Imágenes de páginas

manners and customs are fearful exactions from Nature; fearful, because we are levying a tax upon our own powers, which must, by and bye, be paid; like "The Man made of Money," so truly and tragically drawn by Douglas Jerrold. We may be the possessors of wealth and convenience, and we may give forth wealth and entertainment to our friends; or we may pile our warehouses and our palaces; but in many instances we are doing all this from our own life's blood, we are levying a tax upon our strength, upon our health, and while our neighbours look with wonder upon our doings, they note our emaciated appearance, too; yes, the rounds of intemperance and guilt, the whirl of licentious passion and frivolity, the incessant attention to business so early in the morning, so late in the evening, all these are so many items in the mortgage deed. And then the day of reckoning comes, long-delayed, yet at last it comes; the jailer pounces upon the body, and hails it away to prison. The jailer! aye, the jailer, the physician, the surgeon, the apothecary, what are these but Nature's jailers? The sick bed, is it not Nature's prison? and the discipline of disease, is it not generally a repayment of what was owing? and death, is it not the consignment of the body to perpetual imprisonment, because the powers of the body had been racked to the utmost and still were unable to pay?

You know the fable of the Sphinx of the an

cients? well, Nature is that Sphinx; answer her well, solve her riddle, and she cannot hurt thee; but dare to attempt an imposition upon her, and she will rend thee in pieces. Then this might be taken as a fundamental principle in physical training; do not you run into debt with Nature? let every day pay its own way; strength shall be given thee proportioned to thy day; thy bread shall be given thee, thy water shall be sure. it suffice; wines, and rich meats, and injudicious sleep, and injudicious exercise, drain the health from the blood, and by-and-bye will present a terrible balance sheet for instant settlement.


EDUCATE YOUR SKIN! Does that seem strange? The state of the skin exercises no inconsiderable influence over the whole state of the body; many persons impair their nervous state by never thoroughly cleansing their body. Their body is never in a healthy temperament; for the sensibility of the skin gives a tone to the temperament, and this is perpetually the residence of secretions, from the sensible or insensible perspiration going on in the system. The skin, in its healthy state, is capable of exquisite enjoyments, which many have never experienced; the wind, and the fanning breath of the air, the cold but bracing atmosphere, these are an inspiration and an enjoyment to those whose frames have been rendered sufficiently healthy and hardy to enjoy them. The beings who spend their

lives in closed saloons, who can only wash in warm water, and very little of that, who tremble at a breath of wind that could scarcely move a feather, such persons richly deserve our pity, and the fullness of our compassion.

EDUCATE YOUR MUSCLES! Thank God, my reader, if he has placed you in a situation of life in which you are compelled to walk; carriage exercise is a mere joke, and does the horses far more good than the riders; it is one of the penalties en.. tailed upon our present state of civilization, that we have but little exercise; our mechanics, artizans, manufacturers, scarcely ever exercise their limbs. A good smart walk of ten, twenty, thirty miles; this is a blessing, the writer knows it, for there are few counties in England or Wales, where he has not measured some hundreds of miles by foot. The muscles, unexercised, acquire lassitude, weariness, and soon give up all exertion; instead of exulting in a walk of thirty miles, they tremble at the bare idea of walking one; but, walking! walking! what ecstatic pleasure there is in the mere act of walking upon some long, pleasant level? if relieved by alternating hill and dale so much the better, my poor, lack-a-daisical brethren; I must e'en pity them, and perhaps laugh at them; and have I not earned the right to do so? for, as a pedestrian, some of the fairest scenes in all the broad borders of England have unveiled themselves to me. Ex


ercise, my friend, exercise! walk, leap, run! exert arm, leg, body, but in some way or other exercise !

EDUCATE THE BRAIN! The brain, you know, is not a simple organism, but a series of organs and compartments. See, then, that you do not unduly exercise one power, let all have their share of employment; this may at present be difficult, but it is becoming every day more easy of attainment. All the powers of the brain were given for employment and exercise, of this we may be assured; let there be a variation of employment; thus, the power of each compartment may be increased, and, let it be remembered, too, that variation of mental employment is relaxation; a page of Milton, and a mathematical problem, seem very opposite to each other, but this is the very reason why one may perhaps follow closely upon the other; it is in the principle of reaction that we find the method of the physical developement of the brain; there is a rush of blood to that organ which is called into play, and the flow and reflow resulting from the intensity of mental operation, expands the organ, and increases its energy and power. We cannot explain how this is, nor can we explain why an increase of strength should be the property of the arm from the increase of exercise. We cannot explain it, the fact is there, let us use it.

EDUCATE YOUR SLEEP! We do not plead for a very limited quantity of sleep; many persons

have habituated themselves to a very sparing allowance of four or five hours, on the average; and, perhaps, abstaining from all animal food, and from all improper, and very much proper excitement, this is enough. But there are few for whom it is sufficient; from seven to eight hours should be the average of your sleep. As the mind becomes powerful, and the body loosens its hold upon the mind, sleep flies away; intense mental occupation forbids long slumber; the mind says—

"Sleep no more."

Yet we find, to be "a long and sound sleeper," is included by the eldest writers among the signs of longevity. What hours of time, however, are murdered through the turning again to slumber. What hours, my friend, have you and I murdered? Alas! alas! Have we lost one hour a day? 365 days in the year; ten years, and we lose almost twelve months. What Histories might we have read! What languages have acquired! what studies might we have conquered! Twelve months of clear entire labour thrown away. But, perhaps, instead of one hour a day, two, three, four; and what a squandering is here! Oh, if you would create and make time, Educate your Sleep!

EDUCATE YOUR DRESS. What a capricious animal is Man in this particular! The Horse, and the Sheep, and the Dog wear continually garments

« AnteriorContinuar »