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a web of many textures

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Page 53


A word about diet — the matters that we eat, and
their effects upon us. We are made from the dust of
the earth, not by being shaped in the human mould and
pushed upon the stage to enact our part, but by eating
dirt-pies, made up in the several forms of beef and
mutton and vegetables, and grow to our limit of physical
life by the accretions of dust, in some form or
another, that we pick up as we go along. This is all
that it amounts to, and, however we may disguise it
with nice condiments, and lay claim to a higher origin
than dust, the fact is, nevertheless. Whether in form
of choice wines or rich preserves, or dishes whose delicacy
is the acme of desire, it resolves itself to this.
The question, then, comes up, like Sam Weller's of the
red-nosed man, with regard to the particular kind of
vanities that he preferred, which sort of dust is best?
Here is a chance for division, where individual tastes
will take issue. The lovers of beef and the lovers of
macaroni will contend for the mastery, — the animal
and the vegetable. It is, we think, an established fact
that a man partakes of the nature of what he eats. The
man who eats beef, for instance, becomes of most oxlike
and sinewy ponderosity, according to this rule, while
he who partakes of the delicate flesh of the marsh night
ingale must become indued with the flexibility of a
dancing-master. Feasters upon wild game and swift
fish are fast men, those who cotton to pop-corn are
remarkably snappy in conversation, while those who
indulge in apples or acid articles may be known by the
acerbity of their character. Narrowing the rule down
to sausages, those who fancy this sort of food are
remarkable for no particular trait, though their conduct


Page 54
is somewhat highly seasoned with a strong tendency to
the sage. It is not ascertained that eating tomatoes
will induce redness of the cheeks, or parsley any particular
facility for learning grammar, or walnuts any
higher aspirations; but this much we may be sure of,
that gross feed is inimical to clear thought, and moderation
in diet is a great helper to spiritual and intellectual