather; goes through exercise and labour with ease, and feels himself always happy.

Q. And what are the sensations of the sick? Are they like those we have described?

A. By no means; the sick man feels himself weak and languid; he has no appetite; he cannot work, nor brave wind and weather; and he labours under continual anxiety and pains.

Q. What says the son of Sirach of health?

A. In Ecclesiasticus 30th Chapter, v. 14, 15, 16, he says, ‘Better is the poor being sound and strong of constitution, than a rich man that is afflicted in his body. Health and good estate of body are above all gold, and a strong body above infinite wealth. There are no riches above a sound body, and no joy above the joy of the heart.’

Of the Duration of Life, and the Signs of Health.

Q. How long is man destined to enjoy health?

A. He ought to live almost uninterruptedly in a perfect state of health.

Q. What ought to be the state of health of the parents of a healthy person?

A. The father as well as the mother ought to be strong and healthy, not deformed, nor subject to such diseases as may descend to their children, such as the King’s Evil, Madness, Consumption, Epilepsy, &c. They both ought to have a good constitution, and the prospect of attaining old age in good health, and should be of a virtuous disposition.

Q. Why is it necessary for them to be virtuous?

A. Because the virtue of the parents is discovered in the children, and because virtuous parents encourage their children by their example, to endeavour to become worthy and honourable members of society.

Q. What then must be the disposition of those parents, who wish to bring up virtuous and healthy children?

A. They must be virtuous and healthy themselves.

Of the Construction, or Structure, of the Human Body.

Q. How is the human body constructed?

A. With infinite wisdom and goodness, and in the most perfect manner.

Q. What have we in particular to observe with respect to the perfect structure of the human body?

A. That it is endowed with the greatest and most salutary powers, tending to preserve life and health, to remove diseases, or to heal wounds.

Q. If the body contain any thing unnatural, or if it has been wounded, or otherwise hurt, so as to cause its functions to be obstructed, how do those powers act?

A. They operate more or less powerfully to expel from the body all that is unnatural, or to heal its wounds.

Q. What must men do, that they may be less exposed to sickness.

A. They must do every thing to recover their natural strength.

Observation. By this strength, you must not understand a rude but a cultivated strength, when the body is accustomed to exercise, and is full of life and vigour.

Q. By what means can man recover his natural strength?

A. By receiving a judicious and liberal education, and leading a prudent life.

Q. By what particular means can a strong and healthy body be injured or rendered unwholesome?

A. By a bad education, and corrupt way of living; by intemperance in eating and drinking; by unwholesome food and spirituous liquors; by breathing bad or unwholesome air; by uncleanliness; by too great exercise, or by inactivity: by heats and colds; by affliction, sorrow, grief and misery; and by many other means the human body may be injured, and loaded with disease.

On the Attending and Nursing of Infants.

Q. How ought infants to be attended and nursed?

A They ought always to breathe fresh and pure air; be kept dry and clean, and plunged in cold water every day.

Q. Why so?

A. Because children are thus, at the time alluded to, made more placid, because not irritated; and they grow and thrive better.

Q. Is it good to swathe a child?

A. No. Swathing is a very bad custom, and produces in children great anxiety and pains; it is injurious to the growth of the body, and prevents children from being kept clean and dry.

Q. Is the rocking of children proper?

A. No. It makes them uneasy, giddy, and stupid; and is therefore as hurtful to the soul as to the body.

Q. Do children rest and sleep without being rocked?

A. Yes. If they be kept continually dry and clean, and in fresh air, they will rest and sleep well, if not disturbed; the rocking and carrying about of children is quite useless.

As the human soul in a state of infancy is disturbed by rocking, carrying about and dancing, such practices ought to be considered as dangerous and erroneous.

The mother ought to play with the child in an affectionate and gentle manner; ought to give it frequent and mild exercise, and instil gradually into its mind a knowledge of such objects as attract its notice.

