Billeder på siden

has a strength of mind which is peculiar to it. There are certain discoveries which are made by young men; there are others which can only be made by men at a ripe age. Galileo discovered at the age of eighteen or twenty the regularity of the oscillations of a pendulum, but Harvey was fifty before he arrived at the splendid induction of the circulation of the blood."

The rules of conduct followed by Cornaro in order to prolong his life are by no means recommended to all alike. His diet and system were adopted for a weak stomach and a delicate constitution; and it would be absurd, the physician Ramazzini remarked long ago, to insist upon strong and healthy constitutions following the same régime. The great point is to possess the intelligence necessary to observe such sobriety and moderation as we find to be beneficial to us and suitable to the evervarying circumstances of health and tone. The only secret of longevity is a sober life-by which is meant a well-regulated life, a rational life, a well-conducted life.

It is positively surprising in the present day, when the principles of longevity are reduced to so simple an expression as the observance of the Natural laws, to find what erroneous opinions our forefathers entertained upon so important a subject. It was especially an erroneous belief that the loss by perspiration abbreviated life. Lord Bacon, who distinguished, philosophically enough, three intentions for the prolongation of life retardation of consumption, and proper reparation and renovation of what begins to grow old-was yet so far misled by a false idea of the relation of what he calls predatory influences and reparatory influences, as to believe that the ambient air could be rendered less predatory by dwelling in cold climates, in caves, mountains, and anchorites' cells; or be kept off from the body by a dense skin, the feathers of birds, or the use of oils and unguents without aromatics. Upon the same mistaken principle Maupertius recommended that the body should be covered with pitch. And Cardan actually argued that trees lived longer than animals because they took no exercise!

Lessius, a Dutchman, was, like Cornaro, of a feeble constitution. He read Cornaro's book after he had been condemned by the physicians, adopted its principles, and lived to a good old age. He afterwards translated Cornaro's work into Latin, and added a preface on the advantages of sobriety. His style is not, however, so convincing as that of the amiable, poetic, joyous, old Italian, who thus finishes his first discourse: "Such is this divine sobriety, friend of nature, daughter of reason, sister of virtue, companion of a temperate life; modest, noble, regulated, and neat in her work. She is as the root of life, of health, of joy, of skill, of science, and of all the actions worthy of a well-born mind. Divine laws and human laws are in her favour; before her, irregularities and the dangers that follow in their train vanish like clouds before the sun. Her beauty attracts all sensible hearts; her practices promise to all a gracious and durable conversation; lastly, she knows how to become the amiable and benignant guardian of life, alike to the poor and to the rich; she teaches modesty to the rich, economy to the poor; she gives to youth the firm and certain hope of life, and enables the old man to defend himself from death. Sobriety purifies the senses, renders intelligence lively, imparts gaiety to the mind, and renders memory faithful; by it the soul,

almost disengaged of its terrestrial weight, seems to enjoy the foretaste of an eternal freedom."

The rules of longevity, as laid down in modern times by M. Reveillé Parise, are four in number:

The first is to know how to be old. The expression is borrowed from La Rochefoucauld, who said, "few people know how to be old." Voltaire also wrote:

Qui n'a pas l'esprit de son âge
De son âge a tous les malheurs.

which conveys best the idea of what is meant by knowing how to be old-that is to say, to know how to conduct oneself with propriety in

old age.

The second rule is to know oneself well, which, like the former, is a philosophical precept applied to medicine. "And why," asks M. Reveillé Parise, struck with the same agreement, "have philosophy and medicine so many relations? Because happiness and health are united and inseparable."

The third rule is to dispose suitably of habitual life—that is, to dispose of the details of daily life with propriety and in accordance with the Natural laws. It is, in fact, the aggregate of good physical habits which constitute health, as it is the aggregate of good moral habits which constitute happiness. Old men who go daily through the same well-regulated routine of life, and fulfil the duties of their social position with the same moderation, the same taste, and the same enjoyment, live almost for ever. "My miracle is to live," said Voltaire; and if the foolish vanity that never gets old, to use an expression of Buffon's, had not made him exchange the quiet of his country residence on the Lake of Geneva for the turmoil and agitation of Paris, at eighty-four years of age, his miracle might have lasted a century.

"No one would believe," says M. Reveillé Parise, "how far a little health, properly cared for, can be made to go." "To use what one has, and act in all things according to one's forces, such is the rule of the wise man," wrote Cicero.

