So your zeal for physical training begins to wane a little, my friend ? I thought it would, in your particular case, because it began too ardently and was concentrated too exclusively on your one hobby of pedestrianism. Just now you are literally under the weather. It is the equinoctial storm. No matter, you say ; did not Olmsted foot it over England under an umbrella? did not Wordsworth regularly walk every guest round Windermere, the day after arrival, rain or shine ? So, the day before yesterday, you did your four miles out, on the Northern turnpike, and returned splashed to the waist; and yesterday you walked three miles out, on the Southern turnpike, and came back soaked to the knees. To-day the storm is slightly increasing, but you are dry thus far, and wish to remain so; exercise is a humbug; you will give it all up, and go to the Chess-Club. Don’t go to the Chess-Club; come with me to the Gymnasium.

Chess may be all very well to tax with tough problems a brain otherwise inert, to vary a monotonous day with small events, to keep one awake during a sleepy evening, and to arouse a whole family next morning for the adjustment over the breakfast-table of that momentous state-question, whether the red king should have castled at the fiftieth more or not till the fifty-first. But for an average American man, who leaves his place of business at nightfall with his head a mere furnace of red-hot brains and his body a pile of burnt-out cinders, utterly exhausted in the daily effort to put ten dollars more of distance between his posterity and the poor-house,—for such a one to kindle up afresh after office-hours for a complicated chess - problem seems much as if a wood-sawyer, worn out with his week’s work, should decide to order in his saw-horse on Saturday evening, and saw for fun. Surely we have little enough recreation at any rate, and, pray, let us make that little un-intellectual. True, something can be said in favor of chess, — for instance, that no money can be made out of it, and that it is so far profitable to us overworked Americans: but even this is not enough. For this once, lock your brains into your safe, at nightfall, with your other valuables; don’t go to the Chess-Club; come with me to the Gymnasium.

Ten leaps up a steep, worn-out stairway, through a blind entry to another stairway, and yet another, and we emerge suddenly upon the floor of a large lighted room, a mere human machine-shop of busy motion, where Indian clubs are whirling, dumb-bells pounding, swings vibrating, and arms and legs flying in all manner of unexpected directions. Henderson sits with his big proportions quietly rested against the weight-boxes, pulling with monotonous vigor at the fifty-pound weights, — “the Stationary Engine” the boys call him. For a contrast, Draper is floating up and down between the parallel bars with such an airy lightness, that you think he must have hung up his body in the dressing-room, and is exercising only in his arms and clothes. Parsons is swinging in the rings, rising to the ceiling before and behind; up and down he goes, whirling over and over, converting himself into a mere tumbler-pigeon, yet still bound by the long, steady vibration of the human pendulum. Another is running a race with him, if sitting in the swing, be running ; and still another is accompanying their motion, clinging to the trapèze. Hayes, meanwhile, is spinning on the horizontal bar, now backward, now forward, twenty times without stopping, pinioned through his bent arms, like a Fakir on his iron. See how many different ways of ascending a vertical pole these boys are devising!—one climbs with hands and legs, another with hands only, another is crawling up on all-fours in Feegee fashion, while another is pegging his way up by inserting pegs in holes a foot apart,—you will see him sway and tremble a bit, before he reaches the ceiling. Others are at work with a spring-board and leaping-cord ; higher and higher the cord is moved, one by one the competitors step aside defeated, till the field is left to a single champion, who, like an India-rubber ball, goes on rebounding till he seems likely to disappear through the chimney, like a Ravel. Some sturdy young visitors, farmers by their looks, are trying their strength, with various success, at the sixty-pound dumb-bell, when some quiet fellow, a clerk or a tailor, walks modestly to the hundredpound weight, and up it goes as steadily as if the laws of gravitation had suddenly shifted their course, and worked upward instead of down. Lest, however, they should suddenly resume their original bias, let us cross to the dressing-room, and, while you are assuming flannel shirt or complete gymnastic suit, as you may prefer, let us consider the merits of the Gymnasium.

Do not say that the public is growing tired of hearing about physical training. You might as well speak of being surfeited with the sight of apple-blossoms, or bored with roses, — for these athletic exercises are, to a healthy person, just as good and refreshing. Of course, any one becomes insupportable who talks all the time of this subject, or of any other; but it is the man who fatigues you, not the theme. Any person becomes morbid and tedious whose whole existence is absorbed in any one thing, be it playing or praying. Queen Elizabeth, after admiring a gentleman’s dancing, refused to look at the dancing-master, who did it better. “ Nay,” quoth her bluff Majesty, — “’t is his business,—I ’ll none of him,” Professionals grow tiresome. Books are good,— so is a boat ; but a librarian and a ferryman, though useful to take you where you wish to go, are not necessarily enlivening as companions. The annals of “ Boxiana ” and “ Pedestriana ” and “ The Cricket-Field" are as pathetic records of monomania as the bibliographical works of Mr. Thomas Dibdin. Margaret Fuller Said truly, that we all delight in gossip, and differ only in the department of gossip we individually prefer; but a monotony of gossip soon grows tedious, be the theme horses or octavos.

Not one-tenth part of the requisite amount has yet been said of athletic exercises as a prescription for this community. There was a time when they were not even practised generally among American boys, if we may trust the foreign travellers of a half-century ago, and they are but just being raised into respectability among American men. Motley says of one of his Flemish heroes, that “ he would as soon have foregone his daily tennis as his religious exercises,”— as if ball-playing were then the necessary pivot of a great man’s day. Some such pivot of physical enjoyment we must have, for no other race in the world needs it so much. Through the immense inventive capacity of our people, mechanical avocations are becoming almost as sedentary and intellectual as the professions. Among Americans, all hand-work is constantly being transmuted into brain-work ; the intellect gains, but the body suffers, and needs some other form of physical activity to restore the equilibrium. As machinery becomes perfected, all the coarser tasks are constantly being handed over to the German or Irish immigrant,— not because the American cannot do the particular thing required, but because he is promoted to something more intellectual. Thus transformed to a mental laborer, he must somehow supply the bodily deficiency. If this is true of this class, it is of course true of the student, the statesman, and the professional man. The general statement recently made by Lewes, in England, certainly holds not less in America: — “ It is rare to meet with good digestion among the artisans of the brain, no matter how careful they may be in food and general habits.” The great majority of our literary and professional men could echo the testimony of Washington Irving, if they would only indorse his wise conclusion: — “ My own case is a proof how one really loses by over-writing one’s self and keeping too intent upon a sedentary occupation. I attribute all my present indisposition, which is losing me time, spirits, everything, to two fits of close application and neglect of all exercise while I was at Paris. I am convinced that he who devotes two hours each day to vigorous exercise will eventually gain those two and a couple more into the bargain.”

Indeed, there is something involved in the matter far beyond any merely physical necessity. All our natures need something more than mere bodily exertion ; they need bodily enjoyment. There is, or ought to be, in all of us a touch of untamed gypsy nature, which should be trained, not crushed. We need, in the very midst of civilization, something which gives a little of the zest of savage life; and athletic exercises furnish the means. The young man who is caught down the bay in a sudden storm, alone in his boat, with wind and tide against him, has all the sensations of a Norway sea-king, — sensations thoroughly uncomfortable, if you please, but for the thrill and glow they bring. Swim out after a storm at Dove Harbor, topping the low crests, diving through the high ones, and you feel yourself as veritable a South-Sea Islander as if you were to dine that day on missionary instead of mutton. Tramp, for a whole day, across hill, marsh, and pasture, with gun, rod, or whatever the excuse may be, and camp where you find yourself at evening, and you are as essentially an Indian on the Blue Hills as among the Rocky Mountains. Less depends upon circumstances than we fancy, and more upon our personal temperament and will. All the enjoyments of Browning’s “ Saul,” those “ wild joys of living” which make us happy with their freshness as we read of them, are within the reach of all, and make us happier still when enacted. Every one, in proportion as he develops his own physical resources, puts himself in harmony with the universe, and contributes something to it; even as Mr. Pecksniff, exulting in his digestive machinery, felt a pious delight after dinner in the thought that this wonderful apparatus was wound up and going.

