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Tlao rlfglrt tiling; in. furnlslilngs txt 1Me Globe.
alien to the other. The bare hypothesis throws a flood of light on
t he countless incongruities in humanity. It offers an explanation,
and quite a satisfactory one. People unsound in body or in mind,
eccentric, unbalanced, discontented, are partly themselves and part
ly somebody else. The divergent portions quarrel, and their quarrel
waxes hotter and more irreconcilable as time goes on. The head and
hearts of these are not on terms of understanding, nor are tho spirits
and the brains. They are. most of the time, in conflict, and
the result is wretchedness, which is tho condition of so many of tho
They that are born themselves are the lucky ones. They enjoy
the world into which they come under favorable auspices. They are
the optimists, and their preponderating neighbor?, tho discordant
are tho pessimists. Is not this solution of the mystery of tempera
ment in a nutshell?
Are we acquainted with our own ages? Do we get accurato re
ports of an advent on the planet? Not always, by any means. Un
educated peoplo generally do not know when they first saw the light.
They vary their statements according to inclination and circum
stances. Very few women, however intelligent and cultured, have any clear
ideas on that point. If they have learned of their birthday they try
to forget it, after they have reached 20. And they commonly suc
ceed. Why should they try to remember what is unpleasant? Not
many women would wish to bo more than 25, the most charming
age of the sex. And why should they be more? Men would like
women to bo over young, and the best way to keep them young is to
think them young, and make them believe they are young.
Men laugh at women because they are unwilling to discloeo their
age. Their unwillingness comes from the fact, perfectly patent,
that he considers that their attractiveness diminishes with years and
that after a certain time it is wholly lost. Their age is specially
their own; they have an indisputable right to withhold it if they
choose. It is their proper secret (no satirist will deny they can keep
that,) and no one, unless their lover or husband, can claim the privi
lege of sharing it. They are not so reticent as they have been on
this subject, probably because marriage is no longer their sole ob
ject in life. Having learned how they may be financially indepen
dent, they have grown independent otherwise. Nevertheless, they
may have practical grounds for preserving silence concerning their
years. Man certainly has; henco he is not, as is commonly thought,
over ready to proclaim his natal hour.
His reasons are commercial, not connubial, and they are valid.
But, even setting tkose aside, he has no more relish than woman
has for being old. Ago is not alluring to anybody. It may be vener
able, but it is hardly interesting to its bearer. Wo hear a great deal
about beautiful old age; but is it ever beautiful to him, or her, who
has reached it? Old ago is beautiful only to those that are ptill
considerably on this side of it. It is called beautiful because it is
less repellant in some cases than in cases generally. But, obviously
enough, beauty and old ago are incompatible. Can decline, decay,
waning powers, approaching helplessness be beautiful at any time,
in any sense? The thought is unentertainable, self-contradictory.
Death may be beautiful, may be often welcome, especially after a
hard, wearing, painful life; but old age, in and of itself, never can be.
We accept old age as wo accept anything hateful or afilctive, in that
it can not be shunned.
Man's commercial opposition to talking of his age, after middle
life, arises from fear lest he be thought old. The mass of men are
money-earners, many of them dependent on salaries, and they are
naturally sensitive in regard to their years. Their employers may
think them past their prime, beyond their dayB of usefulness, and,
consequently, reduco their pay or dispense .vith their service; tho
same fear will influence men on the down grade, if they are profes
sional or in business on their own account. They may not be con
sidered so capable as formerly; their clients, patients, parishioners,
patrons or customers may fall off; may go elsewhere; may seek new
connections. Under the shadow of much apprehension stand most
men, not momentarily secured against chance and change. They
can not, in a word, afford to be thought old, however capable they
are, owing to possible injurious result to themselves. Ib not this
sufficient to justify them in using discretion as to advertisement of
their years? Discretion is prompted, not by vanity or weakness, but
by a sense of self-protection.
The truth is that no one's age is positive or definite. Only two or
threo persons can know it, ordinarily, most closely connected with
the occurence. Age aoes not. speaK ior useu,
physicians would put it, moro subjectivo than objective Years do
not mako it. Nature fails to discloso it. It depends on feeling. So
long as wo feel young wo remain young, oven if wo have reached
seventy or more. Somo persons cannot live long onough to bo old;
other persons cannot dio early enough to bo young. Tho spirit, not
tho body, tho mind, not tho organization settles tho matter.
