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Well it would have been for Cicero’s peace of mind if he could seriously have reconciled himself to abide by that specular station. Had he pleaded ill-health, he might have done so with decorum. As it was, thinking his dignity concerned in not absenting himself from the public councils at a season so critical, after a few weeks’ repose he sailed forward to Italy, which he reached on the 23rd of November. And with what result? Simply to leave it again with difficulty and by stratagem, after a winter passed in one continued contest with the follies of his friends, nothing done to meet his own sense of the energy required, every advantage forfeited as it arose, ruined in the feeble execution, individual activity squandered for want of plan, and (as Cicero discovered in the end) a principle of despair, and the secret reserve of a flight operating upon the leaders from the very beginning. The key to all this is obvious for those who read with their eyes awake. Pompey and the other consular leaders were ruined for action by age and by the derangement of their digestive organs. Eating too much and too luxuriously is far more destructive to the energies of action than intemperance as to drink. Women everywhere alike are temperate as to eating; and the only females memorable for ill-health from luxurious eating have been Frenchwomen or Belgians–witness the Duchess of Portsmouth, and many others of the two last centuries whom we could name. But men everywhere commit excesses in this respect, if they have it in their power. With the Roman nobles it was almost a necessity to do so. Could any popular man evade the necessity of keeping a splendid dinner-table? And is there one man in a thousand who can sit at a festal board laden with all the delicacies of remotest climates, and continue to practise an abstinence for which he is not sure of any reward? All his abstinence may be defeated by a premature fate, and in the meantime he is told, with some show of reason, that a life defrauded of its genial enjoyments is not life, is at all events a present loss, whilst the remuneration is doubtful, except where there happen to be powerful intellectual activities to reap an instant benefit from such sacrifices. Certainly it is the last extremity of impertinence to attack men’s habits in this respect. No man, we may be assured, has ever yet practised any true self-denial in such a case, or ever will. Either he has been trained under a wholesome poverty to those habits which intercept the very development of a taste for luxuries, which evade the very possibility therefore of any; or if this taste has once formed itself, he would find it as impossible in this as in any other case to maintain a fight with a temptation recurring daily. Pompey certainly could not. He was of a slow, torpid nature through life; required a continual supply of animal stimulation, and, if he had not required it, was assuredly little framed by nature for standing out against an artificial battery of temptation. There is proof extant that his system was giving way under the action of daily dinners. Cicero mentions the fact of his suffering from an annual illness; what may be called the etesian counter-current from his intemperance. Probably the liver was enlarged, and the pylorus was certainly not healthy. Cicero himself was not free from dyspeptic symptoms. If he had survived the Triumvirate, he would have died within seven years from some disease of the intestinal canal. Atticus, we suspect, was troubled with worms. Locke, indeed, than whom no man ever less was acquainted with Greek or Roman life, pretends that the ancients seldom used a pocket-handkerchief; knew little of catarrhs, and even less of what the French consider indigenous to this rainy island–le catch-cold. Nothing can be more unfounded. Locke was bred a physician, but his practice had been none; himself and the cat were his chief patients. Else we, who are no physicians, would wish to ask him–what meant those continual febriculae to which all Romans of rank were subject? What meant that fluenter lippire, a symptom so troublesome to Cicero’s eyes, and always arguing a functional, if not even an organic, derangement of the stomach? Take this rule from us, that wherever the pure white of the eye is clouded, or is veined with red streaks, or wherever a continual weeping moistens the eyelashes, there the digestive organs are touched with some morbid affection, probably in it’s early stages; as also that the inferior viscera, not the stomach, must be slightly disordered before toothache can be an obstinate affection. And as to le catch-cold, the-most dangerous shape in which it has ever been known, resembling the English cholera morbus, belongs to the modern city of Rome from situation; and probably therefore to the ancient city from the same cause. Pompey, beyond all doubt, was a wreck when he commenced the struggle.