This section is from the book "A Third Pot-Pourri", by C. W. Earle. Also available from Amazon: A Third Pot-Pourri.
I would recommend all those interested in the instruction of the young to get 'A Short Account of the Human Body; by Owen Lancaster, lecturer to the Natural Health Society, publishedby Allman &Son, 67NewOxford Street, W.C., price 2s. 6d.It contains a coloured picture of a manikin with the skin removed, and folds that lift up andshow the position of the internalorgans.This diagram is exciting and interesting, and would inspire the young with a kind of reverential feeling for their internal machinery, of which they know so little, and which they treat so often with great unfairness.It has long been said a man is a fool or a doctor at forty.I fear, then, I know many fools, especially among women, who more frequently starve themselves andoverworkthan men do.What I wantisthat all, eventhe quite young, should respect their bodies, and believe that health also means beauty and strength; that all shouldknow the difference between health, or what we are intended to be, and that continual, uncertain, ailing condition so common with young, middle-aged, and old, and to which people actually think it a virtue tosubmit.How few, even among nurses, know that if anyone is struck down by any kind of accident, the first thing to do, as with a man wounded in full health, is immensely to reduce nourishment and quantity of food!I have several times known more injury to come from overfeeding when all exercise is stopped than from an accident itself.Wherever there is a weak or injured part, there the mischief will settle, especially where the constitution is gouty or rheumatic; and this, as should always be remembered, is the case with seventy-five out of every hundred persons.
Water: How it Kills its Thousands.'This is a pamphlet issued by the Salutaris Company, which is well worth reading, if only for the caution against hard water as a drink for the gouty and rheumatic. Those who cannot afford habitually to buy Salutaris Water may like to know that it is easy enough to have distilled water at home by getting one of the stills supplied by the Gem Supply Co., 6 Bishop's Court, Chancery Lane, E.C.
Would it not be better if, instead of expressing the heartiness of our rejoicings by giving enormous teas and dinners to the poor, which often make them ill or uncomfortable for days after, we were to give them wholesome food to carry away to their homes, which they would often spin out to last a week, and which would help the sick and healthy alike and cost the givers no more ? After the 'Health' chapter, the subject in both my former books that roused most opposition and yet most interest was what I said about girls - their training, relation to their mother, &c. In fact, I have several times been asked to give more of my advice. I never have any 'views,' except as the outcome of my own experiences, and all my dear nieces, real and adopted, have now grown into women and are bringing up their own children.
Opinions on education grow quickly, and as the subject is of perennial interest to me in a general way, I can only mention a book or two which may be found useful and have come to my knowledge, almost by chance, in the last few years. All that is newest, most enlightening, and most stirring seems now to come from America, and I can recommend strongly to all a book, full of concentrated instruction and valuable suggestions, called 'An Ideal School, or Looking Forward,' by Preston Search, United States Superintendent of Schools, one of the 5s. 'International' Series, published by Arnold. An English book, lately published with an idea of awakening more general interest in the subject, is 'Education and Empire,' by E. B. Haldane.
But to mothers, when education is over, I can only repeat what I have said before - that when all has been said and done with reference to education, human nature remains the same, and the really important thing for mothers.to do is to try to know their own children. They may exhaust themselves in efforts to make their daughters sweet, attractive, graceful, and marriageable, but unless they realise that no young people, any more than the rest of us, can live up to an ideal, the end is often artificiality and deceit in the children, and bitter disappointment to the parents.
It seems so easy, in theory, for parents to know their children; but, in fact, nothing is more difficult. There are two courses open to every mother of young children, say, to the age of fifteen. One is, to hold up in practice and precept a high ideal, and persistently encourage the children always to act up to this standard, so impressing its importance on them that they come to feel it a proof of their personal affection for her to try to come up to it, at least, in her presence, even to the extent of acting a part to please her. This way, though often satisfactory in childhood, generally ends, so far as my experience goes, in disaster to character, for in insensibly forcing them to appear to be something they are not, it actually helps to train them in habits of deception and lying.
