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Gout. The world may think as it pleases: it is al ways very complaisant to itself, and sometimes to its friends; but I very well know, that the quantity of meat and drink proper for a man, who takes a reasonable de gree of exercise, would too be much for another, who never takes any.
Franklin. -' I take - Eh! Oh! - as much exercise Eh! - as I can, Madam Gout. You know my sedentary state, and on that account, it would seem, Madam Gout, as if you might spare me a little, seeing it is not al together my own fault.
Gout. Not a jot; your rhetoric and your politeness are thrown away; your apology avails nothing. If your situa. tion in life is a sedentary one, your amusement, your recreations, at least, should be active. You onght to walk or ride; or, if the weather prevents that, play at billiards. But let us examine your course of life. While the mornings are long, and you have leisure to go abroad, what do you do? Why, instead of gaining an appetite for breakfast, by salutary exercise, you an use yourself with books, pamphlets, or newspapers, which commonly are not worth the reading. Yet you eat an inordinate breakfast, four dishes of tea, with cream, and one or two but. tered toasts, with slices of hung beef, which I fancy are not things the most easily digested.' Immediately after. ward you sit down to write at your desk, or converse with persons who apply to you on business. Thus the time passes till one, without any kind of bodily exercise, But all this I could pardon, in regard, as you say, to your sedentary condition. But what is your practice after dinner? Walking in the beautiful gardens of those friends with whoni you have dined would be the choice of men of sense: yours is to be fixed down to chess, where you are found engaged for two or three hours! This is your perpetual recreation, which is the least eligible of any for a sedentary man, because, instead of accelerating the motion of the fluids, the rigid attention it requires helps to retard the circulation and obstruct internal secretions, Wrapt in the speculations of this wretched game, you destroy your constitution. What can be expected from such a course of living, but a body replete with stagnant humours, ready to fall a prey to all kinds of dangerous maladies, if I, the gout, did not occasionally bring you relief by agitating these humours, and so purifying or dissipating them? If it was in some nook or alley in Paris, deprived of walks, that you played awhile at chess after dinner, this might be excusable, but the same taste prevails with you in Passy, Auteuil, Montmartre, or Sanoy, places where there are the finest gardens und walks, a pure air, beautiful women and most agreeable and instructive conversation; all which you might enjoy by frequenting the walks! But these are rejected for this abominable game of chess. Fie, then, Mr. Franklin! But amidst my instructions, I had almost forgot to ad
minister my wholesome corrections : so take that twinge and that.
Franklin. Oh! Eh! Oh! Ohhh! As much instruction as you please, Madam Gout, and as many reproaches, but pray, Madam, a truce with your corrections!
Gout. - No, sir, no - I will not abate a particle of what is so much for your good – therefare
Franklin. Oh! Ehhh! – It is not fair to say I take no exercise, when I do very often, going out to dine, and returning in my carriage.
Gout. That, of all imaginable exercise, is the most slight and insignificant, if you allude to the motion of a carriage suspended on springs. By observing the degree of heat obtained by different kinds of motion we may form an estimate of the quantity of exercise given by each, Thus, for example, if you turn out to walk in winter with cold feet, in an hour's tiine you will be in a glow all over; ride on horseback, the same effect will scarcely be per. ceived by four hours round trotting: but if you loll in a carriage, such as you have mentioned, you may travel all day, and gladly enter the last inn to warm your feet by a fire. Flatter yourself then no longer, that half an hour's airing in your carriage deserves the name of exercise. Providence has appointed few to roll in carriages, while he has given to all a pair of legs, which are ma. chines infinitely more commodions and serviceable. Be grateful, then, and make a proper use of yonrs. Would you know, how they'forward the circulation of your fluids, in the very action of transporting you from place to place ? observe, when you walk, that all your weight is alternately thrown from one leg to the other; this occasions a great pressure on the vessels of the foot, and repels their contents. When relieved, by the weight being thrown on the other foot, tbe vessels of the first are allowed to re. plenish, and by return of this weight, this repulsion again sncceeds; thus accelerating the circulation of the blood. The heat produced in any given time depends on the de gree of this acceleration: the fluids are shaken, the humours attenuated, the secretions facilitated, and all goes well; the cheeks are ruddy, and health is established. Behold your fair friend at Auteuil: a lady who received from bounteous nature more really useful science, than half a dozen such pretenders to philosophy, as you, have been able to extract from all your books. When she honours you with a visit, it is on foot. She walks all hours. of the day, and leaves its concomitant maladies to be endured by her horses. In this see at once the preservative of her health and personal charms. But you, when you go to Auteuil, must have your carriage, though it is no farther from Passy to Auteuil, than from Auteuil to Passy.
Franklin. — Your reasonings grow very tiresome.
Gout.-I stand corrected. I will be silent and continue my office : take that, and that.
Franklin. - Oh! Ohh! Talk on, I pray you!
No, no; I have a good number of twinges for you to-night, and you may be sure of some more tomorrow.
Franklin. - What, with such a fever! I shall go distracted. Oh! Eh! Can no one bear it for me?
Gout. — Ask that of your horses; they have served you faithfully.
Franklin. How can you so cruelly sport with my torments ?
Gout. — Sport? I am very serious. I have here a list of your offences against your own health distinctly written, and can justify every stroke inflicted on you.
Franklin. - Read it then.
Gout. — It is too long a detail; but I will briefly mention sonie particulars.
Franklin. - Proceed - I am all attention.
