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you look from this side) to wash the foot of that fortification. You feel as though you were walking on a quarter-deck. In fact, the waves are lapping on the large stones within a dozen yards. And so, backwards and forwards by the shore of the great sea.
5. Yet this is not the boundless ocean, over which you look away and away, and think that America is on its other side. This is but an arm of the Atlantic. It is the estuary of a river, not especially renowned in song. No poet has done for it what Burns did for the Doon, by which he drew his first breath. On the farther side there is an island, rich in soil and genial in climate, where many worn-out sufferers have been able to breathe out in peace their last wintertime in this world. Its name was not a pleasing one to those English folk who hạted an unpopular Scotch Prime Minister, many years ago.
6. And over that island you may see a line of mountainpeaks which will bear being looked at, though you may have come straight from Chamouni. Of course they are not so high as Mont Blanc ; and they have no solitudes of everlasting snow. Yet that is a glorious outline against the western sky, at sunset or at midday; and no part of the height of those mountains is lost. For the height of mountains is reckoned in feet above the sea-level : and here are the sea-level and the mountain-tops together. '
7. This is an autumn afternoon, one of the latest of September. And the fading woods suggest to one's mind a man with gray hair, wearing down. For the autumnal tint upon our head is gray, passing into white. We do not wither in glory, like crimson maples and glowing beeches in the October sun. But to-day there is not the bright crisp frosty sunshine touching declining Nature into pensive beauty ; but the light is leaden, and all the sky is made up of clouds that come down very close upon the earth and sea. The sea is dark and gloomy, and it breaks upon the beach with a surgy murmur, as you might think it would upon untrodden shores.
8. Our holiday-time ends to-morrow, and then comes the long stretch of work again. It is pleasant work, but hard work, and you shrink a little from the first plunge
ever ac. Then these those
into it. And you know the confused, over-driven feeling of the first days at the collar, with twenty things you would wish to do in the time in which it is possible to do ten. Holiday-time, I think, is something like life. We begin it, with vague anticipations of great rest and enjoyment. We find it, in fact, much less enjoyable than we had expected..
9. And at its end, though we may be conscious of a certain unwillingness to resume our load, yet we feel that our holiday-time is outworn ; and we are in some sort of way content to bid it good-by. Yet it is a trial to say good-by to anything ; and in bidding farewell to times and places, we feel that we shall never have those things again quite the same. Even if there should come to none of us any of those great changes which hang over all human beings, there will be the sensible change, in fact and in feeling, that is ever advancing upon all persons and all things here.
10. Then when you are far away from your home and its duties, all these come to look somewhat misty and undefined. You forget those little ways which make up your habitude of being. And all future time is hidden by a cloud through which we strive in vain to see. You do not know where you are going, nor what trials may be sitting and waiting for you by the wayside, not far on. There is a great uncertainty, and an indefinite fear. You have had your troubles, some of them just as heavy as you could bear : and what life has been, it must be.
11. And many minds know a good deal of the Roman Emperor's foreboding, that if things have long gone well with you, then something amiss is very likely to come. If we could but all rise to the happier argument from the Past to the Future of a certain ancient (and inspired) Poet, and really believe that “The LORD HATH BEEN mindful of us : He will bless us !” The more common way of judging certainly is, that since all has been so pleasant for many days or years, now a smash is due. But though this way of judging be common, and though to a superficial glance it seems to be confirmed by facts. it would be very easy to show that it is entirely wrong.
XCV.-WORK AND PLAY.
A. K. H. BOYD. 1. Nobody likes to work. I should never work at all if I could help it. I mean, when I say that nobody likes work, that nobody does so whose tastes and likings are in a natural and unsophisticated condition. Some men by long training and by the force of various circumstances, do, I am aware, come to have an actual craving, a morbid appetite, just as truly as that which impels a lady to eat chalk, or a child to prefer pickles to sugar plums.
2. Or if my reader quarrels with the word morbid, and insists that a liking for brisk, hard work is a healthy taste and not a diseased one, I will give up that phrase, and substitute for it the less strong one, that a liking for work is an acquired taste, like that which leads you and me, my friend, to like bitter beer. Such a man, for instance, as Lord Campbell, has brought himself to that state that I have no doubt he actually enjoys the thought of the enormous quantity of work which he goes through ; but when he does so, he does a thing as completely out of nature as is done by the Indian fakir, who feels a gloomy satisfaction as he reflects on the success with which he has labored to weed out all but bitterness from life.