Q. Is it in general necessary to keep children quiet?

A. Yes it is.

Q. What is therefore very bad?

A. The making a great noise about children; and it is still worse to frighten them.

Q. It is, therefore, not advisable, I suppose to frighten children into sleep?

A. By no means; because they may be thrown into convulsions by it.

Q. Is it necessary or good to give children composing draughts, or other medicines, that tend to promote sleep?

A. No. They cause an unnatural, and, of course, unwholesome, sleep; and are very hurtful and dangerous.

Q. How long must a mother suckle her child?

A. From nine to twelve months.

In fact the child ought to be suckled till it has two teeth in each jaw. Some children are suckled for two or three years; a practice not only erroneous, but hurtful both to mother and child.

Q. What sort of aliment is prejudicial to the health of children?

A. Meal-pap, pancakes, and tough, heavy and fat meats.

Q. What harm do they do?

A. They obstruct the bowels: and children’s bellies get, by those indigestible meals, hard and swelled.

Q. What food is most suitable for children ?

A. Pure, unadulterated, new milk, and gruel; bread or biscuit boiled with water only, or mixed with milk.

Q. Is it proper to chew the food before you give it to children?

A. No. It is disgusting and hurtful.

Q. What is in general to be observed with regard to the feeding of children?

A. That they be regularly and moderately fed, and their stomachs not loaded with milk or other things. It is therefore necessary to prevent people from giving children sweetmeats, or food out of season; the feeding of the child ought to be entirely left to its mother.

Q. Do affectionate careful mothers act right when they take their infants with them to bed?

A. No. It is hurtful and dangerous: children ought, therefore, to lie by themselves.

Q. Is it necessary to keep infants very warm?

A. No. They must not be kept too warm.

Q. Is it good to cover their heads?

A. By no means; it causes humours to break out. From the hour of birth the head of a child ought to be kept uncovered. Mothers will find that, even in the coldest night, when they lay their hands on an infant’s head, it is always warm.

Q. Children are eager to stare at every thing, particularly at the light; what is to be observed with regard to this?

A. They ought to be immediately turned so as to have the object in a direct line before them; they

should never be suffered to look at it sideways, as that would cause them to squint.

Q. By what means is the getting of teeth rendered difficult and dangerous?

A. By caps; by keeping the head too warm: by uncleanliness, and improper food, over-feeding, bad air, and want of exercise.

Q. What is to be observed with regard to making children walk?

A. They ought not to be taught to walk in strings, or chairs, or go-carts, or be led by the arm; they ought to be suffered to creep on the floor, till by degrees they learn to walk.

Q. How can we best assist children in speaking?

A. We ought to pronounce the words to them very distinctly and slowly; first single sounds, and then easy words.

It is of the greatest importance that man, from his earliest infancy, should be accustomed to a distinct pronunciation.

Q. What are the principal reasons why one-fourth of the number of children that come into the world die in the course of the first two years?

A. Want of fresh pure air, uncleanliness, bad indigestible food, particularly meal-pap: the anxiety and misery of parents are also among the causes of the death of so many children.

Of the Treatment of Children with respect to their Bodies, from the Third to the Ninth or Twelfth Year.

Q. What particular purpose is answered by children living together?

A. They learn to know, to understand, and to love each other, and so lay a foundation for unanimity, mutual fondness, and the happiness of their lives.

Q. But if children live in society merry and happy together, can that have any influence upon them when they arrive at a state of maturity?

A. Yes; it contributes very much to make man spend his life, according to his destination, in virtue and happiness.

Q. Ought female children to receive the same education as boys in their infancy?

A. Yes; that they may at a future period enjoy the blessings of perfect health as well as men.

The most pernicious consequences to the rising generation flow from separating female children, at the earliest period of their existence, from male children; from dressing them in a different manner, preventing them from taking the same kind of exercise, and compelling them to lead a more sedentary life.

Q. What are the consequences of preventing children from taking the necessary exercises before the ninth year?

A. Their growth is impeded, and they remain weak and sickly for life.

Q. What effect will it have upon children if they are kept to too hard work before the twelfth year?

A. They will very soon grow stiff, and old before their time.

Of Clothes fit to be worn by Children from the beginning of the Third to the End of the Seventh or Eighth year; of the shape of natural shoes; of the pernicious effects of stiff stays or jackets; and the necessity of pure fresh air.

