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particularly in the absence of any feeling of being cramped in my limbs, which was always annoying in proportion to my improper living. I find my supplementary observations have extended so much further than I contemplated, that I must defer commencing the subject of diet till next week ; but I was unwilling to omit any details, which might be useful, though at the risk of being on some points too minute.
DOCTOR GREGORY'S DESCRIPTION OF
What I have said in preceding numbers respecting the state of health I once attained, is not, I find, easily credited by those who have not had similar experience. I subjoin a passage from high professional authority—that of Dr. James Gregory, late Professor of Medicine in Edinburgh-confirmatory of my positions; and those who will take the trouble to make the comparison, will find how fully I am borne out. The passage was pointed out to me many years since by a physician, and I extracted it at the time, but had forgotten its contents till I had the curiosity to refer to it the other day, and I now give an abbreviated translation from the original Latin. I believe it is principally taken from Celsus. My most staggering assertion I take to be this : “ It seems that from the surface of an animal in perfect health there is an active exhalation going on, which repels impurity; for when I walked on the dustiest roads, not only my feet, but even my stockings, remained free from dust.” Dr. Gregory says of a person in high health" the exhalation from the skin is free and constant, but without amounting to perspiration,"--exhalatio per cutem libera et constans, citra vero sudorem, which answers with remarkable precision to my “ active exhalation,” and the repulsion of impurity is a necessary consequence. In fact it is perspiration so active as to fly from the skin, instead of remaining upon it, or suffering any thing else to remain ; just as we see an animal in high health roll in the mire, and directly after appear as clean as if it had been washed. I enter into these particulars, not to justify myself, but to gain the confidence of my readers, not only on this particular subject, but generally—more especially as I shall have frequent occasion to advance things out of the common way, though in the way of truth. I have before remarked that well-grounded faith has great virtue in other things besides religion. The want of it is an insuperable bar to improvement in things temporal, as well as in things spiritual, and is the reverse of St. Paul's, “ rejoiceth in the truth, believeth all things, hopeth all things;" for it believes nothing and hopes nothing. It is the rule of an unfortunate sect of sceptics in excellence, who at the mention of any thing sound, look wonderfully wise, and shake their heads, and smile inwardly-infallible symptoms of a hopeless condition of half-knowledge and self-conceit. But to return to the passage, which is as follows:
“When a man is in perfect health, his mind is not only equal to the ordinary occasions of life, but is able easily to accommodate itself to all sorts of situations and pursuits, his perception, understanding, and memory are correct, clear and retentive; he is firm and composed, whether in a grave or lively humour--is always himself, and never the sport of inordinate affections or external accidents; he commands his passions instead of obeying them ; he enjoys prosperity with moderation, and bears adversity with fortitude, and is roused, not overwhelmed, by extraordinary emergencies. These are not only the signs of a healthy mind, but of a healthy body also ; and indeed they do not a little contribute to health of body; for as long as the mind is shut up within it, they will mutually and much affect each other .
“ The muscles are full and firm, the skin soft, almost moist, and never dry, the colour, especially of the face, fresh and constant, and whether fair or dark, never approaching to pale or yellow; the countenance animated and cheerful; the eyes bright and lively; the teeth sound and strong; the step firm; the limbs well supporting the body; the carriage erect ; every sort of exercise easy; and labour, though long and hard, borne without inconvenience; all the organs of sense acute, neither torpid nor too sensitive; sleep light and long, not easily disturbed, refreshing, and either without dreams, or at least without unpleasant ones, steeping the senses in sweet forgetfulness, or filling the mind with pleasant images. Other signs of a healthy body are the temperate circulation of the blood, the pulse strong, full, soft, equal, neither too quick nor too slow, nor easily raised beyond the ordinary rate; the respiration full, easy, slow, scarcely apparent, and not much accelerated by exercise; the voice strong and sonorous, and in men deep, not easily made hoarse ; the breath sweet, at least without any thing to the contrary; the mouth moist ; the tongue bright, and not too red; the appetite strong, and requiring no stimulants; the thirst moderate; the digestion of all sorts of food
fermentation, or sensation of oppression; and the exhalation from the skin free and constant, but without amounting to perspiration, except from the concurrence of strong causes.
There is one very important conclusion to be drawn from the above description, and that is, that a high state of health is a high moral state, which is the reverse of what would be generally supposed. Dr. Gregory says that a man in perfect health is not the sport of inordinate affections, and that he commands his passions, instead of obeying them, which means, that there is no physical excess to make the affections and passions unruly, but that, like temperate gales, they waft him on his course, instead of driving him out of it. What is generally called high health, is a pampered state, the result of luxurious or excessive feeding, accompanied by hard or exciting exercise, and such a state is ever on the borders of disease. It is rather the madness, or intoxication of health, than health itself, and it has a tincture of many of the dangerous qualities of madness and intoxication.
TWO GOOD DISHES.
As the fruit season is at hand, I give a receipt for preparing it, which I think ought to be much more common than it is. From the failures I have seen, I suppose it requires some skill and attention : but, when well managed, it furnishes a dish tempting in appearance, very agreeable to the palate, and much more wholesome than fruit with pastry. It is excellent for luncheon, or for supper, when any is wanted, and is very grateful, cold, in hot weather. It applies to every kind of fruit that is made into tarts, and is particularly good with ripe peaches or apricots, and with green gage or magnum bonum plums.
Wash a sufficient quantity of rice; put a little water to it, and set it in the oven till the water is absorbed. Then put in a little milk, work it well with a spoon, set it in the oven again, and keep working it from time to time till it is sufficiently soft. A little cream worked in at the last is an improvement. Fill a tart dish nearly full of fruit, sweeten it, and lay on the rice unevenly by spoonfuls. Bake it till the rice has a light brown, or fawn colour on the surface.
Another receipt also applicable to the season, and, in my opinion, of great merit, is the following :
Put a few beets, a little onion, one lettuce, and a cucumber in the oven,
sliced into a stew-pan, with a little water, and a proper quantity of butter, and pepper, and salt. Set the
pan and when the vegetables have been stewed some time, put a quantity of boiled peas and some meat into the pan, and let the whole stew till the meat is ready to serve up. Lay the vegetables on the dish round the meat. Mutton, lamb, and veal are excellent dressed in this manner; and it is a very good way of using up cold meat.
It is true, this dish is by no means suited to make its appearance in state exhibitions, but that, in my mind, is no objection. I like the familiar and satisfactory style both of cooking and of eating, with the dish actually before me on mensâ firma, the solid table--not a kickshaw poked from behind, and dancing in the air between me and my lady neighbour's most inconvenient sleeve, without time to think whether I like what is offered, or whether I want it or not. This is all exceedingly polite according to present notions ; but I rather prefer something of the Miltonic mode,
Where Corydon and Thyrsis met,
Which the neat-handed Phillis dresses ; or Dryden's style, as paraphrased from Horace,
Sometimes ’tis grateful to the rich to try
A savoury dish, a homely treat,
Without the stately spacious room,
It is pity one never sees luxuries and simplicity go together, and that people cannot understand that woodcocks and champagne are just as simple as fried bacon and small beer, or a haunch of venison as a leg of mutton ; but with delicacies there is always so much alloy as to take away the true relish.