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Popular Science Monthly/Volume 19/June 1881/Physical Education VI

THE

POPULAR SCIENCE

MONTHLY.

 

JUNE, 1881.


 

PHYSICAL EDUCATION.
By FELIX L. OSWALD, M. D.

CLOTHING.

"No better traveling habit than hardy habits.Sir Samuel Baker.

THE capacity of our ancestors to accommodate themselves to every climate depended not only on their physiological faculty of adaptation, but also on their skill in protecting themselves by artificial means from the inclemency of the higher latitudes. Houses and clothes are a blessing if they answer this purpose by a close imitation of Nature's own plan in sheltering her children from atmospheric vicissitudes; but in degree as they deviate from that plan their hygienic disadvantages balance, or even outweigh, the gain in other respects. A swallow's nest protects her brood from cold and rain without debarring them from the fresh air; a human domicile, too, should combine comfort with the advantage of perfect ventilation; and our clothes, like the fur of a squirrel or the feather-mantle of a hawk, should keep us warm and dry without interfering with the cutaneous excretions and the free movement of our limbs.

Measured by these standards, the winter dress of an American schoolboy is nearly the best, the summer dress of the average American, French, and German nursling about the worst that could possibly be devised. At an age when the rapid development of the whole organism requires the utmost freedom of movement, our children are kept in the fetters of garments that check the activity of the body in every way: swaddling-clothes, undershirts, overshirts, neck-wrappers, trailing gowns, garnitures, flounces, and shawls reduce the helpless homunculus to a bundle of dry-goods, unable to move or turn, incapable of relieving or intimating its uneasiness in any way save by the use of its squealing apparatus, and consequently squealing violently from morning till night. Out-doors, in the baby-carriage, "cold draughts" have to be guarded against, and a load of extra wrappers completely counteract the benefit of the fresh air; faint with nausea and suffocating heat the little mummy lies motionless on its back, resplendent in its white surplice, a fit candidate for the honors of a life whose every movement of a natural impulse will be suppressed as a revival of barbarism and an insurrection against the statutes of an orthodox community. Hence, in a great degree, the disproportionate mortality, in all northern countries of Christendom, among infants under two years. In Spanish America, where infantile diseases are as rare as in Hindostan, babies of all classes and all sizes toddle about naked, nearly the year round; and the Indians of Tamaulipas, between Tampico and Matamoras, raise an astonishing number of brown bantlings who are never troubled with clothes till they are big enough to carry garden-stuff to a city where the police enforces the apron regulation.

But Mrs. Grundy—a person's pinafore—and the carpet? Well, get a lot of short linen hose, rather loose about the hips and tied around the waist or buttoned to the skirts of a short frock. Change them as often as you like. Wholesale they could be made for a dollar and washed for a quarter a dozen. Out-doors add a pair of stockings with canvas soles, and perhaps little rubber boots on wet days, but no cap or shawl before October, and under no circumstances any swaddles or baby night-gowns. Let us get rid of the "draught" superstition; catarrhs are not taken by any creature of the open air, not by the fisherman's boy, paddling around in the surf and sitting barefooted in a wet canoe or bareheaded on the windward cliffs, but by the cachectic cadets of the tenement-barracks, where the same air is breathed and rebreathed by the diseased lungs of a regiment of voluntary prisoners.[1]