A young person can no more have too much love of adventure than a mill can have too much water-power; only it needs to be worked, not wasted. Physical exercises give to energy and daring a legitimate channel, supply the place of war, gambling, licentiousness, highway-robbery", and office-seeking. De Quincey, in like manner, says that Wordsworth made pedestrianism a substitute for wine and spirits ; and Emerson thinks the force of rude periods “ can rarely be compensated in tranquil times, except by some analogous vigor drawn from occupations as hardy as war.” The animal energy cannot and ought not to be suppressed; if debarred from its natural channel, it will force for itself unnatural ones. A vigorous life of the senses not only does not tend to sensuality in the objectionable sense, but it helps to avert it. Health finds joy in mere existence; daily breath and daily bread suffice. This innocent enjoyment lost, the normal desires seek abnormal satisfactions. The most brutal prize-fighter is compelled to recognize the connection between purity and vigor, and becomes virtuous when he goes into training, as the heroes of old observed chastity, in hopes of conquering at the Olympic Games. The very’ word ascetic comes from a Greek word signifying the preparatory exercises of an athlete. There are spiritual diseases which coil poisonously among distorted instincts and disordered nerves, and one would be generally safer in standing sponsor for the soul of the gymnast than of the dyspeptic.

Of course, the demand of our nature is not always for continuous exertion. One does not always seek that “ rough exercise ” which Sir John Sinclair asserts to be “ the darling idol of the English.” There are delicious languors, Neapolitan reposes, Creole siestas, “ long days and solid banks of flowers.” But it is the birthright of the man of the temperate zones to alternate these voluptuous delights with more heroic ones, and sweeten the reverie by the toil. So far as they go, the enjoyments of the healthy body are as innocent and as ardent as those of the soul. As there is no ground of comparison, so there is no ground of antagonism. How compare a sonata and a sea-bath, or measure the Sistine Madonna against a gallop across country ? The best thanksgiving for each is to enjoy the other also, and educate the mind to ampler nobleness. After all, the best verdict on athletic exercises was that of the great Sully, when he said, “ I was always of the same opinion with Henry IV. concerning them: he often asserted that they were the most solid foundation, not only of discipline and other military virtues, but also of those noble sentiments and that elevation of mind which give one nature superiority over another.”

We are now ready, perhaps, to come to the question, How are these athletic enjoyments to be obtained ? The first and easiest answer is, By taking a long walk every day. If people would actually do this, instead of forever talking about doing it, the object might be gained. To be sure, there are various defects in this form of exercise. It is not a play, to begin with, and therefore does not withdraw the mind from its daily cares; the anxious man recurs to his problems on the way; and each mile, in that case, brings fresh weariness to brain as well as body. Moreover, there are, according to Dr. Grau, “ three distinct groups of muscles which are almost totally neglected where walking alone is resorted to, and which consequently exist only in a crippled state, although they are of the utmost importance, and each stands in close rapport with a number of other functions of the greatest necessity to health and life.” These he afterwards classifies as the muscles of the shoulders and chest, having a bearing on the lungs, — the abdominal muscles, bearing on the corresponding organs,—and the spinal muscles, which are closely connected with the whole nervous system.

But the greatest practical difficulty is, that walking, being the least concentrated form of exercise, requires a larger appropriation of time than most persons are willing to give. Taken liberally, and in connection with exercises which are more concentrated and have more play about them, it is of great value, and, indeed, indispensable. But so far as I have seen, instead of these other pursuits taking the place of pedestrianism, they commonly create a taste for it; so that, when the sweet spring-days come round, you will see our afternoon gymnastic class begin to scatter literally to the four winds ; or they look in for a moment, on their way home from the woods, their hands filled and scented with long wreaths of the trailing arbutus.

But the gymnasium is the normal type of all muscular exercise,— the only form of it which is impartial and comprehensive, which has something for everybody, which is available at all seasons, through all weathers, in all latitudes. All other provisions are limited : you cannot row in winter nor skate in summer, spite of parlor-skates and ice-boats; ball-playing requires comrades; riding takes money; everything needs daylight: but the gymnasium is always accessible. Then it is the only thing which trains the whole body. Military drill makes one prompt, patient, erect, accurate, still, strong. Rowing takes one set of muscles and stretches them through and through, till you feel yourself turning into one long spiral spring from finger-tips to toes. In cricket or base-ball, a player runs, strikes, watches, catches, throws, must learn quickness of hand and eye, must learn endurance also. Yet, no matter which of these may be your special hobby, you must, if you wish to use all the days and all the muscles, seek the gymnasium at last,— the only thorough panacea.

The history of modern gymnastic exercises is easily written : it is proper to say modern,—for, so far as apparatus goes, the ancient gymnasiums seem to have had scarcely anything in common with our own. The first institution on the modern plan was founded at Schnepfenthal, near Gotha, in Germany, in 1785, by Salzmann, a clergyman and the principal of a boys’ school. After eight years of experience, his assistant, Gutsmuths, wrote a book upon the subject, which was translated into English, and published at Loudon in 1799 and at Philadelphia in 1800, under the name of “ Salzmann’s Gymnastics.” No similar institution seems to have existed in either country, however, till those established by Voelckers, in London, in 1824, and by Dr. Follen, at Cambridge, Mass., in 1826. Both were largely patronized at first, and died out at last. The best account of Voelekers’s establishment will be found in Hone’s “ Every-Day Book ”; its plan seems to have been unexceptionable. But Dr. James Johnson, writing his “ Economy of Health ” ten years after, declared that these German exercises had proved “ better adapted to the Spartan youth than to the pallid sons of pampered cits, the dandies of the desk, and the squalid tenants of attics and factories,” and also adds the epitaph, “ This ultra-gymnastic enthusiast did much injury to an important branch of hygiene by carrying it to excess, and consequently by causing its desuetude.” And Dr. Jarvis, in his “ Practical Physiology,” declares the unquestionable result of the American experiment to have been “ general failure.”

Accordingly, the English, who are reputed kings in all physical exercises, have undoubtedly been far surpassed by the Germans, and even by the French, in gymnastics. The writer of the excellent little “ Handbook for Gymnastics,” George Forrest, M. A., testifies strongly to this deficiency. “ It is curious that we English, who possess perhaps the finest and strongest figures of all European nations, should leave ourselves so undeveloped bodily. There is not one man in a hundred who can even raise his toes to a level with his hands, when suspended by the latter members; and yet to do so is at the very beginning of gymnastic exercises. We, as a rule, are strong in the arms and legs, but weak across the loins and back, and are apparently devoid of that beautiful set of muscles that run round the entire waist, and show to such advantage in the ancient statues. Indeed, at a bathing-place, I can pick out every gymnast merely by the development of those muscles.”