Q. How ought the heads of children to be kept?

A. Boys, as well as girls, ought to remain uncovered, winter and summer, by day and by night.

Children with scurfy heads ought to keep their heads cool, clean, and uncovered; their hair cut, or repeatedly combed; which will be sufficient to cure the evil, for to cure it with salves is a very dangerous custom.

Q. Can the sun or air be prejudicial to the skin?

A. No; if proper care be taken to keep the skin clean, they can do no harm.

Q. But will not children be scorched by the sun if exposed to its heat without being covered?

A. No: those that are accustomed from their infancy to go uncovered will not be affected by the sun.

Q. How is the hair to be kept?

A. It ought not to be combed backwards, or tied behind; but it ought to hang free round the head to protect it.

Q. Ought the hair to be often combed?

A. Yes, it ought to be kept in order, and combed repeatedly every day; which prevents vermin from settling in it, and induces cheerfulness and liveliness.

Q. Is it right that the collars of shirts and neckcloths should press the neck and its veins?

A. No; the neck ought not to be squeezed; and, therefore, children ought to have their necks bare.

Q. How ought children’s garments to be arranged?

A. So as not to impede the free and easy motions of the body, or prevent the access of the fresh strengthening air to it ; they, therefore, ought to be free, wide, and open.

Q. What further is requisite for this dress?

A. It ought to be simple, clean, light, cool, cheap, and easy to put on or take off; it ought to be different in every respect from that of older or grownup persons.

Q. How are the stockings of children to be made?

A. They must be short, and not tied: it would, therefore, be advisable to let them only wear socks, to cover the feet in the shoes.

Stockings, that cover the knees, may produce swellings in them; they ought therefore not to cover the knees, nor be worn with garters.

Q. Will not children find themselves too cold if their ankles are left bare?

A. No; cold, if they are accustomed to it, will not affect their ankles more than their arms. It will strengthen their limbs: in short they will be kept sufficiently warm by the shirt and frock.

Q. What is the form of the human foot?

A. At the toes it is broad, the heel small, and the inside of the foot is longer than the outside.

Q. Why has it this form?

A. That man may walk and stand with ease and firmness, and move his body freely.

Q. How ought shoes, particularly those of children; to be formed ?

A. They ought to have the same form as the feet; they, therefore, ought not to be made by one but two lasts, as the shape of the feet may indicate.

Each foot may be laid upon a sheet of paper and its true shape drawn with a pencil, after which model two separate lasts may be made.

Stays and stiff jackets are inventions of the most pernicious nature; they disfigure the beautiful and upright shape of a woman, and instead of rendering her straight, as was formerly supposed, they make her crook-backed; they injure the breast and bowels; obstruct the breathing and digestion; hurt the breast and nipples so much, that many mothers are prevented by their use from suckling their children; may hence get cancers, and at last lose both health and life: they in general destroy health, and render the delivery of women very difficult and dangerous both to mother and child.

Q. Is it advisable to wear clothes that have been worn by people who were infected by epidemic disorders, or who died thereof; or to make dresses of them for children?

A. No: it might cause an entire loss of health, and, perhaps of life.

Q. What ought to be the state of the air in which man liveth, and every moment breathes?

A. The air in which man liveth, and which he breathes, ought to be fresh, clear, and dry.

Q. Why ought it to be fresh, clear, and dry?

A. Because it tends to refresh us, and make us healthy, composed, and serene; it encourages man to work cheerfully, excites appetite, improves health, and induces balmy sleep: in short, man finds himself exceedingly happy while he breathes fresh air.

Q. Does he feel equally as comfortable when he breathes bad, foul, and damp air?

A. No; in bad corrupted air man becomes weak, unhealthy, and irritable, loathsome and stupid; it often causes fevers and many dangerous maladies very difficult to cure.

Q. Is it very necessary that man should live in fresh air, in order to enjoy a perfect state of health?

A. As necessary as eating and drinking; or as clean water is to fishes.

Q. Why is it so?

A. Because the air contains, as well as our food, vital principles, which cannot be dispensed with, or supplied by any thing except the air we breathe.

Q. By what means is air corrupted?

A. The air is corrupted in houses and rooms that are not sufficiently ventilated: besides, if in the vicinity of the habitations of man there be morasses, or stagnant waters, they are sufficient to corrupt the air.