The other course is to make up one's mind to the probability of naughtiness, selfishness, want of good manners, or any other undesirable but natural expression of themselves - in fact, to live in what is called the 'Palace of Truth,' trying to discover the plan Nature has outlined for them, and helping them to fulfil it by natural growth rather than forcing them, however gently and skilfully, into some mould of our own choosing. This way brings a good deal of mortification to the mother and condemnation of her training from her friends; but I firmly believe that this method turns out in the end the truest and best human beings, and if the mother's own example, supported by the father's, has meanwhile declared and upheld her ideal of what her children should be, they will probably realise it in later life.
I am always being told that everything is now very different from my day, but I still maintain, as I said in my former book, that all those differences are superficial. It is but the outward fashions that change. Only three years ago was published one of the most charming books of imagination that has appeared for a very long time - ' A Digit of the Moon : A Hindoo Love Story.'A great many people were disappointed at finding out that it was original and not a translation; but to my mind it only adds greatly to its charm and interest that an Englishman living in India should have been able in these days to write such a book. It is perhaps too well known to justify a long quotation from it here. All the same, life is so full that many miss what they would like to see, and this description of man's notion of how woman was made seems to me a literary gem :
One day, as they rested at noon beneath the thick shade of a Kadamba tree, the King gazed for a long time at the portrait of his mistress. And suddenly he broke silence and said, "Rasakposha, this is a woman. Now, a woman is the one thing about which I know nothing. Tell me, what is the nature of woman?" Then Easak6sha smiled, and said, "King, you should certainly keep this question to ask the Princess, for it is a hard question. A very terrible creature indeed is a woman, and one formed of strange elements.Apropos, I will tell you a story. Listen!
'In the beginning, when Twashtri came to the creation of woman he found that he had exhausted his materials in the making of man, and that no solid elements were left In this dilemma, after profound meditation, he did as follows. He took the rotundity of the moon, and the curves of creepers, and the clinging of tendrils, and the trembling of grass, and the slenderness of the reed, and the bloom of flowers, and the lightness of leaves, and the tapering of the elephant's trunk, and the glances of deer, and the clustering of rows of bees, and the joyous gaiety of sunbeams, and the weeping of clouds, and the fickleness of the winds, and the timidity of the hare, and the vanity of the peacock, and the softness of the parre bosom, and the hardness of adamant, and the sweetness of honey, and the cruelty of the tiger, and the warm glow of fire, and the coldness of snow, and the chattering of jays, and the cooing of the Kolila (the Indian cuckoo), and the hypocrisy of the crane, and the fidelity of the chakrawaka; and compounding all these together he made woman and gave her to man. But after one week man came to him and said, 'Lord, this creature that you have given me makes my life miserable. She chatters incessantly, and teases me beyond endurance, never leaving me alone; and she requires incessant attention, and takes all my time up, and cries about nothing, and is always idle; and so I have come to give her back again, as I cannot live with her.' So Twashtri said, 'Very well,' and he took her back. Then after another week man came again to him and said, ' Lord, I find that my life is very lonely since I gave you back that creature. I remember how she used to dance and sing to me, and look at me out of the corner of her eye, and play with me, and cling to me; and her laughter was music, and she was beautiful to look at and soft to touch; so give her back to me again.'so Twashtri said, 'Very well,' and gave her back again. Then, after only three days, man came back to him again and said, 'Lord, I know not how itis, hot after all I have come to the conclusion that she is mote of a. trouble than a pleasure to me, so please take her back again.' But Twashtri said, 'Out on you! Be off! I will hare no more of this. You must manage how you can.' Then man said,' But I cannot fire with her.' And Twashtri replied, 'Neither could you fire without her.' And he turned Ins hack on man and went on with his work. Then man said,' What is to be done, for I cannot Owe either with or without her?' "
And Rasakosha ceased and looked at the King. But the King remained silent, gazing intently at the portrait of the Princess.