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of passing ships interchange shouts; that would intensify even an Irish debate; but, of course, such a one as Miss Kilmansegg used, "who might have worn a percussion cap, and been knocked on the head without hearing it snap."
I am afraid that no remedy has been found for deafness; the trumpet, or some arrangement for the collection and conveyance of sound, is the one exclusive help to the deaf. I am at no loss to understand why a trumpet should be looked upon as a more depressing sign of infirmity than an eye-glass, for not only is deafness a more frequent accompaniment of old age than a radical failure of the eyesight, but the appearance of the instrument is repulsive. We think nothing of seeing a man sticking a glass in his eye, but when he takes out a trumpet, and cocks his head on one side with an inquisitive look, we at once reckon him to be tiresomely aged, and shirk an interview. We dislike the trouble of talking to him, whereas we can wink at a man in spectacles without fatigue. It is occasionally difficult, however, to realize that a man is deaf till something suddenly makes us apprehend it. I think of the clerk of a country church who was once much exercised at the appearance of a strange old gentleman who, when the sermon was about to begin, took a trumpet (in two parts) out of his pocket, and began screwing them together. The clerk watched him till the process was completed, and then, going stealthily up, whispered: "Yeow marn't play that here; do, I'll turn yo out."
I can feel for him, for, being somewhat hard of hearing myself, I know how provoking it is to see a speaker's lips moving, well within range, and yet not to know what he says. What a revelation of dramatic enjoyment "L'Enfant Prodigue" has been to many a deaf playgoer! It is literally a "spectacle." "L'Enfant Prodigue" has opened a new door into the enjoyments of life to hundreds, for the "hearing" have small idea of the number of those who are denied the full perception of what they unconsciously enjoy. A deaf man conceals his infirmity much more than people think. He cannot be always asking them to repeat what they have just said, and what others obviously apprehend; so his mouth is shut as well as his ears, and he smiles when he sees people laugh. They have small idea of his secret vexation.
Perhaps it would be better for him to be not so shy, and thus let others know how much pleasure they could give by the
exercise of a little consideration. The deaf man, moreover, would be conferring a benefit on all by inducing people to speak distinctly. Nothing is more wearisome than the slovenly way in which some clip their words, or talk with their mouths shut. The insistence of the deaf might thus become a universal benefit, and a plague lead to a blessing.
Among the infirmities of the old man, nothing is more constantly present to him than his slowness of motion. He may walk "briskly," but there the difference comes in; he cannot "run." Let him be ever so late for the train, he walks if on foot, running is out of the question. This is the more of a revelation as we are growing old, since it is the most natural of impulses to quicken the pace; but with the old man it is literally "the pace which kills." He can't run at all, to speak of, but if he tries he may come to a sudden end of his walks. To one who could tuck his elbows into his side and run steadily for miles, and at a fair pace, too, this incapacity is sometimes almost startling. He has, we will say, been walking smartly, but the moment of forgetfulness in which he puts on a spurt is a "caution." He prefers losing his place in the train to his friends finding his name in the list of sudden deaths.
In respect to appetite, I am inclined to think that there is much popular error. The general belief is, or was when I was a youth, that old men have lost the sense of taste. That is by no means the casein fact, their palate is more judicious, if not keener, than it was. They know what is the difference between good and bad in what they eat and in what they drink. My readers must not think that this involves the admission of any sensuality, for it comes as a matter of course. Perception of fitness in food is, to a great extent, a result of experience. The young cannot have acquired it; they live and learn in this matter as well as in others. There is no praise or blame due to the man who has had opportunities of discovering what is best to eat and drink.
I grant you that his digestion is not always what it was, but that is generally his own fault. I hold that there are two or three main rules which ensure health, as far as digestion goes; one is, never be tempted to eat what you do not like. Of course there are circumstances in which you have no choice, but, assuming that you have, always eat what you fancy, and nothing else. The real cause of indigestion is excess. The double rule of diet is
to eat what you like, and know when to stop; the old man who has lost his digestion has failed in one or both of these respects. But if he has fairly obeyed them he is better able to know what is best to eat and drink, and to relish his own food. Don't tell me that he has necessarily lost the edge of his taste; his palate ought to be a finer instrument as it is the more used, but it has to be used honestly, and then it will last like an old razor, which cuts the better the older it is. I dare say many of my readers will not believe me, yet I speak truth. Indeed, it is only a naturally developed faculty of taste which exposes some old men to the charge of being gourmands. They know what they are about, without being in the least greedy; they utilize a cultivated instinct, and are all the better for the choice of what they like best. If we look at old age in other aspects, we shall find it is freed from much that troubles early life. The sorrows of youth are sharper than those of maturity -so at least it would seem, for there is no fixed standard of misery by which to compare them, so that this or that may be shown to be above or below "proof." The heart knoweth its own bitterness, and a stranger doth not intermeddle with its joy. A cut finger, broken toy, denial of the moon, may bring a burst of lamentation; and though the storm passes, April showers are just as wet as any in the year. They are the young, too, who mostly deplore the hollowness of life; it is in its middle chiefly that men and women seek the relief of suicide. The old seldom kill themselves; and this is not because they need not be in a hurry, the terminus being near, nor because they don't care, but because they have learned some wisdom in life; and that is not wholly to be despised. The skies have not fallen, even after a storm, and the sun rises after the blackest night. They have learned to apprehend the wisdom of the cheery old proverb, "Though the ring be lost, the fingers are left." And that is mostly the heritage of old age; disappointments have not dulled, but rather quickened the perceptions of life. They are taken for what they are worth, and molehills are seen not to be mountains.
