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Opinions of Dr Faust.
them, until nature furnishes it with the proper covering. In general, however, any unnatural covering of the head is believed to be injurious rather than beneficial.
We are often asked, why we do not lay down, more than we are accustomed to do, specific and definite rules, instead of dealing so much in general truths or principles. Why, it is asked, do you not say plainly what every body may or may not do, with safety? But herein is the difficulty. What is true, if all the laws of health were obeyed, may be far from it-nay, it may be false—under other circumstances. Just as a combination of opium and ipecac and sundry other things, may be useful in dysentery; and hence in reference to the compound, ipecac may be said to be useful in these cases. Yet he who should
without qualification, that ipecac was useful in dysentery, and prescribe it for his patients, inight do more of harm than of good, and perhaps be the means of destroying many lives. So it is in regard to specific rules about dress, food, drink, &c., unless people attend to and study the whole subject. Specific rules may indeed occasionally do them good, but it will be, as it were,
Still, as we cannot say all things or study all things, in one and the same breath or instant, there must be more or less of this sort of quackery. Our great effort should be to have as little of it in the world as possible. In this view, the following reinarks of Dr Dick are equally valuable with the former.
With regard to the clothing of children, in general, it is the opinion of Dr Faust, that from the beginning of the third to the end of the seventh or eighth year, o their heads and necks must be free and bare, the body clothed with a wide shirt and frock, (of linen) with short sleeves, the collar of the shirt to fall back over that of the frock, with the addition of a woollen frock to be worn between the shirt and the linen frock during the winter; and that the feet should be covered only with a pair of soles, to be worn in the shoes.”
Such a cheap and simple dress, if generally adopted, would undoubtedly be beneficial to mankind in general, and tend to promote the strength, beauty and graceful attitudes of children, and at the same time check the foolish propensity of parents to indulge their children in flimsy ornaments and finery, beyond what their means can afford. At present, children are frequently muffled up with their caps, hats, bonnets, cravats, pelisses, frills, muffles, gloves, ribbons, and other paraphernalia, as if they were to be reared, like plants, in hot beds; so that the shape and beautiful proportions which nature has given them, can hardly be distinguished.
I shall only add that the dress of children ought to be kept thoroughly clean, as dirty clothes not only gall and fret their tender skins, but tend 10 produce disagreeable smells, vermin and cutaneous diseases; and no mother or nurse, however poor, can have any valid excuse for allowing her children to wallow in dirtiness.'
NO. II.--DRESS OF THE FEET.
In many eastern nations, of ancient and modern times, it has been customary to wear sandals rather than shoes; and for most persons, except when there is deep mud or snow, they seem to be preferable to shoes, or at least to boots. They do not impede the free action of the muscular parts of the feet, and while they keep them about equally warm, in cold weather, if proper socks are worn, they do not keep them quite so hot in warm weather. At all events, they do not so distort these parts of our frame, as fashionable boots or shoes do.-The following are some of the views of that celebrated writer, Dr Dick, on this subject; and they are as sensible as they are contrary, in some respects, to the prevailing opinion.
• It is scarcely necessary for children to use shoes before they are a year old ; or if they do, the soles should be thin and soft. The form of the human foot is such, that at the toes it is broad, at the heels narrow, and the inside of the foot is no longer than the outside-a form which is evidently intended by nature, to enable us to stand and walk with firmness and ease. It is therefore a dictate of Nature, that shoes should be made in the same form as the feet, and be sufficiently roomy for the toes to move with ease; and in order to this, they must be formed upon two separate lasts corresponding to the right and left foot. How shoes came at first to be made tapering to a point at the toes, almost like a bodkin-how high heels became the darling fashion of the ladies-and how a small foot came to be reckoned genteel-1 pretend not to determine ; but certainly nothing can be more absurd and preposterous. Such opinions and practices along with many others which abound particularly in the fashionable world, have a direct tendency to counteract the benevolent intentions of Nature, and are nothing short of an attempt to arraign the wisdom of the Creator, in his arranging the different parts of the human frame-as if puny man, by his foolish whims, were capable of improving the workmanship of Infinite Intelligence.
• The following figures (taken from Dr Faust,) plainly show the absurdity of the shapes which have been given to shoes.
• The middle figure shows the original shape of the sole of the foot. The right hand figure shows how the sole of the shoe ought to be formed ; and the other shows that shoes usually worn and made on one last, cannot correspond to the natural shape of the foot. If they taper towards a point, the larger toe and some of the small ones, must be crushed and pressed against each other, causing pain to the wearer, and producing corps. The simplest and most accurate mode of taking the true measure and form of shoes, is to place each foot upon a sheet of paper, and then draw its shape with a pencil, to which two separate lasts should nearly correspond, after having ascertained the curve of the upper part of the foot.'