It is the Germans and the military portion of the French nation, chiefly, who have developed gymnastic exercises to their present elaboration, while the working out of their curative applications was chiefly due to Ling, a Swede. In the German manuals, such, for instance, as Eiselen’s “ Turnübungen,” are to be found nearly all the stock exercises of our institutions. Until within a few years, American skill has added nothing to these, except through the medium of the circus; but the present revival of athletic exercises is rapidly placing American gymnasts in advance of the Turners, both in the feats performed and in the style of doing them. Never yet have I succeeded in seeing a thoroughly light and graceful German gymnast, while again and again I have seen Americans who carried into their severest exercise such an airy, floating elegance of motion, that all the beauty of Greek sculpture appeared to return again, and it seemed as if plastic art might once more make its studio in the gymnasium.

The apparatus is not costly. Any handful of young men in the smallest country-village, with a very few dollars and a little mechanical skill, can put up in any old shed or shoe-shop a few simple articles of machinery, which will, through many a winter evening, vary the monotony of the cigar and the grocery-bench by an endless variety of manly competitions. Fifteen cents will bring by mail from the publishers of the “ Atlantic” Forrest’s little sixpenny “Handbook,” which gives a sufficient number ot exercises to form an introduction to all others; and a gymnasium is thus easily established. This is just the method of the simple and sensible Germans, who never wait for elegant upholstery. A pair of plain parallel bars, a movable vaalting-bar, a wooden horse, a springboard, an old mattress to break the fall, a few settees where sweethearts and wives may sit with their knitting as spectators, and there is a Turnhalle complete, — to be henceforward filled, two or three nights in every week, with cheery German faces, jokes, laughs, gutturals, and gambols.

But this suggests that you are being kept too long in the anteroom. Let me act as cicerone through this modest gymnastic hall of ours. You will better appreciate all this oddly shaped apparatus, it I tell you in advance, as a connoisseur does in his picture-gallery, precisely what you are expected to think of each particular article.

You will notice, however, that a part of the gymnastic class are exercising without apparatus, in a series of rather grotesque movements which supple and prepare the body for more muscular feats : these are calisthenie exercises. Such are being at last introduced, thanks to Dr. Lewis and others, into our common schools. At the word of command, as Swiftly as a conjuror twists his puzzlepaper, these living forms are shifted from one odd resemblance to another, at which it is quite lawful to laugh, especially if those laugh who win. A series of windmills,— a group of inflated balloons,— a flock of geese all asleep on one leg,— a circle of ballet-dancers, just poised to begin, — a band of patriots just kneeling to take an oath upon their country’s altar,— a senate of tailors, — a file of soldiers,— a whole parish of Shaker worshippers, — a Japanese embassy performing Ko-tow: these all in turn come like shadows, — so depart. This complicated attitudinizing forms the preliminary to the gymnastic hour. But now come and look at some of the apparatus.

Here is a row of Indian clubs, or sceptres, as they are sometimes called, — tapering down from giants of fifteen pounds to dwarfs of four. Help yourself to a pair of dwarfs, at first; grasp one in each hand, by the handle; swing one of. them round your head quietly, dropping the point behind as far as possible,— then the other, — and so swing them alternately some twenty times. Now do the same back-handed, bending the wrist outward, and carrying the club behind the head first. Now swing them both together, crossing them in front, and then the same back-handed; then the same without crossing, and this again backward, which you will find much harder. Place them on the ground gently after each set of processes. Now, can you hold them out horizontally at arm’s length, forward and then sideways? Your arms quiver and quiver, and down come the clubs thumping at last. Take them presently in a different and more difficult manner, holding each club with the point crect instead of hanging down ; it tries your wrists, you will find, to manipulate them so, yet all the most graceful exercises have this for a basis. Soon you will gain the mastery of heavier implements than you begin with, and will understand how yonder slight youth has learned to handle his two heavy clubs in complex curves that seem to you inexplicable, tracing in the air a device as swift and tangled as that woven by a swarm of gossamer flies above a brook, in the sultry stillness of the summer noon.

This row of masses of iron, laid regularly in order of size, so as to resemble something between a musical instrument and a gridiron, consists of dumb-bells weighing from four pounds to a hundred. These playthings, suited to a variety of capacities, have experienced a revival of favor within a few years, and the range of exercises with them has been greatly increased. The use of very heavy ones is, so far as I can find, a peculiarly American hobby, though not originating with Dr. Windship. Even he, at the beginning of his exhibitions, used those weighing only ninety-eight pounds; and it was considered an astonishing feat, when, a little earlier, Mr, Richard Montgomery used to “put up” a dumb-bell weighing one hundred and one pounds. A good many persons, in different parts of the country, now handle one hundred and twenty-five, and Dr. Windship has got much farther on. There is, of course, a knack in using these little articles, as in every other feat, yet it takes good extensor muscles to get beyond the fifties. The easiest way of elevating the weight is to swing it up from between the knees; or it may be thrown up from the shoulder, with a simultaneous jerk of the whole body; but the only way of doing it handsomely is to put it up from the shoulder with the arm alone, without bending the knee, though you may bend the body as much as you please. Dr. Windship now puts up one hundred and forty-one pounds in this manner, and by the aid of a jerk can elevate one hundred and eighty with one arm. This particular movement with dumbbells is most practised, as affording a test of strength; but there are many other wavs of using them, all exceedingly invigorating, and all safe enough, unless the weight employed be too great, which it is very apt to be. Indeed, there is so much danger of this, that at Cambridge it has been deemed best to exclude all beyond seventy pounds. Nevertheless, the dumbbell remains the one available form of home or office exercise : it is a whole athletic apparatus packed up in the smallest space; it is gymnastic pemmican. With one fifty-pound dumb-bell, or a pair of half that size, — or more or less, according to his strength and habits, — a man may exercise nearly every muscle in his body in half an hour, if he has sufficient ingenuity in positions. If it were one’s fortune to be sent to prison,—and the access to such retirement is growing more and more facile in many regions of our common country. — one would certainly wish to carry a dumb-bell with him, precisely as Dr. Johnson carried an arithmetic in his pocket on his tour to the Hebrides, as containing the greatest amount of nutriment in the compactest form.

Apparatus for lifting is not yet introduced into most gymnasiums, in spite of the recommendations of the Roxbury Hercules: beside the fear of straining, there is the cumbrous weight and cost of iron apparatus, while, for some reason or other, no cheap and accurate dynamometer has yet come into the market. Running and jumping, also, have as yet been too much neglected in our institutions, or practised spasmodically rather than systematically. It is singular how little pains have been taken to ascertain definitely what a man can do with his body, — far less, as Quetelet has observed, than in regard to any animal which man has tamed, or any machine which he has invented. It is stated, for instance, in Walker’s “ Manly Exercises,” that six feet is the maximum of a high leap, with a run, — and certainly one never finds in the newspapers a record of anything higher; yet it is the English tradition, that Ireland, of Yorkshire, could clear a string raised fourteen feet, and that he once kicked a bladder at sixteen. No springboard would explain a difference so astounding. In the same way, Walker fixes the limit of a long leap without a run at fourteen feet, and with a run at twenty-two,— both being large estimates; and Thackeray makes his young Virginian jump twenty-one feet and three inches, crediting George Washington with a foot more. Yet the ancient epitaph of Phayllus the Crotonian claimed for him nothing less than fifty-five feet, on an inclined plane. Certainly the story must have taken a leap also.