After the first frost, a cap with ear-flaps, double stockings, and mittens out-doors can do no harm. A warm shirt and two quilt-blankets will be enough in all but the coldest nights, and (if I had not seen the thing done I should commit an outrage on common-sense by thinking it necessary to mention it) the face of a sleeping child should never be covered with a shawl, nor—when flies are very troublesome—with anything thicker than the lightest gauze handkerchief. "A great store of clothes," says Lord Bacon, "either upon the bed or the back, relaxes the body"; and every observant parent must have noticed that school-children complain a hundred times of being overdressed for once that they ask for additional or warmer clothing. Indeed, only dire habit can reconcile us to the mass of trappings and wrappings which fashion and effeminacy load us with. Five hundred millions of our fellow-men wear scarcely any clothing—not in Africa and Southern Asia only, but in cold Patagonia and the by no means genial latitudes of the Norfolk Islands. The mantle of the Roman peasant was laid aside in cold weather and generally at the beginning of the day's work. The sculptures of Rome and Greece abound with the representations of nude hunters, shepherds, and artisans. On the friezes of Pompey and the countless vases and entablatures of the Museo Borbonico and the Vatican collection, children, almost without any exception, appear in naturalibus. The very word gymnasium was derived from γυμνόσ, naked; and there is every reason to believe that the toga virilis, like the toga prœtexta, was worn only on state occasions. Henry's "History of Great Britain" (vol. i, pp. 468, 469) leaves hardly any doubt that the ancient Britons, Picts, and Scots were either wholly or almost naked, "unless their custom of painting their bodies can be considered as clothing." Nor did the south Britons and Romans go naked from poverty, like Darwin's Firelanders. They had clothes, but they reserved them for emergencies, and, though our advanced notions of decency and cleanliness might not permit us to emulate their example, I suspect that, from May to November, the lightest suit of clothes is, from an hygienic standpoint, about the best. The body breathes through the pores as well as through the lungs, and heavy garments obstruct the cutaneous exhalations quite as much as the atmosphere of an overheated room impedes the process of respiration, and it has been found by actual experiments that the weight of a mantle or heavy coat with woolen shirts and other underwear diminishes the respiratory capacity of the lungs from twenty to twenty-five per cent.—(Coale's "Hints on Health," p. 104.)

Besides, it seems that fresh air exercises on the human skin a certain tonic influence, of which the wearer of thick woolen garments deprives his body. Benjamin Franklin proposed to prevent colds, and even small-pox, by air-baths, and found that he could relieve insomnia by simply removing the bedclothes for a couple of minutes. "I rise early almost every morning," says he, "and sit in my chamber without any clothes whatever, half an hour or an hour, according to the season, either reading or writing. This practice is not the least painful but, on the contrary, agreeable, and if I return to bed afterward, before I dress myself, as it sometimes happens, I make a supplement to my night's rest of one or two hours of the most pleasing sleep that can be imagined."—("A New Mode of Bathing," Franklin's "Essays," p. 215.)

Nor should we forget the incidental advantages of hardy habits, their invigorating influence on the constitution in general and on the digestive system in particular, nor the fact that effeminacy defeats its own object and exposes its slaves to sufferings unknown to the sons of the wilderness. He who restricts himself to a minimum of clothes in summer-time will find an extra shirt or a plaid and a pair of mittens a sufficient protection from almost any weather. The Indians of the Tehuantepec highlands, who work the year round in a breech-clout and a palmetto hat, ascend the icy summit regions of the Sierra Madre with a threadbare blanket as their only cover from cold winds and night frosts; and our own red-skins prefer an old-buffalo robe to the best tight-fitting garments, and invariably tear the seams of the store clothes they buy at the post-agencies—to make them "lighter," ventilate them, as it were. Nay, the post-trader of Fort Richardson, on the upper Brazos, assured me that his Kiowa customers never bought a suit of clothes without cutting the seat out of the pantaloons and slitting the coats from the armpits down to the skirts!