Q. By what other means is air rendered noxious?

A. Vapours arising from damp foul things; the breath and perspiration of many persons; the smoke from lamps, tallow candles, and snuffs; the steam from ironing linen; the exhalations that arise from combing wool, and from burning charcoal, all tend, in a greater or less degree, to corrupt or deprave the air, and render it capable of impeding the action of the lungs, or inducing suffocation.

Q. What ought people to do that are much confined to rooms or chambers?

A. They ought frequently to open their doors and windows, in order to dissipate corrupted air, and admit the cooling, healthful breezes.

Q. What other method can be devised to prevent the depravation of air in a room?

A. By making two holes, one through the outer wall of the house, that will open into the room near the floor of it; the other near the ceiling, through the opposite inner wall or partition: the external atmosphere will enter at the hole near the floor, and dissipate the foul air through the aperture above.

Q. What else ought people to do, to obtain so desirable an end?

A. They ought to keep their rooms clean, and in proper order; nothing superfluous, or that can possibly corrupt the air, ought to be suffered in them.

Q. What are the signs by which you may know whether rooms be clean and contain wholesome air?

A. When there are no cob-webs in the corners, or on the ceiling, of the room, nor dust, nor straw, nor filth of any kind; when the windows are clean and clear, and no offensive smell, or unpleasant sensation, is experienced by a person who enters it that has been just breathing the open air, we conclude that it is as it ought to be.

Q. Is it necessary for man to breathe fresh air when asleep?

A. Yes; it is necessary that he breathe good wholesome air, whether awake or asleep; curtains encompassing a bed, and narrow bedsteads, are therefore very unwholesome.

Observation, to cover children’s faces when they are asleep is a bad custom, for they are thereby deprived of fresh air.

Q. If people that are much confined to their rooms, were careful to live always in fresh air, what would be the natural consequence?

A. Instead of being unhealthy, weak, and squalid, and labouring under cold, and hoarseness, they would be much more healthy, content, and happy, and live longer.

Observation. To bury the dead in or hear towns and villages is very injurious and dangerous to the living.

Of Cleanliness:— Washing and Bathing.

Q. Of what use is cleanliness to man?

A. It preserves his health and virtue; it clears his understanding, and encourages him to activity; it procures him the esteem of others; and none but clean people can be really cheerful and happy.

Q. How far is uncleanliness injurious to man?

A. It corrupts his health and virtue; it stupefies his mind, and sinks it into a lethargic state; it deprives him of the esteem and of love of others: besides, unclean people can never be really merry and happy.

Q. Does uncleanliness cause any maladies?

A. Yes; uncleanliness and bad air, which are commonly inseparable, produce fevers, which are not only very malignant and mortal, but contagious also.

Q. What must be done to keep the body clean?

A. It is not sufficient to wash the face, hands, and feet; it is also necessary at short intervals, to wash the skin all over the body, and to bathe frequently.

Q. Is washing and bathing the whole body wholesome?

A. Yes, it is very good; for it begets cleanliness, health, strength, and ease; and prevents catarrhs, cramps, rheumatism, palsy, the itch, and many other maladies.

Q. Why is the keeping the body so clean of so great importance?

A. Because the half of whatever man eats or drinks is evacuated by perspiration; and if the skin is not kept clean the pores are stopped, and perspiration consequently prevented, to the great injury of health.

Q. What rules are to be observed with respect to bathing?

A.1. That you be careful to bathe in places where you are not exposed to danger.

2. That you feel yourself thoroughly well and in good health, and that you be not over-heated at the time of going into the bath, which should not be immediately after a meal.

3. That you go not into the bath slowly, and by degrees, but plunge in all at once.

4. That after bathing you do not sit or lie down, but walk about leisurely.

Q. Is it not necessary after meals to clean or wash the mouth?

A. Yes; immediately after each repast the mouth ought to be cleansed with cold water: the gums and teeth are thus preserved sound and good, and the tooth-ach prevented.

