페이지 이미지

first, probably nothing but a convenient ex- wastes the substance of his body by action; cuse, has by repetition grown into an article and it needs but to note his restless activity of faith. While the classes with whom cost to see that, in proportion to his bulk, he is not a consideration, have been swayed probably wastes as much as a man. He, too, partly by the example of the majority, partly loses heat by radiation; and, as his body exby the influence of nurses drawn from the poses a greater surface in proportion to its lower classes, and in some measure by the re- mass than does that of a man, and therefore action against past animalism.

loses heat more rapidly, the quantity of heatIf, however, we inquire for the basis of this food he requires is, bulk for bulk, greater opinion, we find little or none. It is a dogma than that required by a man. So that even repeated and received without proof, like that had the boy no other vital processes to carry which, for thousands of years, insisted on on than the man has, he would need, relathe necessity of swaddling-clothes. It may tively to his size, a somewhat larger supply indeed be true that, to the young child's of nutriment. But, besides repairing his stomach, not yet endowed with much muscu- body and maintaining its heat, the boy has to lar power, meat, which requires considerable make new tissue-to grow. After waste and trituration before it can be made into chyme, thermal loss have been provided for, such is an unfit aliment. But this objection does surplus of nutriment as remains goes to the not tell against animal food from which the further building up of the frame; and only fibrous part has been extracted; nor does it in virtue of this surplus is normal growth apply when, after the lapse of two or three possible—the growth that sometimes takes years, considerable muscular vigor has been place in the absence of such surplus, causing acquired. And while the evidence in sup- a manifest prostration consequent upon de port of this dogma, partially valid in the fective repair. How peremptory is the de case of very young children, is not valid in mand of the unfolding organism for materials the case of older children, who are, neverthe- is seen alike in that “school-boy hunger." less, ordinarily treated in conformity with which after-life rarely parallels in intensity, the dogma, the adverse evidence is abundant and in the comparatively quick return of apand conclusive. The verdict of science is ex- petite. And if there needs further evidence actly opposite to the popular opinion. We of this extra necessity for nutriment, we have put the question to two of our leading have it in the fact that, during the famines physicians, and to several of the most dis- following shipwrecks and other disasters, the tinguished physiologists, and they uniformly children are the first to die. agree in the conclusion, that children should! This relatively greater need for nutriment have a diet not less nutritive, but, if anything, being admitted, as it must perforce be, the more nutritive than that of adults.

question that remains is-shall we meet it by The grounds for this conclusion are obvious, giving an excessive quantity of what may be and the reasoning simple. It needs but to called dilute food, or a more moderate quancompare the vital processes of a man with tity of concentrated food? The nutriment obthose of a boy, to see at once that the demand tainable from a given weight of meat is obtainfor sustenance is relatively greater in the boy able only from a larger weight of bread, or than in the man. What are the ends for from a still larger weight of potatoes, and so on. which a man requires food? Each day his To fulfil the requirement, the quantity must be body undergoes more or less wear-wear increased as the nutritiveness is diminished. through muscular exertion, wear of the ner- Shall we, then, respond to the extra wants of vous system through mental actions, wear of the growing child by giving an adequate the viscera in carrying on the functions of life; quantity of food as good as that of adults! and the tissue thus wasted has to be renewed. Or, regardless of the fact that its stomach Each day, too, by perpetual radiation, his has to dispose of a relatively larger quantity body loses a large amount of heat; and as, even of this good food, shall we further tax it for the continuance of the vital actions, the by giving an inferior food in still greater temperature of the body must be maintained, quantity? this loss has to be compensated by a constant The answer is tolerably obvious. The more production of heat: to which end certain con- the labor of digestion can be economized, the stituents of the food are unceasingly under-more energy is left for the purposes of growth going oxidation. To make up for the day's and action. The functions of the stomach waste, and to supply fuel for the day's and intestines cannot be performed without a expenditure of heat, are, then, the sole pur- large supply of blood and nervous power; poses for which the adult requires food. and in the comparative lassitude that follows Consider, now, the case of the boy. He, too, I a hearty meal, every adult has proof that this