If an out-door laborer leaves a warm house on a cold morning, the first contact with the open air is anything but agreeable, but after half an hour's exercise the body warms up from within, and this animal caloric can make a heavy suit of clothes as oppressive in winter as in midsummer; the gaseous excretions of the skin, after saturating the confined air, are condensed and thus effectually checked—the body has to forego the benefits of cutaneous respiration. And herein consists the difference between our artificial fleece and the hairy coat of a wild beast: fur and wool retain the animal warmth but emit the cutaneous vapors; a close woven coat stops both. The process of tanning, too, stops the pores of the fur-skin, and I have often wondered why our dress-reformers have never tried to construct a fur coat on the brush-maker's plan—fastening the hair in little bunches on some strong, net-like texture. By spreading outward, the hair would present the even surface of the natural fur, and make such a porous brush coat nearly as warm as a common pelisse. Thus far the same end has been most nearly attained by the triple blouse of the Havre 'longshoremen—three linen jackets; the first and third as smooth as a shirt, but the middle one ruffled, i. e., gathered up in a series of open plaits like a mediæval lace collar. This arrangement prevents a "tight fit," and leaves a considerable space on both sides of the middle blouse, and, air being a bad conductor, the three blouses, weighing about three pounds apiece, are actually warmer than a twelve-pound overcoat of thick broadcloth, but fitting the back like the cover of a pin-cushion. On going to work, the porte-faix removes one or two of his blouses, according to the state of the weather, as the American schoolboy takes off his comforter and unbuttons his jacket before going in for a snow-ball fight.

A jacket or a short blouse is out and out more sensible than our cumbersome overcoats or the unspeakable tangle-work of frippery and flounces, cross-and-lengthwise wrappings, and intricate fastenings that still form the winter dress of a fashionable lady. The women of Scandinavia and New England (Jenny Lind, Mrs. Everett, Dr. Mary Safford-Blake, etc.) can claim the honor of having initiated the opposition movement that bids fair to abate the grievance in the course of another generation or two, having already exploded the chief outrages on hygienic and artistic common-sense—corsets and the crinoline. Mrs. Abba G. Woolson's "Dress Reform" should be the sartorial textbook of every girl's mother.

The Turks and Hollanders, though differing so widely in their general mode of life, agree in preferring warm clothes to heated rooms, and when the in-door atmosphere can be made tolerable only by air-tight window-sashes and glowing stoves, it is a curious question whether a warmer dress would not, on the whole, be the lesser evil. It would save fuel, sick-headaches, and constipation, and by adding or removing an extra blouse, à la Normandie, the several occupants of a moderately warmed room might exactly adapt the temperature to their individual feelings. A German author, who admits hardly any excuse for excluding the fresh air from a sitting-room, proposes an ingenious remedy for cold hands—the only cogent objection to an open study-window: a box writing-desk, namely, with a double lid, the writing-board resting on top of a box full of hot sand, that can be warmed in a common baking-pan and warranted to retain its heat for five or six hours. A cold garret library was Goethe's favorite refuge from sick-headaches; and the Chevalier Edelkranz reminds his fur-loving countrymen that, when the difference of temperature between the external air and that within-doors is inconsiderable, it would be useful to "put on an extra coat on returning home, instead of doing it when going out, since the exercise in the open air produces the necessary degree of warmth, which, in the chamber, in a sedentary state, can only be supplied by additional clothing."

In our climate, however, there are days when a child of the Caucasian race has urgent need of all the overcoats his shoulders can support, and the natives of northern Michigan have taught their Saxon neighbors some useful lessons in the art of surviving a Lake Superior snow-storm. Experience has made them eschew our common headgear; they wear "Mackinaw hoods," a sort of monk's cowl, buttoned to the mantle-collar and covering every part of the face but the eyes and a small space between the mouth and the nostrils; double woolen mittens, reaching half-way up to the elbow; baggy trousers, fastened around the ankle, and shoes that admit three or four pairs of worsted stockings. Their particular care seems to be to protect the neck, hands, and feet; and it might, indeed, be accepted as a general rule that the parts of the body farthest from the heart are most liable to suffer from the effects of a low temperature. All extremities—toes, fingers, nose, and ears—are especially apt to get frost-bitten, but marching against a cold wind also produces a peculiarly uncomfortable sensation about the neck, and I can not help thinking that there is something wrong about our fashion of cropping our boys like criminals. A good head of hair may be something more than an ornamental appendage, and Nature seems to have taken especial care to protect the nape of the neck in a great number of different animals. It is certainly a suggestive circumstance that fomenting the space between the shoulders exerts an assuaging effect on various affections of the respiratory organs; and, if I had the care of a boy with an hereditary disposition to a pulmonary disease, I should feel strongly tempted to defy fashion, and let him wear his hair à la Guido—about a foot long.