The contrasts between immature and mature judgment are perhaps most provoking to the young when plans and schemes are afloat, for then the experience of years is plainly nothing but a detestable wet blanket. But I should like to know what the world would be without a good supply of deterrents. Trains with
out brakes are not the safest to travel by. How often you can do nothing better than to pour a bucket of cold water upon some ardently ambitious scheme; its promoters do not thank you at the time, Lo doubtnor, indeed, always afterwards - but many do, and you take care to have another pailful handy. It is hopeless to conjecture what would happen without this venerable fire-brigade, with grey heads instead of helmets. Enthusiasm leads the world, no doubt, but it has a trick of running into fanaticism unless some Captain Shaw is within call to check the transformation. Along with his cooling hose, however, no one has a more genuine joy in downright stubborn good work than your old man who can see what is coming, and tell between windbags and workers. To help these last is one of the great pleasures of age; when he sees that there is something plainly worth doing in hand he determines that he will leave the world a little better than it was, and is glad to give the thing as hearty a push as he can.
After all this it is only fair to say a word about some follies of old age; and, believe it, none see these more plainly than the old. It would gratify some young people to hear what they say about one another. Perhaps there is nothing which saddens an old man more than youthful affectation among his peers, seen especially in dress and decoration. A young "heart" is never out of place, but wigs and tight boots are keenly repulsive on an old boy. Does the old dandy suppose for a moment that his dye is not as plain as the nose upon his face? The very best only brings out the tell-tale color of the withered skin and invites inspection of wrinkles. confess, too, to a creepy sort of feeling when I see an old man dance. Can he be blind to the glances of polite contempt which cross his path? Probably he knows the pattern of the movements to be made, forgetting all the time the figure he is cutting himself. Even when pressed by dear children to take part in some Christmas capers, if he is wise he had much better only look on. The inner flavor of the joke at seeing grandpapa dance is not always such as he would relish himself if he got a strong whiff of it. The conversation in the nursery sometimes detracts from the expressions of gratitude which have followed his performance. He had much better stand with his back to the fire and look on.
But though other old men would advise him not to dance, it must not be supposed for a moment that they have no special
pleasures of their own. The watching not so ugly as some would make it look. of the young, and the entering (without There are many old people glad to live as pumps or pretence of agility) into their long as they are here, and yet, without plans and play, is one of the greatest; and affectation, quite ready to meet the mesyet seniors have legitimate, and, I was senger when he comes. It is not that almost going to say, exclusive, sources of they are tired, and willing to lie down, enjoyment. For there is a flavor in expe- weary of life; that is not so common as rienced, or what I will call "retrospec- some may think when they sit in judgment tive," conversation-"talk," if you will. on the old and settle what they ought to When a few (or two) old friends meet, per- wish; but, quite apart from this, there haps after years, the interchange of their is with many a sense of undiminished memories has a flavor (not, indeed, without vitality quite separate from that of limb touches of inevitable sadness) which no and lung which has a special value as the mid-life or youth could provide. There is last door is within view. If life has an assurance of tried friendship which shown anything, it has enabled us to see belongs to the old alone. They have that nothing is made or given to man known one another all their lives; the without a purpose. And of all things feeling of friendship has not been broken; that he has, "appetite " is the most sure and this stirs a sense of confidence, un- and prominent. Hunger, thirst, and other definable, but sure, such as nothing but natural universal desires have not been years can possibly create. The meeting implanted in him without a plain intention of old and tested friends brings a pleasure that they must needs be satisfied. That which belongs exclusively to age. is the main experience of life. And the more strongly that they are felt so much the more certainly are they fulfilled. Now there is no more persuasion, however varied in shape, than that of some afterlife. There is no appetite to be compared to the desire which is felt for this. Can we suppose that this alone of all the desires of man is implanted in him without any prospect of its fruition? Every other is followed by its appropriate realization. Is this alone a mockery among the crowd of hopes without which we cannot live? The desire of immortality which man profoundly and unquestionably feels, and which has filled and is filling the hearts of millions-is that to turn out the one delusion, the sole dream of mankind? Nothing is without its purpose, or, rather, all things have their fulfilment. Is this, immeasurably the greatest or the most irrepressible and inexhaustible of all, impotent, purposeless, and barren?
