John Lubbock.

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assured me not long ago that when he
thought over the many cases he had known
of men, even of good ability and high charac-
ter, who had been unsuccessful in life, by far
the most frequent cause of failure was that
they were dilatory, unpunctual, unable to
work cordially with others, obstinate in small
things, and, in fact, what we call unbusiness-

In small matters as in great, order and
method are very important. The right thing
in the right place, is a golden rule, and a
little trouble in putting things away when
you have done with them will save a great
deal when you want them again.

Disorder, says Xenophon, " seems to me
something like as if an husbandman should
throw into his granary barley and wheat and
peas together, and then, when he wants bar-
ley bread or wheaten bread, or pea soup,



should have to abstract them grain by grain,
instead of having them separately laid up
for his use." l

He quotes the case of a ship in illustration.
" For there is no time, when heaven sends a
storm over the sea, either to seek for what
may be wanting, or to hand out what may be
difficult to use ; for the gods threaten and
punish the negligent, and if they but forbear
from destroying those who do nothing wrong,
we must be very well content ; while if they
preserve even those that attend to everything
quite properly, much gratitude is due to
them." 2 Keep everything then in its proper

Philosophers, not all of course, but many,
from Aristotle to Carlyle, have decried those
engaged in trade and commerce; or rather
perhaps I should say Trade and Commerce
themselves, as mean and almost degrading.
Plato excluded all traders from citizenship in
his Republic. Such a degrading occupation
was to be left to foreigners, if any chose to
engage in it. Trade and Commerce, however,

1 Xenophon's Economics, p. 105. 2 P. 106.


being necessarily the occupations of many, it
would indeed be grievous if their influence on
the character was necessarily injurious and
incompatible with intellectual culture. But
happily it is not so. Of course business men
can only give their spare time to other pur-
suits, but, taking illustrations from Science
and Literature only, I might mention Nas-
myth, the astronomer and manufacturer ;
Grote, banker and historian ; Sir J. Evans,
papermaker and President of the Society of
Antiquaries, as well as Treasurer of the Royal
Society ; Prestwich, merchant, and afterwards
Professor of Geology at Oxford ; Rogers,
banker and poet ; Praed, banker and poet ;
may I say my own father, banker and mathe-
matician, for many years Treasurer and Vice-
President of the Royal Society ; and many

Carlyle objected vehemently to the princi-
ple of buying in the cheapest and selling in
the dearest market. He suggests that in
some unexplained manner we should fix " our
minimum of cotton prices," and I suppose of
others ; that we should say, " We care not,



for the present, to make cotton any cheaper ; "
that we should not under-sell other nations.
u Brothers, we will cease to under-sell them ;
we will be content to equal-sell them." This
is not only impracticable, but it is unsound.
If we sell less cotton goods, we must buy less
food. Carlyle admits that more could be sold
at a lower price, so that there would be hu-
man beings in need of cotton clothes, but
unable to afford the price agreed on. We
could afford to take less, and yet he would
have us refuse to do so, and to that extent
deprive others of their clothing, and our own
people of food. It is the very basis of com-
merce to give what you can produce cheaply
in exchange for what you cannot. To buy in
the cheapest and sell in the dearest market is
not only then the necessary rule of trade, but
is best for all ; because in doing so you buy
from those who most require to sell their
produce, and sell to those who are most in
need of your goods. Any other course would
approximate to the proverbially useless pro-
ceeding of carrying coals to Newcastle.

Many of the greatest and happiest and best


of men have been very poor. Wordsworth
and his sister lived for many years on 30s. a
week, and, I believe, it was one of the hap-
piest periods of his life.

If it is not your lot to be rich, association
and affection may make some homely spot,
some small cottage, some sweet face, the
whole world to you.

It is, indeed, astonishing how many great
men have been poor, even if we cannot go so
far as to say with Mahomet, that " God never
took a prophet save from the sheepfolds."

It is a common error to exaggerate what
money can do for us.

Is it in the matter of food ?