These ladders, aspiring indefinitely into the air, like Piranesi’s stairways, are called technically peak-ladders; and dear banished T. S. K., who always was puzzled to know why Mount Washington kept up such a pique against the sky, would have found his joke, fit these ladders with great precision, so frequent the disappointment they create. But try them, and see what trivial appendages one’s legs may become, — since the feet are not intended to touch these polished rounds. Walk up backward on the under side, hand over hand, then forward; then go up again, omitting every other round; then aspire to the third round, if you will. Next grasp a round with both hands, give a slight swing of the body, let go, and grasp the round above, and so on upward ; then the same, omitting one round, or more, if you can, and come down in the same way. Can you walk up on one hand ? It is not an easy thing, but a first-class gymnast will do it,—and Dr. Windship does it, taking only every third round. Fancy a one-armed and legless hodman ascending the under side of a ladder to the roof, and reflect on the conveniences of gymnastic habits.

Here is a wooden horse; on this noble animal the Germans say that not less than three hundred distinct feats can be performed. Bring yonder spring-board, and we will try a few. Grasp these low pommels and vault over the horse, first to the right, then again to the left; then with one hand each way. Now spring to the top and stand ; now spring between the hands forward, now backward ; now take a good impetus, spread your feet far apart, and leap over it, letting go the hands. Grasp the pommels again and throw a somerset over it, — coming down on your feet, if the Fates permit. Now vault up and sit upon the horse, at one end, knees the same side ; now grasp the pommels and whirl yourself round till you sit at the other end, facing the other way. Now spring up and bestride it, whirl round till you bestride it the other way, at the other end; do it once again, and, letting go your hand, seat yourself in the saddle. Now push away the spring-board and repeat every feat with out its aid. Next, take a run and spring upon the end of the horse astride; then walk over, supporting yourself on your hands alone, the legs not touching ; then backward, the same. It will be hard to balance yourself at first, and you will careen uneasily one way or the other ; no matter, you will get over it somehow. Lastly, mount once more, kneel in the saddle, and leap to the ground. It appears at first ridiculously impracticable, the knees seem glued to their position, and it looks as if one would fall inevitably on his face; but falling is hardly possible. Any novice can do it, if he will only have faith. You shall learn to do it from the horizontal bar presently, where it looks much more formidable.

But first you must learn some simpler exercises on this horizontal bar : you observe that it is made movable, and may be placed as low as your knee, or higher than your hand can reach. This bar is only five inches in circumference; but it is remarkably strong and springy, and therefore we hope secure, though for some exercises our boys prefer to substitute a larger one. Try and vault it, first to the right, then to the left, as you did with the horse ; try first with one hand, then see how high you can vault with both. Now vault it between your hands, forward and backward : the latter will baffle you, unless you have brought an unusual stock of India-rubber in your frame, to begin with. Raise it higher and higher, till you can vault it no longer. Now spring up on the bar, resting on your palms, and vault over from that position with a swing of your body, without touching the ground ; when you have once managed this, you can vault as high as you can reach : double-vaulting this is called. Now put the bar higher than your head; grasp it with your hands, and draw yourself up till you look over it; repeat this a good many times: capital practice this, as is usually said of things particularly tiresome. Take hold of the bar again, and with a good spring from the ground try to curl your body over it, feet foremost. At first, in all probability, your legs will go angling in the air convulsively, and come down with nothing caught; but ere long we shall see you dispense with the spring from the ground and go whirling over and over, as if the bar were the axle of a wheel and your legs the spokes. Now spring upon the bar, supporting yourself on your palms, as before ; put your hands a little farther apart, with the thumbs forward, then suddenly bring up your knees on the bar and let your whole body go over forward : you will not fall, if your hands have a good grasp. Try it again with your feet outside your hands, instead of between them; then once again flinging your body off from the bar and describing a long curve with it, arms stiff: this is called the Giant’s Swing. Now hang to the bar by the knees,—by both knees; do not try it yet with one; then seize the bar with your hands and thrust the legs still farther and farther forward, pulling with your arms at the same time, till you find yourself sitting unaccountably on the bar itself. This our boys cheerfully denominate “ skinning the cat,” because the sensations it suggests, on a first experiment, are supposed to resemble those of pussy with her skin drawn over her head; but, after a few experiments, it seems like stroking the fur in the right direction, and grows rather pleasant.

Try now the parallel bars, the most invigorating apparatus of the gymnasium, and in its beginnings “ accessible to the meanest capacity,” since there are scarcely any who cannot support themselves by the hands on the bars, and not very many who cannot walk a few steps upon the palms, at the first trial. Soon you will learn to swing along these bars in long surges of motion, forward and backward ; to go through them, in a series of springs from the hand only, without a jerk of the knees; to turn round and round between them, going forward or backward all the while; to vault over them and under them in complicated ways ; to turn somersets in them and across them ; to roll over and over on them as a porpoise seems to roll in the sea. Then come the “ low-standing” exercises, the grasshopper style of business ; supporting yourself now with arms not straight, but bent at the elbow, you shall learn to raise and lower your body and to hold or swing yourself as lightly in that position as if you had not felt pinioned and paralyzed hopelessly at the first trial; and whole new systems of muscles shall seem to shoot out from your shoulder-blades to enable you to do what you could not have dreamed of doing before. These bars are magical,—they are conduits of power; you cannot touch them, you cannot rest your weight on them in the slightest degree, without causing strength to flow into your body as naturally and irresistibly as water into the aqueduct-pipe when you turn it on. Do you but give the opportunity, and every pulsation of blood from your heart is pledged for the rest.

These exercises, and such as these, are among the elementary lessons of gymnastic training. Practise these thoroughly and patiently, and you will in time attain evolutions more complicated, and, if you wish, more perilous. Neglect these, to grasp at random after everything which you see others doing, and you will fail like a bookkeeper who is weak in the multiplication-table. The older you begin, the more gradual the preparation must be. A respectable middle-aged citizen, bent on improving his physique, goes into a gymnasium, and sees slight, smooth-faced boys going gayly through a series of exercises which show their bodies to be a triumph, not a drag, and he is assured that the same might be the case with him. Off goes the coat of our enthusiast and in he plunges; he gripes a heavy dumb-bell and strains one shoulder, hauls at a weight-box and strains the other, vaults the bar and bruises his knee, swings in the rings once or twice till his hand slips and he falls to the floor. No matter, he thinks the cause demands sacrifices ; but he subsides, for the next fifteen minutes, into more moderate exercises, which he still makes immoderate by his awkward way of doing them. Nevertheless, he goes home, cheerful under difficulties, and will try again to-morrow. To-morrow finds him stiff, lame, and wretched ; he cannot lift his arm to his face to shave, nor lower it sufficiently to pull his boots on; his little daughter must help him with his shoes, and the indignant wife of his bosom must put on his hat, with that ineffectual one-sidedness to which alone the best-regulated female mind can attain, in this difficult part of costuming. His sorrows increase as the day passes; the gymnasium alone can relieve them, but his soul shudders at the remedy; and he can conceive of nothing so absurd as a first gymnastic lesson, except a second one. But had he been wise enough to place himself under an experienced adviser at the very beginning, he would have been put through a few simple movements which would have sent him home glowing and refreshed and fancying himself half-way back to boyhood again ; the slight ache and weariness of next day would have been cured by next day's exercise; and after six months’ patience, by a progress almost imperceptible, he would have found himself, in respect to strength and activity, a transformed man.