Young people must not think the old churlish if they sometimes like to be left alone. They are not always bursting with eagerness to learn the result of the last cricket match, nor to rejoice at a breaking of the latest cycling record. It by no means follows that their talk would be such as might not be had before a class of divinity students, but-there-old folks like sometimes to be left to themselves, quite as much as the young ones, however innocent the chatter of the boys and girls may be. Let me add, moreover, that there is, as I think, a perception of humor which grows with age. Old folks may not laugh loudly, nor see the wit of everything which entertains the young, and yet they are able occasionally to appreciate a position with a flavor of perceptive appetite which is missed or unborn till more has been learned about the true nature of the absurd, ridiculous, or grotesque. There can be a good-natured chuckle over a thing which perhaps seemed once to have deserved grave consideration. It is not merely that two sides of the matter are seen, but there is, possibly, a comical element in it which it would have been a pity to miss. The goodnatured perception of an absurdity is an acquired gift, as well as the conviction that many pretentious demands had better be disposed of with a smile.
There is one feature of old age which some might think so importunately insist ent as to fill the whole field of vision, and that is its nearly approaching close. No doubt it is often more plainly felt by the old than by the young, and yet it is
From The Argosy.
A SHORT DIARY OF THE DAYS GONE BY. The following extracts from an account of a journey to Calais in 1814 may interest the reader, as affording a glimpse of the manners and customs of the early part of this century and as touching upon scenes and persons that have passed into history. The MS. has remained until now with the daughter of the writer of the diary, to whom it passed upon the author's death.
EMBARKED for Calais in a Deal boat at half past one o'clock on Thursday, 14th
April, 1814; fine weather till four, when it began to rain and blow, the wind changing every minute, and being at times quite tremendous. At five o'clock we were greatly alarmed by an English brig making signal for us not to proceed; five guns were fired at us, and it was half an hour before we were relieved from our anxiety. They merely requested us to take a letter from the brother of Talleyrand (whom we saw in the vessel) to Calais.
We proceeded; the weather continued unfavorable, the wind went round the compass in the course of ten minutes, and as soon as it abated we were becalmed. At length, at about half past ten o'clock, we entered the harbor, which is a remarkably fine one with a wooden pier a quarter of a mile long. The water being low we soon ran aground, and being obliged to cast anchor, we were detained some time. As soon as we got clear again, the gentlemen went ashore in the little boat and with difficulty towed us along. About eleven o'clock we landed on the pier, and here a new difficulty arose from the gates of Calais being shut, which is always done at eight o'clock in the evening; and, had it not been for the letter which we received from the brig, I know not whether we should have gained admittance. In this respect we were fortunate, and were happy to find ourselves at half past eleven at Dessein's Hotel, which is extremely large; but although they make up a hundred beds, we were so unlucky as to find them all engaged. However, we sat down to a comfortable supper with a good appetite, having had no dinner, and presently had the satisfaction of being shown into an apartment containing three small beds, which, although they could not boast much comfort, afforded us that rest we so much needed, for we were all dreadfully fatigued from the length of our pas. sage.
Friday, April 15th, 1814. About ten o'clock this morning we arose much refreshed, and after breakfast took a walk on the pier and in the town. The latter is larger than Deal, with a fine town hall, market-place, and one church. The streets are tolerably wide, but very inconvenient to foot passengers, people being obliged to walk in the carriage road, as there is no broad stone. The houses have a dirty, shabby appearance; they are built of yellow bricks, and look smokedried. The fortifications all round the town are very strong. You enter by five gates on the English side, which to me
resembled the entrance to a prison more than anything else.
Our reception was most flattering, being the first English ladies who had landed on that coast for many years. The people followed us all the time we were walking, giving us their blessing, and crying, "Vive Louis XVIII.!" Every countenance was expressive of the greatest joy and satisfaction.
There is a small town enclosed within a high wall, on the outside of the gates of Calais, for the fishermen and their families. It is composed of seven narrow, dirty streets, but the inhabitants appeared particularly happy, and testified their joy on seeing us even more than those of the upper town. I think I never saw such beautiful children, but dreadfully dirty, owing, I suppose, to their being so numerous.
We returned to dinner at about four o'clock, which was served up in a curious manner. One dish is brought in first, and when every one has eaten of that, it is taken away, and replaced by another, and thus throughout the dinner; they eat scarcely any vegetable, and very little pastry, sugar being five shillings a pound. They generally drink claret, and mix it with water for their dinner, instead of beer, which is not so good as in England. We drank tea with Mr. and Mrs. Collett, English people; they have a very nice house, handsomely furnished, something in the style of our own country. Tea was handed in coffee cups, which is the custom in France. The sideboard was covered with plate (a little silver cow served as cream jug), elegant waiters and silver urns, etc. Played at Boston in the evening, a French game with cards for four. Returned home to supper.