" If a rich man wishes to be healthy, he must
live like a poor one." l What can we have
better for breakfast than tea or coffee, bread
and butter, with perhaps an egg or a herring,
or some honey ? What is a better lunch than
bread and cheese and a glass of beer ? A
plain dinner well cooked, and with a good
appetite, will give as much pleasure as a Lord
Mayor's feast. The wholesomest and best

1 Sir R. Temple.



things to eat cost comparatively little while
they are in season, and out of season have
little flavour. An egg is generally as good
as a feast, and sometimes better.

Is it in books ? A man must be poor in-
deed if he cannot buy as much as he can
read. The best books the Bible, Shake-
speare, Milton, etc. can be bought now, as
the saying is, "for a song."

Will money buy health, genius, friends,
beauty, or a happy home ?

The Duke of Tse, says Confucius, "was
immensely rich, and nobody loved him ;
Pei-ke died of hunger, and even now the
people mourn him."

Above all,

" Can wealth give happiness ? Look around, and see
What gay distress, what splendid misery ;
I envy none their pageantry and show,
I envy none the gilding of their woe." 1

Men in great fortunes, says Bacon, are
strangers to themselves, and while they are
" in the puzzle of business, have no time to at-
tend to their health, either of mind or body."

1 Young.


All fetters are bad, even if they be made of
gold. Money is 110 doubt a source of much
anxiety. It has its cares as well as poverty,
and in the case of many rich men, they are
really the slaves, and not the masters, of
money. Riches in many cases, as Bishop
Wilson said, " become not only the care, but
the torment, of those that possess them."

Many a man, no doubt, has been ruined by
money, and on the whole, probably the rich
are more anxious about money matters than
the poor. To none but the wise can wealth
bring happiness. The man who is too eager
to be rich will always be a poor fellow. " It
is probably much happier," says Ruskin, "to
live in a small house, and have Warwick
Castle to be astonished at, than to live in
Warwick Castle, and have nothing to be
astonished at."

To enjoy riches, do not set your heart upon
them. Enough, said Sadi, " will carry you,
more you must yourself carry."

" I ride not on a camel, but am free from load and


To no subject am I lord, but 1 fear no monarch's
word ;


I think not of the morrow, nor recall the gone-by

Thus I breathe exempt from strife, and thus moves

my tranquil life." l

" It is a miserable state of mind," said
Bacon, " to have few things to wish for, and
many to fear."

" If thou art rich, thou'rt poor :
For like an ass, whose backe with ingots bound,
Thou bear'st thy heavy riches but a journey,
And death unloadeth thee." 2

Why then?

" Why lose we life in anxious cares
To lay in hoards for future years ?
Can these, when tortured by disease,
Cheer our sick hearts, or purchase ease ?
Can these prolong one gasp of breath,
Or calm the troubled hour of death ? " 3

Wealth is a great temptation to avarice ;
as we learnt long ago at school : " Crescit
amor nummi, quantum ipsa pecunia crescit ; "
or, as Oliver Wendell Holmes wittily puts

i Sadi, 2 Shakespeare. 3 Gay.


" I care not much for gold or land :
Give me a mortgage here and there,

Some good bank-stock some note of hand,
Or trifling railway share :

I only ask that Fortune send

A little more than I can spend."

The poor man, said Seneca, " wanteth many
things, but the covetous man wanteth every-

It has been satirically observed that there
would be more good Samaritans, if it were
not for the twopence and the oil.

A continual and restless search after Fort-
une, says Bacon, "takes up too much of
then- time, who have nobler things to ob-
serve ; " l for wealth is only good as far as it
adds to life, not life as it adds to wealth.
Poverty has been called the scholar's bride,
and "he can well spare his mule and span-
niers who has a winged chariot instead." 2

Our very expressions about money are
significant. We constantly hear of a man
making money, or made of money, or rolling
in money, never of "enjoying" money, and
those indeed who make money rarely make it

1 Bacon. 2 Emerson.


for themselves. " He heapeth up riches, and
cannot tell who shall gather them."

