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he had lived too fast, as the phrase is, determined to follow the advice of his physicians and pursue a more temperate course of life. He diminished the quantity of his food until his daily allowance was reduced to half the yolk of an egg, and by his rigid abstinence revived so effectually, that he lived to the age of one hundred. His death took place in 1566. A more recent instance of a similar abstinence is recorded in the Medical Transactions of the College of Physicians.
Thomas Wood, a miller of Billericay, in Essex, was in the habit of eating voraciously of fat meat three times a day, and he also swallowed large quantities of butter, cheese, and strong ale. For a long time he suffered no inconvenience from his gluttony, but in his forty-fourth year he began to be disturbed in his sleep, had a constant thirst, great lowness of spirits, and many other bad symptoms. The most formidable one was a sense of suffocation, which often attacked him, especially after meals. He grew worse, until the month of August 1764, when he was in the forty-fifth year of his age. At this time Mr. Powley, a neighbouring clergyman, put the ^lfe °f Comoro into his hands. The miller read it, and was convinced; but, believing that a bit-by-bit reform was the best, he retrenched his diet by degrees. At first he confined himself to a pint of ale a-day, and used animal food sparingly. His health immediately improved; so that, after he had pursued this regimen for two months, he diminished his allowance of ale by one half, and was still more sparing of gross animal food. On the 4th of January 1765 he discontinued the use of malt liquor; and between this period and July 31, 1767, he successively gave up meat, butter, cheese, and all drinks whatever, excepting what he took in the form of medicine. After the last-mentioned date, his diet was chiefly confined to pudding made of sea-biscuit.
"The poor diet to which he has accustomed himself is now as agreeable to his palate as his former food used to be; and he has the additional satisfaction to find his health established, his spirits lively, his sleep no longer disturbed by frightful dreams, and his strength of muscles so far improved that he can carry a quarter of a ton weight, which weight he in vain attempted to carrywhen 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 ease, " 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 advantagesvfrom it. j
LVI. ON THE DECLINE AND FALL OF
A Skrbnata, 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, w as 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 immortul by the genius of Dante.
According to Matteo Spinelli, 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 ob\ ions 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 Siciliam 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 hit coiffa (Tune cassolette qui ne chatouillait point I'odorat."
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 compliment of gallantry by no means confined to the rich It 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, iu
* Diary of an Invalid.
140 DhCLIXE AND t'ALL OF SKRIiN A Dl SO.
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 Grosvenoriquare.