Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 14.djvu/800

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

not work with perfect ease or coöperation. Its position appears to be that of a helpless spectator of but a minute fraction of a huge amount of automatic brain-work. The unconscious operations of the mind may be likened to the innumerable waves that travel by night, unseen and in silence, over the broad expanse of an ocean. Consciousness may bear some analogy to the sheen and roar of the breakers, where a single line of the waves is lashed into foam on the shores that obstruct their course.—Nineteenth Century.

 

HEALTH AND RECREATION.
By Dr. BENJAMIN W. RICHARDSON, F. R. S.

THAT all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy is one of those common sayings which we seem bound to accept, whether we like it or not. It is a truthful saying and an untruthful, a wise saying and an unwise, according as one word in it is interpreted, and that word is, play. If play really means play in the strict sense of the term, as it is defined for us in the dictionaries, viz., "as any exercise or series of exercises intended for pleasure, amusement, or diversion, like blind-man's-buff"; or as "sport, gambols, jest, not in earnest"—then truly all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, and Jill a dull girl.

But in these days there is a difficulty in accepting the saying as true, because the idea of play, especially when it is expressed by the term "recreation," is not always represented in the definition I have given above. We now often really transform play into work; and our minds are so constituted that what is one person's work is another person's play. What a backwoodsman would call his horse-like labor, a foremost statesman may call his light of pleasure. How shall we define it? What is play or recreation?

Men differ, I think, on the definition of work and play more than on almost any other subject: differ in practice as much as in theory in regard to it. I have had the acquaintance, and I may say the friendship, of a man who lives, it is said, for nothing but recreation, or pleasure, or play. Such a man will rise at ten in the morning, and after a leisurely, gossiping, paper-reading, luxurious breakfast will stroll to the stables to look after the horses, of each one of which he is very fond. He delights in horses. Thence he will away to the club, will gossip there, read the reviews or the latest new novels, and regale at luncheon. After luncheon he will play a rubber, winning or losing several shillings—it may be pounds. He may then take a ride, or drive, or walk in the park, and have a chat there; or canter over to Kew and look round the gardens, or attend a drum, or visit the Zo-