In Xenophon's banquet, Charmides main-
tains that Poverty is better than riches,

66 It is acknowledged that to feel secure is
better than to be in fear ; that to be free is
better than to be a slave ; to be trusted by
one's country better than to be distrusted ;
but, when I was a rich man in this city, I was
afraid, in the first place, lest somebody should
break into my house, seize upon my money,
or do me personal harm. . . . Now I can lay
myself down to sleep. I am not called upon
to serve in the parish ; I am not rich enough
to be suspected by the Government ; I am
at liberty to leave the city, or to stay in it
at pleasure. When I was rich, people re-
proached me for associating with Socrates
and other low philosophers. Now I can
choose my friends ; for, since I am grown
poor, nobody pays any further attention to
me. When I had much, I was always un-
happy, because I was always losing some-
thing ; now I am grown poor, I lose nothing,


for I have nothing to lose; and yet I am
constantly consoled and cheered with the
hopes of getting something."

There was a great deal of truth in what
Charmides said, but it was not the whole
truth. Moreover, Charmides, when he said
it, had just enjoyed a good dinner, enlivened
by music.

If wisely used money may do much. Gold
is a power. " Money," said a witty French-
man, "is the Sovereign of Sovereigns." 1
Money gives us the means of acquiring what
we wish. If fresh air, a good house, books,
music, etc., are enjoyable, money will buy
them ; if leisure is an advantage, money en-
ables us to take it ; if seeing the world is
delightful, it will pay for our journeys ; if to
help our friends, to relieve those who are in
distress, is a privilege, money confers on us
this great blessing.

"Keep it then," said Swift, "in your head,
but not in your heart."

The miser is the man who loves money for
its own sake ; who carries economy to excess ;

1 Rivarol.


who is a mere covetous machine. One lesson
we have to learn in life is to keep ourselves
free from mean and petty cares, and love of
money is one of the meanest.

The great thing is to use wealth wisely.
" There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth,"
says Solomon; "and there is that withholdeth
more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty."

The well-known epitaph on Edward Courte-
nay, Earl of Devonshire, says

" What we gave, we have ;
What we spent, we had ;
What we left, we lost."

Or, as another version of the same idea has


"What I saved, I lost;
What I spent, I had ;
What I gave, I have."

Be liberal, though not lavish.

"There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing.
There is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great

"He that hath pity on the poor, lendeth unto the

And that which he hath given will he pay him

again." 1

1 Proverbs.


The advice given by Christ to the rich
young man may perhaps be considered as of
individual application, for we must remember
our children as well as the poor. Your in-
come is indeed your own, but what you have
inherited from your ancestors does not belong
to you alone.

Those who have money are like the ser-
vants to whom their Lord entrusted the
talents in the parable. We shall have to
account for it. It is a trust committed to
us. Money is nothing to be proud of.

" Charge them that are rich in this world,
that they be not high-minded, nor trust in
uncertain riches, but in the living God, who
giveth us richly all things to enjoy.

" That they do good, that they be rich in
good works, ready to distribute, willing to

" Laying up in store for themselves a good
foundation against the time to come, that
they may lay hold on eternal life." l

It is not money, but the love of money,
which the Bible tells us is the root of all evil.

il Timothy.


"If riches increase, set not your heart upon
them." In the Sermon on the Mount the
same reason is given.

" Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon
earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and
where thieves break through and steal :

" But lay up for yourselves treasure in
heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth
corrupt, and where thieves do not break
through and steal. For where your treasure
is, there will your heart be also."



ALL work and no play is proverbially
admitted to make Jack a dull boy. If the
work is indoor work it will also tend to
make him a delicate boy and a weak man.
Games are by no means loss of time. They
are important in developing the body, and
especially the upper part, the arms and the
chest, which many of our ordinary avocations
tend rather to contract than to expand.

Games not only keep a man in health, but
give him spirit for his work ; they teach him
how to get on with other men : to give way
in trifles, to play fairly, and push no advan-
tage to an extremity.

They give moral, as well as physical,
health ; daring and endurance, self-command
and good-humour, qualities which are not



to be found in books, and no teaching can
give. The Duke of Wellington truly said
that the Battle of Waterloo was won in the
playing fields of Eton. Many of the best
and most useful lessons of public schools
are those which the boys learn in the play-
ground. Only let games be the recreation,
not the business of your life.

