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Not so agreeableand surely not so necessary
are the contrasts that shock an inquirer
into beds, on our own soil. Here, while
there are some who can sink nightly to rest
in the midst of all the delicious accessories
of more than Roman luxury, a greater number
keep cold Christmas upon heaps of rags
and vermin, on the cleaner earth. And if
we do not talk of such extremes, yet, taking-
as a test the beds and bed-linen of the
labouring- classes, and of the classes nearest
them in station, we shall find our countrymen
to be less comfortably furnished than their
equals in adjacent countries.

Misery, they say, makes men acquainted
with strange bedfellows; and it makes him
acquainted also with strange beds, and it is
not misery alone that can do that. They
who have travelled much, and through
countries differing much in custom and in
climate, must have felt every contrast
strongly in this respect. Imagine the
transfer, rapid as travelling now is, from
a nest of eider-plumage in one of the
sybaritic capitals of Europe, to the coarse
rug of an Arab tent, or half a blanket at the

Great is the variety of inclination in the
choice of pillows; some fancying, or requiring
them high, some low; some hard, some
soft. Madame Pfeiffer, who has tried the
pillows of many lands, avers that the wooden
bolsters of the Chinese are particularly
comfortable. And was not Jacob content with a

There is material for bed-making frequently
mentioned by the poets of a certain class
to which some reference ought to be made
roses. Who has not heard of "a bed of
roses?" Who has ever seen them mentioned
by any upholsterer in his list of bedding?
But if the poets mean a garden bed of roses,
full of thornstheir vegetable fleaslet
them indulge themselves with a stretch out
in the moonlight, or the rain, until the
gardener sticks his rake into them in the morning.
I am for a snug room, and a bed of the
best horse-hair. Wherever rhyme does not
forbideven, I think, in spite of rhyme
I would suggest printing in such passages,
horse-hair for roses in all future editions of
such poems.

Surely we ought not to have false notions
of bed, when we spend in it a third part of
our lives. We ought to respect it too. It is
our birthplace. There we lay, when there
were lavished upon our unconscious infancy
the first outpourings of a mother's tenderness.
There we have rested through our
measles, and, as children, felt the luxury of
being illa little illjust ill enough to be
kept warm in bed; the object, all day, of fond
service and attention, and dismissed at nightfall
to sound sleep, with a double portion of
warm kisses and good-nights. Grown people,
too, have felt that luxury of sick-bed care.
"It is worth while being sick," exclaimed,
in his dying days, a late distinguished
natural philosopher —"It is worth while being
sick, to see how kind every one is!"

Scenes varied as those that the world
without has witnessedsome more touching
than any that its greater stage has had to
showhave the bed for their centre, and the
bed-room walls for their circumference. Even
the outer world, however, has sometimes
intruded upon its seclusion. In their bed-
chambers, kings and ministers have held
their levies (thence so named); and fair
ladies have, ere now, received their visitors
and adorers, either behind bed-curtains or at
their toilets.

The world is full of affecting bed scenes.
Gloomily from his meagre pillow the poor
man who is sick looks out upon a desolate
home; now raising his eyes imploringly
heavenward; now, with a smile that slides
quickly into a sigh, playing languidly with
the emaciated child that sits beside him.
He chides and soothes, by turns, the voices
of the little ones that cry for bread
alternately to him and to their mother. His health
and strength were the sole wealth of the
small household; but its sources are dried
up, as the shallow brook dries in the day of
heat. Alas for those who must draw water
thence or perish, when there is left to them
nothing but the empty bed.

Then we may change the scene, and think
of the sick bed of the Christian statesman,
the philosopher, or the divine. We may
hear Walsingham repress the ill-timed
jocularity of courtly friends; and Burghley, like
Jacob of old, blessing the sorrowing circle
that surrounded him. We may hear Jewel
making a pulpit of his death-bed; or
Newton, with that holy humility which
belongs always to the great and good,
speaking of his immortal labours as the
pastime of a child who picks up shells upon
the brink of the wide unknown sea. We
may think of Schwartz, who, when unable
to leave his missionary's travelling cot,
still employed himself in the instruction of
the affectionate Hindoo. We may see,
in a hundred thousand instances, how a
good man's bed may be made a school of
wisdom, and preach more truth than was ever
uttered in Athenian porticoes, with better
emphasis than ever has been reached by any
orator whose voice has rolled under the
fretted vault or echoed down the aisles of a
cathedral. But all bed thoughts are not sad
or solemn. Bed taken in large doses is a
cure, I think, for disappointment. Bacon
lay many days in bed after his disgrace. I
could quote cases in which a subsidence
between the sheets has proved in no small
degree effectual as a cure for a bad fall and
sprained heart in love. Tinderides received
a prostrating blow, when his proposals were
rejected by Cloantha; for believing himself
to be desperately earnest, yet entertaining at
the same time a fair opinion of the value of

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