In a work, by Dr A. F. M. Willich, written about forty years ago, we find the following remarks. He had been complaining of the tyrannical custom of crippling the feet by means of shoes, which at that time prevailed in England ; but his remarks are as applicable, for aught we know, to the United States in 1838, as to England in 1798.
• It is pitiable to see the young and old of both sexes, advancing into an assembly or ball room. Without consulting Lavater's Physiognomy, it is easy to discover, by their distorted features and compressed lips, from too tight, or what is still worse, from short shoes.
Our knees would be more flexible, and our toes more pliable, more useful, and better adapted to perform the various motions of the feet, if they were not continually pressed and palsied by this improper case work. Nature has designed the toe to be as movable as the fingers. Those unfortunate beings who are born without hands, learn to perform, with the toes, the most astonishing tasks; to cut pens and write ; to sew, to draw ;-in short, to supply, almost completely, the want of their hands.
Letter from a Teacher.
Our feet, no doubt, would be more comfortable, easy and useful, if we were not at the greatest pains to deprive them of their elasticity and vigor. The numerous nerves, crossing the feet in every direction, plainly evince that nature has endowed them with peculiar powers of which we can scarcely form an adequate conception. The untutored Indian or the wild African, excels not only the enlightened European, but likewise the lower animals in running, leaping, and in short in swiftness and agility of every kind where muscular motion is required. Either of them would heartily laugh at us that we are obliged to employ professional operators for extracting corns, and to contrive ointments and plasters for the cure of these evils, which we have wantonly brought on ourselves.
'A convenient shoe ought to be somewhat round, at the toes, sufficiently long, with thick soles, and the leather soft and pliable. If it be deficient in any of these requisites, the skin will be rendered callous; the perspiration indispensable to these parts will be stopped ; warts and corns will be found in numbers; the nails grow into the flesh; and various complicated maladies will be produced, which not only affect the feet but the whole body. Besides these more serious consequences, a person walking with narrow shoes will be much sooner and more sensibly fatigued, than he whose shoes are sufficiently wide and easy.
In another place, the same author says: “The soles of the shoes ought to sufficiently broad, especially under the toes. If for instance, the greatest breadth of the foot be four inches, the shoe should be four and a half inches broad.' What will some of our sapient critics of modern days say to the Doctor's want of 'good taste?'
KEYS TO SCHOOL BOOKS.
We have received, from the Principal of one of our Teachers' Seminaries, the following letter, bearing date May 4, 1838. The subject is one of considerable importance; and we solicit the particular attention of all those whom it concerns.
I have been a reader of the Annals for several years, but do not recollect that you have any where remarked at length on the subject of Keys to elementary school books, “prepared for the use of teuchers only."
These helps have now become exceedingly common, and I
The Editor's Reply.
wish the question might be fairly settled whether they are really a benefit or an injury to our schools. My situation has frequently brought me into contact with them, and so far as my own experience has gone, I can say that I have had as frequent occasion to regret most heartily that any such helps were ever provided. It is often said, and even printed, that the keys will be sold only to teachers; but I believe the booksellers do not generally make conscience of this matter; and sure I am that with a class of pupils to be found in almost every school, there is not wanting the disposition to make a clandestine use of an article so convenient and so easily obtained.
• The injurious effect to the pupil, of using the key, is obvious to every one; and has been well compared to the offer of a ride to a man who is walking for exercise. But are there no evils connected with the teacher's using the key? Does is not encourage habits of indolence? Does it not make him mechanical, and sometimes superficial in his explanations, in consequence of his own imperfect comprehension of the subject? And is he not in danger of losing the confidence and respect of his pupils, by requiring them to go forward independently, while their teacher is hobbling on crutches?
We have never had but one opinion on this subject; and if that opinion has not been expressed in the Annals, it is owing to one of the two following reasons, viz : because it is impossible to treat of a thousand important topics, all at once, or because the case seemed so plain that it never occurred to us there was a necessity of saying any thing about it.
We believe that a few ignorant, but truly inquiring teachers, might be slightly benefited in their studies at home, by these keys; and that a few others, where they have the charge of very large schools, might possibly derive some temporary advantages from their use. But as a general rule, and as our correspondent has more than intimated in his inquiries, we cannot for a moment doubt that they encourage habits of indolence' in the teacher, render him mechanical and superficial in his explanations, and rob bim, in some degree at least, of the confidence of his pupils; and that, in short, they are as ruinous to teachers, as a general fact, as to their pupils.
Our correspondent will receive our thanks for affording us so good an opportunity for giving our testimony on this subject, before the evil in question-if it is shown to be an evil-has infected any more of our schools. It is high time this and a thousand other questions of great practical importance in rela