As regards the importance of games to
health, I will quote two of our greatest
physiological authorities: "Games," says
Sir James Paget, "are admirable in all the
chief constituent qualities of recreations;
but, besides this, they may exercise a moral
influence of great value in business or in
any daily work. For without any induce-
ment of a common interest in money, with-
out any low motive, they bring boys and
men to work together ; they teach them to
be colleagues in good causes with all who
will work fairly and well with them ; they
teach that power of working with others
which is among the best powers for success
in every condition of life. And by custom,
if not of their very nature, they teach fair-


ness : foul play in any of them, however
sharp may be the competition, is by consent
of all disgraceful ; and they who have a
habit of playing fair will be the more ready
to deal fair. A high standard of honesty in
their recreations will help to make people
despise many things which are far within
the limits of the law. . . . Now, I think
that if we look for the characteristics which
may be found in all good active recreations,
and on which their utility chiefly depends,
we shall find that they all include one or
more of these three things : namely, uncer-
tainties, wonders, and opportunities for the
exercise of skill in something different from
the regular work. And the appropriate-
ness of these three things seems to be,
especially, in that they provide pleasant
changes which are in strong contrast with
the ordinary occupations of most working
lives, and that they give opportunity for
the exercise of powers and good dispositions
which, being too little used in the daily
business of life, would become feeble or be


Professor Michael Foster, Secretary of the
Koyal Society, in his recent Rede lecture has
told us that " even in muscular work the
weariness is chiefly one of the brain ; and we
are all familiar with a weariness of the brain
in causing which the muscles have little or no
share. All our knowledge goes to show that
the work of the brain, like the work of the
muscles, is accompanied by chemical change ;
that the chemical changes, though differing in
details, are of the same order in the brain as
in the muscle ; and that the smallness of the
changes in the brain as compared with those
of the muscle is counterbalanced, or more than
counterbalanced, by the exceeding sensitive-
ness of the nervous substance. . . .

"If an adequate stream of pure blood, of
blood made pure by efficient co-operation of
organs of low degree, be necessary for the life
of the muscle, in order that the working capital
may be rapidly renewed and the harmful prod-
ucts rapidly washed away, equally true, per-
haps even more true, is this of the brain.
Moreover, the struggle for existence has
brought to the front a brain ever ready to out-


run its more humble helpmates ; and even in
the best regulated economy, the period of most
effective work between the moment when all
the complex machinery has been got into work-
ing order and the moment when weariness
begins to tell, is bounded by all too narrow
limits. If there be any truth in what I have
laid before you, the sound way to extend those
limits is not so much by rendering the brain
more agile as by encouraging the humbler
helpmates so that their more efficient co-oper-
ation may defer the onset of weariness."

Hunting, shooting, and fishing in common
language monopolise the term Sport. Even
those of us who do not take our exercise and
recreation with the Hounds, the Gun, or the
Rod, still feel the fascination. We have in-
herited it from our ancestors, who not only
lived to a great extent by and for " sport " in
this world, but looked forward to it as the
greatest happiness in the next. The wild
boar, says Ossian :

" The wild boar rushes over their tombs,
But he does not disturb their repose.
They still love the sport of their youth,
And mount the wind with joy."



Though so much has been written about
our debt to pure Water, yet we owe quite as
much to fresh Air. How wonderful it is! It
permeates all our body, it bathes the skin in a
medium so delicate that we are not conscious
of its presence, and yet so strong that it wafts
the odours of flowers and fruit into our rooms,
carries our ships over the seas, the purity of
sea and mountain into the heart of our cities.
It is the vehicle of sound, it brings to us the
voices of those we love and all the sweet
music of nature ; it is the great reservoir of
the rain which waters the earth, it softens the
heat of day and the cold of night, covers us
overhead with a glorious arch of blue, and
lights up the morning and evening skies with
fire. It is so exquisitely soft and pure, so
gentle and yet so useful, that no wonder Ariel
is the most delicate, lovable, and fascinating
of all Nature Spirits.

