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is considered enough to air a room. Have you never observed that any room without a fire-place is always close ? And, if you have a fire-place, would you cram it up not only with a chimneyboard, but perhaps with a great wisp of brown paper, in the throat of the chimney-to prevent the soot from coming down, you say? If your chimney is foul, sweep it; but don't expect that you can ever air a room with only one opening: don't suppose that to shut up a room is the way to keep it clean. It is the best way to foul the room, and all that is in it.
But again, to look to all these things yourself (e. c here I speak to school-mistresses, mothers of large families, and matrons), does not mean to do them yourself. “I always open the windows,” the head in charge often says. If you do it, it is by so much the better, certainly, than if it were not done at all. But can you not insure that it is done when not done by yourself? Can you insure that it is not undone when your back is turned? This is what being “in charge” means; and a very important meaning it is, too. The former only implies that just what you can do with your own hands is done; the latter, that what ought to be done is always done.
And now, you think these things trifles, or at least exaggerated. But what you “think,” or what I “think,” matters little. Let us see what God thinks of them. God always justifies His ways. While we are “thinking,” He has been teaching. I have known cases of sickness quite as severe in private houses as in any of the worst towns, and from the same cause, viz., foul air. Yet nobody learnt the lesson. Nobody learnt anything at all from it. They went on thinking—thinking that the sufferer had scratched his thumb, or that it was singular that everybody should have “whitlows,” or that something was “much about this year; there is always sickness in our house." This is a favorite mode of thought-leading not to inquire what is the uniform cause of these general a whitlows," but to stifle all inquiry. In what sense is "sickness" being “always there," a justification of its being “there” at all ?
What was the cause of sickness being in that nice private house? It was, that the sewer air from an ill-placed sink was carefully conducted into all the rooms by sedulously opening all the doors, and closing all the passage windows. It was that the problem slops were emptied into the foot-pans ;-it was that the utensils were never properly rinsed ;-it was that the chamber crockery was rinsed with dirty water ;-it was that the beds were never properly shaken, aired, picked to pieces, or changed ;-it was that the carpets and curtains were always musty ;-it was that the furniture was always dusty ;-—it was that the papered walls were saturated with dirt;—it was that the floors were never cleaned ;-it was that the empty rooms were never sunned, or cleaned, or aired;—it was that the cupboards were always reservoirs of foul air ;-it was that the windows were always fast shut up at night ;-it was that no window was ever regularly opened, even in the day, or that the right window was not opened. A person gasping for air might open a window for himself. But the people were not taught to open the windows, to shut the doors ; or they opened the windows upon a dank well between high walls, not upon the airier court; or they opened the room doors into the unaired passages, by way of airing the rooms. Now all this is not fancy, but fact. In that house there have been in one summer six cases of serious illness : all the immediate products of foul air. When, in temperate climates, a house is more unhealthy in summer than in winter, it is a certain sign of something wrong. Yet nobody learns the lesson. Yes, God always justifies His ways. He is teaching while you are not learning. This poor body loses his finger, that one loses his life. And all from the most easily preventable causes.
God lays down certain physical laws. Upon His carrying out such laws depends our responsibility (that much abused word), for how could we have any responsibility for actions, the results of which we could not foresee—which would be the case if the carrying out of His laws were not certain. Yet we seem to be continually expecting that He will work a miracle-i.e., break His own laws expressly to relieve us of responsibility.
“With God's blessing he will recover," is a common form of parlance. But “with God's blessing” also, it is, if he does not recover; and “ with God's blessing " that he fell ill; and “with God's blessing " that he dies, if he does die. In other words, all these things happen by God's laws, which are His blessings, that is, which are all to contribute to teach us the way to our best happiness. Cholera is just as much His “blessing” as the exemption from it. It is to teach us how to obey His laws. “With God's blessing he will recover,” is a common form of speech with people who, all the while, are neglecting the means on which God has made health or recovery to depend.
• Florence Nightingale. *
FALLACIES OF SOCIETY. It is astonishing the influence foolish sayings have upon the mass of mankind, though they are not unfrequently fallacies. Here are a few I ainused myself with writing, long before Bentham's book on Fallacies.
