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he can spare of victuals, and skins to repose on. When the strangers are refreshed, pipes and tobacco are brought; and then, but not before, conversation begins, with inquiries who they are, whither bound, what news, &c., and it usually ends with offers of service, if the strangers have occasion for guides, or any necessaries for continuing their journey; and nothing is exacted for the entertainment. The same hospitality, esteemed among them as a principal virtue, is practised by private persons; of which Conrad Weiser, our interpreter, gave me the following instance. He had been naturalized among the Six Nations, and spoke well the Mohawk language. In going through the Indian country, to carry a message from our governor to the council at Onondaga, he called at the habitation of Canassetego, an old acquaintance, who embraced him, spread furs for him to sit on, and placed before him some boiled beans and venison, and mixed some rum and water for his drink. When he was well refreshed, and had lit his pipe, Canassetego began to converse with him; asked how he had fared the many years since they had seen each other, whence he then came, what occasioned the journey, &c. Conrad answered all his questions, and, when the discourse began to flag, the Indian, to continue it, said: “Conrad, you have lived long among the white people, and know something of their customs; I have been sometimes at Albany, and have observed that once in seven days they shut up their shops, and assemble all in the great house; tell me what it is for. What do they do there?” “They meet there,” says Conrad, “to hear and learn good things.” “I do not doubt,” says the Indian, “that they tell you so; they have told me the same; but I doubt the truth of what they say, and I will tell you my reasons. I went lately to Albany, to sell my skins, and buy blankets, knives, powder, rum, &c. You know I used generally to deal with Hans Hanson, but I was a little inclined this time to try some other merchants. However, I called first upon Hans, and asked him what he would give for beaver. He said he could not give any more than four shillings a pound; but, says he, I cannot talk on business now ; this is the day when we meet together to learn good things, and I am going to meeting. So I thought to myself, since I cannot do any business to-day, I may as well go to the meeting too, and I went with him. “There stood up a man in black, and began to talk to the people very angrily. I did not understand what he said; but, perceiving that he looked much at me and at Hanson, I imagined he was angry at seeing me there; so I went out, sat down near the house, struck fire, and lit my pipe, waiting till the meeting should break up. I thought, too, that the man had mentioned something of beaver, and I suspected it might be the subject of their meeting. So, when they came out, I accosted my merchant. ‘Well, Hans,’ says I, ‘I hope you have agreed to give more than four shillings a pound 3’ ‘No,' says he, ‘I cannot give so much; I cannot give more than three shillings and sixpence. I then spoke to several other dealers; but they all sung the same song, — three and sixpence,—three and sixence. This made it clear to me that my suspicion was right; and that, whatever they pretended of meeting to learn good things, the real purpose was to consult how to cheat Indians in the price of beaver. Consider but a little, Conrad, and you must be of my opinion. If they met so often to learn good things, they would certainly have learned some before this time. But they are still ignorant. You know our practice. “If a white man, in travelling through our country, enters one of our cabins, we all treat him as I do you; we dry him if he is wet, we warm him if he is cold, and give him meat and drink that he may allay his thirst and hunger, and we spread soft furs for him to rest and sleep on : we demand nothing in return. But, if I go into a white man's house at Albany, and ask for victuals and drink, they say, ‘Where is your money?’ and, if I have none, they say, “Get out, you Indian dog!’ You see they have not yet learned those little good things that we need no meetings to be instructed in, because our mothers taught them to us, when we were children; and, therefore, it is impossible their meetings should be, as they say, for any such purpose, or have any such effect; they are only to contrive the cheating of Indians in the price of beaver.”
