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hare“ nothing to do.' Then our poet remonstrates with Clara," avd altogether shows us that “ Clara" is in Very bad way. One does not require be an heiress to have Clara 's faults.
“Clara, Clara Vere de Vere,
If time be heavy on your hands,
Or any poor about your lands!
Or teach the orphan girl to sew.' Certainly the most plentiful class of those who have " too little to do" was mainly recruited from young ladies. They had a plentiful and even a perilous amount of leisure on their hands. We are im.: proving all this. Women are beginning to find out their mission. They now make nurses, Sisters of Mercy, doctors (I think their doctoring ought to be limited to women and children), telegraph clerks, members of school boards, mistresses of board schools, which many young ladies might find pleasanter and more remunerative than governessing. It is only to be feared that there are still many young ladies who do too little, who, if they did not look so far afield and only just looked at home, might have reason to alter their complaint of the too little into that of the too much. And this also is to be noted as a curious fact, that many who com. plain of the too much are, in point of fact, among those who have the too little. My clerical friends often tell me that they can find hard worked mothers of large families who will give them effective help in their parishes, while childless mothers, or widows, or leisurely young ladies will plead a multiplicity of engagements. But this experience is as old as the hills. Horace talks of his strenuous idleness, and Grotius confesses his habit of laboriously doing nuihing.
I am always very sorry for those who have too little to do. They seem to me scarcely to have a fair chance in the world. Their natures are not properly taxed and tested, trained and developed. They might have been among the great and wise and good and famous in the world ; but they have fallen back into the ranks of the ignarum pecus. Their liberation from the comincn cares and activities of life, on which, perhaps, they prided and plumed them. selves, is their drawback and their bane. It is even possible that it may help to kill them. A traveller who visited the Pitcairn Islanders in their lonely Pacific home found some of them dying of sheer old age when between fifty and sixty. They had too little to do. The rough'fibre of life, for its due adjustment, needs a certain amount of work and worry--of working against the collar, of straining against wind and tide.
One day two strangers met át a little inn in the Isle of Wight. One was a medical man ; the other was a man of letters, whose avocations gave him incessant work and called him into all sorts
of places. I expect that the same desire for repose had brought them through different paths to this same quiet haven of rest. In the norning the special correspondent.so we had better designate him-lay languidly on the grass, plucking buttercups and daisies, and gazing languidly into the blue depths of the sky. Charles James Fox used to say that there was only one thiug better than lying on the grass with a book, and that was lying on the grass without a book.
The medical man watched him. Those medical meni often have a trick of watching every one. Their fellow-creatures are their books, and they get into the habit of scanning such pages very swiftly.
Sir," said the medical man, “I should think that you were rather fond of lying on the grass and gathering daisies.
Sir," was the answer, "I have a passion for it. I should like nothing better in life than to lie on the ground and pluck the daisies.
** And yet, sir," was the rejoinder, " I have a strong idea that you are a inan who goes about a great deal in the world, and takes au interest in a great many subjects.'
** I go about a great deal too much, and work a great deal more than I like. If I had my choice in life, I should lie all day long on the grass and pick daisies."
6Do you know, sir, what would be the probable result of your having too little to do ???
Well, what would it be ?'' " It would probably be an attack of paralysis. To shut up work would probably be to close your existence,"
Aud practically this is a kind of thing which does not happen so infrequently as might be supposed. It is always a dangerous crisis for the professional man who retires from the full lide of business without having learned the art of cultivating and enjoy. ing leisure. Men of the highest professional emiuence have found themselves absolutely stranded when they have passed from the condition of having too much to that of having too little to do. One might here tell tragic narratives of melancholy despair and suicide.
There are some persons who appear to be absolutely insatiable in their desire for work. The more they have, the more they want. They are absolute gluttons in the way of business. They are a description of people who always carry note-books and pocket-books with them, and seem to have a positive delight in accumulating memoranda, and, it is only fair to say, in industriously working through them when the proper time and opportunity arrive. Then they check them off with great internal chuckling and delight, and commence upon a new series. Such people, no doubt, are very kind and well-intentioned ; but they are often their own worst enemies. One day I asked my friend Jones to make an appointment with me.
There were good reasons why we should spend an hour together. . Jones consulted his little book. There was no day, scarcely any hour in any day, that had not its engagement for the next fortnight. It was a matter of the most elaborate calculation before & time could be fixed. One day Jones met one of these intensely busy people-wrather a distinguished man in his waydown at Westminster. He spoke, and very truly, of the multiplicity of his engagements,
"I will give you a bit advice, my friend,” said he. “ Go to Westminster Pier and take the penny steamer to London Bridge and back. · Yes," he answered, with a sigh, there are no doubt plenty of cheap amusements around us, only there is no time for them. Of course he did not take the penny steamer. Instead of taking penny sleamers he got ill and died.
The nervous system will not stand more than a certain amount. If you do not treat it well it becomes paralyzed, as our friend in the Isle of Wight explained. It appears to me that a man is almost as badly off as a convict-prisoner if he is tied up to the moral triangle every day of his life by those mems in his pocketbook. What time does he leave himself for reading and thinking, for his own private tastes and pursuits ?