"For of all things," says Jefferies, "there
is none so sweet as sweet air one great
flower it is, drawn round about, over and en-
closing, like Aphrodite's arms : as if the dome
of the sky were a bell-flower drooping down



over us, and the magical essence of it filling
all the room of the earth. Sweetest of all
things is wild-flower air. Full of their ideal,
the starry flowers strain upwards on the bank,
striving to keep above the rude grasses that
pushed by them: genius has ever had such a
struggle. The plain road was made beautiful
by the many thoughts it gave. I came every
morning to stay by the starlit bank.

" Not till years after, was I able to see why
I went the same round and did not care for
change. I do not want change. I want the
same old and loved things, the same wild
flowers, the same tree and soft ash-green,
the turtle doves, the blackbirds, the coloured
yellow-hammer sing, sing, singing as long as
there is light to cast a shadow on the dial, for
such is the measure of his song, and I want
them in the same place ... all the living
staircase of the Spring, step by step, up-
wards to the great gallery of the Summer
let me watch the same succession year by
year." 1

Our fields do not contain the same rich

1 Jefferies.


variety of flowers as those of Switzerland,
but at times they glow with buttercups,

" And Ladysmocks, all silver white,
Do paint the meadows with delight," J

while woods are perhaps even more beautiful,
more enchanting

" So wondrous wild the whole might seem,
The scenery of a fairy dream."

We often hear of bad weather, but in real-
ity, no weather is bad. It is all delightful,
though in different ways. Some weather may
be bad for farmers or crops, but for man all
kinds are good. Sunshine is delicious, rain is
refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhil-
arating. As Ruskin says, " There is really
no such thing as bad weather, only different
kinds of good weather."

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes
on the grass under the trees on a summer's
day, listening to the murmur of water, or
watching the clouds float across the blue sky,
is by no means waste of time.

Moreover, air and exercise generally go


together, so that you will combine both ad-
vantages. There is nothing so good for the
inside of a man as the outside of a horse.
Every one indeed ought to make it a primary
and sacred duty to be at least two hours of
the day in the open air.

Fresh air is as good for the mind as for the
body. Nature always seems trying to talk
to us as if she had some great secret to tell.
And so she has.

Earth and Sky, Woods and Fields, Lakes
and Rivers, the Mountain and the Sea, are
excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of
us more than we can ever learn from books.
But more than this, if you go away into
the country, row yourself on a river, gather
flowers in a wood, or fossils in a pit, pick
up shells and seaweeds on a shore, play
cricket or golf, or give yourself fresh air
and exercise in any other way, you will find
that you have not only gained in health, but
that your cares and troubles and anxieties
are washed away, or at any rate greatly
lightened. Nature calms, cools, and invig-
orates us. She renders the mind more serene,
more cheerful.



A life devoted to pleasure and recreation
would of course be not only selfish, but in-
tolerably insipid. Games should never be the
business of life, but in moderation enjoyment
is not idleness.

And what are the elements of Recreation ?
There are true pleasures and false pleasures.
Plato makes Protarchus ask Socrates, " And
true pleasures, Socrates, which are they?"

Socrates. " Those from beautiful colours,
as they are called, and from figures, and most
of those from odours, and those from sounds,
and any objects whose absence is unfelt and
painless, while their presence is sensible and
productive of pleasure."

But while the senses can give true pleasure,
this is not the highest good. Philebus, he
continues, maintained "that enjoyment and
pleasure and delight, and the class of feeling
akin to them, are a good to every living being,
whereas I contend that not these, but wisdom
and knowledge and memory, and their kin-
dred, right opinion and true reasonings, are
better and more desirable than pleasure for
all who are able to partake of them, and that



to all such who are or ever will be, they are
the most advantageous of all things."

The true pleasures are almost innumerable.
Relations and Friends, Conversation, Books,
Music, Poetry, Art, Exercise and Rest, the
beauty and variety of Nature, Summer
and Winter, Morning and Evening, Day and
Night, Sunshine and Storm, Woods and
Fields, Rivers, Lakes and Seas, Animals
and Plants, Trees and Flowers, Leaves and

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Online LibraryJohn LubbockThe use of life; → online text (page 3 of 14)