1 JULY 1882, Page 14



SIR,—The correspondence in your columns as to the value of exercise has been very interesting; but it seems likely to close. and leave us much where we were before. I doubt whether we shall not have to go on by the rule of thumb, indulging in violent exercise until we find that exhaustion follows, and then, if we are wise, taking our pleasures more sadly,—if less wise,. dropping exercise altogether. It does not seem as if we were likely to get any authoritative teaching in this matter. Now and then, a doctor speaks ; but then we doubt whether another equally eminent medical man might not be found to say the direct contrary. Some time back, there was a letter in one of the papers describing—I quote from memory—how the writer consulted four leading practitioners, was told by one to drink only brandy, by another only beer, by a third only claret, and. by a fourth no alcohol of any kind. He combined the instruc- tions of the first three, and got on very comfortably.

We are often told that men of this age despise authority. On the contrary, I believe we are all earnestly longing for it; but. it is not to be had. Most of us would be delighted if we could be told with authority what to do in matters of exercise and diet ; but how shall we believe when doctors differ There are those whose simple faith accepts the family physician as in-. fallible; but if we know that the worthy man's art consists largely in squaring his advice with the tastes and prejudices of - his clients, or that other as weighty authorities would contradict him if they did not know what he had said, faith becomes difficult..

Perhapd we expect too much of the doctors, whether of physic or divinity. Like ourselves, they are men feeling for their way in a mixed and contradictory world. Perhaps we have been looking for our guides in the wrong direction,—without, instead of within. Perhaps the failure of authority has a lesson for us,. which may yet be learnt with very important consequences ;. but let it not be said that we reject authority. Whenever our teachers can manage to agree among themselves, and to show that they have reasonably arrived at a solid consensus of opinion,. we are only too glad to accept their guidance.—I am, Sir, &c., -