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"wrapped round with sleep as with a
garment" if we are not wrapped round also with
sheets and blankets.

There is somethingin a domestic way at
any ratesacred about bed. Not only by
man, but by all animals, it is agreed that
wherever the Bed is there is Home. The
tiger picks his dinner up anywhere in the
forest; the cormorant speeds over the waves
and devours his prey wherever it is caught.
But when they retire within themselves
when they go home to repose after their
toilsman, beast, and bird retire each to a
fixed resting-place. At night, when

          The sea-fowl has gone to her nest,
          The beast is laid down in his lair,

sea-fowl and beast are in their homes, and so
are men, except those few of them who have
been led by their social propensities to meet
with one another.

Civilized man works hard with head and
limbs; a good bed is therefore of importance
to him. To sleep on the bare ground implies
at least in climates such as oursthe
extreme want, a want more extreme than even
homelessness; while, on the other hand, to
lie on beds of down is a proverbial way of
expressing the condition of those who
possess every fleshly comfort in perfection. We
know the man by his bed. It is the sign and
emblem of his whole material condition. I
am not sure whether a minute analysis of
men's beds would not reveal as much of
character as an examination of their skulls.
There may arise, some day, practitioners who
will construct out of this hint a science, calling
it Thalamology. It should include a
study of the bumps left upon the couch after
a sleeper has arisen.

Latin writers, and especially the satirists,
when angry with luxury, struck at their
countrymen with most effect by lashing them
in bed. They urged against them many
picturesque descriptions of the rude state of the
beds of their forefathers. Even the wealthiest
of the real old Romans were content to
sleep on straw, or on dry leaves, laid on the
ground and covered with the skins of beasts.
Etymologygood servant to History when
kindly usedtestifies to the fact. Of the
two Latin words commonly used to mean
beds or couches, one implies that the material
of bed was originally "gathered" for the
purposegleaned out of the fields or off the
trees; the other, that the substances used
were twisted, and formed into mattrasses,
just as the coarser kind of mats are made in
England at this day.

Juvenal drew a savage, Salvator-like
sketch of an ancient Roman matron's
conjugal couch, and it is probably correct
enough. But as such writers believed that
men sprang first out of the ground, or were
spontaneously generated out of mud or
slime, it is not remarkable if they erred in
supposing that every other people pigged
after the manner of their ancestors. In each
of the two most ancient writings extant, beds
are repeatedly mentioned, as familiarly as
we should speak about them now. Nor is it
likely they were either rude in fashion, or
of mean materials; because one, in particular,
of the books alluded to describes a state
of society so well supplied, not merely with
the necessaries but the elegancies of life, that
no less than between twenty and thirty
different kinds of musical instruments are
named in it. The commodiousness and
beauty of the furniture and instruments
formerly in use among the Orientals, are
likewise attested by extant sculptures of a very
remote antiquity. As for Homer's heroes,
their beds were, indeed, laid upon the floor;
but they were made of skins with the wool
or fur on, spread over with fine carpets, and
these again covered with rich purple stuffs.
The Greeks in later times slept upon raised
beds.

But they were the descendants of those
old luxury-abhorring Romans, who in the
period of the Empireand even earlier
attained to the highest pitch of luxuryif
luxury be costlinessin the appointments
of their couches. They derived hints towards
this, and many another notion of voluptuousness,
from the nations they subdued; and
they went far to better the instruction.
Their beds were filled with the most delicate
down; their mattrasses were stuffed with
finest wool. If wood continued to be the
material used for the framework of their bed-
steads, and dining couches, it was richly
wrought and inlaid. Ivory, however, was
preferredthen silverfinally, gold; the
costly fabric being, in each case, made doubly
precious by the sculptor's skill, and spread
with cushions and counterpanes of gold and
purple. Such delights were, of course, then,
as now, attainable only by the rich. The
plebeian, even after Sulla's time, still slept,
as his ancestors had done in the time of Numa,
stretched upon a straw or flock-filled
truss; and still, at the late age when Pliny
wrote, the soldier's camp bed was no softer.

In none, perhaps, of the manifold appliances
of human life, are differences of condition
and resources more observable than in
the means employed for getting rest. A
consideration of climate enters largely, of course,
into the great bed question. The Esquimaux
contrives a couch on the bench that lines
his snow-built hut, and liessnugly enough
overlaid with moss and skins, well warmed
and lighted by his seal oil lamp. The
native of the tropics lies down, without
any covering, beneath his frail shelter of
palm leaves; or, for greater coolness and
security, may sling his hammock between
trees, and sleep, rocked by the odour-laden
night- wind. Such contrasts are agreeable as
well as necessary; of the two methods, each
is in its way equally conducive to repose.

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