I was going to do a ‘word origin’ post today but I came across yet another indispensable piece of advice in my trusty Perpetual Almanack of Folklore and felt it my duty to pass it on to you – particularly any of you out there who are parents.
We have Jane Collier to thank for this, since it is sage advice she passed on to her readers in 1753:
Suppose your stock of children too large; and that, by your care for their support, you should be abridged of some of your own luxuries and pleasures. To make away with the troublesome and expensive brats, I allow, would be the desirable thing; but the difficulty is, how to effect this without subjecting yourself to that punishment which the law has thought proper.
On no account miss that useful season summer, in which you may give your children as much fruit as they can cram down their throats; then be sure not to contradict the poor little things if they choose to play about and overheat themselves in the middle of the day; and afterwards should choose to cool their limbs, by sprawling about after a dew has fallen. If they should chance, after all this, to outlive the month without the worms, a fever, or a general corruption of the blood, you must wait the event another summer.