[ocr errors]

supply of blood and nervous power is at the this heavy body and digesting this excessive expense of the system at large. If the req- quantity of food, a great amount of force is uisite nutriment is furnished by a great expended; and that, having but little energy quantity of innutritious food, more work is remaining, the creature is sluggish. Compare entailed on the viscera than when it is fur- with the cow a horse-an animal of nearly nished by a moderate quantity of nutritious allied structure, but adapted to a more con- food. This extra work is so much sheer loss centrated food. Here we see that the body, -a loss which in children shows itself either and more especially its abdominal region, in diminished energy, or in smaller growth, bears a much smaller ratio to the limbs; that or in both. The inference is, then, that they the powers are not taxed by the support of should have a diet which combines, as much such massive viscera, nor the digestion of so as possible, nutritiveness and digestibility. bulky a food; and that, as a consequence,

It is doubtless true that boys and girls may there is great locomotive energy and considerbe brought up upon an exclusively, or almost able vivacity. If, again, we contrast the exclusively, vegetable diet. Among the upper stolid inactivity of the graminivorous sheep classes are to be found children to whom with the liveliness of the dog, subsisting upon comparatively little meat is given; and who, flesh or farinaceous food, or a mixture of the nevertheless, grow and appear in good health. two, we see a difference similar in kind, but Animal food is scarcely tasted by the off- still greater in degree. And after walking spring of laboring people; and yet they reach through the Zoological Gardens, and noting a healthy maturity. But these seemingly the restlessness with which the carnivorous adverse facts have by no means the weight animals pace up and down their cages, it commonly supposed. In the first place, it needs but to remember that none of the herdoes not follow that those who in early years bivorous animals habitually display this flourish on bread and potatoes, will eventu- superfluous energy, to see how clear is the ally reach a fine development; and a compar- relation between concentration of food and ison between the agricultural laborers and degree of activity. the gentry, in England, or between the mid That these differences are not directly condle and lower classes in France, is by no sequent upon differences of constitution, as means in favor of vegetable feeders. In the some may argue; but are directly consequent second place, the question is not only a ques-upon differences in the food which the creat. tion of bulk, but also a question of quality. A ures are constituted to subsist on; is proved soft, flabby flesh makes as good a show as a by the fact, that they are observable between firm one; but though to the careless eye, a child different divisions of the same species. Take of full, flaccid tissue may appear the equal of the case of mankind. The Australians, Bushone whose fibres are well toned, a trial of men, and others of the lowest savages who strength will prove the difference. Obesity live on roots and berries, varied by larvæ of in adults is often a sign of feebleness. Men insects and the like meagre fare, are comparlose weight in training. And hence the ap- atively puny in stature, have large abdopearance of these low-fed children is by no mens, soft and undeveloped muscles, and are means conclusive. In the third place, not quite unable to cope with Europeans, either only size, but energy has to be considered. in a struggle or in prolonged exertion. Between children of the meat-eating classes Count up the wild races who are well grown, and those of the bread-and-potato-eating strong and active, as the Kaffirs, Northclasses, there is a marked contrast in this American Indians, and Patagonians, and respect. Both in mental and physical vivacity you find them large consumers of flesh. The the low-fed peasant-boy is greatly inferior to ill-fed Hindoo goes down before the Englishthe better-fed son of a gentleman.

man fed on more nutritive food; to whom he If we compare different classes of animals, is as inferior in mental as in physical energy. or different races of men, or the same animals And generally, we think, the history of the or men when differently fed, we find still world shows that the well-fed races have more distinct proof that the degree of energy been the energetic and dominant races. essentially depends on the nutritiveness of the Still stronger, however, becomes the argufood.