Most of these discomforts, of course, are spared to boys ; their frames are more elastic and less liable to ache and strain. They learn gymnastics, as they learn everything else, more readily than their elders. Begin with a boy early enough, and if he be of a suitable temperament, he can learn in the gymnasium all the feats usually seen in the circus-ring, and could even acquire more difficult ones, if it were worth his while to try them. This is true even of the air-somersets and hand-springs which are not so commonly cultivated by gymnasts ; but it is especially true of all exercises with apparatus. It is astonishing how readily our classes pick up any novelty brought into town by a strolling company,—holding the body out horizontally from an upright pole, or hanging by the back of the head, or touching the head to the heels, though this last is oftener tried than accomplished. They may be seen practising these antics, at all spare moments, for weeks, until some later hobby drives them away. From Blondin downwards, the public feats derive a large part of their wonder from the imposing height in the air at which they are done. Many a young man who can swing himself more than his own length on the horizontal ladder at the gymnasium has yet shuddered at l’échelle périlleuse of the Hanlons ; and I noticed that even the simplest of their performances, such as holding by one hand, or hanging by the knees, seemed perfectly terrific when done at a height of twenty or thirty feet in the air, even to those who had done them a hundred times at a lower level. Tt was the nerve that was astounding, not the strength or skill; but the eye found it hard to draw the distinction. So when a gymnastic friend of mine, crossing the ocean lately, amused himself with hanging by one leg to the mizzen-topmast-stay, the boldest sailors shuddered, though the feat itself was nothing, save to the imagination.

Indeed, it is almost impossible for an inexperienced spectator to form the slightest opinion as to the comparative difficulty or danger of different exercises, since it is the test of merit to make the hardest things look easy. Moreover, there may be a distinction between two feats almost imperceptible to the eye, — a change, for instance., in the position of the hands on a bar,—which may at once transform the thing from a trifle to a wonder. An unpractised eye can no more appreciate the difficulty of a gymnastic exercise by seeing it executed, than an inexperienced ear, of the perplexities of a piece of music by hearing it played.

The first effect of gymnastic exercise is almost always to increase the size of the arms and the chest; and new-comers may commonly be known by their frequent recourse to the tape-measure. The average increase among the students of Harvard University during the first three months of the gymnasium was nearly two inches in the chest, more than one inch in the upper arm, and more than half an inch in the fore-arm. This was far beyond what the unassisted growth of their age would account for; and the increase is always very marked for a time, especially with thin persons. In those of fuller habit the loss of flesh may counterbalance the gain in muscle, so that size and weight remain the same; and in all cases the increase stops after a time, and the subsequent change is rather in texture than in volume. Mere size is no index of strength : Dr. Windship is scarcely larger or heavier now than when he had not half his present powers.

In the vigor gained by exercise there is nothing false or morbid ; it is as reliable as hereditary strength, except that it is more easily relaxed by indolent habits. No doubt it is aggravating to see some robust, lazy giant come into the gymnasium for the first time, and by hereditary muscle shoulder a dumb-bell which all your training has not taught you to handle. No matter; it is by comparing yourself with yourself that the estimate is to be made. As the writing-master exhibits with triumph to each departing pupil the uncouth copy which he wrote on entering, so it will be enough to you, if you can appreciate your present powers with your original inabilities. When you first joined the gymnastic class, you could not climb yonder smooth mast, even with all your limbs brought into service; now you can do it with your hands alone. When you came, you could not possibly, when hanging by your hands to the horizontal bar, raise your feet as high as your head,— nor could you, with any amount of spring from the ground, curl your body over the bar itself; now you can hang at arm’s length and fling yourself over it a dozen times in succession. At first, if you lowered yourself with bent elbows between the parallel bars, you could not by any manœuvre get up again, but sank to the ground a hopeless wreck; now you can raise and lower yourself an indefinite number of times. As for the weights and clubs and dumb-bells, you feel as if there must be some jugglery about them,— they have grown so much lighter than they used to be. It is you who have gained a double set of muscles to every limb; that is all. Strike out from the shoulder with your clenched hand; once your arm was loose-jointed and shaky; now it is firm and tense, and begins to feel like a natural arm. Moreover, strength and suppleness have grown together; you have not stiffened by becoming stronger, but find yourself more flexible. When you first came here, you could not touch your fingers to the ground without bending the knees, and now you can place your knuckles on the floor; then you could scarcely bend yourself backward, and now you can lay the back of your head in a chair, or walk, without crouching forward, under a bar less than three feet from the ground. You have found, indeed, that almost every feat is done originally by sheer strength, and then by agility, requiring very little expenditure of force after the precise motion is hit upon ; at first labor, puffing, and a red face, — afterwards ease and the graces.

To a person who begins after the age of thirty or thereabouts, the increase of strength and suppleness, of course, comes more slowly; yet it comes as surely, and perhaps it is a more permanent acquisition, less easily lost again, than in the softer frame of early youth. There is no doubt that men of sixty have experienced a decided gain in strength and health by beginning gymnastic exercises even at that age, as Socrates learned to dunce at seventy ; and if they have practised similar exercises all their lives, so much is added to their chance of preserving physical youthfulness to the last. Jerome and Gabriel Ravel are reported to have spent near three-score years on the planet which their winged feet have so lightly trod ; and who will dare to say how many winters have passed over the head of the still young and graceful Papanti ?

Dr. Windship’s most important experience is, that strength is to a certain extent identical with health, so that every increase in muscular development is an actual protection against disease. Americans, who are ashamed to confess to doing the most innocent thing for the sake of mere enjoyment, must be cajoled into every form of exercise under the plea of health. Joining, the other day, in a children’s dance, I was amused by a solemn parent who turned to me, in the midst of a Virginia reel, still conscientious, though breathless, and asked if I did not consider dancing to be, on the whole, a healthy exercise? Well, the gymnasium is healthy; but the less you dwell on that fact, the better, after you have once entered it. If it does you good, you will enjoy it; and if you enjoy it, it will do you good. With body, as with soul, the highest experience merges duty in pleasure. The better one’s condition is, the less one has to think about growing better, and the more unconsciously one’s natural instincts guide the right way. When ill, we eat to support life ; when well, we eat because the food tastes good. It is a merit of the gymnasium, that, when properly taken, it makes one forget to think about health or anything else that, is troublesome; “ a man remembereth neither sorrow nor debt”; cares must be left outside, be they physical or metaphysical, like canes at the door of a museum.

No doubt, to some it grows tedious. It shares this objection with all means of exercise. To be an American is to hunger for novelty ; and all instruments and appliances, especially, require constant modification : we are dissatisfied with last winter’s skates, with the old boat, and with the family pony. So the zealot finds the gymnasium insufficient long before he has learned half the moves. To some temperaments it becomes a treadmill, and that, strangely enough, to diametrically opposite temperaments. A lethargic youth, requiring great effort to keep himself awake between the exercises, thinks the gymnasium slow, because he is; while an eager, impetuous young fellow, exasperated because he cannot in a fortnight draw himself up by one hand, finds the same trouble there as elsewhere, that the laws of Nature are not fast enough for his inclinations. No one without energy, no one without patience, can find permanent interest in a gymnasium; but with these qualities, and a modest willingness to live and learn, I do not see why one should ever grow tired of the moderate use of its apparatus. For one, I really never enter it without exhilaration, or leave it without a momentary regret: there are always certain special new things on the docket for trial; and when those are settled, there will be something more. It is amazing what a variety of interest can he extracted from those few bits of wood and rope and iron. There is always somebody in advance, some “man on horseback” on a wooden horse, some India-rubber hero, some slight and powerful fellow who does with ease what you fail to do with toil, some terrible Dr. Windship with an ever-waxing dumb-bell. The Interest becomes semiprofcssional. A good gymnast enjoys going into a new and well-appointed establishment, precisely as a sailor enjoys a well-rigged ship ; every rope and spar is scanned with intelligent interest; “we know the forest round us as seamen know the sea.” The pupils talk gymnasium as some men talk horse. A particularly smooth and flexible horizontal pole, a desirable pair of parallel bars, a remarkably elastic spring-board,—these are matters of personal pride, and described from city to city with loving enthusiasm. The gymnastic apostle rises to eloquence in proportion to the height of the handswings, and points his climax to match the peak-ladders.