The canal-laborers of Sault Ste. Marie wear double hoods, and on many days have to stuff them with wool to save their ears; but, in the more populous part of America, such days are a rare exception, and south of the lower lakes the average schoolboy will prefer to rough it with a tippet shawl or a common cap with a pair of ear-flaps. In regard to the utility of woolen underclothes, opinions are much divided: Carl Bock recommends worsted jackets; Dr. Coale flannel undershirts and drawers, with extra breast-pads in cold weather; but the hardy Scandinavians, Russians, and French Canadians, as well as the great majority of our German population, still stick to coarse linen next the skin, and use woolen pectorals only as counter-irritants in rheumatic affections. Persons who can not bear woolen underclothes, I would advise to try the Normandy plan of ruffled linen, which might be applied even to hoisery and drawers. Chamois-leather, too, is as warm as wool and less irritating to the skin, and has the advantage of being more durable, and withal cleanlier, than the best flannel. On stormy days, especially during the piercing northwest storms of our prairie States, few children will object to a Scotch plaid, worn like a burnoose, over head and shoulders, or a handful of wool stuffed around the socks in a pair of wide brogans.

But at the beginning of the warm season all such things ought to be thrown aside. A loose shirt, linen jacket, and short linen trowsers are the right summer dress for a healthy boy—a dalmatica and light straw hat for a healthy girl—in a country where the six warmest months approach the isotherms of southern Spain. No wadded coats, no drawers, and, in the name of reason, no flannels, nor shoes and stockings, unless the mud is very deep, or the road to school recently macadamized. The long-lived races of Eastern Europe would laugh at the idea that the constitution of a normal human being could be endangered by an April shower, or that in the dog-days "health and decency" require a woolen cuticle from neck to foot. Have dogmas and hearsays entirely closed our senses to the language of instinct, to the meaning of the discomfort, the distracting uneasiness under the burden of a load of calorific covers and bandages, while every pore of our skin cries out for relief, for the cooling influence of the free open air? Keep your children under lock and key, lest the sun should spoil their complexion or their morals, let them pass their days in an underground dungeon like Kaspar Hauser, but do not load them with woolen trappings at a time when even a linen robe becomes a Nessus-shirt. There is a story of a glutton being cured by a friend who persuaded him to eat and drink nothing for twenty-four hours without putting an equivalent in quantity and quality into an earthen crock, and the next day made him inspect the collectanea; and on the same principle a person of common-sense might perhaps be redeemed from the slavery of the dress-mania, by making him wrap up his complete suit of traps and weigh the bundle: he would find that the summer dress of a fashionable gentleman outweighs the winter coat of the most hirsute brute of the wilderness. A grizzly bear, shorn to the skin, would yield about ten pounds of hair and wool; but a dandy's accoutrements—flannel undershirt, drawers, shoes, stockings, starched overshirt, waistcoat, cravat, black dress-coat, and pantaloons—would weigh at least fourteen pounds. Habit mitigates the evil, though there are times when the martyrs of fashion suffer more in a single hour than a ragged Comanche in the coldest winter week; but, for boys and young girls, calorific food and woolen clothes certainly make the sunniest days the saddest in the year.

The vicissitudes of the weather? It is worth a journey to Trieste to see the youngsters of the suburbs enjoy their evenings on the Capo Liddo, the sandy headland between the Pola pike-road and the harbor fortifications: four or five hundred half-wild boys, splashing in the surf, throwing stones, wrestling, or chasing each other along the shore, all shouting and cheering, merry as carnivallers, though there is not a pair of shoes or a dozen hats in the crowd. Swift-footed, lithe, and indefatigable, they are the very picture of careless health; you can see them at play almost every evening, even in winter, when the Tramontane raises the snow-drifts of the Karst. They laugh at summer showers; their linen jackets will dry before they get home. Sunshine makes them a holiday; but let your well-dressed New York or Paris schoolboy join in their sports, and examine his clothes after an hour or two, and see if perspiration has not made his undershirts as wet as any rain could make his jacket.

