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excess. She insisted upon four hours' exercise daily; and, as young ladies walk fast, that would have yielded, at the rate of three and a half miles per hour, thirteen plus one third miles. But only two and a half hours were given to walking; the other one and a half to riding. No day was a day of rest; absolutely none. Days so stormy that they "kept the raven to her nest," snow the heaviest, winds the most frantic, were never listened to as any ground of reprieve from the ordinary exaction. I once knew (that is, not personally, for I never saw her, but through the reports of her many friends) an intrepid lady,* living in the city of London (that is, technically the city, as opposed to Westminster, etc., Mary-lebone, etc.), who made a point of turning out her newborn infants for a pretty long airing, even on the day of their birth. It made no difference to her whether the month were July or January; good, undeniable air is to be had in either month. Once only she was baffled, and most indignant it made her, because the little thing chose to be born at half-past nine P. M.; so that, by the time its toilet was finished, bonnet and cloak all properly adjusted, the watchman was calling Past eleven, and a cloudy night;" upon which, most reluctantly, she was obliged to countermand the orders for that day's exercise, and considered herself, like the Emperor Titus, to have lost a day. But what came of the London lady's or of
*If I remember rightly, some account is given of this palæstric lady and her stern Pædo-gymnastics, in a clever book on household inedicine and surgery under circumstances of inevitable seclusion from professional aid, written about the year 1820-22, by Mr. Haden, a surgeon of London.
Mrs. Schreiber's Spartan discipline? Did the little blind kittens of Gracechurch-street, who were ordered by their penthesiléan mamma, on the very day of their nativity, to face the most cruel winds - did they, or did Mrs. Schreiber's wards, justify, in after life, this fierce discipline, by commensurate results of hardiness? In words written beyond all doubt by Shakspeare, though not generally recognized as his, it might have been said to any one of this Amazonian brood,
"Now mild may be thy life;
For a more blust'rous birth had never babe.
For thou'rt the rudeliest welcomed to this world
That e'er was woman's child. Happy be the sequel!
As fire, air, water, earth, and heaven, can make,
To herald thee from darkness!" - Pericles, Act III.
As to the city kittens, I heard that the treatment prospered; but the man who reported this added, that by original constitution they were as strong as Meux's dray-horses; and thus, after all, they may simply illustrate the old logical dictum ascribed to some medical man, that the reason why London children of the wealthier classes are noticeable even to a proverb for their robustness and bloom, is because none but those who are already vigorous to excess, and who start with advantages of health far beyond the average scale, have much chance of surviving that most searching quarantine, which, in such * an
* For myself, meantime, I am far from assenting to all the romantic abuse applied to the sewerage and the church-yards of London, and even more violently to the river Thames. As a tidal river, even
atmosphere, they are summoned to weather at starting. Coming, however, to the special case of Mrs. Schreiber's household, I am bound to report that in no instance have I known young ladies so thoroughly steeled against all the ordinary host of petty maladies which, by way of antithesis to the capital warfare of dangerous complaints, might be be called the guerilla nosology; influenza, for instance, in milder forms, catarrh, headache, toothache, dyspepsia in transitory shapes, etc. Always the spirits of the two girls were exuberant; the enjoyment of life seemed to be intense, and never did I know either of them to suffer from ennui. My conscious knowl edge of them commenced when I was about twe years old, they being from ten to twelve years older
beyond the metropolitan bridges, the Thames undoubtedly does much towards cleansing the atmosphere, whatever may be the condition of its waters. And one most erroneous postulate there is from which the Times starts in all its arguments, namely, this, that supposing the Thames to be even a vast sewer, in short, the cloaca maxima of London, there is in that arrangement of things any special reproach applying to our mighty English capital. On the contrary, all great cities that ever were founded have sought out, as their first and elementary condition, the adjacency of some great cleansing river. In the long process of development through which cities pass, commerce and other functions of civilization come to usurp upon the earlier functions of such rivers, and sometimes (through increasing efforts of luxurious refinement) may come entirely to absorb them But, in the infancy of every great city, the chief function for which she looks to her river is that of purification. Be thou my huge cloaca, says infant Babylon to the Euphrates, says infant Nineveh to the Tigris, says infant Rome to the Tiber. So far is that reproach from having any special application to London. Smoke is not unwholesome; in many circumstances it is salubrious, as a counteragent to worse influences. Even sewerage is chiefly insalubrious from its moisture, and not, in any degree yet demonstrated, from its odor.
Mrs. Schreiber had been amongst my mother's earliest friends as Mrs. Harvey, and in days when my mother had opportunities of doing her seasonable services. And as there were three special advantages. which adorned my mother, and which ranked in Mrs. Schreiber's estimate as the highest which earth could show, namely: 1°, that she spoke and wrote English with singular elegance; 2°, that her manners were eminently polished; and 3o, that, even in that early stage of my mother's life, a certain tone of religiosity, and even of ascetic devotion, was already diffused as a luminous mist that served to exalt the coloring of her morality. To this extent Mrs. Schreiber approved of religion; but nothing of a sectarian cast could she have tolerated; nor had she anything of that nature to apprehend from my mother. Viewing my mother, therefore, as a pure model of an English matron, and feeling for her, besides, a deeper sentiment of friendship and affection than for anybody else on her visiting list, it was natural enough that she should come with her wards on an annual visit to "The Farm" (a pretty, rustic dwelling occupied by my father in the neighborhood of Manchester), and subsequently (when that arose) to Greenhay.* As my father always retained a
*"Greenhay." - As this name might, under a false interpretation, seem absurd as including incongruous elements, I ought, in justification of my mother, who devised the name, to have mentioned that hay was meant for the old English word (derived from the old French word haie) indicating a rural enclosure. Conventionally, a hay or haie was understood to mean a country-house within a verdant ring-fence, narrower than a park: which word park, in Scotch use, means any enclosure whatever, though not twelve feet square; but in English ase (witness Captain Burt's wager about Culloden parks) means an
town-house in Manchester (somewhere in Fountainstreet), and, though a plain, unpretending man, was literary to the extent of having written a book, all things were so arranged that there was no possibility of any commercial mementos ever penetrating to the rural retreat of his family; such mementos, I mean, as, by reviving painful recollections of that ancient Schreiber, who was or ought to be by this time extinct, would naturally be odious and distressing. Here, therefore, liberated from all jealousy of overlooking eyes, such as haunted persons of their expectations at Brighton, Weymouth, Sidmouth, or Bath, Miss Smith and Miss Watson used to surrender themselves without restraint to their glad animal impulses of girlish gayety, like the fawns of antelopes when suddenly transferred from tigerhaunted thickets to the serene preserves of secluded rajahs. On these visits it was, that I, as a young pet whom they carried about like a doll from my second to my eighth or ninth year, learned to know
enclosure measured by square miles, and usually accounted to want its appropriate furniture, unless tenanted by deer. By the way, it
is a singular illustration of a fact illustrated in one way or other every hour, namely, of the imperfect knowledge which England possesses of England, that, within these last eight or nine months, I saw in the Illustrated London News an article assuming that the red deer was unknown in England. Whereas, if the writer had ever been at the English lakes during the hunting season, he might have seen it actually hunted over Martindale forest and its purlieus. Or, again, in Devonshire and Cornwall, over Dartmoor, etc., and, I believe, in many other regions, though naturally narrowing as civilization widens. The writer is equally wrong in supposing the prevailing deer of our parks to be the roe deer, which are very little known. It is the fallow deer that chiefly people our parks. Red deer were also found at Blenheim, in Oxfordshire, when it was visited by Dr. Johnson, as may be seen in "Boswell."