An objection frequently made to the gymnasium, and especially by anxious parents, is the supposed danger of accident. But this peril is obviously inseparable from all physical activity. If a man never leaves his house, the chances undoubtedly are, that he will never break his leg, unless upon the stairway; but if he is always to stay in the house, he might as well have no legs at all. Certainly we incur danger every time we go outside the front-door; but to remain always on the inside would prove the greatest danger of the whole. When a man slips in the street and dislocates his arm, we do not warn him against walking, but against carelessness. When a man is thrown from his horse and gratifies the surgeons by a beautiful case of compound fracture, we do not advise him to avoid a ridingschool, but to go to one. Trivial accidents are not uncommon in the gymnasium, severe ones are rare, fatal ones almost unheard-of,—which is far more than can be said of riding, driving, hunting, boating, skating, or even “ coasting ” on a sled. Learning gymnastics is like learning to swim, — you incur a small temporary risk for the sake of acquiring powers that will lessen your risks in the end. Your increased strength and agility will carry you past many unseen perils hereafter, and the invigorated tone of your system will make accidents less important, if they happen. Some trifling sprain causes lameness for life, some slight blow brings on wasting disease, to a person whose health is merely negative, not positive, — while a well-trained frame throws it off in twenty-four hours. It is almost proverbial of the gymnasium, that it cures its own wounds.

A minor objection is, that these exercises are not performed in the open air. In summer, however, they may be, and in winter and in stormy weather it is better that they should not be. Extreme cold is not favorable to them ; it braces, but stiffens ; and the bars and ropes become slippery and even dangerous. In Germany it is common to have a double set of apparatus, out-doors and in-doors; and this would always be desirable, but for the increased expense. Moreover, the gymnasium should he taken in addition to out-door exercise, giving, for instance, an hour a day to each, one for training, the other for oxygen. I know promising gymnasts whose pallid complexions show that their blood is not worthy of their muscle, and they will break down. But these cases are rare, for the reason already hinted, — that nothing gives so good an appetite for out-door life as this indoor activity. It alternates admirably with skating, and seduces irresistibly into walking or rowing when spring arrives.

My young friend Silverspoon, indeed, thinks that a good trot on a fast horse is worth all the gymnastics in the world. But I learn, on inquiry, that my young friend’s mother is constantly imploring him to ride in order to air her horses. It is a beautiful parental trait; but for those born horseless, what an economical substitute is the wooden quadruped of the gymnasium ! Our Autocrat has well said, that the livery-stable horse is “a profligate animal”; and I do not wonder that the Centaurs of old should be suspected of having originated spurious coin. Undoubtedly it was to pay for the hire of their own hoofs.

For young men in cities, too, the facilities for exercise are limited not only by money, but by time. They must commonly take it after dark. It is every way a blessing, when the gymnasium divides their evenings with the concert, the book, or the public meeting. Then there is no time left, and small temptation, for pleasures less pure. It gives an innocent answer to that first demand for evening excitement which perils the soul of the homeless boy in the seductive city. The companions whom he meets at the gymnasium are not the ones whose pursuits of later nocturnal hours entice him to sin. The honest fatigue of his exercises calls for honest rest. It is the nervous exhaustion of a sedentary, frivolous, or joyless life which madly tries to restore itself by the other nervous exhaustion of debauchery. It is an old prescription,—

“Multa tulit fecitque puer, sudavit et alsit,
Abstinuit venere et vino.”

There is another class of critics whose cant is simply can't and who, being unable or unwilling to surrender themselves to these simple sources of enjoyment, are grandiloquent upon the dignity of manhood, and the absurdity of full-grown men in playing monkey-tricks with their bodies. Full-grown men ? There is not a person in the world who can afford to be a “ full-grown man ” through all the twenty-four hours. There is not one who does not need, more than he needs his dinner, to have habitually one hour in the day when he throws himself with boyish eagerness into interests as simple as those of boys. No church or state, no science or art, can feed us all the time; some morsels there must be of simpler diet, some moments of unadulterated play. But dignity ? Alas for that poor soul whose dignity must be “preserved,” — preserved in the right culinary sense, as fruits which are growing dubious in their natural state are sealed up in jars to make their acidity presentable ! “ There’s beggary in the love that can be reckoned,” and degradation in the dignity that has to be preserved. Simplicity is the only dignity. If one has not the genuine article, no affluence of starch, no snow-drift of white-linen decency, will furnish any substitute. If one has it, he will retain it, whether he stand on his head or his heels. Nothing is really undignified but affectation or conceit; and for the total extinction and annihilation of every vestige of these, there are few things so effectual as athletic exercises.

Still another objection is that of the medical men, that the gymnasium, as commonly used, is not a specific prescription for the special disease of the patient. But setting aside the claims of the system of applied gymnastics, which Ling and his followers have so elaborated, it is enough to answer, that the one great fundamental disorder of all Americans is simply nervous exhaustion, and that for this the gymnasium can never be misdirected, though it may be used to excess. Of course one can no more cure over-work of brain by overwork of body than one can restore a wasted candle by lighting it at the other end. But by subtracting an hour a day from the present amount of purely intellectual fatigue, and inserting that quantum of bodily fatigue in its place, you begin an immediate change in your conditions of life. Moreover, the great object is not merely to get well, but to keep well. The exhaustion of overwork can almost always be cured by a water-cure, or by a voyage, which is a salt-water cure; but the problem is, how to make the whole voyage of life perpetually self-curative. Without this, there is perpetual dissatisfaction and chronic failure. Emerson well says, “ Each class fixes its eye on the advantages it has not, — the refined on rude strength, the democrat on birth and breeding.” This is the aim of the gymnasium, to give to the refined this rude strength, or its better substitute, refined strength. It is something to secure to the student or the clerk the strong muscles, hearty appetite, and sound sleep of the sailor and the ploughman, — to enable him, if need be, to out-row the fisherman, and out-run the mountaineer, and lift more than his porter, and to remember head-ache and dyspepsia only as he recalls the primeval whooping-cough of his childhood. I am one of those who think that the Autocrat rides his hobby of the pavements a little too far; but it is useless to deny, that, within the last few years of gymnasiums and boatclubs, the city has been gaining on the country, in physical development Here in our town we had all the cityand college-boys assembled in July to see the regattas, and all the country-boys in September to see the thousand-dollar base-ball match; and it was impossible to deny, whatever one’s theories, that the physical superiority lay for the time being with the former.

The secret is, that, though the country offers to farmers more oxygen than to anybody in the city, yet not all dwellers in the country are farmers, and even those who are such are suffering from other causes, being usually the very last to receive those lessons of food and clothing and bathing and ventilation which have their origin in cities. Physical training is not a mechanical, but a vital process: no bricks without straw; no good physique without good materials and conditions. The farmer knows, that, to rear a premium colt or calf, he must oversee every morsel that it eats, every motion it makes, every breath it draws,— must guard against over-work and underwork, cold and heat, wet and dry. He remembers it for the quadrupeds, but he forgets it for his children, his wife, and himself: so his cattle deserve a premium, and his family does not.

