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chase we went to see (and some of the leaps in which we took) our animals had the pleasure during that interval of walking about with us on their backs. When there is ice enough, which does not happen every winter, the Cantabs are great skaters, and stories are told of their performances in this line which I will not repeat, for they sound very large and I could not positively authenticate them. There is a certain amount of fencing and sparring practised, more of the latter than the former, not a great deal of either. It is almost a sine qua non for a Cantab's exercise, that it should be in the
air. He never minds the weather, or thinks of putting off his constitutional because it rains.
It may be asked whether, allowing that from this regularity of exercise a high standard of strength and endurance results, the general health of the men is also good. For health and strength do not necessarily go together : in our country we meet many persons of great activity and a considerable share of downright strength, who are nevertheless always out of order and ailing. I have no hesitation in saying that the general health of the Cambridge men is on a par with their strength, and such as might be expected from it by an ordinary observer. Dyspepsia is almost unknown, bilious attacks are not common, consumption scarcely ever heard of. Sometimes a man gets a temporary affection of the heart from pulling too much, or from some irregularity in his way of life. Sometimes he has a nervous attack from over work just before, or over excitement at an examination. the most general forms of illness, and usually but temporary
Some of my
in their effect. When a death occurs it is almost always either from accident or wilful dissipation.
I was anxious to obtain the statistics of Undergraduate mortality, for the purpose of bearing out my statements on this point by the actual figures; but I could not get them, simply because none have ever been kept. medical friends made shots at the question from their own experience, and agreed in an average of three deaths a-year; but this, among a population of eighteen hundred, must be below the mark. Of the “year” that entered with me at Trinity (that of 1844) three men died before the time of graduating, but two of these were lost by accidents; of the year before (that of 1843), and of the year after, in which I finally went out (that of 1845), there was not a single man who died. I doubt if this ever happens at Yale College (where the number of students is nearly the same as at Trinity) for two out of three successive years. During five years that I passed at New Haven, there was not a graduating class that had not lost at least three members.
Indeed a man must be healthy as well as strong—“in condition ” altogether to stand the work. For in the eight hours a-day which form the ordinary amount of a reading man's study, he gets through as much work as a German does in twelve; and nothing that our students go through can compare with the fatigue of a Cambridge examination. If a man's health is seriously affected, he gives up honors at once, unless he be a genius like my friend E-~, who “ can't help being first.” To go on with half reading, and take a place
below his own standard, as I did, is what an Englishman is too proud to do.
Why are the Cantabs in such good physical plight, when they have neither dietetic lectures nor voluntary societies ? All that
you will hear in the way or precept is a tradition or two, such as that eight hours a-day, “coach” and all, is a proper amount of work for a reading man, or that it is not safe to read after Hall (i. e. after dinner). Regular exercise is the great secret. But why do they exercise so regularly ? First of all, it amuses them : where so many different kinds of exercise are attainable, every man must find some kind that he likes, and that he pursues without thinking all the time that it is for his health-which is one reason why it does him good. These young practical philosophers have wisdom enough to see that it is not enough to exercise the body unless the mind is interested and diverted at the same time; and they carry out this principle even in the “ stitutionals :” a man will not walk out alone, for then he might still be thinking of the problems or the verses he was lately working at; no, he takes a friend with him, and they two talk on some subject of the day, politics or literature, or at worst "shop,” such as who are likely to be the next Scholars—anything but their actual studies. Now this seems so obvious a dictate of common sense, that the acting in accordance with it may appear to involve no remarkable stretch of wisdom, nay, I may be thought platitudinous for enlarging upon it at all; but I do insist that the principle deserves our attention, inasmuch as some professed lumina
ries of reform among ourselves have strangely ignored it, and with a short-sighted utilitarianism started a precisely contrary doctrine. The proposition has been distinctly laid down by persons of different schools, from an Episcopal bishop to a Socialist of no particular religion, that there should be no such thing as pure relaxation, but that when students are not at study they should be at work—actually employed in manual labor. This is really using a youth at one of the most critical and important periods of his life worse than any person of common intelligence or humanity would use a horse.
The doctrine is brought forward partly to carry out a fancy that some people have of asserting the dignity of labor-of making out that manual occupation is something very fine and glorious, not for its results, but for and in itself; and therefore they would make students work for the mere sake of working. Such a fancy is equally repugnant to reason and Scripture. The necessity of labor was part of the primeval curse, and all beauty, or glory, or dignity pertaining to labor depends on the ends to which it is the means. respect most sincerely the man who drives a dung-cart, if I know that he supports a sick relative or educates a child from the fruits of his toil, but driving a dung-cart is a very undignified pursuit for all that. Most manual labor is in itself disagreeable ; men submit to it because it is necessary and profitable, not for any merit or attraction that it has in itself. So they are delighted to obtain physic when ill by reason of the results they expect from it; but no one would say that taking castor-oil is its own reward.
I may To help along this crotchet comes the just-see-before-your nose-and-no-farther sort of idea that all time not spent in doing something tangible is lost. There is sometimes a useful lesson to be got out of a joke. Let me repeat a very old one for the benefit of these utilitarians.
A country manager saw that the trumpets of his orchestra were not taking part in an overture which the other musicians were executing. He rushed upon them and inveighed against their idleness. “But,” said one of the assailed, “we have fifteen bars rest here.” “ Rest !" retorted the other, “I don't pay you ten shillings a-night for resting ; blow away!" How the rest of the trumpets should be essential to the harmony of the piece was beyond his comprehension.
It is well known that scarcely one third of an entering class at West Point graduates, and any cadet, or any person conversant with the place, will tell you on being asked the reason, that it is the union of hard study and military drill (which amounts to a species of work) that causes so many to break down. A West-Pointer has told me that, after drilling, the men are so fatigued, in mind as well as body, that it takes them some time to settle down to study. I do not presume to find fault with the system at West Point, which is a peculiar one for a peculiar purpose. Its first object is not to educate young men, but to provide the U. S. Army with first-rate officers. The Government, having its pick out of a large number of applicants, has a right to sacrifice many of them for the sake of getting the best possible men for its own wants ; but a system which sifts out, in a course of four