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of muscles so far improved that he can carry a quarter of a ton weight, which weight he in vain attempted to carry when he was about the age of thirty years. His voice, which was entirely lost for several years, is now become clear and strong. In short, to use his own expression, he is metamorphosed from a monster to a person of a moderate size ; from the condition of an unhealthy, decrepit old man, to perfect health, and to the vigour and activity of youth. His flesh is now firm, his complexion well-coloured, and, what is very remarkable," says Dr. Baker, the relator of the case, "the integuments of his belly, which I expected to have found loose and pendulous, are contracted nearly in proportion to his diminished bulk." "Prejudiced by a commonly prevailing superstition, Mr. Wood never suffered himself to be weighed either during the state of his extreme corpulence or since his reduction; but it is conjectured that he has lost ten, or perhaps eleven, stone weight."
A very remarkable point in the regimen of this strongminded and strong-bodied miller was the time he allotted to sleep: he went to bed at eight in the evening, or earlier, and rose at one or two in the morning, sleeping no more than five or six hours.
"I have thrice had an opportunity," says Dr. Baker, "of examining his pulse, about ten o'clock in the morning, after his having walked six hours. The first time, I counted 45 pulsations in a minute; the next time, 47; the last, only 44."
This is about 30 pulsations slower than the ordinary pulse of a healthy man, and in most persons a walk of six hours would certainly quicken the action of the heart.
The most extraordinary part of the case, however, is Mr. Wood's entire abstinence from drink, of which there is, we believe, no other well-authenticated instance. The narration goes as far as the 22nd of August 1771, when the miller, then in his fifty-second year, was still pursuing the same system, and still deriving the same advantages from it.
LVI. ON THE DECLINE AND FALL OF
A Skbknata, as explained by the great dictionary della Crusea, is that singing and playing lovers make by night al sereno before the houses of their ladies.
In former times, the practice was very general in Spain and Italy among the great and high-born. A serenata, indeed, was held to be an essential part of gallantry; and the towns of the south, during the beautiful nights of summer, were kept musical from midnight to day-dawn by amorous cavaliers. As all knights had not good voices, many of them employed vocalists; but during many ages the proudest of them thought it not beneath them to take a part in the concert. One of the earliest serenaders we read of in Italy was perhaps the loftiest of them all. This was Manfredi, son of the Emperor Frederic the Second, who afterwards became King of Naples and Sicily, and whose misfortunes were made immortal by the genius of Dante.
According to MatteoSpinelli, a chronicler of the thirteenth century, this accomplished prince, before he succeeded to the cares of a crown, resided a good deal at the pleasant town of Barletta, on the shores of the Adriatic sea; "and there it was his wont to stroll by night through the town, singing songs and ballads, and so he breathed the cool air, and with him there went two Sicilian musicians who were great makers of ballads and romances."*
We know not how it has happened, but the fact is obvious in Spain and Italy, that the practice, after a decline which commenced about the middle of the last century, has fallen into disuse and out of fashion with the upper classes, and is almost confined now to the lowest class.
* "Spesso la notte esciva per Barletta cantando strambotti e canzoni, ed iva pigliando lo fresco, e con esso ivano due musici Siciliani che erano grandi romanzieri."
At Venice, which used to take the lead, the chief serenaders now are barbers, and they rarely take the field, whilst
"Tasso's echoes are no more, And silent rows the songless gondolier."
In Naples, where the exquisite moonlight nights inspire love with music, its most natural voice, if you hear a guitar in the streets, it is almost sure to be in the hands of an amorous coachman or sentimental barber. The style and execution of these minstrels rarely entitle them to a hearing; and, so far from meeting the respect paid in the olden time to serenaders, they are not unfrequently saluted from windows and house-tops in the same manner that Gil Bias was when going to serenade Donna Mergelina, "on lui coiffa d'une cassolette qui ne chatouillait point Vodorat."
Le Sage, in making his hero learn to play the guitar of an old serving-man as soon as he becomes a barber, would be perfectly in point and character now a-days. The barbers of Naples use an instrument called a mandolina much more commonly than the guitar, which they call (we know not why) la chitarra Francese. The mandolina is smaller than the guitar; its strings are of wire and not of gut; and they are played upon, not by the fingers, but by a piece of wood or a quill. The notes of the instrument are sharp, tinkling, and disagreeable; and, though the taste of the upper classes is excellent, the popular music of the Neapolitans has little to recommend it.
At Rome, where the popular taste is better, very pretty street music is sometimes heard by night, and young mechanics and servants sing airs regularly distributed into parts with much feeling and ability. A modern traveller observes: "Here the serenade is a comJdiment of gallantry by no means confined to the rich. X is customary for a lover, even of the lowest class, to haunt the dwelling of his mistress, chanting a rondo, or roundelay, during the period of his courtship.''* But, in
* Diary of an Invalid.
truth, this accomplished writer might have said that there too the compliment, instead of being monopolized by the rich, was almost confined to the poor. He only recollects the serenades of mechanics, and during our own different stays at Rome we seldom indeed heard street-music by night from any other class. A Roman nobleman would no more think of thrumming the guitar under his mistress's window in the Corso or the Piazza di Spagna, than an English lord would of doing the like in Grosvenorsquare.
LVII. COMMON USE OF PLATE IN THE
A Writer in the early part of the sixteenth century tells us that in his time, in the reign of Henry the Eighth, the luxury of the table had descended even to citizens, and that there were few whose tables were not daily provided with spoons, cups, and a saltcellar of silver. Those of a higher sphere affected a greater profusion of plate; but the quantity accumulated by Cardinal Wolsey, though the precious metals are now so copious, still continues to excite our surprise. At Hampton Court, where he feasted the French ambassadors and their splendid retinue in 1528, two cupboards, extending across the banquet chambers, were piled to the top with plate and illuminated; yet, without encroaching on these ostentatious repositories, a profuse service remained for the table. Two hundred and eighty beds were provided for the guests; every chamber had a bason and ewer of silver, besides other utensils.
LVIII. WAXEN FIGURES OF SOME OF THE KINGS OF FRANCE.
Mr. Com: of Milton, upon his visit to the Abbey of St. Denis, near Paris, Nov. 22, 1765, says, in his Diary: "Mr. Walpole had been informed by M. Mariette, that in this treasury were several wax figures of some of the later kings of France, and asked one of the monks for leave to see them, as they were not commonly shown or much known. Accordingly, in four cupboards, above those in which the jewels, crosses, busts, and curiosities were kept, were eight ragged figures of so many monarchs of this country to Louis the Thirteenth, which must be very like, as their faces were taken off in wax immediately after their decease. The monk told us, that tlie