Q. What ought you particularly to do when you wash yourself?

A. We ought always to immerse our faces in the water, and keep them so for a little time.

Q. Is it sufficient that man keep his body clean?

A. No; he must also keep his clothes clean, and all that is about him; his apartments, beds, and furniture: and they ought also to be kept in order.

Q. What kind of food doth man generally partake of?

A. Bread, vegetables, fruit, milk, fish, and meat.

Q. Which of these yields the greatest nourishment?

A. Meat, or animal food, which is more nourishing than vegetables.

Q. Of what ought our meals to consist?

A. Chiefly of vegetables.

Q. What tends most to promote hunger and digestion?

A. Bodily exercise, especially in the open air.

Q. Is it best to eat simple food?

A. Yes. It is destructive of health to partake of many different dishes, or of such as are prepared with much art; for they are very difficult of digestion, and afford bad and unwholesome nourishment.

Q. If our food be not sufficiently chewed and converted into a pap-like substance, what is the consequence?

A It cannot be digested sufficiently; and undigested food yields bad nourishment to the body, overloads the stomach, and induces a weak, morbid state of the whole constitution.

Q. Is it good to drink much at meals?

A. No; too much drink renders our food too fluid.

Q. Does fluid aliment afford wholesome and strong nourishment?

A. No. Food of whatever kind, in order that it may afford proper nourishment, ought to be substantial; it is therefore necessary to eat bread with fluid aliment.

Q. Is hot bread or cakes wholesome?

A. No; they are very unwholesome; they may cause sickness and death.

Q. Are potatoes wholesome?

A. Yes, and very nourishing.

Q. Are ripe fruits and acid substances wholesome?

A. Yes; they cleanse and refresh the body.

Q. Are fat meats wholesome, and is it good to give much butter to children?

A. No; butter and all fat aliments are difficult of digestion; and prejudicial to health.

Q. Is dried, smoked, salted, or high-seasoned meat wholesome?

A. No; it is unwholesome, and children ought not to eat such meats.

Q. What is in general to be observed with respect to the feeding of children?

A. They ought to be fed regularly every day at stated times; their food ought to be mild and nourishing, that they may grow and thrive well.

Q. Is it good to give children dainties, cakes, or sweetmeats?

A. No. Children are thereby rendered too fond of their bellies, become gluttons, and degenerate from the dignity of their nature.

On Drink.

Q. For what purpose is it necessary that man should drink?

A. To quench his thirst but not to gratify his palate, or to strengthen his stomach, or with a view hence to nourish him; for all such notions are wrong and against nature.

Q. What kind of beverage therefore is the most рrореr?

A. Cold water.

Q. What advantage do we derive from drinking cold water?

A. Cold water cools, thins, and clears the blood; it keeps the stomach, bowels, head, and nerves in order, and makes man tranquil, serene, and cheerful.

Q. What kind of water is the best for drinking?

A. Pure, clear water, without taste, smell, or colour;— water in which soap will readily dissolve, and peas readily soften, if boiled in it.

Q. Is beer a wholesome beverage?

A. Light, well-brewed beer is not injurious to the health of grown-up persons; though certainly good water is much better, and more wholesome.

Q. Are warm drinks, such as coffee, tea, &c, wholesome?

A. No. The only wholesome beverage is cold water; all warm drinks weaken the stomach and body; they do not cleanse the bowels, nor purify the blood, and are, therefore, unwholesome and hurtful to health.

Q. Why are people, particularly women, so fond of tea and coffee?

A. Because, for want of exercise, they have no natural or real thirst; and because they have been used to them from their infancy.

Of Wine.

Q. Is wine wholesome, when drunk often, or as a common beverage?

A. No; it is not. Wine is very hurtful to the health, the intellects, and the happiness of man.

Q. Wine as a medical potion, comforts the sick, and strengthens the weak; but does it afford any real strength or nourishment to the healthy?

A. No: it only over-heats, without procuring real strength; for it cannot be converted into good blood, flesh, or bone.

Q. Does wine contribute to the digestion of our meals?

A. No; it does not. Those that drink water eat with a better appetite, and digest better, than those that drink wine.

Q: What consequences ensue from drinking wine continually?