ment, when we find that the same individual In a cow, subsisting on so innutritive a animal becomes capable of more or less exerfood as grass, we see that the immense tion according as its food is more or less nuquantity required to be eaten necessitates an tritious. This has been clearly demonstrated enormous digestive system; that the limbs, in the case of the horse. Though flesh may small in comparison with the body, are bur- be gained by a grazing horse, strength is lost; dened by its weight; that in carrying about as putting him to hard work proves. “The

consequence of turning horses out to grass is energy as well as growth has to be mainrelaxation of the muscular system.” “Grass tained, it can only be done by high feeding is a very good preparation for a bullock for Do they not confirm the à priori conclusion Smithfield market, but a very bad one for a that, though a child of whom little is exhunter." It was well known of old that, pected in the way of bodily or mental activi: after passing the summer months in the ty, may thrive tolerably well on farinaceous fields, hunters required some months of substances, a child who is daily required, not stable-feeding before becoming able to follow only to form the due amount of new tissue, the hounds; and that they did not get into but to supply the waste consequent on great good condition until the beginning of the muscular action, and the further waste consenext spring. And the modern practice is quent on hard exercise of brain, must live on that insisted on by Mr. Apperley—“Never to substances containing a larger ratio of nutrigive a hunter what is called 'a summer's run tive matter? And is it not an obvious corolat grass,' and, except under particular and lary, that denial of this better food will be at very favorable circumstances, never to turn the expense either of growth, or of bodily achim out at all.” That is to say, never give him tivity, or of mental activity; as constitution poor food: great energy and endurance are and circumstances may determine? We beto be obtained only by the continuous use of lieve no logical intellect will question it. To very nutritive food. So true is this that, as think otherwise is to entertain in a disguised proved by Mr. Apperley, prolonged high-feed form the old fallacy of the perpetual-motion ing will enable a middling horse to equal, in schemers--that it is possible to get power out his performances, a first-rate horse fed in the of nothing. ordinary way. To which various evidences Before leaving the question of food, a few add the familiar fact that, when a horse is re- words must be said on another requisite-vaquired to do double duty, it is the practice to riety. In this respect the dietary of the give him beans-a food containing a larger young is very faulty. If not, like our solproportion of nitrogenous, or flesh-making diers, condemned to “twenty years of boiled material, than his habitual oats. .

beef,” our children have mostly to bear a moOnce more, in the case of individual men notony which, though less extreme and less the truth has been illustrated with equal, or lasting, is quite as clearly at variance with still greater, clearness. We do not refer to the laws of health. At dinner, it is true, they men in training for feats of strength, whose usually have food that is more or less mixed, regimen, 'however, thoroughly conforms to and that is changed day by day. But week the doctrine. We refer to the experience of after week, month after month, year after railway contractors and their laborers. It year, comes the same breakfast of bread-andhas been for years past a well-established fact milk, or, it may be, oatmeal porridge. And that the English navvy, eating largely of flesh, with like persistence the day is closed, peris far more efficient than a Continental navvy haps with a second edition of the bread-andliving on a less nutritive food: so much more milk, perhaps with tea and bread-and-butter. efficient, that English contractors for Conti- This practice is opposed to the dictates of nental railways have habitually taken their physiology. The satiety produced by an laborers with them. That difference of diet often-repeated dish, and the gratification and not difference of race caused this superi- caused by one long a stranger to the palate, ority, has been of late distinctly shown. For are not meaningless, as many carelessly asit has turned out, that when the Continental sume; but they are the incentives to a navvies live in the same style as their English wholesome diversity of diet. It is a fact, competitors, they presently rise, more or established by numerous experiments, that less nearly, to a par with them in efficiency. there is scarcely any one food, however good, To which fact let us here add the converse one, which supplies in due proportions or right to which we can give personal testimony based forms all the elements required for carrying upon six months' experience of vegetarian- on the vital processes in a normal manner: ism, that abstinence from meat entails dimin- from whence it is to be inferred that frequent ished energy of both body and mind.

change of food is desirable to balance the supDo not these various evidences distinctly ply of all the elements. It is a further fact, endorse our argument respecting the feeding well known to physiologists, that the enjoy. of children? Do they not imply that, even ment given by a much-liked food is a nervous supposing the same stature and bulk to be at- stimulus, which, by increasing the action of tained on an innutritive as on a nutritive diet, the heart and so propelling the blood with inthe quality of tissue is greatly inferior? Do creased vigor, aids in the subsequent diges. they not establish the position that, where tion. And these truths are in harmony with the maxims of modern cattle-feeding, which matters which give adequate mass. Though dictate a rotation of diet.