Neglect is the danger of the country; the peril of the city is in living too fast. All mental excitement acts as a stimulant, and, like all stimulants, debilitates when taken in excess. This explains the unnatural strength and agility of the insane, always followed by prostration ; and even moderate cerebral excitement produces similar results, so far as it goes. Quetelet discovered that sometimes after lecturing, or other special intellectual action, he could perform gymnastic feats impossible to him at other times. The fact is unquestionable ; and it is also certain that an extreme in this direction has precisely the contrary effect, and is fatal to the physical condition. One may spring up from a task of moderate mental labor with a sense of freedom like a bow let loose; but after an immoderate task one feels like the same bow too long bent, flaccid, nerveless, all the elasticity gone. Such fatigue is far more overwhelming than any mere physical exhaustion. I have lounged into the gymnasium, after an afternoon’s skating, supposing myself quite tired, and have found myself in excellent condition; and I have gone in after an hour or two of some specially concentrated anxiety or thought, without being aware that the body was at all fatigued, and found it good for nothing. Such experiences are invaluable; all the libraries cannot so illustrate the supremacy of immaterial forces. Thought, passion, purpose, expectation, absorbed attention even, all feed upon the body’s powers; let them act one atom too intensely or one moment too long, and this wondrous physical organization finds itself drained of its forces to support them. It does not seem strange that strong men should have died by a single ecstasy of emotion too convulsive, when we bear within us this tremendous engine whose slightest pulsation so throbs in every fibre of our frame.

The relation between mental culture and physical powers is a subject of the greatest interest, as yet but little touched, because so few of our physiologists have been practical gymnasts. Nothing is more striking than the tendency of all athletic exercises, when brought to perfection, to eliminate mere brute bulk from the competition, and give the palm to more subtile qualities, agility, quickness, a good eye, a ready hand, — in short, superior fineness of organization. Any clown can learn the military manual exercise; but it needs brain-power to drill with the Zouaves. Even a prizefight tests strength less than activity and “ science.” The game of base-ball, as played in our boyhood, was a simple, robust, straightforward contest, where the hardest hitter was the best man; but it is every year becoming perfected into a sleight-of-hand, like cricket; mere strength is now almost valueless in playing it, and it calls rather for the qualities of the billiard-player. In the last champion-match at Worcester, nearly the whole time was consumed in skilful feints and parryings, and it look five days to make fifty runs. And these same characteristics mark gymnastic exercises above all; men of great natural strength are very apt to be too slow and clumsy for them, and the most difficult feats are usually done by persons of comparatively delicate physique and a certain artistic organization. It is this predominance of the nervous temperament which is yet destined to make American gymnasts the foremost in the world.

Indeed, the gymnasium is as good a place for the study of human nature as any. The perpetual analogy of mind and body can be appreciated only where both are trained with equal system. In both departments the great prizes are not won by the most astounding special powers, but by a certain harmonious adaptation. There is a physical tact, as there is a mental tact. Every process is accomplished by using just the right stress at just the right moment; but no two persons are alike in the length of time required for these little discoveries. Gymnastic genius lies in gaining at the first trial what will cost weeks of perseverance to those less happily gifted. And as the close elastic costume which is worn by the gymnast, or should be worn, allows no merit or defect of figure to be concealed, so the close contact of emulation exhibits all the varieties ot temperament. One is made indolent by success, and another is made ardent; one is discouraged by failure, and another aroused by it; one does everything best the first time and slackens ever after, while another always begins at the bottom and always climbs to the top.

One of the most enjoyable things in these mimic emulations is this absolute genuineness in their gradations of success. In the great world outside, there is no immediate and absolute test for merit. There are cliques and puffings and jealousies, quarrels of authors, tricks of trade, caucusing in politics, hypocrisy among t he deacons. We distrust the value of others’ successes, they distrust ours, and we all sometimes distrust our own. There are those who believe in Shakspeare, and those who believe in Tupper. All merit is measured by sliding scales, and each has his own theory of the sliding. In a dozen centuries it will all come right, no doubt. In the mean time there is vanity in one half the world and vexation of spirit in the other half, and each man joins each half in turn. But once enter the charmed gate of the gymnasium, and you leave shams behind. Though you be saint or sage, no matter, the inexorable laws of gravitation are around you. If you flinch, you fail; if you slip, you fall. That bar, that rope, that weight shall test you absolutely. Can you handle it, it is well; but if not, stand aside for him who can. You may have every other gift and grace, it counts for nothing ; he, not you, is the man for the hour. The code of Spanish aristocracy is slight and flexible compared with this rigid precedence. It is Emerson's Astræa. Each registers himself, and there is no appeal. No use to kick and struggle, no use to apologize. Do not say that to-night you are tired, last night you felt ill. These excuses may serve for a day, but no longer. A slight margin is allowed for moods and variations, but it is not great after all. One revels in this Palace of Truth. Defeat itself is a satisfaction, before a tribunal of such absolute justice.

This contributes to that healthful ardor with which, in these exercises, a man forgets the things which are behind and presses forward to fresh achievements. This perpetually saves from vanity; for everything seems a trifle, when you have once attained to it. The aim which yesterday filled your whole gymnastic horizon you overtake and pass as a boat passes a buoy : until passed, it was a goal; when passed, a mere speck in the horizon. Yesterday you could swing yourself three rounds upon the horizontal ladder; to-day, after weeks of effort, you have suddenly attained to the fourth, and instantly all that long laborious effort vanishes, to be formed again between you and the fifth round: five, five is the only goal for heroic labor to-day; and when five is attained, there will be six, and so on while the Arabic numerals hold out. A childish aim, no doubt; but is not this what we all recognize as the privilege of childhood, to obtain exaggerated enjoyment from little things ? When you have come to the really difficult feats of the gymnasium,— when you have conquered the “ barber’s curl ” and the “ peg-pole,”—when you can draw yourself up by one arm, and perform the “ giant’s swing” over and over, without changing hands, and vault the horizontal bar as high as you can reach it,— when you can vault across the high parallel bars between your hands backward, or walk through them on your palms with your feet in the vicinity of the ceiling, — then you will reap the reward of your past labors, and may begin to call yourself a gymnast.

It is pleasant to think, that, so great is the variety of exercises in the gymnasium, even physical deficiencies and deformities do not wholly exclude from its benefits. I have seen an invalid girl, so lame from childhood that she could not stand without support, whose general health had been restored, and her bust and arms made a study for a sculptor, by means of gymnastics. Nay, there are odd compensations of Nature by which even exceptional formations may turn to account in athletic exercises. A squinting eye is a treasure to a boxer, a left-handed batter is a prize in a cricketing eleven, and one of the best gymnasts in Chicago is an individual with a wooden leg, which he takes off at the commencement of affairs, thus economizing weight and stowage, and performing achievements impossible except to unipeds.

In the enthusiasm created by this emulation, there is necessarily some danger of excess, Dr. Windship approves of exercising only every other day in the gymnasium; but as most persons take their work in a more diluted form than his, they can afford to repeat it daily, unless warned by headache or languor that they are exceeding their allowance. There is no good in excess; our constitutions cannot be hurried. The law is universal, that exercise strengthens as long as nutrition balances it, but afterwards wastes the very forces it should increase. We cannot make bricks faster than Nature supplies us with straw.

It is one good evidence of the increasing interest in these exercises, that the American gymnasiums built during the past year or two have far surpassed all their predecessors in size and completeness, and have probably no superiors in the world. The Seventh Regiment Gymnasium in New York, just opened by Mr. Abner S. Brady, is one hundred and eighty feet by fifty-two, in its main hall, and thirty-five feet in height, with nearly a thousand pupils. The beautiful hall of the Metropolitan Gymnasium, in Chicago, measures one hundred and eight feet by eighty, and is twenty feet high at the sides, with a dome in the centre, forty feet high, and the same in diameter. Next to these probably rank the new gymnasium at Cincinnati, the Tremont Gymnasium at Boston, and the Bunker-Hill Gymnasium at Charlestown, all recently opened. Of college institutions the most complete are probably those at Cambridge and New Haven,—the former being eighty-five feet by fifty, and the latter one hundred feet by fifty, in external dimensions. The arrangements for instruction are rather more systematic at Harvard, but Yale bas several valuable articles of apparatus — as the rack-bars and the series of rings — which have hardly made their appearance, as yet, in Massachusetts, though considered indispensable in New York.