A. The tongue loses its delicacy of taste, and rejects water and mild simple food; the stomach grows cold and loses its natural vigour, and man, under the false idea of giving warmth to his stomach, gains by degrees a passion for drinking, which leads him at last to habitual drunkenness.

Of Brandy.

Q. Is brandy a good liquor?

A No.

Q. Tell me now, what becomes of children that drink spirituous liquors?

A. Children and young persons who drink brandy, or other spirituous liquors, become unhealthy, crippled, stupid, rude, lazy, vicious, and depraved, both as to mind and body.

Q. Doth brandy or any other spirituous liquor, destroy or prevent worms in the bowels?

A. No. Exhortation Fathers and mothers, if you wish to obtain the blessing of the Almighty in an especial manner— if you aspire after heavenly rewards, take care not to suffer your children to drink of spirituous liquors, not even a single drop.

Of Tobacco.

Q. Is the smoking of tobacco good?

A. No; it is not good, for much of the spittle, which is necessary for digestion is thereby lost, and is hurtful to health, to the teeth, and to the organs of taste.

Q. Observation. The chewing of tobacco is equally pernicious.

Q. Is the taking of snuff proper?

A. No; it is a very bad custom, as the nose through which man breathes is stuffed up by it, the important sense of smell destroyed, and uncleanliness and loss of health induced by its use.

Of Exercise and Rest.

Q. What advantage doth man derive from bodily exercise, activity, and labour?

A. Bodily exercise, particularly in the open air, creates hunger and thirst, helps the digestion of our food, and makes it nourishing; it purifies the blood, keeps the bowels healthy, and causes rest and sound sleep.

Q. Can any body remain in a good state of health, without much bodily exercise?

A. No; God has given to man, not without wise design, a body, hands, and feet: he is to make use of them and labour, and through labour to preserve life and health, to promote his own happiness, and that of his fellow creatures.

Q. But cannot exercise and labour hurt a man?

A. By all means: if man exceeds the bounds of reason, and of his natural powers, he may hurt himself.

Q. Is it good to take much exercise, or work hard immediately before or after dinner?

A. No; a little rest before and after dinner is necessary, and promotes appetite and digestion, recruits the powers of the body, and fits it for future work.

Admonition. He who owes his birth and education to healthy, strong, sensible, virtuous, and industrious parents, who, from his infancy, has constantly breathed fresh, pure, and dry air; whose skin and apparel are always kept clean: who, with regard to his meals, observes moderation and order, and drinks no brandy or other spirituous liquors; whose habitation is orderly, clean, dry, and lightsome; who has been accustomed from his infancy to order and cleanliness, to assiduity and industry, and whose reason and virtue have been fortified and improved in his youth by instruction and example; who fears God, loves mankind, and does justice; who works six days out of seven for the maintenance of his wife and children:— he only enjoys terrestrial bliss; he is truly happy, and may, anticipating the joys of eternal felicity, brave all the horrors of death.

Of Sleep.

Q. Ought children to sleep much?

A. Yes; children and young people that are constantly in motion when awake, ought to sleep more than grown people.

Q. Cannot we sleep too much, and so injure our health?

A. Yes; when we have not had much exercise in the open air, and consequently are not tired, and when we, during our sleep, breathe corrupted air, or lie in warm feather-beds, we find ourselves after some time lazy, stupid, and unhealthy.

Q. Ought we to sleep in cool fresh, and clean air?

A. Yes; and it therefore behoves us not to sleep in warm sitting rooms, but in cool, lofty roomy chambers, that have fresh air; whose windows are kept open in the day time; and in beds without curtains, or with curtains not to be drawn.

Q. What kind of bed is fittest for grown up persons?

A Mattresses stuffed with horse hair, or straw, covered with a blanket or quilt. But when people sleep on feather-beds, they ought to air and beat them well in summer-time once a week, and in winter once in a fortnight, and often change their bedlinen.

Q. What is farther to be observed with respect to sleep?

A. We ought not to lie down till we are tired, nor remain in bed after we awake in the morning.

Q. Ought the head and breast to be laid higher in bed than any other part of the body?

A. No; nor ought we to lie on our backs, but alternately on either side, in a somewhat bended position, taking care not to fold our arms round our heads.