the size of the digestive organs is less in the Not only, however, is periodic change of well-fed civilized races than in the ill-fed savfood very desirable; but, for the same rea- age ones; and, though their size may eventusons, it is very desirable that a mixture of ally diminish still further; yet, for the time food should be taken at each meal. The bet- being, the bulk of the ingesta must be deterter balance of ingredients, and the greater mined by the existing capacity. But, paynervous stimulation, are advantages which ing due regard to these two qualifications our hold here as before. If facts are asked for, conclusions are—that the food of children we may name as one, the comparative ease should be highly nutritive; that it should be with which the stomach disposes of a French varied at each meal and at successive meals; dinner, enormous in quantity but extremely and that it should be abundant. varied in material. Few will contend that an equal weight of one kind of food, however With clothing as with food, the estabwell cooked, could be digested with as much lished tendency is towards an improper facility. If any desire further facts, they scantiness. Here, too, asceticism peeps out. may find them in every modern book on There is a current theory, vaguely enterthe management of animals. Animals thrive tained, if not put into.a definite formula, that best when each meal is made up of several the sensations are to be disregarded. They things. And indeed, among men of science do not exist for our guidance, but to mislead the truth has been long ago established. The us, seems to be the prevalent belief reduced experiments of Goss and Stark "afford the to its naked form. It is a grave error: we most decisive proof of the advantage, or are much more beneficently constituted. It rather the necessity, of a mixture of sub- is not obedience to the sensations, but disobestances, in order to produce the compound dience to them, which is the habitual cause which is the best adapted for the action of the of bodily evils. It is not the eating when stomach."*

hungry, but the eating in the absence of appeShould any object, as probably many will, tite, which is bad. It is not the drinking that a rotating dietary for children, and one when thirsty, but the continuing to drink when which also requires a mixture of food at each thirst has ceased, that is the vice. Harm remeal, would entail too much trouble; we re- sults not from breathing that fresh air which ply, that no trouble is thought too great every healthy person enjoys; but from conwhich conduces to the mental development of tinuing to breathe foul air, spite of the prochildren, and that for their future welfare, test of the lungs. Harm results not from takgood bodily development is equally important. ing that active exercise which, as every child Moreover, it seems alike sad and strange that shows us, nature strongly prompts; but from a trouble which is cheerfully taken in the fat- a persistent disregard of nature's promptings. tening of pigs, should be thought too great in Not that mental activity which is spontaneous the rearing of children.

and enjoyable does the mischief; but that One more paragraph, with the view of which is persevered in after a hot or aching warning those who may propose to adopt the head commands desistance. Not that bodily regimen indicated. The change must not be exertion which is pleasant or indifferent, does made suddenly; for continued low-feeding so injury; but that which is continued when exenfeebles the system, as to disable it from at haustion forbids. It is true that, in those once dealing with a high diet. Deficient nu- who have long led unhealthy lives, the sensatrition is itself a cause of dyspepsia. This is tions are not trustworthy guides. People true even of animals. “When calves are fed who have for years been almost constantly inwith skimmed milk, or whey, or other poor doors, who have exercised their brains very food, they are liable to indigestion."* Hence, much, and their bodies scarcely at all, who in therefore, where the energies are low, the eating have obeyed their clocks without contransition to a generous diet must be gradual: sulting their stomachs, may very likely be each increment of strength gained, justifying misled by their vitiated feelings. But their a further increase of nutriment. Further, it abnormal state is itself the result of transshould always be borne in mind that the con-gressing their feelings. Had they from childcentration of nutriment may be carried too hood up never disobeyed what we may term far. A bulk sufficient to fill the stomach is the physical conscience, it would not have one requisite of a proper meat; and this req- been seared, but would have remained a faithuisite negatives a diet deficient in those rasteful monitor.

torki **Cyclopædia of Anatomy and Physiology." C

. *MORTON'S “Cyclopædia of Agriculture." I YOT!!in...