Decency? Are the gambols of a barefoot boy more unseemly than the contortions of a sunstruck alderman in his holiday dress? Can ethics or æsthetics be promoted by the imprecations of a sleepless victim of flannel night-shirts and closed bedroom windows? If daily misery can spoil the temper of a saint, the ladies of the American Dress-Reform are working in the interest of charity and good-humor by removing a chief incentive to the opposite sentiments, for the aggravations of Tantalus must have been trifling compared with those of an American schoolgirl à la mode, at the thought of a mountain meadow to run on with naked feet or a shady brook to pick pebbles from with bared arms. Pocahontas, indeed, had no need to envy the "fair maids in the land of her lover," if the fair ones had to wear the twenty-three distinct pieces of dry-goods which, according to a correspondent of Virchow's "Jahresberichte," constitute the summer dress of the average girl of the period. The blind submission to such demands of fashion can be explained only by a long subjection of human reason to authority, together with that ridiculous dread of nudity which forms a characteristic feature of all anti-natural religions. According to the ethics of the Hebrew-Buddhistic moralists, all naturalia sunt turpia; the body is the arch-enemy of the soul, and must be hidden, lest the children of the Church might be reminded of their relationship to the despised children of Nature. Boys and girls have no vote in such matters, or they would consent to turn night into day for the sake of getting a little exercise without the dire alternative of sweating to death or awakening the anathemas of Mrs. Grundy. The misery reaches its climax in June, when the warm weather begins before the vacations; and in midsummer a person with humane instincts would rather make a wide détour than pass a town school or a cotton-factory and witness the triumph of our pious civilization—the daily and intolerable torture of thousands of helpless children to please an Old Hypocrites' Christian Association of priests and prudes!

As houses have been called exterior garments, a heavy suit of clothes might be called a portable house—a protective barrier between the skin and the cold air; but in warm weather the most effectual device for diminishing the benefit of out-door exercise. Between May and October man has to wear clothes enough to keep the flies and gnats from troubling him: a pair of linen trowsers, a shirt, and a light neckerchief—whatsoever is more than these is of evil. The best headdress for summer is our natural hair; the next best a light straw hat, with a perforated crown. Hats and caps, as a protection from the vicissitudes of the atmosphere, are a comparatively recent invention. The Syrians, Greeks, Romans, Normans, and Visigoths wore helmets in war, but went uncovered in time of peace, in the coldest and most stormy seasons; the Gauls and Egyptians always went bareheaded, even into battle, and, a hundred years after the conquest of Egypt by Cambyses (b. c. 525), the sands of Pelusium still covered the well-preserved skulls of the native warriors, while those of the turbaned Persians had crumbled to the jawbones. The Emperor Hadrian traveled bareheaded from the icy Alps to the borders of Mesopotamia; the founders of several monastic orders interdicted all coverings for the head; during the reign of Henry VIII, boys and young men generally went with the head bare, and to the preservation of this old Saxon custom Sir John Sinclair[2] ascribes the remarkable health of the orphans of Queen's Hospital. The human skull is naturally better protected than that of any other warm-blooded animal, so that there seems little need of adding an artificial covering; and, as Dr. Adair observes, the most neglected children, street Arabs and young gypsies, are least liable to diseases, chiefly because they are not guarded from the access of fresh air by too many garments (Adair's "Medical Cautions," p. 389). It is also well known that baldness is the effect of effeminate habits as often as of dissipation; and yet there are parents who think it highly dangerous to let a boy go out bareheaded even in May or September. The trouble is, that so many of our latter-day health codes are framed by men who mistake the exigencies of their own decrepitude for the normal condition of mankind. Thousands of North American mothers get their hygienic oracles from the household notes of some orthodox weekly, where the Rev. Falstaff Tartuffe assures them—from personal experience—that raw apples are indigestible, and that rheumatism can be prevented only by nightcaps and woolen undershirts.