Gout. Do you remember how often you have promised yourself, the following morning, a walk in the grove of Boulogne, in the garden de la Muette, or in your own garden, and have violated your promise, alleging, at one time, it was too cold, at another too warm, too windy, too moist, or what else you pleased; when in truth it was too nothing, but your insuperable love of ease ?
Franklin. - That I'confess may have happened occasionally, probably ten times in a year. Gout.
Your confession is very far short of the truth; the gross amount is one hundred and ninety-nine times.
Franklin. - Is it possible?
Gout. So possible, that it is fact; you may rely on the accuracy of my statement. You know Mr. B.....'s gardens, and what fine walks they contain ; you know the handsome flight of an hundred steps, which lead from the terrace above to the lawn below. You have been in the practice of visiting this amiable family twice a week after dinner, and as it is a maxim of your own, that "a man may take as much exercise in walking a mile up and down stairs, as in ten on level ground, what an op. portunity was here for you to have had exercise in both these ways? Did you embrace it, and how often?
Franklin. - 1 cannot immediately answer that question.
Gout. - Even so. During the summer you went there at six o'clock. You found the charming lady, with her lovely children and friends, eager to walk with you, and entertain you with their agreeable conversation: and what has been your choice? Why to sit on the terrace, satisfying yourself with the fine prospect, and passing your eye over the beauties of the garden below, without taking one step to descend and walk about in them. On the contrary, you call for tea, and the chess-board; and lo! you are occupied in your seat till nine o'clock, and that beside two hours play after dinner; and then, instead of
walking home, which would have bestirred you a little, you steep into your carriage. How absurd to suppose, that all this carelessness can be reconcileable with health, without my interposition ! Franklin. – I am convinced now of the justness of
poor Richard's remark, that, “Our debts and our sins are always greater than we think for.,
Ġout. – So it is! you philosophers are sages in your maxims, and fools in your conduct.
Franklin. — But do you charge among my crimes, that I return in a carriage from Mr. B....'s ?
Gout. Certainly: for having been seated all the while, you cannot object the fatigue of the day, and cannot want therefore the relief of a carriage.
Franklin. What then would you have me do with my carriage ?
Gout. — Burn it, if you choose; you would at least get heat out of it once in this way; or if you dislike that proposal, here's another for you: observe the poor peasants who work in the vineyards and grounds about the villages of Passy, Auteuil, Chaillois, etc. you may find every day among these deserving creatures, four or five old men and women, bent and perhaps crippled by weight of years, and too long and too great labour. After a most fatiguing day, these people have to trudge a mile or two to their smoky huts. “Order your coachman to set them down. That is an act that will be good for your soul and at the same time, after your visit to the B....'s, if you return on foot, that will be good for your body.
Franklin, Ah! how tiresome you are.
Gout. Well then, to my office ; it should not be forgotten, that I am your physician. There.
Franklin. - Ohhh! what a devil of a physician! Gout. - How ungrateful are you to say so! Is it not I, who, in the character of your physician, have saved you from the palsy, dropsy, and apoplexy? one or other of which would have done for you long ago, but for me.
Franklin. — 1 submit, and thank you for the past, but intreat the discontinuance of your visits for the future: for in my mind one had better die, than be cured so dolefully. Permit me just to hint, that I have also not been unfriendly to you. I never feed physician, or quack of any kind, to enter the list against you; if then you do not leave me to my repose, it may be said you are ungrateful too.
Gout. I can scarcely acknowledge that as any objection. As to quacks, I despise them: they may kill you, indeed, but cannot injure ine. And as to regular physicians, they are at last convinced, that the gout, in such a subject as you are, is no disease, but a remedy; and wherefore cure a remedy? - but to our business - There.
Franklin. – Oh! Oh! - for heaven's sake, leave me; and I promise faithfully never more to play at chess, but to take exercise daily, and live temperately.
Gout. - I know you too well. You promise fair; but, after a few months of good health, you will return to your old habits; your fine promises will be forgotten, like the forms of the last year's clouds. Let us then finish the account, and I will go. But l-leave you, with an assurance of visiting you again at a proper time and place; for my object is your good, and you are sensible now that I am your real friend.
SINGULAR CUSTOM AMONG THE
AMERICANS, entitled White-washing.
DEAR SIR, My wish is to give you some account of the people of these new states, but I am far from being qualified for the purpose, having as yet seen little more than the cities of New York and Philadelphia. I have discovered but few national singularities among them. Their
customs and manners are nearly the same with those of England, which they have long be used to copy. For, previous to the revolution, the Americans were from their infancy taught to look up to the English as patterns of perfection in all things. I have observed, however, one custom, which, for aught I know, is peculiar to this country. An account of it will serve to fill up the remainder of this sheet, and may afford you some aniusement.
When a young conple are about to enter into the matrimonial state, a never failing article in the marriagetreaty is, that the lady shall have and enjoy the free and unmolested exercise of the rights of white-washing, with all its ceremonials, privileges, and appurtenances. A young woman would forego the most advantageous connection, and even disappoint the warmest wish of her heart, rather than resign the invaluable right. You would wonder what this privilege of white-washing is: I will endeavour to give you some idea of the ceremony, as I have seen it perfornied.
There is no season of the year in which the lady may not claim her privilege, if she pleases; but the latter end of May is most generally fixed upon
for the purpose. The attentive husband may judge by certain prognostics when the storm is nigh at hand. When the lady is usual. ly fretful, finds fault with the servants, is discontented with the childien, and complains much of the filthiness of every thing about her – these are signs which ought not to be neglected; yet they are not decisive, as they