Who of us is not acquainted with persons older at .TO than others
at GO? There are old children and young veterans. Many of us aro
born old, and octogenarians frequently dio iu their youth. Poets
aro over youthful; philosophers are over old; mathematicians, though
in their teens, aro representatives of antiquity.
Ages are not fully realized by its carrier. He is usually acquaint
ed with tho number of years that have been assigned him, though
ho is apt to think, in his inmost being, that thoy havo been over
counted. He is sure that ho does not look as old as ho has been
taught to beliovo.
"Can I possibly bo 53?" ho asks himself. "There must bo somo
mistake about it. My friend Wiggins is 53, and young in appear
ance, too, for his years. Would my worst enemy havo tho audacity
to presume that I look to be his equal in ago? Most of my acquaint
ances, I am confident, do not suppose mo to be much over 40. Ono
man offered to bet me, tho other day, that I was not 15; and ho is a
man of discernment and strict integrity. If I do not know that, I
would not havo lent him $50 just before he proposed tho wager. Ho
says that he is an excellent judge of ages.
"What fools somo fellows are about their ages ! There's Jenkins,
for example! Ho swears ho is isn't fifty yet; and he's sixty-five if he
is a day. He's so awfully made up that some of his associates speak
of him as an admirably preserved man. By Jove, that's just what
ho is ! And he never suspects it, simpleton that ho is.'
As a rule, both sexes are prone to think that those anywhere near
their own ago are much older. Women think it, but aro too tactful
to say it. Men blurt it out. Thoy do not find it easy to believe that
any one of their associates is materially their minor. Fellows much
past sixty, visibly decrepit, are fond of addressing cronies or forty or
less as "men of our age;' of using such phrases as "Wo'ro no longer
young now," "We're getting old," "At our timo of life," etc.
Many a man has a strange way of judging of the age of another,
almost a stranger perhaps. Hearing that the other is forty, ho ex
claims (without the slightest information on tho subject): Forty?
How absurd ! Why, I'm 47, and ho's older than I, of course-" The
probability is that ho is older than he admits. Those who volunteer
to declare their age are likely to deduct something from it, before
making the declaration. Thoy compound with themselves for their
assumed candor by telling a deliberate falsehood. When they deal
with so important and so precarious a topic as their own age, thoy
must, they fancy, be allowed large ethical license. At any rate, they
Not only aro somo individuals, of tho same age as others, younger
than they in essenco as well as appearance; some nations and races
seem younger than other nations and races. An Englishman, usual
ly, whether young, in middle life or far beyond it, impresses one as
younger than an American of liko years. This may bo due to con
stitution, equable temper, calm mind, out-door exercise, regular hab
its. But be the cause what it may, it is, unquestionably, a fact.
Americans, again, differ from ono another in youthful seeming.
Those on the sea-coast look younger than thoso in the interior; those
in cities than those in the country proper. A New Yorker, at 70,
shows to moro physical advantage, is etraighter, healthier, fresher'
more energetic and alert than a New England farmer at 55 or Co!
The former takes far better care of himself than the latter; is better
fed, better clad, better lodged; has immeasurably more pride of body
and a much easier mind. The old ideas about the superiority of the
country to tho town in health, content, longevity has been exploded.
Again tho French are younger than the Germans from their im
proved cooking, lighter diet, larger cheerfulness, augmented vivac
ity more secular disposition. The Italians are younger than the
Spaniards, who still cling to midiaevalism, bull fights and intoler
ance. The Russian, despite their autocratic government, and their
total lack of individual development or opportunity for betterment,
are younger than the Scandinavians, whoso extreme seriousness,'
poverty, limitations weigh them down, and early aud furrows to
their brows. The Russians gamble against fortune and destiny, and
make madly merry over volcanic craters. But the Scandinavians
toil and brood until the true spirit of merriment is extinguished.
Really age is not age. It depends entirely on the man. How
many wo know who live to 75 and are never mentioned as old !
Others, below forty, are seldom spoken of as young. We may make
ourselves young or old, irrespective of years. The determination to
icuiam juuug iicsoriea uh itum pnjsicai ana menial decline. The
moder philosophers are right. Really, there is no such a thing as
o u.iius XiETSKI DROWSE,
It is, as the meta- Time; it is only a phenomenon.