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in the morning I have no spirits. So and was dressed, and coming down much the worse for my correspondents. stairs, was heard, still singing, in the Sleep, that refreshes my body, seems court-yard, out of which the garden to cripple me in every other respect. ascended at the back of the house. As the evening approaches I grow more The servants at the same time brought alert, and when I am retiring to bed out two or three chairs. We then am more fit for mental occupation than lounged about, or sat and talked. In at any other time. So it fares with us the course of an hour or two, being whom they call nervous."
an early riser, I used to go in to dinHe was very assiduous in labor. Lord Byron either stayed a little While he was translating Homer, he longer, or went up stairs to his books says: “ As soon as breakfast is over, I and his couch. When the heat of the retire to my nutshell of a summer-house, day declined we rode out, either on which is my verse manufactory, and horseback or in a barouche, generally here I abide seldom less than three towards the forest. He was a good hours, and not often more.” This little rider, graceful, and kept a firm seat. summer-house, which he called his In the evening I seldom saw him. He boudoir, was not much bigger than a recreated himself in the balcony, or sedan-chair; the door of it opened into with a book; and at night, when I went the garden, which was covered with to bed, he was just thinking of setting pinks, roses, and honeysuckles. The to work with “Don Juan.' His favorite window opened into his neighbor's or- reading was history and travels. His chard. He says: “It formerly served favorite authors were Bayle and Giban apothecary, now dead, as a smoking- bon. His favorite recreation was boatroom; and under my feet is a trap- ing.” Byron had prodigious facility of door, which once covered a hole in the composition. He was fond of suppers, ground where he kept his bottles. At and in London, after supping at Rogpresent, however, it is dedicated to ers's and eating heartily, he would go sublimer uses. Having lined it with gar- home and throw off sixty or eighty den mats, and furnished it with a table verses, which he would send to press and two chairs, here I write all that I the next morning. write in summer-time, whether to my Goldsmith's desultory habits friends or to the public. .... In the quite characteristic. Irving says: “ It afternoon I return to it again, and all was his custom during the summerthe daylight that follows, except what is time, when pressed by a multiplicity of sometimes devoted to a walk, is given literary jobs, or urged to the accomplishto Homer.” In the evening he devot- ment of some particular task, to take ed himself to transcribing, so that his country lodgings a few miles from town, mornings and evenings were, for the generally on the Harrow or Edgeware most part, completely engaged. He road, and bury himself there for weeks read also, but less than he wrote ; "for and months together. Sometimes he I must have bodily exercise," he said, would remain closely occupied in his "and therefore never let a day pass room, at other times he would stroll without it.” His walk was usually in out along the lanes and hedgerows, the afternoon.
and, taking out paper and pencil, note Lord Byron, who used to sit up at down thoughts to be expanded and night writing “Don Juan," (which he did corrected at home.” Though he enunder the influence of gin and water,) gaged to board with the family, his rose late in the morning. Leigh Hunt meals were generally sent to him in thus describes him : “ He breakfasted, his room, in which he passed the most read, lounged about, singing an air, of his time, negligently dressed, with generally out of Rossini, and in a swag- his shirt-collar open, busily engaged gering style, though in a voice at once in writing. Sometimes, probably when small and veiled; then took a bath in moods of composition, he would
wander into the kitchen, without no- with books and pictures; its furniture ticing any one, stand musing with his is of solid oak. There work begins. back to the fire, and then hurry off If it be a comedy, he will now and then again to his room, no doubt to com- walk rapidly up and down the room, mit to paper some thought which had talking wildly to himself, and laughing struck him. He was subject to fits of as he hits upon a good point. Sudwakefulness, and read much in bed ; if denly the pen will be put down, and not disposed to read, he still kept the through a little conservatory, without candle burning; if he wished to extin- seeing anybody, he will pass out into guish it, and it was out of his reach, he the garden for a little while, talking to flung his slipper at it, which would be the gardeners, walking, &c. In again, found in the morning near the over- and vehemently to work. The thought turned candlestick, daubed with grease. has come; and, in letters smaller than He is said to have considered four lines the type in which they shall be set, of poetry a day good work.