Fallacy I.. “Because I have gone through it, my son shall go through it also.”—A man gets well pummelled at a public school; is subject to every misery and every indignity which seventeen years of age can inflict upon nine and ten; has his eye nearly knocked out, and his clothes stolen and cut to pieces; and twenty years afterwards, when he is a chrysalis, and has forgotten the miseries of his grub state, is determined to act a manly part in life, and says, “I passed through all that myself, and I am determined my son shall pass through it as I have done :” and away goes his bleating progeny to the tyranny and servitude of the long chainber or the large dormitory. It would surely be much more rational to say, "Because I have passed through it, I am determined my son shall not pass through it; because I was kicked for nothing, and cuffed for nothing, and fagged for everything, I will spare all these miseries to my child.” It is not for any good which may be derived from this rough usage; that has not been weighed and considered ; few persons are capable of weighing its effects into character : but there is a sort of compensatory and consolatory notion, that the present generation (whether useful or not, no matter) are not to come off scot-free, but are to have their share of ill-usage; as if the black eye and bloody nose which Master John Jackson received in 1800, are less black and bloody by the application of similar violence to similar parts of Master Thomas Jackson, the son, in 1830. This is not only sad nonsense, but cruel nonsense. The only use to be derived from the recollection of what we have suffered in
youth, is a fixed determination to screen those we educate from every evil and inconvenience, from subjection to which there are not cogent reasons for submitting. Can anything be inore stupid and preposterous than this concealed revenge upon the rising generation, and latent envy lest they should avail themselves of the improvements time has made, and pass a happier youth than their fathers have done ?
FALLACY II. “I have said I will do it, and I will do it; I will stick to my word.”—This fallacy proceeds from confounding resolutions with promises. If you have promised to give a man a guinea for a reward, or to sell him a horse or a field. you must do it; you are dishonest if you do not. But if you have made a resolution to eat no meat for a year, and everybody about you sees that you are doing mischief to your constitution, is it any answer to say you have said so, and you will stick to your word? With whom have you made the contract but with yourself ? and if you and yourself, the two contracting parties, agree to break the contract, where is the evil, or who is injured ?
FALLACY III. “I object to half-measures; it is neither one thing nor the other.”—But why should it be one thing or the other? why not something between both? Why are halfmeasures necessarily or probably unwise measures ? I am embarrassed in my circumstances; one of my plans is, to persevere boldly in the same line of expense, and to trust to the chapter of accidents for some increase of fortune ;-the other is, to retire entirely from the world, and to hide myself in a cottage. But I end with doing neither, and take a middle course of diminished expenditure. I do neither one thing nor the other, but possibly act wiser than if I had done either. I am highly offended by the conduct of an acquaintance; I neither overlook it entirely, nor do I proceed to call him out; I do neither, but show him, by a serious change of manner, that I consider myself to have been ill-treated. I effect my object by half-measures. I cannot agree entirely with the Opposition or the Ministry ; it may very easily happen that my half-measures are wiser than the extremes to which they are opposed. But it is a sort of inetaphor which debauches the understanding of foolish people; and when half-measures are mentioned, they have much the same feeling as if they were cheated-as if they had bargained for a whole bushel and received but half. To act in extremes is sometimes wisdom; to avoid them is sometimes wisdom. Every measure must be judged of by its own particular circumstances.
THE WHITE SHIP (1120). KING Henry the First went over to Normandy with his son Prince William, and a great retinue, to have the prince acknowledged as his successor by the Norman nobles, and to contract the promised marriage between him and the daughter of the Count of Anjou. Both these things were triumphantly done, with great show and rejoicing; and the whole company prepared to embark for hoine.
On that day, and at that place, there came to the King, FitzStephen, a sea-captain, and said, “My liege, my father served your father all his life upon the sea. He steered the ship with the golden boy upon the prow, in which your father sailed to conquer England. I beseech you to grant me the same office. I have a fair vessel in the harbour here, called the White Ship, manned by fifty sailors of renown. I pray you, sire, to let your servant have the honor of steering you to England !”
“I am sorry, friend,” replied the King, “that my vessel is already chosen, and that I cannot therefore sail with the son of the man who served my father. But the prince, with all his company, shall go along with you, in the fair White Ship, manned by the fifty sailors of renown.”
An hour or two afterwards, the King set sail in the vessel he liad chosen, accompanied by other vessels, and, sailing all night with a fair and gentle wind, arrived upon the coast of England in the morning. While it was yet night, the people in some of the ships heard a faint wild cry come over the sea, and wondered what it was.
Now the prince was a dissolute, debauched young man of eighteen, who bore no love to the English, and had declared that when he came to the throne, he would yoke them to the plough like oxen. He went aboard the White Ship with one hundred