Open main menu

Page:Littell's Living Age - Volume 130.djvu/442

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
434
MODERN WARFARE.

form of a letter, which was a good deal to the following effect. I have a copy of it in my letter-book at home. It began: —

Dear Mary Ann, and my Sisters and Brothers, — After some prayer, I consider it my solemn duty to write to you, and warn you of your dangerous position. There is not one of you that fears God: you all are steeped in self-indulgence of one kind or another. I won't mention names, but I put it to your consciences whether any of you has ever denied him or her self to do any good action, whether or not you have not lived lives purely selfish. You wrangled and quarrelled like vultures at your meals, each demanding the largest share. You girls esteemed it degrading to make your own clothes when your milliner's rags were worn out, and adopted a style of dress which to my mind seemed a burlesque. You were at good schools, but you were too indolent to make good use of them; and your brothers have spent a small fortune on stimulants. Your marriages have all been contemptible. Finally, let me say, I have no respect for any of you, but, as I fear God, I will not see you want. Those of you, married and single, who will become vegetarians and renounce stimulants, I will endeavor to assist in life, provided you bring up your children as vegetarians. But I shall renounce all connection with those relatives who do not in six months become vegetarians. I feel impelled to do so by a sense of duty.

"I had this letter printed, and sent a copy to all my brothers and sisters; most of them replied, and said they would consider the proposal. Of my numerous brothers and sisters, none were at this time in prosperous circumstances, and yet they had all had a much better chance than I; more money had been spent on their education, and all of them had some legacies left them by an uncle, who left me nothing, as I was supposed to be separated from the rest.

"After spending about 15,000l. on endeavoring to benefit my brothers and sisters and their children, I have determined to spend no more money on them, as they are incorrigibly self-indulgent, reckless, and vainglorious, but keep all my money for my own offspring and those whom I can morally respect. Do you not think I am right, Mr. Napier?

"I will now tell you the state of my family. They are all healthy and well-formed, luxuriant in hair, sound in teeth, and much better proportioned in feature and figure than usual. I confess, sir, that I take no small pleasure in my family. Even my married children do nothing of importance without consulting me. I share my income liberally with them, but they with commendable prudence live plainly and economically, and save much; some are better at it than others, but I cannot complain of any of them; they are liberal too. My grown-up sons spend a tenth of their incomes on moral and religious purposes. I do not devote much time to business now — not much more than three hours daily; literary, scientific, and other intellectual pursuits fill up the rest of my time."

The vegetarian's wife described their mansion in the country as containing thirty rooms, among which is a fine picture-gallery ninety feet long; about twenty conservatories and thirty gardeners are attached to the house. "By the sale of early fruits and vegetables, and the rearing of certain orchids, the great expense of this wholesale gardening is reduced to about 1,000l. a year, which her husband does not wish this hobby to exceed. He grows grapes throughout the greater part of the year, and pineapples also, so that the dessert fruit on his table is scarcely to be surpassed. His entire living expenses do not exceed 3,000l. a year, although his income is something like six times that amount. Sometimes he will spend 3,000l. a year in relieving distress, as he did at the time of the cotton famine. His wife said he is so shy and reserved with people in general that he avoids society; but rich people are sought after, and he sometimes receives a thousand begging letters in the year. He thought his life ought to be written, and added as an appendix to Mr. Smiles's "Self-Help;" and so I have sent this sketch of it for publication.




From Fraser's Magazine.

MODERN WARFARE.

TO THE EDITOR OF FRASER'S MAGAZINE.

Sir, — Your article on modern warfare contains statements of so great importance to public interests that I do not hesitate to ask you to spare me space for a question or two respecting it, which by answering, your contributor may make the facts he has brought forward more valuable for practical issues.

The statistics given in the second column of page 695, on which "P. S. C." rests his "incontestable" conclusion, that "battles are less sanguinary than they were," are incomplete in this vital respect, that they furnish us only with the proportion, and not with the total number, of