2 .. .

Among the sensations serving for our guid- matters which form part of the food. And in ance are those of heat and cold; and a cloth- proportion as the thermal loss is great, must ing for children which does not carefully the quantity of these matters required for consult these sensations is to be condemned. oxidation be great. But the power of the diThe common notion about “hardening" is a gestive organs is limited. Hence it follows, grievous delusion. Children are not unfre- that when they have to prepare a large quanquently “hardened" out of the world; and tity of this material needful for maintaining those who survive, permanently suffer either the temperature, they can prepare but a small in growth or constitution. “Their delicate quantity of the material which goes to build appearance furnishes ample indication of the up the frame. Excessive expenditure for mischief thus produced, and their frequent fuel entails diminished means for other purattacks of illness might prove a warning even poses: wherefore there necessarily results a to unreflecting parents," says Dr. Combe. body small in size, or inferior in texture, or The reasoning on which this hardening theory both. rests is extremely superficial. Wealthy par Hence the great importance of clothing. ents, seeing little peasant boys and girls As Liebig says:-“Our clothing is, in referplaying about in the open air only half-ence to the temperature of the body, merely clothed, and joining with this fact the general an equivalent for a certain amount of food." healthiness of laboring people, draw the un. By diminishing the loss of heat, it diminishes warrantable conclusion that the healthiness the amount of fuel needful for maintaining is the result of the exposure, and resolve to the heat; and when the stomach has less to keep their own offspring scantily covered! It do in preparing fuel, it can do more in preis forgotten that these urchins who gambol paring other materials. This deduction is upon village-greens are in many respects fa- entirely confirmed by the experience of those vorably circumstanced--that their days are who manage animals. Cold can be borne by spent in almost perpetual play; that they are animals only at an expense of fat, or muscle, always breathing fresh air; and that their or growth, as the case may be. “If fattensystems are not disturbed by over-taxed ing cattle are exposed to a low temperature, brains. For aught that appears to the con- either their progress must be retarded, or a trary, their good health may be maintained, great additional expenditure of food innot in consequence of, but in spite of, their curred."* Mr. Apperley insists strongly deficient clothing. This alternative conclu- that, to bring hunters into good condition, it sion we believe to be the true one; and that is necessary that the stable should be kept an inevitable detriment results from the need-warm. And among those who rear racers, it less loss of animal heat to which they are is an established doctrine that exposure is to subject.

be avoided. For when, the constitution being sound The scientific truth thus illustrated by ethenough to bear it, exposure does produce nology, and recognized by agriculturists and hardness, it does so at the expense of growth. sportsmen, applies with double force to chilThis truth is displayed alike in animals and dren. In proportion to their smallness and in man. The Shetland pony bears greater the rapidity of their growth is the injury from inclemencies than the horses of the south, but cold great. In France, new-born infants is dwarfed. Highland sheep and cattle, liv- often die in winter from being carried to the ing in a colder climate, are stunted in com- office of the maire for registration. “M. parison with English breeds. In both the Quetelet has pointed out, that in Belgium two arctic and antarctic regions the human race infants die in January for one that dies in falls much below its ordinary height: the July.” And in Russia the infant mortality is Laplander and Esquimaux are very short; something enormous. Even when near maand the Terra del Fuegians, who go naked turity, the undeveloped frame is comparain a cold latitude, are described by Darwin as tively unable to bear exposure: as witness the so stunted and hideous, that “one can hardly quickness with which young soldiers succumb make one's self believe they are fellow-creat-in a trying campaign. The rationale is obviures."

ous. We have already adverted to the fact Science clearly explains this dwarfishness that, in consequence of the varying relation produced by great abstraction of heat: show- between surface and bulk, a child loses a relaing that, food and other things being equal, tively larger amount of heat than an adult; it unavoidably results. For, as before pointed and here we must point out that the disadout, to make up for that cooling by radiation vantage under which the child thus labors is which the body is constantly undergoing, there must be a constant oxidation of certain

* Morton's “Cyclopædia of Agriculture."

« 이전계속 »