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The Oxford book of American essays

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Pages: 324

Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.

Publisher: Date:8/4/2009 - General Books LLC

By: Brander Matthews

Excerpt from book: DIALOGUE BETWEEN FRANKLIN AND THE GOUT Midnight, 22 October, 1780. Franklin. Eh! Oh! eh! What have I done to merit these cruel sufferings? Gout. Many things: you have ate and drank too freely, and too much indulged those legs of yours in their indolence. Franklin. Who is it that accuses me? Gout. It is I, even I, the Gout. Franklin. What! my enemy in person? Gout. No, not your enemy. ' Franklin. I repeat it, my enemy: for you would not only torment my body to death, but ruin my good name: you reproach me as a glutton and a tippler: now all the world, that knows me, will allow that I am neither the one nor the other. Gout. The world may think as it pleases: it is always very complaisant to itself, and sometimes to its friends: but I very well know that the quantity of meat and drink proper for a man, who takes a reasonable degree of exercise, would be too much for another, who never takfes any. Franklin. I take—eh! oh!—as much exercise—eh!— as I can, Madam Gout. You know my sedentary state, and on that account, it would seem, Madam Gout, as if you might spare me a little, seeing it is not altogether my own fault. Gout. Not a jot: your rhetoric and your politeness are thrown away: your apology avails nothing. If your situa- tion in life is a sedentary one, your amusements, your recreation, at least, should be active. You ought to walk or ride: or, if the weather prevents that, play at billiards. But let us examine your course of life. While the mornings are long, and you have leisure to go abroad, what do you do? Why, instead of gaining an appetite for breakfast, by salutary exercise, you amuse yourself with books, pamphlets, or newspapers, which commonly are not worth the reading. Yet you eat an inordinate breakfast, four dishes of tea, with crea...  


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