3. I know quite well that we can bring ourselves to such a state of mind that we shall feel a sad sort of pleasure in thinking how much we are taking out of ourselves, and how much we are denying ourselves. What college man who ever worked himself to death but knows well this curious condition of mind ? He begins to toil, induced by the love of knowledge, or by the desire of distinction ; but after he has toiled on for some weeks or months, there gradually steals in such a feeling as that which I have been describing.
4. I have felt it myself, and so know all about it. I do not believe that any student ever worked harder than I did. And I remember well the gloomy kind of satisfaction I used to feel, as all day and much of the night I bent over my books, in thinking how much I was foregoing. The sky never seemed
so blue and so inviting as when I looked at it for a moment now and then, and so back to the weary page. And never did the green woodland walks picture themselves to my mind so freshly and delightfully as when I thought of them as of something which I was resolutely denying myself. I remember even now, when I went to bed at half-past four in the morning, having risen at half-past six the previous morning, and having done nearly as much for months, how I was positively pleased to see in the glass the ghastly cheeks, and the deep black circles round the eyes.
5. There is, I repeat, a certain pleasure in thinking one is working desperately hard, and taking a great deal out of one's-self; but it is a pleasure which is unnatural, which is factitious, which is morbid. It is not in the healthy, unsophisticated human animal. We know of course, that Lord ChiefJustice Ellenborough said when he was about seventy, that the greatest pleasure that remained to him in life, was to hear a young barrister, named Follett, argue a point of law: but it was a highly artificial state of mind, the result of very long training, which enabled the eminent judge to enjoy the gratification which he described ; and to ordinary men a legal argument, however ably conducted, would be sickeningly tiresome.
6. If you want to know the natural feeling of humanity towards work, see what children think of it. Is not the task always a disagreeable necessity, even to the very best boy? How I used to hate mine! Of course, my friendly reader, if you knew who I am, I should talk of myself less freely; but as you do not know, and could not possibly guess, I may, ostensibly do what every man tacitly does--make myself the standard of average human nature, the first meridian from which all distances and deflections are to be measured. Well, my feeling towards my school tasks was nothing short of hatred. And yet I was not a dunce. No, I was a clever boy. I was at the head of all my classes. Not more than once or twice have I competed at school or college for a prize which I did not get.
7. And I hated work all the while. Therefore I believe that all unsophisticated mortals hate it. I have seen silly parents trying to get their children to say that they liked
school-time better than holiday-time; that they liked work better than play. I have seen, with joy, manly little fellows repudiating the odious and unnatural sentiment; and declaring manfully that they preferred cricket to Ovid.
8. And if any boy ever tells you that he would rather learn his lessons than go out to the play-ground, beware of that boy. Either his health is drooping, and his mind becoming prematurely and unnaturally developed, or he is a little humbug. He is an impostor. He is seeking to obtain credit under false pretences. Depend upon it, unless it really be that he is a poor little spiritless man, deficient in nerve and muscle, and unhealthily precocious in intellect, he has in him the elements of a sneak; and he wants nothing but time to ripen him into a pickpocket, a swindler, a horsedealer, or a British bank-director.
9. Every one, then, naturally. hates work, and loves its opposite, play. And let it be remarked that not idleness, but play, is the opposite of work. But some people are so happy as to be able to idealize their work into play; or they have so great a liking for their work, that they do not feel their work as effort, and thus the element is eliminated which makes work a pain. How I envy those human beings who have such enjoyment in their work that it ceases to be work at all!
10. There is my friend Mr. Tinto, the painter; he is never so happy as when he is busy at his canvas, drawing forth from it forms of beauty; he is up at his work almost as soon as he has daylight for it; he paints all day, and he is sorry when the twilight compels him to stop. He delights in his work, and so his work becomes play.
11. I suppose the kind of work which, in the case of ordinary men, never ceases to be work, never loses the conscious feeling of strain and effort, is that of composition. A great poet, possibly, may find much pleasure in writing, and there have been exceptional men who said they never were so happy as when they had the pen in their hand. Buffon, I think, tells us that once he wrote for fourteen hours at a stretch, and all that time was in a state of positive enjoyment; and Lord Macaulay, in the preface to his recently published