There are few exhibitions of selfishness more disagreeable to the beholder than the selfishness of appetite. Alimentiveness is an animal propensity only, and the first that is developed in the human being. The right regulation of this propensity is a matter of great importance to the happiness of the individual, as well as to his character in society.
The appetites of children should never be incited by the promise of something good to eat as the reward of good behaviour, nor pampered with dainties when plain, healthy food would be rejected. And the child should always be taught to share with his playmate, or even his dog, or pet of any kind, whatever he most relishes himself. This will combine, with his own pleasure in eating, the better feeling, because more generous, of giving pleasure to something he loves.
Had the boy, in our engraving, been taught this salutary lesson, he would have made a much pleasanter picture; but lessons of warning are sometimes effectual where reasoning would be vain.
The prevalence of intemperance in eating, we feel constrained to own, is mostly the fault of woman. She is the guardian of home. She regulates the arrangement of her household; she forms the habits of her children; and there is not a miserable dyspeptic or selfish gourmand but might, probably, trace those indulgences of appetite, which have clouded his soul or prostrated his health, to the misjudging tenderness which pampered his childish love of good things.
“I look upon an epicure,” says that accomplished writer, Miss Ferrier, “as little better than a drunkard; nay, in some respects, worse – for I have known drunkards who still retained some manly feeling, but I never knew an epicure who cared for any thing on the face of the earth but his own stomach.”
Perhaps this censure is too severe; but that epicures are, usually, very selfish and, consequently, disagreeable, can admit of no doubt. We hope none of our fair young readers will ever be troubled with such a companion for life, and that none of our matronly friends will encourage in her son those selfish propensities which increase the dominion of appetite, and make men the slaves of sense, or worse, the victims of sensuality.
Collection: Godey’s Lady’s Book
Date: September, 1844
Title: Not Invited
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania