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to know that there was a communication bes tween the brain and the legs.
When we consider that this sitting for fourteen hours continuously, which the critic probably practised only while he was writing his “ marks," is no more than what the tailor, in the ordinary pursuance of his art, submits to daily (Sundays excepted) throughout the year, shall we wonder to find the brain affected, and in a manner over-clouded, from that indissoluble sym, pathy between the noble and less noble parts of the body, which Dennis hints at The unnatural and painful manner of his sitting must also greatly aggravate the evil, insomuch that I have sometimes ventured to liken tailors at their boards to so many envious Junos, sitting cross-legged to hinder the birth of their own felicity. The legs transversed thus cross-wise, or decussated, was among the ancients the posture of malediction. The Turks, who practise it at this day, are noted to be a melancholy people.
Secondly, his diet.—To which purpose I find a most remarkable passage in Burton, in his chapter entitled “ Bad diet a cause of melancholy.”
Amongst herbs to be eaten (he says) I find gourds, cucumbers, melons, disallowed; but espe
cially CABBAGE. It causeth troublesome dreams, and sends up black vapours to the brain. Galen, loc. affect. lib. 3. cap. 6, of all herbs condemns CABBAGE. And Isaack, lib. 2, cap 1. animæ gravitatem facit, it brings heaviness to the soul.” I could not omit so flattering a testimony from an author, who, having no theory of his own to serve, has so unconsciously contributed to the confirmation of mine. It is well known that this lastnamed vegetable has, from the earliest periods which we can discover, constituted almost the sole food of this extraordinary race of people.
THE IMMODERATE INDULGENCE OF
To the Editor of the Reflector.
MR. REFLECTOR, My husband and I are fond of company, and being in easy circumstances, we are seldom without a party to dinner two or three days in a week. The utmost cordiality has hitherto prevailed at our meetings; but there is a young gentleman, a near relation of my husband's, that has lately come among us, whose preposterous behaviour bids fair, if not timely checked, to disturb our tranquillity. He is too great a favourite with my husband in other respects, for me to remonstrate with him in any other than this distant way. A letter printed in your publication may catch his eye; for he is a great reader, and makes a point of seeing all the new things that come out. Indeed, he is by no means deficient in understand
ing My husband says that he has a good deal of wit; but for my part I cannot say I am any judge of that, having seldom observed him open his mouth except for purposes very foreign to conversation. In short, Sir, this young gentleman's failing is, an immoderate indulgence of his palate. The first time he dined with us, he thought it necessary to extenuate the length of time he kept the dinner on the table, by declaring that he had taken a very long walk in the morning, and came in fasting; but as that excuse could not serve above once or twice at most, he has latterly dropped the mask altogether, and chosen to appear in his own proper colours without reserve or apology.
You cannot imagine how unpleasant his conduct has become. His way of staring at the dishes as they are brought in, has absolutely something immodest in it: it is like the stare of an impudent man of fashion at a fine woman, when she first comes into a room. I am positively in pain for the dishes, and cannot help thinking they have consciousness, and will be put out of countenance, he treats them so like what they are not.
Then again he makes no scruple of keeping a joint of meat on the table, after the cheese and
fruit are brought in, till he has what he calls done with it. Now how awkward this looks, where there are ladies, you may judge, Mr. Reflector, -how it disturbs the order and comfort of a meal. And yet I always make a point of helping him first, contrary to all good manners,—before any of my female friends are helped,—that he may avoid this very error.
I wish he would eat before he comes out.
What makes his proceedings more particularly offensive at our house is, that my husband, though out of common politeness he is obliged to set dishes of animal food before his visitors, yet himself and his whole family (myself included) feed entirely on vegetables. We have a theory, that animal food is neither wholesome nor natural to man ; and even vegetables we refuse to eat until they have undergone the operation of fire, in consideration of those numberless little living creatures which the glass helps us to detect in every fibre of the plant or root before it be dressed. On the same theory we boil our water, which is our only drink, before we suffer it to come to table. Our children are perfect little Pythagoreans : it would do you good to see them in their nursery, stuffing their dried fruits, figs, raisins, and milk,