The fourth rule is to combat every symptom of sickness at the very first. We have already seen that in youth life is as it were seconded by another life; that in reserve of life in activity, there is also a life in power. In old age there is only one life; and hence everything that tends to exhaust that must be cut short; for there are no other vital resources to have recourse to.

Such are the four fundamental rules laid down by M. Reveillé Parise. With these four rules, and that consideration of their practical application to diet, exercise, labour, exposure, and all other habits of life, which cannot but strike the most unintellectual reader, how long can one live? One will not live for ever, but one will live all one's life-that is to say, all that the particular constitution of each individual, combined with the general laws of the constitution of the species, will permit.

It has been argued by some that the health which is only to be sustained by ceaseless watching and care is of itself a tedious disease. Such an argument attests at once an utter ignorance of the philosophy of longevity, and a very poor idea of the value of life. To a person who is

once soundly imbued with the necessity of moderation and sobriety there is no more watching requisite to avoid error than there usually is from tumbling down, being run over, or any of the thousand accidents to which we are daily exposed: as to care, all experience shows that the man who is in that state of mind and body which ensures longevity has less cares than he who is constantly putting both out of order by his recklessness. As well might a man discard all thoughts of the future, as to discard all thoughts of the present. The very gourmet discusses the comparative digestibility and wholesomeness of his high-seasoned viands, his sauces, and his wines; why should not the ordinary man do so likewise? But the fact is, the philosopher has no occasion to trouble himself with such matters; his system has rejected them long ago, and he requires neither care nor thought for his mode of living. A man in this world, it has been again observed, has his duties to perform. He has no right to submit to any epicure who teaches him that he may be well by living idly and dismissing care. Now this is either wilful or disingenuous misrepresentation of the case. Judicious labour, and almost incessant occupation, are the indispensable conditions of our being, and the essentials of longevity. We have seen them insisted upon as such by all our previously-quoted authorities. Is it not possible to labour and to do one's duty as a responsible member of society, without recklessness as to the present or the future? As well say it is not possible to do one's duty in Îife, and not dismiss care. Undoubtedly, no soldier should purchase safety by allowing himself to fall into the hands of an enemy, rather than as a free man risk his life for his country. But soldiering is altogether an exceptional thing. Perhaps the day will come when people will think their forefathers were very stupid to sacrifice millions of lives to the ambition of their rulers. As it is, war is already nearly limited to the wielding of physical power by the civilised to keep down the predatory excursions of barbarous, or the aggressive ambition of semi-barbarous nations. To defend one's home and hearth is a point of duty which no Englishman will ever fail in, even at the immediate sacrifice of all chances of longevity. Nor would the philosopher harbour a thought of deserting his friends or relatives when struck down by fell disease, because he knew that sickness to be mortally contagious. A due regard to the laws necessary to ensure health and happiness by no means entails a disregard to the higher calls of honour and duty. On the contrary, all example shows that the healthy man and the cheerful man is always the most active in his duties; the most elastic under reverses; the most willing, ready, and capable to assist others; and the most enterprising and the most courageous in trial, adventure, or war.


THE private life of an Eastern king! How the very words thrill through one! We gloat over the thought that some of those dark mysteries, whose existence is whispered, will be revealed to us: we shall become intimate with the sayings and doings of the Zenana, and find ourselves mentally enjoying the orgies of a monarch whose power is even more unlimited, for good or evil, than that of the great Northern Autocrat. On perusing the book to which we now propose to draw attention, we find our wishes more than realised, and we may venture to assert that its publication will throw more light on the internal condition of India, and the cause of her gradual absorption by John Company, than all the Blue-books beneath whose weight the library-tables of our M.P.'s so patiently groan. But there is a trite saying about "the proof of a pudding," &c., and we cannot do better to prove the truth of our assertion than by giving our readers a taste of its quality, and assuring them that if they like the sample, the remainder of the article will be equally worth purchase and careful digestion.