it is unrolled along the little blue slips He commenced his poem of “The of paper. A crust of bread and glass Traveller” in Switzerland, but long of wine are brought in, but no word is kept it back from publication, till spoken. The work goes rapidly forJohnson's praise of it induced him to ward, and halts at last suddenly. The prepare it for the press. It is said pen is dashed aside, a few letters, that, while for two years previous to seldom more than three lines in each, its publication he was employed in the are written and despatched to the post, drudgery of laborious compilations for and then again into the garden, visthe booksellers, his few vacant hours its to the horse, cow, and fowls, then were fondly devoted to the patient re- another long turn around the lawn, and visal and correction of this his greatest at last a seat with a quaint old volume poem ; pruning its luxuriances, or sup- in the tent under the mulberry-tree. plying its defects, till it appeared at
walks and conversalength finished with exactness and tion. A very simple dinner at four. polished into beauty. While writing Then a short nap - forty winks — his History of England, he would read upon the great sofa in the study; anHume, Rapin-Thoyras, Carte, and Ken- other long stroll over the lawn while net, in the morning, make a few notes, tea is prepared. Over the tea-table are ramble with a friend into the country jokes of all kinds, as at dinner. In the about the skirts of “Merry Islington," later years of his life, Jerrold seldom return to a temperate dinner and cheer- wrote after dinner; and his evenings ful evening, and, before going to bed, were usually spent alone in his study, write off what had arranged itself in his reading, writing letters, &c. Somehead from the studies of the morning. times he would join the family circle In this way he took a more general for half an hour before going to bed view of the subject, and wrote in a at ten ; but his rule was a solitary evenmore free and fluent style than if he ing in the study with his books. had been mousing at the time among
Dickens's favorite time for compoauthorities. The influence of this way sition is said to be in the morning. of composing history is plainly seen in Powell, in his “ Notices of Living Authe entertaining, but not immortal, vol- thors of England,” says that he writes umes it produced.
till about one or two o'clock, when he Douglas Jerrold's day of labor may lunches, and afterwards takes a walk be sketched thus. At eight o'clock he for a couple of hours ; returns to dinbreakfasts on cold new milk, toast, ner, and gives the evening to his own bacon, watercresses, and perhaps straw- or a friend's fireside. Sometimes his berries. Then he makes long examina- method of labor is much more intense tion of the papers, cutting out bits of and unremitting. Of his delightful little news. The study is a snug room filled Christmas book, “The Chimes,” the author says, in a letter to a friend, press in the first rough draft, without that he shut himself up for one month any intermediate copy being made. Afclose and tight over it. “ All my affec- ter completing his great history, he contions and passions got twined and gratulated himself upon having accomknotted up in it, and I became as hag- plished a long, but temperate labor, gard as a murderer long before I wrote, without fatiguing either the mind or the • The End.' When I had done that, body. “Happily for my eyes,” he said, like “The Man of Thessaly, who, “ I have always closed my studies with having scratched his eyes out in a the day and commonly with the mornquickset hedge, plunged into a bram- ing.” When he had accomplished the ble-bush to scratch them in again, I labors of the morning in the library, he filed to Venice to recover the com- preferred recreation and social enjoyposure I had disturbed." When his ments rather than any exercise of mind. imagination begins to outline a new He gives the following account of his novel, with vague thoughts rife within sensations on accomplishing his great him, he goes “wandering about at work. " It was on the day, or rather night into the strangest places,” he night, of June 27, 1787, between the says, “ seeking rest and finding none.” hours of eleven and twelve, that I wrote
Bulwer accomplishes his voluminous the last lines of the last page in a sumproductions in about three hours a mer-house in my garden. After laying day, usually from ten until one, and down my pen, I took several turns in a seldom later, writing all with his own covered walk of acacias. I will not hand. Composition was at first very dissemble the first emotions of joy on laborious to him, but he gave himself the recovery of my freedom, and persedulously to mastering its difficulties; hap's the establishment of my fame. and is said to have rewritten some But my pride was soon humbled, and a of his briefer productions eight or nine sober melancholy was spread over my times before publication. He now mind by the idea that I had taken an writes very rapidly, averaging, it is everlasting leave of an old and agreeasaid, twenty octavo pages a day. He ble companion.” says of himself in a letter to a friend : This reminds us of the emotions “ I literatize away the morning, ride at which Noah Webster describes as overthree, go to bathe at five, dine at six, whelming him when he reached the close and get through the evening as I best of his dictionary. “ When I finished may, sometimes by correcting a proof.” my copy,” says Dr. Webster, “I was
Charles Anthon, so well known to sitting at my table in Cambridge, Engthe classical students of this genera- land, January, 1825. When I arrived tion, was accustomed, for many years at the last word, I was seized with a at least, constantly to retire at ten and tremor that made it difficult to proceed. rise at four, so that a large part of his I, however, summoned up my strength day's work was done by breakfast-time; to finish the work, and then, walking and it was this untiring industry that about the room, I soon recovered.” enabled him, despite his incessant la- Buckle, even more systematically and bors both in college and in school, to laboriously than ever did Gibbon, deproduce some fifty volumes.
