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This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. Excerpt: ... CHAPTER X. SPORTS AND PASTIMES. If there be any truth in the statements so continually urged by foreign writers, the British people were naturally melancholy, averse to public amusements, and much addicted to suicide. The apparent gloom was, however, more an outward appearance than an inward reality, and was chiefly the result of attempting to enforce--as far as possible--a strict observance of the Sabbath. The desire of the English was to make Sunday a day of rest, whilst the Scotch strove to make it a day of gloom; and, no doubt, to the French and other foreign nations, who devoted the Sundays chiefly to pleasure, the aspect of London and other large cities would have warranted the belief in the melancholy temper of the whole nation. There is much to be said in favour of that foreign practice of making the day of rest a day of pleasure: for, truly, such innocent recreation as conduces to health and happiness contributes much to a nation's welfare, by making the people contented during the six days of toil and labour. Moreover, the delight kindled by the sight of human joy, exulting in the presence of nature's sunshine and beauty, is but an expression of gratitude to the Creator--not the less deep because it is not expressed in words. In former times the Sabbath--even, after the Reformation--was a day of public rejoicing, and--until the selfishness and hard-heartedness of commerce had thoroughly engrossed the mind, and the love of wealth had destroyed more natural desires-numerous holidays and festivals throughout the year contributed to the health and happiness of the people. Every town and village of the old country held periodical fairs, in which it was impossible to decide whether pleasure or business was the chief object of desire. But gradually those fes...
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