Изображения страниц

people who, after eating a hearty supper, are found dead in bed in the morning. Another means of preserving health, to be attended to, is the having a constant supply of fresh air in your bed-chamber. It has been a great mistake, the sleeping in rooms exactly closed, and in beds surrounded by curtains. No outward air, that may come in to you, is so unwholesome as the unchanged air, often breathed, of a close chamber. As boiling water does not grow hotter by longer boiling, if the particles that receive greater heat can escape; so living bodies do not putrify, if the particles, as fast as they become putrid, can be thrown off. Nature expels them by the pores of the skin and lungs, and in a free open air they are carried off; but, in a close room, we receive them again, and again, tho' they become more and more corrupt. A number of persons crowded into a small room, thus spoil the air in a few minutes, and even render it mortal, as in the Black Hole at Calcutta. A single person is said to spoil only a gallon of air per minute, and therefore requires a longer time to spoil a chamber-full; but it is done, however, in proportion, and many putrid disorders hence have their origin. Physicians, after having for ages contended that the sick should not be indulged with fresh air, have at length discovered that it may do them good. It is therefore to be hoped that they may in time discover, likewise, that it is not hurtful to those who are in health; and that we may be then cured of the aërophobia that at present distresses weak minds, and makes them choose to be stifled and poisoned, rather than leave open the window of a bed-chamber, or put down the glass of a coach.

Confined air, when saturated with perspirable mat

ter,* will not receive more: and that matter must remain in our bodies, and occasion diseases: but it gives some previous notice of it's being about to be hurtful, by producing certain uneasiness, slight indeed at first, such as, with regard to the lungs, is a tickling sensation; and to the pores of the skin a kind of restlessness which is difficult to describe, and few who feel it know the cause of it. But we may recollect, that sometimes, on waking in the night, we have, if warmly covered, found it difficult to get asleep again. We turn often without finding repose in any position. This fidgettiness, to use a vulgar expression for want of a better, is occasioned wholly by an uneasiness in the skin, owing to the retention of the perspirable matter; the bed-clothes having received their quantity, and, being saturated, refusing to take any more. To become sensible of this by an experiment, let a person keep his position in the bed, but throw off the bed-clothes, and suffer fresh air to approach the part uncovered of his body; the will then feel that part suddenly refreshed; for the air will immediately relieve the skin, by receiving, licking up, and carrying off, the load of perspirable matter which incommoded it. For every portion of cool air that approaches the warm skin, in receiving it's part of that vapour, receives therewith a degree of heat that rarefies and renders it lighter, when it will be pushed away, with it's burden, by cooler, and therefore heavier fresh air; which, for a moment, supplies it's place, and then, being likewise changed, and warmed, gives way to a succeeding quantity, This

*What physicians call the perspirable matter, is the vapour which passes off from our bodies, from the lungs, and through the pores of the skin. The quantity of this is said to be five-eights of what we eat.

is the order of nature, to prevent animals being infected by their own perspiration. He will now be sensible of the difference between the part exposed to the air, and that which, remaining sunk in the bed, denies the air access: for this part now manifests it's uneasiness more distinctly by the comparison; and the seat of the uneasiness is more plainly perceived, than when the whole surface of the body was affected by it. Here, then, is one great and general cause of unpleasing dreams. For when the body is uneasy, the mind will be disturbed by it, and disagreeble ideas of various kinds will, in sleep, be the natural consequences. The remedies, preventative, and curative, follow: 1. By eating moderate


ly (as before advised for health's sake), less perspirable matter is produced in a given time; hence the bed-clothes receive it longer before they are saturated; and we may, therefore, sleep longer, before we are made uneasy by their refusing to receive any 2. By using thinner and more porous bed-clothes, which will suffer the perspirable matter more easily to pass through them, we are less incommoded, such being longer tolerable. 3. When you are awakened by this uneasiness, and find you cannot easily sleep again, get out of bed, beat up and turn your pillow, shake the bed-clothes well, with at least twenty shakes, then throw the bed open, and leave it to cool; in the meanwhile, continuing úndrest, walk about your chamber, till your skin has had time to discharge it's load, which it will do sooner as the air may be drier and colder. When you

begin to feel the cold air unpleasant, then return to your bed; and you will soon fall asleep, and your sleep will be sweet and pleasant. All the scenes pre

[blocks in formation]

ented to your imagination will be of the pleasing kind.
I am often as agreeably entertained with them, as by
the scenery of an opera. If you happen to be too
indolent to get out of bed, you may, instead of it,
lift up your bed-clothes with one arm and leg, so as
to draw in a good deal of fresh air, and, by letting
them fall, force it out again. This repeated twenty
times will so clear them of the perspirable matter
they have imbibed, as to permit your sleeping well
for some time afterwards. But this latter method is
not equal to the former.
Those who do not
love trouble, and can afford to have two beds, will
find great luxury in rising, when they awake in a hot
bed, and going into the cool one. Such shifting of
beds would also be of great service to persons ill of a
fever, as it refreshes, and frequently procures sleep.
A very large bed that will admit a removal so distant
from the first situation as to be cool and sweet, may
in a degree answer the same end.
One or

two observations more will conclude this little piece.
Care must be taken, when you lie down, to dispose
your pillow so as to suit your manner of placing your
head, and to be perfectly easy; then place your
limbs so as not to bear inconveniently hard upon
each other, as, for instance, the joints of your ancles:
for tho' a bad position may at first give but little
pain, and be scarcely noticed, yet a continuance will
render it less tolerable, and the uneasiness may come
on while you are asleep, and disturb your imagina-

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]


The difference between rising every morning at six and at eight, in the course of forty years (supposing a person should go to bed at the same times he otherwise would) amounts to 29,000 hours, or three years, One hundred and twenty-one days, six hours: so that it is just the same as if ten years of life (a weighty consideration) were to be added; to which we might command eight hours every day, for the cultivation of our own minds in knowledge and virtue, or the dispatch of business.

This calculation is made without regard to the bessextile, which reduces it to three years, one hundred and eleven days, sixteen hours; and at eight hours a day, will want about a month of ten years.


Whatever tends to impress habits of order on the expanding mind may be reckoned the most beneficial part of education: for by this means the surest foundation of virtue is settled without a struggle, and strong restraints knit together before vice has introduced confusion. It has been a custom too prevalent, to make children learn by rote long passages from authors, to whose very expressions they could not annex an idea, not considering how vain and cruel it is, to compel them to repeat a round of unintelligible words. Parents are often led astray by the selfish desire of having a wonderful child to exhibit; but these monsters very seldom make sensible men or women: the wheels are impaired by being No. 19.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »