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the soldier's, which is politick; nor the lover's, which is all these :”—and then, when you might expect him to have brought in, “nor the tailor's, which is so and so"-he comes to an end of his enumeration, and falls to a defining of his own melancholy.
Milton likewise has omitted it, where he had so fair an opportunity of bringing it in, in his Penseroso.
But the partial omissions of historians proving nothing against the existence of any well-attested fact, I shall proceed and endeavour to ascertain the causes why this pensive turn should be so predominant in people of this profession above all others.
And first, may it not be, that the custom of wearing apparel being derived to us from the fall, and one of the most mortifying products of that unhappy event, a certain seriousness (to say no more of it) may in the order of things have been intended to be impressed upon the minds of that race of men to whom in all ages the care of contriving the human apparel has been entrusted,—to keep up the memory of the first institution of clothes, and serve as a standing remonstrance against those vanities, which the absurd conversion of a memorial of our shame into an ornament of our persons was destined to produce ? Correspondent in some sort to this, it may be remarked, that the tailor sitting over a cave or hollow place, in the cabbalistic language of his order, is said to have certain melancholy regions always open under his feet.—But waving further enquiry into final causes, where the best of us can only wander in the dark, let us try to discover the efficient causes of this melancholy. : I think, then, that they may be reduced to two, omitting some subordinate ones, viz.
The sedentary habits of the tailor.
Something peculiar in his diet.First, his sedentary habits.-In Doctor Norris's famous narrative of the frenzy of Mr. John Dennis, the patient, being questioned as to the occasion of the swelling in his legs, replies that it came “ by criticism ;” to which the learned doctor seeming to demur, as to a distemper which he had never read of, Dennis (who appears not to have been mad upon all subjects) rejoins with some warmth, that it was no distemper, but a noble art! that he had sat fourteen hours a day at it: and that the other was a pretty doctor not to know that there was a communication between 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 “ remarks,” 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 sympathy 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 1 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 especially 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.
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