« AnteriorContinuar »
O, to woo her is joy and power !
For the laughing blonde is Champagne, you see :
And the rare brunette is Burgundy. Historic investigation has shown that life in England is at this date longer on the average than it was in the Middle Ages. And that the average size of Englishmen is also greater was pretty clearly proved at the Eglinton tournament in 1839. The aristocratic babies who played their parts in that absurdity found that the armour of their ancestors was too small for them. One of those infants, by the way, was Prince Louis Napoleon, whose weak brain has done a good deal of mischief since. Now, if men live longer than they did some centuries ago, and if likewise they grow to a finer size, I take it that what they eat and drink has something to do with it. So I must ask my courteous critics to forgive me for occasionally referring to a topic of such moment.
I am afraid this is a digressive and desultory chapter, with very little in it about politics. But, as my theory is that politics should, so far as possible, be avoided, I may defend this procedure logically. This is my final thesis: if by attention to the rules of spiritual and corporal health you can obtain for the majority of men a perfect constitution, there will be very little for governments to do. In a perfect community, the only persons who need exercise authority would be fathers of families.
Caninum prandium.- Plautus.
LIKE Horace, I confess myself “ Epicuri de grege porcus.' There are people with a fine abstemiousness about them, who think eating and drinking gross and vulgar. Shall I tell you why? They have either no palates or no digestions. There are
Poets tune-deaf and painters colour-blind.
There are men without the sense of smell, whom a sewer offends not, and who get no delight from the multitudinous wreaths of honeysuckle or the tremulous bells of the lily of the valley. So there are people to whom wood-pigeon is as palatable as wood
cock, and cider as Sauterne. For them was designed the Roman playwright's caninum prandium—a breakfast without wine. I
agree with my friend Mr. Blackmore, that noon is the proper hour for the labourer's dinner. This morning, after writing a couple of articles, I took a stroll on my
lawn before going to bed. It was half-past three. The nightingales were singing vespers — the starlings were seeking breakfast. Some labourers were just going to mow my neighbour's grass. Between my habits and theirs the difference is as great as between those of nightingale and starling. They will want their dinner at high noon, doubtless : I shall probably be at breakfast.
Two meals a day is what the eupeptic philosopher should eai-prandium and coena. I am dealing with the man who is not tied to time who has not made himself a slave—who lives by some work which he can do when he lists. The moment you have to be at a given place through given hours you become a
become a machine. Machine work-mere routine-necessarily decreases the ideal power; and this decrease, according to my theory, tends to the shortening of life. Let me suppose that you can do as you please, and that you please to lead a life of lettered leisure in some pleasant corner of England. You rise when you like; you go to your room when you like. You may sleep, if you will, at high noon, when all the
, common world is alive; you may be wakeful and brilliant in the short hours of the night, when there are no witnesses of your vagaries save the silent stars above you. Living such a life, I venture to think that you should take two meals daily-prandium, which is neither breakfast nor luncheon, but something better than either; and coena, which
, is dinner. As to the hours, you are your own master. From eleven to twelve I recommend for prandium—and it should be a