Gymnastic exercises are as yet but very sparingly introduced into our seminaries, primary or professional, though a great change is already beginning. Frederick the Great complained of the whole Prussian school-system of his day, because it assumed that men were originally created for students and clerks, whereas his Majesty argued that the very shape of the human body rather proved them to be meant by Nature for postilions. Until lately all our educational plans have assumed man to he a merely sedentary being; we have employed teachers of music and drawing to go from school to school to teach those elegant arts, but have bad none to teach the art of health. Accordingly, the pupils have exhibited more complex curves in their spines than they could possibly portray on the blackboard, and acquired such discords in their nervous systems as would have utterly disgraced their singing. It is something to have got beyond the period when active sports were actually prohibited. I remember when there was but one boat owned by a Cambridge student, — the owner was the first of his class, by the way, to get his name into capitals in the “Triennial Catalogue” afterwards,—and that boat was soon reported to have been suppressed by the Faculty, on the plea that there was a college law against a student’s keeping domestic animals, and a boat was a domestic animal within the meaning of the statute. Manual labor was thought less reprehensible; but schools on this basis have never yet proved satisfactory, because either the hands or the brains have always come, off second-best from the effort to combine : it is a law of Nature, that after a hard day's work one does not need more work, but play. But in many of the German common-schools one or two hours are given daily to gymnastic exercises with apparatus, with sometimes the addition of Wednesday or Saturday afternoon ; and this was the result, as appears from Gutsmuth’s book, of precisely the same popular reaction against a purely intellectual system which is visible in our community now. In the French military school at Joinville, the degree of Bachelor of Agility is formally conferred ; but Horace Mann's remark still holds good, that it is seldom thought necessary to train men’s bodies for any purpose except to destroy those of other men. However, in view of the present wise policy of our leading colleges, we shall have to stop croaking before long, especially as enthusiastic alumni already begin to fancy a visible improvement in the physique of graduating classes on Commencement Day.

It would be unpardonable, in this connection, not to speak a good word for the hobby of the day,— Dr. Lewis, and his system of gymnastics, or, more properly, of calisthenics. Aside from a few amusing games, there is nothing very novel in the “ system,” except the man himself. Dr. Windship had done all that was needed in apostleship of severe exercises, and there was wanting some man with a milder hobby, perfectly safe for a lady to drive. The Fates provided that man, also, in Dr. Lewis,— so hale and hearty, so profoundly confident in the omnipotence of his own methods and the uselessness of all others, with such a ready invention, and such an inundation of animal spirits that he could flood any company, no matter how starched or listless, with an unbounded appetite for ball-games and bean-games. How long it will last in the hands of others than the projector remains to be seen, especially as some of his feats are more exhausting than average gymnastics; but, in the mean time, it is just what is wanted for multitudes of persons who find or fancy the real gymnasium to be unsuited to them. It will especially render service to female pupils, so far as they practise it; for the accustomed gymnastic exercises seem never yet to have been rendered attractive to them, on any large scale, and, with any permanency. Girls, no doubt, learn as readily as boys to row, to skate, and to swim, — any muscular inferiority being perhaps counterbalanced in swimming by their greater physical buoyancy, in skating by their dancing-school experience, and in rowing by their music-lessons enabling them more promptly to fall into regular time,— though these suggestions may all be fancies rather than facts. The same points help them, perhaps, in the lighter calisthenic exercises; but when they come to the apparatus, one seldom sees a girl who takes hold like a boy : it, perhaps, requires a certain ready capital of muscle, at the outset, which they have not at command, and which it is tedious to acquire afterwards. Yet there seem to be some cases, as with the classes of Mrs. Molineaux at Cambridge, where a good deal of gymnastic enthusiasm is created among female pupils, and it may be, after all, that the deficiency lies thus far in the teachers.

Experience is already showing that the advantages of school-gymnasiums go deeper than was at first supposed. It is not to be the whole object of American education to create scholars or idealists, but to produce persons of a solid strength,— persons who, to use the most expressive Western phrase that ever was coined into five monosyllables, “ will do to tie to”; whereas to most of us it would be absurd to tie anything but the Scriptural millstone. In the military school of Brienne, the only report appended to the name of the little Napoleon Bonaparte was “ Very healthy”; and it is precisely this class of boys for whom there is least place in a purely intellectual institution. A child of immense animal activity and unlimited observing faculties, personally acquainted with every man, child, horse, dog, in the township,— intimate in the families of oriole and grasshopper, pickerel and turtle,— quick of hand and eye, — in short, born for practical leadership and victory, — such a boy finds no provision for him in most of our seminaries, and must, by his constitution, he either truant or torment. The theory of the institution ignores such aptitudes as his, and recognizes no merits save those of some small sedentary linguist or mathematician,— a blessing to his teacher, but an object of watchful anxiety to the family physician, and whose career was endangering not only his health, but his humility. Introduce now some athletic exercises as a regular part of the school-drill, instantly the rogue finds his legitimate sphere, and leads the class; he is no longer an outcast, no longer has to look beyond the school for companions and appreciation ; while, on the other hand, the youthful pedant, no longer monopolizing superiority, is brought down to a proper level. Presently comes along some finer fellow than either, who cultivates all his faculties, and is equally good at spring-board and black-board; and straightway, since every child wishes to be a Crichton, the whole school tries for the combination of merits, and the grade of the juvenile community is perceptibly raised.

What is true of childhood is true of manhood also. What a shame it is that even Kingsley should fall into the cant of deploring maturity as a misfortune, and declaring that our freshest pleasures come “before the age of fourteen”! Health is perpetual youth, — that is, a state of positive health. Merely negative health, the mere keeping out of the hospital for a series of years, is not health. Health is to feel the body a luxury, as every vigorous child does, — as the bird does when it shoots and quivers through the air, not flying for the sake of the goal, but for the sake of the flight, — as the dog does when he scours madly across the meadow, or plunges into the muddy blissfulness of the stream. But neither dog nor bird nor child enjoys his cup of physical happiness— let the dull or the worldly say what they will — with a felicity so cordial as the educated palate of conscious manhood. To “ feel one’s life in every limb,” this is the secret bliss of which all forms of athletic exorcise are merely varying disguises; and it is absurd to say that we cannot possess this when character is mature, but only when it. is halfdeveloped. As the flower is better than the bud, so should the fruit be better than the flower.

We need more examples of a mode of living which shall not alone be a success in view of some ulterior object, but which shall be, in its nobleness and healthfulness, successful every moment as it passes on. Navigating a wholly new temperament through history, this American race must of course form its own methods and take nothing at second-hand; but the same triumphant combination of bodily and mental training which made human life beautiful in Greece, strong in Rome, simple and joyous in Germany, truthful and brave in England, must yet be moulded to a higher quality amid this varying climate and on these low shores. The regions of the world most garlanded with glory and romance, Attica, Provence, Scotland, were originally more barren than Massachusetts; and there is yet possible for us such an harmonious mingling of refinement and vigor, that we may more than fulfil the world's expectation, and may become classic to ourselves.