Some Private Views

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Author: James Payn
Published: 1881
Language: English
Wordcount: 62,456 / 180 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 59
LoC Category: B
Downloads: 413
Added to site: 2004.11.13
mnybks.net#: 9102
Genre: Philosophy
Excerpt

amily pew, is not so enamoured of that idea of accomplishing those threescore years and ten which the young parson, fresh from Cambridge, is describing as such a lucky number in life's lottery. The attempt to paint it so is well-meaning, no doubt, 'the vacant chaff well meant for grain;' and it is touching to see how men generally (knowing that they themselves have to go through with it) are wont to portray it in cheerful colours.

A modern philosopher even goes so far as to say that our memories in old age are always grateful to us. Our pleasures are remembered, but our pains are forgotten; 'if we try to recall a physical pain,' she writes (for it is a female), 'we find it to be impossible,' From which I gather only this for certain, that that woman never had the gout.

The folks who come my way, indeed, seem to remember their physical ailments very distinctly, to judge by the way they talk of them; and are exceedingly apprehensive of their recurrence. Nay, it is curious to see how some old men will resent the compliments of their juniors on their state of health or appearance. 'Stuff and nonsense!' cried old Sam Rogers, grimly; 'I tell you there is no such thing as a fine old man.' In a humbler walk of life I remember to have heard a similar but more touching reply. It was upon the great centenarian question raised by Mr. Thorns. An old woman in a workhouse, said to be a hundred years of age, was sent for by the Board of Guardians, to decide the point by her personal testimony. One can imagine the half-dozen portly prosperous figures, and the contrast their appearance offered to that of the bent and withered crone. 'Now, Betty,' said the chairman with unctuous patronage, 'you look hale and hearty enough, yet they tell me that you are a hundred years old; is this really true?' 'God Almighty knows, sir,' was her reply, 'but I feel a thousand.'

And there are so many people nowadays who 'feel a thousand.'

It is for this reason that the gift o

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