Saturday, April 16th, 1814. We took a walk to the market, which is the finest I ever saw, it resembles a fair. The stalls are arranged in rows; the corn is placed in sacks, and you may inspect it before you purchase, which certainly is a good regulation. Everything is remarkably cheap; fine turkeys five shillings each; eggs twenty-six for sevenpence halfpenny, and all in proportion, but things are getting up very fast owing to the great demand to carry to England. The women and children all wear caps and handkerchiefs instead of bonnets, which I observe are always clean, but the rest of the dress is miserable. The towncrier came into the market with the lid of a kettle, which he struck instead of a bell,
to our great amusement. After we had rambled about here some time, we walked to the fort nearest Fort Rouge, and examined the cannons and mortars, some of which are very fine. Returned home to dinner, after which, went on to the pier till tea. Mr. Mansel and his sister spent the evening with us. Played Boston.
Sunday, April 17th.
Mr. M. Morley returned to England. At half past twelve o'clock all our party, with Miss Gaudoin and M. de la Loude,
set off for Cologne, a pretty little village two miles from Calais, where M. de Flin resides, and with whom we spent the day. He has a large house and grounds; the former is singularly built, the rooms are high pitched and octagon, no carpets, and chairs with rush bottoms. Comfort does not appear to be a consideration in France. We took a walk to a pretty little wood, in the centre of which is a monument and grave of a young lady, a friend of Mrs. Scholey's, who died of love at the age of
We spent the afternoon in singing: Returned to Calais at nine o'clock and sang till bed-time.
Monday, April 18th. We arose at five o'clock, took breakfast, and set out with Miss Gaudoin and M. de la Loude, in addition to our own party, in a coach and three horses for Boulogne, four-and-twenty miles from Calais -an excellent road all the way, but hilly. Boulogne is larger than Calais. It is composed of the upper and lower town. There is a fine church, which we were permitted to go into. Three beautiful altar-pieces, with large silver candlesticks, ten in number-the cross, fish, etc., of silver. The body of the church is very large and contains a fine organ, on which I played, to the great delight of one of the priests who was with us. He was a very pleasant man, full of conversation, and extremely polite in explaining and showing us everything.
The army destined to invade England was encamped on a high hill on each side of the harbor, in which lay the flotilla. The mud walls of the tents still remain, and have a curious appearance. They are built regularly in rows like streets, but they are clearing them away for the sake of the land. Two hundred thousand men lived here for six years. The emperor was often with the army; but, from the frequent repulses he met with from the English, was always in bad humor. So sure was he in his own mind of success
with this grand flotilla, that he had already begun to erect a monument in commemoration of the event. The scaffolding, which still remains, cost many thousands. The monument, I think, was but little advanced. From the camp you have a fine command of the town and harbor — which, as the emperor was admiral of the fleet, was requisite. The ramparts enclosing about a mile round. From here you have the town are excessively pretty, and are a charming view of the environs, which glish hotel, where we met with anything are certainly fine. We dined at an Enbut civility-in this they are truly defi
windows, we saw a Chevalier de St. Louis While amusing ourselves at the enter the courtyard. We were all amusing ourselves at this poor man's expense (for a more ridiculous figure and complete caricature I never beheld), when, to our great confusion and surprise, Mrs. Scholey led him into the room, introduced him, and invited him to spend the day with us, although a perfect stranger to her as well
as to us all-but he was a Chevalier de St. Louis, and that was sufficient for Mrs. S. I shall now describe his dress, which caused us so much mirth. He was a very tall, thin old man, I should imagine he must have been nearly ninety; he had on a scarlet velvet coat and small-clothes of the same, an under waistcoat of fawn color, and the outer one of green satin (these were laid open to display an uncom mon broad shirt frill), white stockings and half boots, an immense cocked hat with a high feather, and a large stick in his hand, on which he sported several rings. He wore the croix de St. Louis round his neck, which he politely took off to show us. His manners were gentlemanly, and in spite of the singularity of his appearance his figure was truly venerable.
We returned to Calais at about ten o'clock, dreadfully tired, and after a good supper went to bed, highly gratified with the variety of the day.
Tuesday, April 19th.
It rained for an hour or two, but cleared off towards noon. Took a walk in the town. Mr. and Mrs. Morley had a large party to dinner, and we all went in the evening to Mr. Mansel, where we met a large party. Tea was handed in coffee cups, and many kinds of curious cake in great quantities, immediately after which wine was sent round, to my great astonishment; but I soon learnt that French ladies never drink tea, therefore this was made out of compliment to us. The lady