voted himself to the formation of his Gibbon always studied with his pen in style of writing as a special preparation hand, and for the purpose of his history for entering upon the composition of his he practised laboriously the formation history. In his later years he abanof his style of writing. The first chap- doned the custom of writing at night, ter of his history he rewrote three times, and it was his usual practice to lay and the second and third chapters twice, aside his pen by three o'clock in the afbefore he was satisfied with them ; but ternoon. When at home in London, he after thus getting under way, the greater spent an hour or so at noon in walking part of his manuscript was sent to the about the city, frequently dined out,
and read an hour after coming home. unoccupied at any time whatsoever. He went to dinner-parties exclusively, He was always doing something, with it is said, because they took less time books, pen, or instrument, or engaged than others.
in conversation." Sir William Jones while in India be- Judge Story arose at seven in sumgan his studies with the dawn, and in mer and at half past seven in winter, seasons of intermission from profes- never earlier. If breakfast was not sional duty continued them throughout ready, he went at once to his library, the day ; meditation retraced and con- and occupied the interval, whether it firmed what reading had collected or was five minutes or fifty, in writing. investigation discovered. With respect When the family assembled, he was to the division of his time, he wrote on called, and breakfasted with them. Af a small piece of paper these lines : ter breakfast he sat in the drawing“Sir EDWARD COKE.
room, and spent from half to three “Six hours in sleep, in law's grave study six, quarters of an hour in reading the Four spend in prayer, - the rest on nature fix,"
newspapers of the day. He then re“RATHER,
turned to his study, and wrote until “Seven hours to law, to soothing slumber seven, the bell sounded for his lecture at the Ten to the world allot, -- and all to heaven." Law School. After lecturing for two,
Of Chief-Justice Parsons of Massa- and sometimes three hours, he rechusetts, his son says: “It is literally turned to his study, and worked until true that for fifty years he was always two o'clock, when he was called to dinreading or writing when not obliged to To his dinner -- which on his be doing something else. He had, for- part was always simple — he gave an tunately for himself, many interruptions, hour, and then again betook himself but he avoided them as far as he could; to his study, where in the winter time and there were weeks, and I believe con- he worked as long as the daylight lastsecutive months, when he passed near- . ed, unless called away by a visitor, ly two thirds of his day with books and or obliged to attend a moot - court. papers. . . . . He very seldom took ex- Then he came down and joined the ercise for exercise sake. Excepting an family, and work for the day was over. infrequent walk of some minutes in the During the evening he was rarely withlong entry which ran through the mid- out company; but if alone he read some dle of his house, he almost never walked new publication, sometimes corrected for mere exercise, until an attack of ill- a proof-sheet, listened to music, talked ness. After that he sometimes, though with the family, or played backgammon. rarely, took a walk about the streets or In the summer afternoons he left his on the Common. . . . . His office was library towards twilight. Generally the always in his dwelling-house. There summer afternoon was varied three or he sat all the day, but his evenings four times a week in fair weather by a were invariably spent in the large com- drive of about an hour in the country mon sitting-room. He had his chair in an open chaise. At ten or half past by the fireside, and a small table near it he retired for the night, never varying a on which the evening's supply of books half-hour from this time. The exercise was placed. There he sat, always he took was almost entirely incidental reading, (seldom writing in the evening to his duties, and consisted in driving or out of his office,) but never disturbed to Boston to hold his court, or attend to by any noise or frolic which might be other business, and in walking to and going on. If anybody, young or old, from the Law School. His real exerappealed to him, he was always ready cise was in talking. His diet was exto answer; and sometimes, though not ceedingly simple. His lectures were very often, would join in a game or wholly extemporary, or delivered withplay, and then return to his books. out minutes, and no record was ever
I have never known him wholly made of them by himself. After an interruption of hours, and even of days, rupted so as to distract their attenhe could take up the pen and continue tion, says that the rule applies to the a sentence which he had left half-writ- well quite as much as to the sick. ten, without reading back, going on She adds: “I have never known perwith the same certainty and rapidity as sons who exposed themselves for years if he had never been stopped.