There are some men who have not only the taste for hard work and the capacity for it, but are also under the necessity of it by reason of their great position. They cannot escape from having tou much to do. The Prime Minister, or the Attorney-General, or any professional man works in a way that would be disdained by his lowest menial. A great man becomes great by reason of the survival of the fittest. Look at our great men l What broad chests and abdomina they have! What hard heads inside and outside! Look at such a man as Mr. Gladstone, who at one epoch has the cares of empire upon his shoulders, and at another invests his little fortune in post-cards, and answers every inquiry as if he were the editor of Notes and Queries or of the Family Herald itself. He is like an elephant that can either crack a put or prostrate an oak. Among the last letters of George Canning is one in which he mentions Pozzo Borgo's secret of getting through much work.
It was l'un après l'autre. It was the keeping of things distinctthe thoroughly doing one thing before you went on to the other. There is the fairy order whose wand reduces the most heterogene. sous materials to comparative simplicity. For many people the work is simply impossible. I know a man who gets about three thousand letters every morning. He sends a cart for them every morning to the General Post Office, and of course the goverument is anxious to give him every facility. He has a small army of Clerks to attend to his letters. Only those which are private or very special actually come before him. One is reminded of Napoleon's classification of business. Some is done, some does itself, and some is left undone. It is astonishing how much business does itself. If you only leave your letters alone, as a rule they answer themselves. The man who has really too much to do finds that his only way of living his life is to work by time and not by piece. Make up your mind to strike work at a certain definite time. It is a fine feeling to kuow that you bave work to do, and that you are doing it; that you are doing it fairly well, and that your work tells. You are cutting down trees in the forest of diffi. cully, You are hewing uut the steps by which you will climb to competence and distinction. Those are wise lines of Tennyson, who has so many wise lines :
** Unto him who works, and feels he works,
The same great year is ever at the door.” Too much work often gives a feeling of bewilderment and dismay, and too much work will possibly end in no work at all. We have all heard of the celebrated housemaid who rose early in the morning for the contemplation of her various duties. There was the cloth to lay, the kitchen to get tidy, the beds to make, the carpets to be swept, the door to be answered. The housemaid surveyed the situation, and came to the conclusion that she had too much to dy, and accordingly went to bed again. A great many people act after the example of that philosophical housemaid. I know a man who discovered one season that he had a great deal too much to do. He had his profession to attend to, a large family to look after ; he was engaged in a lawsuit ; he was pledged to write articles in daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly periodicals.
He was perfectly overwhelmed by the number and variety of his responsi. bilities. A desperate resolution seized him. He stowed away some surreptitious fivers, and gave positive orders that no letters or telegrams should be sent after him. Then he disappeared among the lakes and inountains of North Italy. For two months he never came near his work. He thought it rather odd when he found out that he had not been much missed, and that the world had got on very well without him. However, he certainly cut the Gordian knotwhat a man ought to do when he has got tuo much to do. He evidently thought that his great business was to
get out of it And if his work was really killing him, and he really came back recuperated for future work, who will say that that too was not a good morning's work when he put the " silver streak” of the Channel between himself and his manifold perplexities ?
I think it is Baron Bunsen who somewhere says that life is. conflict of duties. There is a preliminary stage to be settled. You must first get people to acknowledge the idea of duty at all before
you can get them to acknowledge the variety of duties, and to steer their way among them. There was a very able man who said that his mind was absolutely paralyzed Whiten anything presented itself to him in the light of a duty. Stile or later, how. ever, we begin to appreciate the force of Bunsen's félicitous phrase. One set of duties drags us one way, and another set of duties drags us another. We are conscious both of a centrifugal and a centrip etal force. The result is that instead of travelling on either side of a square we describe a diagonal. Perhaps the diagonal is the best ruad for us. Or we proceed in curves instead of straight lines ; and there is a greater mystery and complexity and use about the curve. This reflection may perlaps be a source of consolation to some worthy people who may find themselves obliged to mediate between conflicting roads, and instead of spend. ing their strength with ample result in one direction, are obliged to move on lines which they would hardly have marked out for themselves. But though their orbit may be eccentric, though they may wander beneath strange stars and unfamiliar skies, yet this may be their destined path, designed for rare and excellent uses. And there is one practical lesson, if oue might talk sermon-fashion, to be de rived from this consideration. When we think we have too much to do we are all very intolerant of interruptions.. We grudge the chance visitor his five minutes. It is astonishing, by the way, how much can be done in five minutes. I once called on a very busy map, who held out his watch and told me that he could give me exactly five minutes. My business was over in two minutes, and I rose to go. But be said that we had still three minutes together, and very excellent use we made of them. Now it is just possible that the interruption may prove of more importance than ihe original business. The main action of a piece is promoted by its by-play. There is many a man who prefers to go, like a crow, straight to his mark ; but most people will think that the meanderings of a 'river prove of more beauty and use than if it ran in & straight line, like a canal. The interruptions and deviations, especially if attended to without hurry and flurry, form part of the in tegral business of life. The Czar Nicholas, in a fit of imperialism, determined that he would himself lay down the line of rail from St. Petersburg to Muscow. He made it as straight as a ruler. Doubtless the plan might have its advantages. But he made its way through forest and moråss which might easily have been skirt. ed, and left big towns on the right band and on the left unprovided with railway accommodation ; so that I think that, upon the whole, he might have done better if he had turned now to the right and now to the left without pursuing that stern, uncompromising, un. deviating line. Which things are an allegory.
Now there is a certain amount of business which we all have to