The author was induced to visit Lucknow, partly on business, partly through the curious tales he had heard in Calcutta about the immense menageries maintained by the king, and his fondness for Europeans more especially. Having a friend at court, he succeeded in procuring an interview with his majesty, who immediately took a great fancy to him. As he received a hint that there was a vacant place in his majesty's household, he determined on applying for it. But as no European could be taken into the king's service without the sanction of the Resident, he was compelled to apply to that illustrious man, and was granted permission to take service under his Majesty of Oude, "on condition that he was not to meddle or intermeddle, in any way whatsoever, in the politics of Oude-not to mix himself up in the intrigues for power between rival ministers, or in the quarrels of the large landed Zemindars, who were continually warring among each other."

The household of his majesty contained five European members, one of them being the tutor, nominally employed to teach the king English. But the king was truly a royal scholar; and after hardly ten minutes' application to a page of the "Spectator," or some popular novel, would exclaim, "Boppery-bop! but this is dry work: let us have a glass of wine, master;" the books would be thrust aside, and the lesson ended. The tutor received fifteen hundred pounds a year for giving them. The tutor then was one of the king's friends; the librarian (who appears to be the author of this work), another; his portrait-painter was a third; the captain of his body-guard, a fourth; and last, but by no means least, his European barber was a fifth. The life-history of this Olivier le Daim of the East is so romantic, that we venture to transcribe it.

He had come out to Calcutta as cabin-boy in a ship. Having been brought up as a hair-dresser in London, he had left his ship, on arriving in Calcutta, to resume his business. He was successful: he pushed and puffed himself into

*The Private Life of an Eastern King. By a Member of the Household of his late Majesty Nussir-u-deen, King of Oude. Hope and Co.

notoriety. At length he took to going up the river with European merchandise for sale; he became, in fact, what is called there a river-trader. Arrived at Lucknow, he found a resident-not the same who was there when I entered the king's service-anxious to have his naturally lank hair curl like the GovernorGeneral's. The Governor-General was distinguished by his ringlets; and, of course, in India he is the glass of fashion and the mould of form. The Resident would be like him; and the river-trader was not above resuming his business. Marvellous was the alteration he made in the Resident's appearance; and so the great Saheb himself introduced the wonder-working barber to the king, The king had peculiarly lank, straight hair; not the most innocent approach to a curl had ever been seen on it. The barber wrought wonders again, and the king was delighted. Honours and wealth were showered upon him. He was given a title of nobility. The king's favourite soon becomes wealthy in a native state. The barber, however, had other sources of profit open to him besides bribing; he supplied all the wine and beer for the royal table. Nussir put no bounds to the honours he heaped upon the fascinating barber; unlimited confidence was placed in him. By small degrees he had at last become a regular guest at the royal table, and sat down to take dinner with the king as a thing of right; nor would his majesty taste a bottle of wine opened by any other hands than the barber's. So afraid was his majesty of being poisoned by his own family, that every bottle of wine was sealed in the barber's house before being brought to the king's table; and before he opened it, the little man looked carefully at the seal to see that it was all right. He then opened it and took a portion of a glass first, before filling one for the king.

The confidence the barber enjoyed of course soon became known over India, and the press found him a capital mark for their shafts of satire. "The low menial,' as the Calcutta Review called him, was the subject of squibs, pasquinades, attacks, and satirical verses, without number; and marvellously little did the low menial care what they said about him, as long as he accumulated rupees." The paper most incessant in its attacks on the barber was the Agra Uckbar, since dead. He eventually employed a European clerk in the Resident's office, to answer these attacks in a Calcutta paper, with which he corresponded, and for this received ten pounds a month. Surely it might have been worth a little


Our author naturally evinced much curiosity to see this great man, and his wishes were gratified at the first dinner-party, where the king made his appearance, leaning on the arm of his favourite. Of the two, the king was much the taller, the favourite the more muscular and healthy-looking. His majesty was dressed in a black English suit; and an ordinary black silk tie and patent-leather boots completed his costume. "He was a gentlemanly-looking man, not without a certain kingly grace; his air and figure a complete contrast to that of his companion, on whom nature had indelibly stamped the characteristics of vulgarity. Both were dressed similarly; and the contrast they presented was made all the more striking by the outward habiliments in which they resembled each other."

The dinner was quite European, save and except in the presence of dancing-girls, whom we do not usually see. The cookery was excellent ; for a Frenchman presided in the royal kitchen-a cook who had formerly been Cordon bleu in the Calcutta Bengal Club. After dinner there was a display of puppets, and the king did a tremendously clever feat, at which, of course, all laughed heartily, by cutting the strings with a pair of

« ForrigeFortsæt »