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HIS word is one of mockery to the
idler, but of magic power to him
who works, whether he be schoolboy or man, whether he be ploughman or premier. I question whether age makes much difference in the enjoyment of a holiday, so long as we have tolerable health. The boy is of course more demonstrative: he expresses himself about the tyrant pedagogue, who keeps him to his task, more freely than paterfamilias does about inexorable business. He shuts his book with a buoyancy, if not sauciness, which the elder holiday-maker does not feel ; but for all that, the latter accepts the change with a depth of enjoyment of which Master Tommy is incapable. A man's holiday finds much of its
Getting Ready to Go. charm in the sense of escape from responsibility. He sheds the daily capricious demands of a profession. When he leaves his house, his office, his chambers, or his shop, he drops the burden of command, which is even heavier than that of obedience. For days, we will suppose, he has drawn the threads of his work together, and wound up the machine to go during his absence. When the luggage is labelled, the room in the litter of departure, the cab called, the last summary made of wraps and umbrellas, the man feels a steady sense of imminent relief, of which the boy knows nothing.
A friend of mine had once just reached this crisis of a holiday. His carpet-bag was ready; in a few minutes he would have been off to Spain, when a messenger arrived, red in the face, with news which obliged him to stay at home for a month. He took his knapsack out of his bag, he re-entered the littered rooms, went up again into his tumbled bed-chamber, put his new travelling suit of dittoes into the stale old wardrobe, locked up
passport with its last gritty visa, and worked hard for a month. I look on my friend as a man who has been through the agony of disappointment, as one whose banns have been forbidden at the altar.
The essence of a holiday is change. This is The Charm of Change.
3 more important than mere rest.
I do not know, however, whether change would not be more refreshing if it were preceded by some rest. We are apt to leap too suddenly from work to play, and many a man gets knocked up by racketing off from the bustle of business to that of pleasure without an interval of rest. He would enjoy his tour more if he would take two or three good long sleeps, and have his fill of yawning. Then he would wake up and enjoy himself. The great want of many professional men is sleep. Nature demands that first. However sincere your purpose of ascending the Matterhorn as soon as you reach Switzerland, however capable you may be of that feat, don't despise a few disgracefully late breakfasts before you gird yourself for the exertions of your holiday. If you don't thus "knit up the ravelled sleeve of Care,” you will very likely find the unusual exertions of an active tour rub your health out at elbows.
Change, however, is the great restorative. The sedentary man laces on his highlows, and pants up the hill; the weary mountain-shepherd lounges in the valley. The townsman flies to the country; the countryman takes the train for town. The landsman rejoices in a cruise ; the sailor gets leave for the shore.
Town and Country.
I live in London myself, and therefore enjoy the country with a relish unintelligible to rustics. To me, the country is the land of ease : I see the ploughman halting in the furrow, the milkmaid with her pail, the hedger with his bill-hook, the reaper with his sickle, but they convey no sensation of toil. They enliven the stage of the country; they are pastoral performers. I am not quite sure, though, about the reaper with his sickle. In fact, I believe that a sickle is as rare, say, as a boomerang. The corn, I am aware, is now cut either with a scythe or reaping-machine, a chattering subversive affair, before whose insidious knives the stalks sink and the ripe ears topple. But, in spite of this mechanical fuss, the country is the land of ease to me, for it is synonymous with holidays. Of course, it is a different thing to the countryman, who breaks the monotony of his year by a visit to town. He would tell me, no doubt, that the harvestman is hot and weary; that many a peasant does hard work on weak food ; that the milkmaid expresses herself in a vulgar way about early hours, and has been heard to swear at the butter when it won't come. I dare say. But for all that, the countryman cannot understand the appetite with which I devour the lanes, the beach, the rippling fields of corn,