Girls, it seems, have to pass through a millinery climacteric, as their brothers through a wild-oats period; but even during that interregnum of reason the instinct of self-preservation would assert its supremacy if the health laws of physiology and their antagonism to certain fashions were more generally understood. Claude Bernard speaks of a French philanthropist who proposed to offer a prize for the most tasteful female dress, manufactured from the cheapest materials; and, if the votaries of the Graces would consent to a reform in the shape and stuff of their garments, we could well afford to indulge them in chromatics and a flounce or two, for there is no reason to afflict them with Quaker-drab, if more cheerful colors are as cheap. As long as they avoid excesses in the quantity and form of their dress, and restrict themselves to four dimes' worth of vanities per month, we need not grudge them a display of their taste in the selection of pretty patterns; let them radiate in all the colors of the rainbow and all the gems of the "Chicago Prize-Package Company." Veniunt a veste sagittæ—the dress problem has always employed the leisure of gossips and Doctors' Commons, especially in cities, and more especially in the wealthy and indolent cities of the Old World. There is a legend of a New England virgin fainting at the mention of "undressed lumber," but that tradition must be of Eastern origin. The dry-goods worship is carried nowhere further than where children are treated like dolls and women like children, unfit to be intrusted with any more important business. The "organ of ornamentativeness," or fashion-mania, may, after all, not be an innate instinct of the female mind. Madame de Staël and Mrs. Lewes at least deny it, and, if they are right, an enlarged sphere of activity will by-and-by help their sisters to outgrow that bias. In the mean while, the best palliative is a liberal education, besides a zealous propaganda of the two chief theses of the dress reform: wider jackets and shorter under-garments; no trailing dresses, keeping the feet wet and impeding locomotion; no stays, corsets, and strait-jacket bodices.

Next to the regulation dress of the Turner hall, the present style of the United States infantry uniform is about the most sensible that could be devised with regard to sanitary advantages, and nearly so in respect to good taste, if Thorwaldsen's dictum holds good, that the most becoming garments are those which adapt themselves to the natural outlines of the human form. A jacket should be loose, with wide but rather short sleeves, loose trousers, no waistcoat or drawers in the summer season; for small boys, short trousers without pockets, but with broad leather braids along the seams. The comparative advantages of waistbands or braces have been frequently controverted; at best it is only a question of choosing the lesser evil. A tight belt is almost as injurious as a corset, while non-elastic suspenders may interfere with the functions of the respiratory organs, and even occasion stooping. For boys and slender-built men, with well-developed hips, an elastic waistband is, on the whole, preferable; corpulent persons can not dispense with braces, for the plan of buttoning the breeches to the jacket or waistband would amount to the same, by making the shoulders support the weight of the lower garments. Tight breeches have, fortunately, gone out of fashion; likewise tight kid-gloves, which were once de rigueur on every public promenade.

But we all sin against our feet; not one white man in ten thousand wears shoes that are not more or less of a hindrance in walking, and often a source of wretched discomfort. In the United States, England, and Central Europe, it is wholly impossible to find a ready-made pair of shoes to fit a normal human foot; they are all too tight in proportion to their length, every pair of them, even the United States army shoes and the English "fast-walking brogans." Heels are nonsense; there is no excrescence on the sole of a well-formed human being. A man can walk faster, more easily, and more gracefully, with level shoes, with soles shaped like those of a slipper or an Indian moccasin. An easy shoe should be heelless; the upper leather soft and pliable; the sole of a No. 9 shoe at least four inches wide. But you can not persuade a shoemaker to commit such heresies against the tenets of his craft. Dio Lewis recommends paper patterns, corresponding to the exact shape of the natural sole, but it is all in vain; a compromise between reason and dogma is the best you can attain by such means. The only practicable plan is to get one pair of shoes made under your personal supervision, and then stipulate for the necessary number of precise fac-similes. The disciple of St. Crispin shrinks from the guilt of the original sin, but connives at a copy; a precedent will reconcile, his conscience.