to constant interruptions who did not While Lord Jeffrey was judge, dur- muddle away their intellects by it at ing the sittings of the court, the per- last.” Dr. Arnold seems to be an exformance of his official duties exhaust- ception. ed nearly his whole day, the evenings The elder Alexander, the Princeton especially; and his spare time, whether theologian, was another exception to during his sittings or in vacation, was Florence Nightingale's rule. It was given to society, to correspondence, to his peculiarity that he seemed incawalking, to lounging in his garden, and pable of being interrupted. Except to reading
in hours of devotion, his study was John C. Calhoun was an arduous always free to his children, even the student, and very simple in his habits. youngest ; noise made no difference ; He avoided all stimulants. When at their books and toys were on his floor, home, he rose at daybreak, and, if and two or three would be clambering weather permitted, took a walk over upon him while he was handling a folio his farm. He breakfasted at half past or had the pen in his hand. Nor was seven, and then retired to his office, this while engaged in the mechanical which stood near his house, where he part of an author's work. His door wrote till dinner-time, or three o'clock. was always open to the children ; they After dinner he read or conversed with burst in freely without any signal, and his family till sunset, when he took an- he always looked up with a smile of other walk. His tea hour was eight. welcome ; and he declared that he ofHe then joined the family, and read or ten could think to most purpose when talked till ten, when he retired.
there was a clatter of little voices Dr. Arnold of Rugby began les- around him. His voluminous works, sons at seven ; and, with the interval which he commenced to publish late in of breakfast, they lasted till nearly life, do not indicate that he underwent three. Then he would walk with his a“ muddling” process. pupils, and dine at half past five. At Johnson used to assert that a man seven he usually had some lessons on could write just as well at one time hand ; and “it was only when they were as another, and as well in one place as all gathered up in the drawing-room another, if he would only set himself after tea,” says Mr. Stanley, " amidst doggedly about it. young men on all sides of bim, that Dr. Channing's habits of labor when he would commence work for himself at home in Boston are thus described. in writing his sermons or Roman His- “ The sun is just rising, and the fires tory.” In a letter Dr. Arnold said: are scarcely lighted, when, with a rapid "From about a quarter before nine till step, Dr. Channing enters his study. ten o'clock every evening I am at lib- He has been watchful during many erty, and enjoy my wife's company hours, his brain teeming, and under fully; during this time I read aloud the excitement of his morning bath to her, -I am now reading to her he longs to use the earliest hours for Herodotus, translating as I go on, work. . . . . His first act is to write or write my sermons, or write letters.” down the thoughts which have been His favorite recreations were horse- given in his vigils ; next he reads a back-riding, walking, and playing with chapter or more in Griesbach's edition his children.
of the Greek Testament, and, after a Florence Nightingale, in advising quick glance over the newspapers of that the sick be not suddenly inter- the day, he takes his light repast.