Midnight, October 22, 1780. Franklin. Eh! O! Eh! What have I done to merit these cruel sufferings 2 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 2 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 takes any. Franklin. I take —Eh! O! — 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 situation in life is a sedentary one, your amusements, your recreations, 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 cream, and one or two buttered toasts, with slices of hung beef, which I fancy are not things the most easily digested. Immediately afterward, you sit down to write at your desk, or converse with persons who apply to you on business. Thus the time passes till one, without any kind of bodily exercise. But all this I could pardon, in regard, as you say, to your sedentary condition. But what is your practice after dinner ? Walking in the beautiful gardens of those friends with whom you have dined would be the choice of men of sense; yours is to be fixed down to chess, where you are found engaged for two or three hours . This is your perpetual recreation, which is the least eligible of any for a sedentary man, because, instead of accelerating the motion of the fluids, the rigid attention it requires helps to retard the circulation and obstruct internal secretions. Wrapt in the speculations of this wretched game, you destroy your constitution. What can be expected from such a course of living, but a body replete with stagnant humors, ready to fall a prey to all kinds of dangerous maladies, if I, the Gout, did not occasionally bring you relief by agitating those humors, and so purifying or dissipating them 2 If it was in some nook or alley in Paris, deprived of walks, that you played a while at chess after dinner, this might be excusable; but the same taste prevails with you in Passy, Auteuil, Montmartre, or Sanoy, places where there are the finest gardens and walks, a pure air, beautiful women, and most agreeable and instructive conversation ; all which you might enjoy by frequenting the walks. But these are rejected for this abominable game of chess. Fie, then, Mr. Franklin' But amidst my instructions, I had almost forgotten to administer my wholesome corrections; so take that twinge, – and that Franklin. O ! Eh! O! O-o-o-o! As much instruction as you please, Madam Gout, and as many reproaches; but pray, Madam, a truce with your corrections ! Gout. No, sir, no, -I will not abate a particle of what is so much for your good, – therefore — Franklin. O ! jo, ! — It is not fair to say I take no exercise, when I do very often, going out to dine and returning in my carriage. Gout. That, of all imaginable exercises, is the most slight and insignificant, if you allude to the motion of a carriage suspended on springs. By observing the degree of heat obtained by different kinds of motion, we may form an estimate of the quantity of exercise given by each. Thus, for example, if you turn out to walk in winter with cold feet, in an hour's time you will be in a glow all over; ride on horseback, the same effect will scarcely be perceived by four hours' round trotting; but, if you loll in a carriage, such as you have mentioned, you may travel all day, and gladly enter the last inn to warm your feet by a fire. Flatter yourself, then, no longer, that half an hour's airing in your carriage deserves the name of exercise. Providence has appointed few to roll in carriages, while He has given to all a pair of legs, which are machines infinitely more commodious and serviceable. Begrateful, then, and make a proper use of yours. Would you know how they forward the circulation of your fluids, in the very action of transporting you from place to place ; –observe, when you walk, that all your weight is alternately thrown from one leg to the other; this occasions a great pressure on the vessels of the foot, and repels their contents; when relieved by the weight being thrown on the other foot, the vessels of the first are allowed to replenish, and, by a return of the weight, this repulsion again succeeds; thus accelerating the circulation of the blood. The heat produced in any given time depends on the degree of this acceleration; the fluids are shaken, the humors attenuated, the secretions facilitated, and all goes well; the cheeks are ruddy, and health is established. Behold your fair friend at Auteuil; * a lady who received from bounteous nature more really useful science than half a dozen such pretenders to philosophy as you have been able to extract from all your books. When she honors you with a visit it is on foot. She walks all hours of the day, and leaves indolence and its concomitant maladies, to be endured by her horses. In this see at once the preservative of her health and personal charms. But, when you go to Auteuil, you must have your carriage, though it is no further from Passy to Auteuil than from Auteuil to Passy. Franklin. Your reasonihgs grow very tiresome. Gout. I stand corrected. I will be silent, and continue my office; take that, and that Franklin. O! O-o-o! Talk on, I pray you! Gout. No, no; I have a good number of twinges for you to-night, and you may be sure of some more to-morrow. Franklin. What, with such a fever! I shall go distracted. O! Eh! Can no one bear it for me? Gout. Ask that of your horses; they have served you faithfully. Franklin. How can you so cruelly sport with my torments 2 Gout. Sport: I am very serious. I have here a list of offences against your own health distinctly written, and can justify every stroke inflicted on you. Franklin. Read it, then. Gout. It is too long a detail; but I will briefly mention some particulars. Franklin. Proceed. I am all attention. Gout. Do you remember how often you have promised yourself, the following morning, a walk in the grove of Boulogne, in the garden de la Muette, or in your own garden, and have violated your promise, alleging, at one time, it was too cold, at another too warm, too windy, too moist, or what else you leased; when in truth it was too nothing but your insuperable ove of ease ? Franklin. That, I confess, may have happened occasionally, – probably ten times in a year. out. Your confession is very far short of the truth; the gross amount is one hundred and ninety-nine times. Franklin. Is it possible 2 Gout. So possible, that it is fact; you may rely on the