Q. What is to be done with beds in which sick people have lain?

A. They are for many days to be well aired and beaten; but if the disease has been contagious, the bed ought to be burnt, or buried deep in the ground.

Of the Habitations of Man.

Q. When habitations are dark, fusty, and damp, what effect do they produce on those that live in them?

A. People in such habitations are rendered unhealthy and weak, paralytic and sick; they grow stupid, simple, ill-natured, and miserable: and little children grow pale in damp rooms; they swell, become consumptive, and die.

Q. How can such rooms be improved?

A. By the repeated and daily admission of fresh air into them; or, what is still better, by holes made in the two opposite walls of the house, one near the floor, through which the external air constantly passes, and expels the foul air through the hole made near the ceiling.

Q. Ought rooms and chambers to be lofty and spacious?

A. Yes; the more lofty and spacious they are, the less liable will the air be to corruption.

Q. How often should they be swept and cleaned?

A. All inhabited rooms and chambers ought to be cleaned every day.

Q. But is it good to sit in very warm rooms in winter-time?

A. No; very warm rooms are very unwholesome, and make people weak, simple, stupid, and sick.

Q. Is it wholesome to dry clothes in rooms, or boil water in ovens, where the steam cannot ascend as in a chimney?

A. No; damp vapours corrupt the air very much, and are therefore unwholesome.

Q. If one be very much chilled in winter, may he immediately approach the fire, or a hot stove?

A. No; for chilblains are produced by exposure to heat after intense cold.

Of Thunder and Lightning.

Q. May one shelter himself in a thunder-storm under a tree?

A. No; it is very dangerous. Trees and vapours which encompass them, attract the lightning, and persons standing under them are in the utmost danger of their lives.

Q. What precautions are people to take when at home during a thunder-storm?

A. They are, when the storm is still at a distance, to open the doors and windows of their rooms, chambers, and stables, in order to expel all vapours, and fill them with fresh air. When it draws nearer, the windows are to be shut, and the doors left open, that fresh air may be admitted, avoiding carefully a free steam of air. They are, further, to keep at a proper distance from walls, chimneys, and ovens, and from all iron and metal, in particular from long iron rods or wires.

Of over-heating ourselves, and catching Cold.

Q If, through violent bodily exercise, labour, running, or dancing, we have over-heated ourselves, what ought we not to do?

A. 1. We ought not immediately to sit down or rest ourselves.

2. Drinking immediately after such violent exercise any thing cold, or even brandy or other spirituous liquor, is highly improper.

3. We ought not to expose our bare skin to the cold air.

4. We ought not to go into the cold bath: when thoroughly wet from rain, it is proper to walk about.

5. We ought not to sit down on the ground, or on the grass: and we should be particularly careful not to fall asleep, otherwise sickness, lameness, or perhaps consumption will be the consequences.

Of the Beauty and Perfection of the Human Body.

Q. By what particular means may health be attained?

A. By free and easy exercise during infancy; free pure air; washing and bathing; a light easy dress; clear cold water for drinking; and simple good meals to nourish the body.

Q. By what means is the perfection of the body to be attained?

A. By avoiding sloth and inactivity till the twelfth year, after which plays and exercises will bring the body to every degree of perfection of which it is susceptible.

Q. What is yet necessary to facilitate the improvement of the body?

A. The instruction of children in the various exercises of the body which tend to render man healthy, strong, industrious, and happy.

Q. What posture of the body ought we to recommend to children and to every one?

A. The erect posture, whether we stand or walk, keeping the breast and head elevated and on all occasions that will admit of it an upright posture is best.

Q. Is it proper to accustom children to make use on all occasions of the right hand only?

A. No; that is very wrong. Children are to be taught to make the same use of the left hand as of the right.

Q. What does most diminish beauty?

A. The habit which children sometimes contract of making wry faces and foolish gestures.

Q. Is the beauty of man all that depends on his perfection?

A. No; innocence and peace, reason and virtue, the consciousness of having done one’s duty, and contributed toward the general good, in endeavouring to diffuse happiness among mankind in this terrestrial abode, all shew the perfection, the beauty, and dignity of man.


This work was published before January 1, 1926, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.