For children there is a shorter expedient: let them go barefoot, at least in-doors and all summer; it will make them hardier and healthier. Abernethy, Schrodt, Dr. Adair, Jean Jacques Rousseau, and Claude Bernard, agree on this point; Dr. Cadogan thinks shoes and stockings wholly useless, and John G. Whittier seems to share his opinion that a barefoot boy is the happiest representative of the human species. "I can see no reason why my pupil should always have a piece of ox-hide under his foot," says the author of "Emile.". . . "Let him run barefoot wherever he pleases. . . . Far from growling about it, I shall imitate his example."[3]

Refusing to buy tight shoes might bring easy ones into fashion; but boys are better off without them, especially in the years of rapid growth, when their measure changes from month to month, for too wide shoes are as uncomfortable as tight ones. Out-doors, children's stockings are almost sure to get wet, and keep the feet clammy and cold; while a young gypsy or a Scotchman, inured to wind and weather, treads with his bare feet the swampiest valleys and the roughest hill-roads without the least discomfort. Nature produces a better sole-leather than any shoemaker; the tegument of a raccoon's foot or a monkey's hind-hand can give us an idea of the marvels of her workmanship. The sole of a plantigrade animal is not hard; on the contrary, quite pliable and soft to the touch, but withal tougher than any caoutchouc, impervious alike to water, sand, and thorns. A camel, too, has a foot of that sort—pads that resist the burning gravel of the desert for years, where a horse's hoof would wear out in a few weeks; for the same reason that a "sand-blast" destroys tanned sole-leather and horn, but hardly affects the elastic skin of the human hand. Millions of unshod Hindoos, negroes, and South American savages, brave the jungles of the tropical virgin woods; and in Nicaragua I saw two Indian mail carriers trot barefoot over the lava-beds of Amilpas, over fields of obsidian and scoria, where a dandy in patent-leather gaiters would have feared to tread. Three or four seasons of barefoot rambles over the fields and hills will develop such soles—natural shoe-leather that improves from year to year, till it can be warranted to protect the wearer against the roughest roads, and, as the experience of our half wild frontiersmen attests, also against colds and rheumatism. A mere moccasin secures such hardy feet against frost-bites; for here, too, the rule holds good that those who keep themselves too warm in the summer season deprive themselves of the advantage to be derived from additional clothing in cold weather and in old age.

Herr Teufelsdröckh devoted a voluminous work to the "Philosophy of Clothing," but the practical part of the science may be summed up in a few words. Our dress ought to be adapted to the changes of the seasons, and should be in quality durable, cleanly, and, above all, easy; in quantity, the least amount compatible with decency and comfort.

  1. "I shall not attempt to explain why 'damp clothes' occasion colds rather than wet ones, because I doubt the fact. I imagine that neither the one nor the other contributes to this effect, and that the causes of colds are totally independent of wet and even of cold."—(Ben Franklin's "Essays," p. 216.)
  2. "Code of Health and Longevity," p. 298.
  3. "Pourquoi faut-il que mon élève soit forcé d'avoir toujours sous les pieds une peau de bœuf? Quel mal y aurait-il que la sienne propre pût au besoin lui servir de semelle? Il est clair qu'en cette partie la delicatesse de la peau ne peut jamais être utile à rien et peut souvent beaucoup nuire. Que Émile coure les matins à pieds nus, en toute saison, par le chambre, par l'escalier, par le jardin; loin de l'en grondir je l'imitirai."—(Rousseau: "Émile, ou de L'éducation," p. 143.)